The Osun election petition tribunal has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to produce the nomination form and academic certificates used by Ademola Adeleke to contest the 2018 governorship election.
The order was issued following an application by Gboyega Oyetola, Osun governor, and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Adeleke, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was declared the winner of the Osun governorship election which was held on July 16.
He secured 403,371 votes to defeat Oyetola of the APC, who got 375,027 votes.
In a petition dated August 5 and seen by TheCable, Oyetola and the APC had asked the court to nullify Adeleke’s election on the claim that he was not qualified to contest and that he was not elected by the majority of the lawful votes cast.
According to the petition, Adeleke, who had also contested the 2018 governorship election but lost, “was, at the material time, not qualified to contest election to the office of the Governor of Osun State for having presented forged certificates” to INEC.
The petitioners are also challenging the election results from 749 polling units across 10 LGAs of the state over alleged electoral malpractice, especially over-voting.
At the tribunal session on Wednesday Saka Layoonu, counsel for Oyetola and the APC, informed the tribunal that he has filed a subpoena dated November 3, seeking to compel the Osun resident electoral commissioner (REC) to appear before the tribunal to present the documents.
Layoonu said since the bailiff was yet to serve the REC with the subpoena, even after being signed, he would be compelled to ask for adjournment till November 21.
However, Paul Ananaba, counsel to INEC, raised an objection to the adjournment, adding that the petitioners were not ready to diligently pursue the case.
Ananaba argued that the REC being subpoenaed to bring the said documents was never mentioned in the petition.
He insisted that the request by the petitioners to call the REC as a witness, without informing the tribunal earlier, violates paragraph three of the tribunal pre-hearing reports.
Ananaba pointed out that the said paragraph three indicated that the tribunal must be furnished with a list of witnesses to be called, 24 hours before the hearing day.
Responding, Niyi Owolade, counsel to Adeleke, and Nathaniel Oke, PDP counsel, aligned with Ananaba’s arguments and prayed the tribunal to dismiss the petition.
However, counsel to the petitioners described the respondents’ arguments as baseless and referred to the court to paragraph 69(vi) of the petition, where it is stated that the documents in question would be relied on.
Layoonu said since the tribunal had not issued the subpoena, it could not have been served on the respondents.
In his ruling, Tertsea Kume, the tribunal chairman, granted the subpoena.
Kume said the subpoena was issued on Tuesday evening and would subsequently be served on REC.
He then adjourned further hearing until November 21 for continuation.
Meanwhile, this is not the first time Adeleke’s academic credentials would be a source of controversy.
In April 2019, a high court nullified Adeleke’s candidature over allegations that he forged the secondary school credentials submitted to INEC for the 2018 governorship election in Osun.
But, in May 2019, the court of appeal in Abuja ruled that he was qualified to contest in the election.