The Court of Appeal on Thursday in Abuja dismissed suit challenging the eligibility of Sen. Ademola Adeleke of the Peopels Democratic Party (PDP) to contest the Osun Governorship election on account of alleged certificate forgery.
Justice Emmanue Agim held that the suit was “statute barred’’ as the plaintiffs filed the action seven days after the conduct of the election.
Agim also held that the court lacked the territorial jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
The judge further said the interpretations of the issues in the suit was selective done by the trial.
Agim held that the defendant’s claim to have obtained a School Certificate from Moslem Secondary School Edeh could not be controverted as evidence had clearly shown that he (Adeleke) did.
He explained that some of the errors noticed in the certificate did not matter, adding that such errors were from the school.
Agim further said that the West African School Certificate ledger provided by the examination body vindicated supported Adeleke’s defence of having attempted WAEC examination.
“The trial court was perverse to still deliver its judgment against the defendant when it clearly should not have.
“In the circumstance, the April 2 judgment by Justice Othman Musa of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Bwari, which voided Adeleke’s candidacy for governorship election in Osun State is hereby set aside’’, he said.
In a related development, the court also upheld a similar appeal filed by the PDP challenging the trial court’s judgment against its candidate in the election.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Wahab Raheem and Adam Habeeb, had filed the suit asking the trial court to activate Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution and disqualify the PDP candidate from contest the election.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the lower court, Adeleke approached the appellate court for the setting aside of that judgment.
Mr Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), Counsel for Adeleke had argued that the judgment of the trial court was “disoriented and misleading’’.
Ogunwumiju urged the court to uphold his client’s appeal and set aside the judgment.
On his part, Mr Emmanue Enoidem, Counsel for the PDP argued that the suit was caught by the Fourth Alteration Act, having been filed outside the 14 days allowed by law.
Enoidem, therefore submitted that the trial court erred in law in arriving at its decision.
He said the PDP had relied on Sections 285 (9) 285 (11) and 285 (12) to challenge the jurisdiction of the court to try Adeleke.
In a counter-argument, Mr Joel Akomolafe, urged the court to uphold the judgment of the lower court and dismiss the appeal.
Akomolafe contended that the appellants did not appeal the lower court’s pronouncement on the issue of jurisdiction but just raised it at the appellate court.
NAN reports that Adeleke, was returned winner by the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal after Gov. Adegboyega Oyetola of All Progressive Congress (APC) was declared winner of the election by INEC.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the tribunal, Oyetola approached the court of appeal where he was eventually returned as the governor of the state.
However, Adeleke has not failed to give up the challenge as he had already approached the Supreme Court to test the decision of the court of appeal.