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Appeal court dismisses judgement against Adeleke, rules “he’s qualified to contest Osun guber poll”

THE Federal Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Thursday dismissed the judgement of the FCT High Court that had initially disqualified Senator Ademola Adeleke from the Osun State governorship election in September 2018 and upheld his appeal.

Justice Emmanuel Agim, who read the lead judgment on behalf of the three-man judges’ panel, also awarded the cost of N3 million against the plaintiffs who instituted the suit before the FCT High Court, Bwari, Wahab Raheem and Adam Habeeb who were respondents to the appeals filed by Adeleke and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

In a unanimous judgement, the court upheld the appeals filed by Adeleke and the PDP.

Their challenges, the April judgment of the High Court which had declared Adeleke ineligible to contest the election on the grounds that he forged his secondary school leaving certificate examination submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in 2018.

Justice Othman Musa of the FCT High Court also declared Adeleke a dropout of the Ede Muslim Grammar School in Ede, Osun State, and thus was not qualified under Section 177(d) of the Constitution to contest last year’s governorship election in Osun State.

Dismissing the judgement, Justice Agim, while delivering the lead judgment of the Court of Appeal, held that the suit, having not been filed within 14 days after Adeleke’s Form CF001 was submitted to INEC or 14 days after his name was published as a candidate in the September 2018 election, the suit filed before the FCT High Court, by virtue of Section 285 of the Constitution, had become statute-barred.

Justice Agim also held that the failure of the FCT High Court to deliver its verdict within 60 days of the filing of the suit had rendered the lower court’s judgment a nullity.

But the Court of Appeal also held the affidavit evidence of the West African Examination Council and result in ledger attached to it showed that Adeleke was not a dropout but actually sat the May 1981 examination of the body at Muslim Grammar School, Ede.

He held that by virtue of Section 177 of the Constitution, by merely writing the examination and without passing any paper, Adeleke was qualified to contest the governorship election.

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