THE West African Examination Council (WAEC) has said it is all set to respond adequately to a court order mandating it to confirm whether Ademola Adeleke, Osun State PDP gubernatorial aspirant, wrote the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination in 1981.
Demianus Ojijeogu, the council’s head of public affairs who spoke to The ICIR said, though WAEC has not yet been served the said court order, it is aware of the case and is ready to speak on the matter before the court as soon as it receives it.
“When they serve us, we’ll know what to do,” Ojijeogu said. “This is not the first time. We have already prepared our minds. Those who are in charge already know what to do.”
A Federal High Court in Abuja had on Wednesday given an order mandating WAEC to depose to an affidavit establishing whether or not Adeleke sat for the SSCE conducted at Ede Muslim Grammar School in 1981 (now Ede Muslim High School), within five days of service.
Asides this, WAEC was also ordered to furnish the ledger containing results of all candidates who sat for the examination at Ede Muslim Grammar School, also within the stipulated deadline.
The court acted upon an application filed by Wahab Adekunle Raheem and Adam Omosalewa Habeeb against Adeleke, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Three suits in a row
An earlier suit filed at the Osun State High Court by Rasheed Olatunji and Idowu Oluwaseun was dismissed in August by Justice David Oladimeji. The court had said though the defendant’s documents contained “some serious and damaging irregularities,” the plaintiffs failed to prove the allegation of forgery.
A second suit was instituted by Oyetunji Suredi and Olagboye Adedamola, on August 20, challenging the PDP flag bearer’s candidacy. However, only a week after, this was also dismissed following the plaintiff’s decision to withdraw the case.
WAEC certificate not with INEC
Adeleke’s WAEC certificate was not part of documents submitted to INEC to support his senatorial aspiration in 2017 and his gubernatorial candidacy in 2018. Instead, he submitted a statement of result, a school testimonial, and a letter of attestation signed by Abass Khalid, principal of Ede Muslim High School.
These documents, however, contain certain irregularities. For instance, the testimonial which states that it was given thirty years ago, on 20th July 1988, has the same signature as the current principal of the school. Also, while the testimonial includes Yoruba as one of the eight subjects Adeleke sat for in the secondary school certificate examination, his statement of result replaces this with Christian Religious Studies.
The possibility of disqualification
Adeleke risks being disqualified by INEC if it is established that he is guilty of forgery or that he provided false information about himself to the commission.
According to the Electoral Act, a candidate stands disqualified from contesting elections if he provides false information in his/her affidavit (Form CF 001). Also, “a political party which presents such a candidate is guilty of an offence and is liable to a fine up to N500,000: 00.”
Section 182 of the 1999 Constitution additionally provides that a person shall not be qualified for election to the office of Governor of a State if “he has presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission”.
The ICIR, in July, had reported that Adeleke did not graduate from Jacksonville State University, Alabama, contrary to his claim as published on the National Assembly website. The following month, while remaining silent on whether he validly obtained a degree from the U.S. university, Adeleke replied that he did not require a WAEC certificate to gain admission into the institution.
'Kunle works with The ICIR as an investigative reporter and fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via firstname.lastname@example.org or, if you're feeling particularly generous, follow him on Twitter @KunleBajo.