Osun State High Court has on Wednesday dismissed a suit challenging the eligibility of Senator Ademola Adeleke as the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party in the September 22nd governorship election in the State.
The plaintiffs, Rasheed Olabayo and Oluwaseun Idowu who are members of PDP had urged the court to restrain the party from presenting Adeleke to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as its candidate, claiming that Senator Adeleke did not possess relevant certificates.
They also urged the court to restrain INEC from accepting Adeleke from PDP as its candidate on the basis that the Senator was not qualified, quoting Section 177 (d) of the 1999 Constitution and that the certificates presented were forged.
In his ruling, the presiding Justice David Oladimeji said the plaintiffs claim cannot disqualify Adeleke from contesting the election since the constitution does not state that a candidate for the office of the governor must possess a certificate.
“The constitution only stipulates that the candidates must be educated up to secondary school level just as the plaintiff also admitted that the Senator attended Ede Grammar School.”
The judge therefore struck out the case, saying whether Adeleke obtained a certificate or not, such cannot be used to disqualify him and the fact that he attended the school is enough for him to contest.
The counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr Olufemi Ayandokun as well as the counsels to Adeleke and PDP, Edmund Biriomoni and Taofeeq Olayiwola lauded the judgement.
Attempts to settle out of court had earlier hit the rock.
On 26th of July, at the resumed hearing of the matter, the court adjourned the case till August 1st for definite hearing but the process was stalled following a request by the plaintiffs for out of court settlement, a development that led to further adjournment of the case to 6th of August, 2018.
Appearing before the court Monday, Barrister Olufemi Ayandoku, the lead counsel to the plaintiffs explained that the dialogue had collapsed and the parties would have to lock horns since Edmund Biriomoni, the counsel to Ademola Adeleke had filed other preliminary objections on the prayers of the plaintiffs.
The counsels thereafter put the dialogue behind and expressed readiness to go on with the case.
In a press statement signed by its Campaign organisation, Ogunbiyi said though the National leadership of the PDP had made efforts to resolve the crisis generated by the party’s primary election, Senator Adeleke was yet to honour his own side of the agreement.
“The attention of Dr Akin Ogunbiyi has been drawn to a misinformation going round that Dr Akin Ogunbiyi has signed an agreement and withdrawn for Senator Ademola Adeleke.
“We wish to put the records straight. Shortly after the gubernatorial primary election, the National Working Committee of our great Party met and decided on appropriate compensations to assuage Dr Ogunbiyi and his teeming supporters for the general elections. At another NWC meeting of 29th July, 2018 led by the Party National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus with the following in attendance: Dr Ogunbiyi, Senator Adeleke, Osun BOT members led by Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun, Dr Olu Alabi and HE Erelu- Obada, all the Co-Aspirants that stepped down for him; the National Chairman presented the Terms of Settlement to Senator Adeleke,” The statement read in part.
According to Ogunbiyi, the key decision points were that the Deputy Governor slot will be ceded to his group, with three (3) possible names out of which his group will make a choice in replacement; and that the Osun West Senatorial ticket be automatically conceded to him.
He said Senator Adeleke apparently agreed to the deal, but he failed in his promise to get to his running mate, Mr Adeogun to relinquish the post by resigning.
“A list of 3 possible candidates was submitted, 48 hours after, in spite of his commitment, Hon Adeogun didn’t relinquish the position, indicating that Senator Ademola Adeleke group have not yielded to the terms of the reconciliation as put forward by the National leadership of the Party. At the instance of the National Chairman Prince Uche Secondus.”
The statement explained that Dr Ogunbiyi and Senator Adeleke had another meeting on the night of 2nd August, 2018 with a BOT member to conclude on the issue. The Senator gave a firm promise to be honorable and get Hon Adeogun’s resignation.
It said while Adeleke further requested the intervention of the Party leadership to prevail on Adeogun on the issue and a joint press conference agreed to be addressed by Dr Ogunbiyi and Senator Adeleke the following day, Adeogun rather went underground and became unreachable.
“As at the time of this release, Hon Adeogun has neither resigned nor sighted anywhere. No agreement has been signed by Dr Akin Ogunbiyi with anyone. Dr Ogunbiyi has stated in CLEAR TERMS that he is not leaving the Party under any circumstances.
“We are still optimistic that reasons will prevail and the crisis will be amicably resolved in the best interest of our great party and the good people of Osun State,” the statement read.