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(JUST IN) Eligibility: Appeal Court Clears Osun PDP Governorship Candidate, Adeleke, Party

***Awards N3m Against Plaintiffs

The Abuja division of the Court of Appeal on Thursday held that Senator Ademola Adeleke was qualified to contest the September 2018 governorship election in Osun State.

The appellate court in its judgment through a three-man panel upheld the appeals by Adeleke and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in a unanimous decision.

Reading the lead judgment, Justice Emmanuel Agim, awarded a sum to the tune of N3m against the plaintiffs who filed the action before the FCT High Court — Wahab Raheem and Adam Habeeb — who were also respondents to the appeals filed by Adeleke and the PDP.

It would be recalled that Adeleke and the PDP had questioned the April 2, 2019 judgment of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, which had declared Adeleke ineligible to contest the election on the grounds that he forged his secondary school credentials submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission in 2018.

Specifically, the lower court, presided over by Justice Othman Musa had 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.

But in throwing out the lower court's decision, Justice Emmanuel Agim, posited 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.

The Appeal Court judge equally declared 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.

Justice Agim further upheld the affidavit evidence of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and result ledger attached to it showing that Adeleke was not a dropout but actually sat the May 1981 examination of the body at Muslim Grammar School, Ede.

The Appeal Court judge said 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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