An Osun State High Court in Osogbo has rejected the prayers seeking to restrain the Peoples Democratic Party from presenting the name of its governorship candidate for the Osun governorship election, Ademola Adeleke, to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The applicants, Rasheed Olabayo and Oluwaseun Idowu, had in a suit asked the court to stop PDP from presenting Mr Adeleke to INEC as candidate of the party for the September 22nd 2018.
In the ex-parte application, the applicants claimed that Mr Adeleke did not possess a secondary school certificate as required by Section 177 (d) of the 1999 constitution and that he was not fit to contest the election.
Mr Adeleke’s ordeal began after he was named winner of the PDP governorship primary election last Saturday.
The presiding judge, David Oladimeji, on Thursday, said he could not grant the prayer without first allowing Mr Adeleke, a serving senator, representing Osun West, to have the opportunity to respond to the application.
The judge said granting such prayer might subject the court to embarrassment if the senator presented his certificate eventually. Mr Oladimeji adjourned the matter till August 1, 2018.
Mr Adeleke’s lawyer, Taofeeq Olayiwola, said the application was unfounded and frivolous.
“Senator Adeleke has a certificate. He is a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Is it possible that a senator will not have secondary school certificate. He has it. That application is frivolous and unfounded. That is why the court dismissed it.”
Meanwhile, the senator’s name was on Wednesday submitted to the INEC as the candidate of the party. However, on Thursday, there was a strong rejection from some aspirants who contested against him at the primaries.
In a press statement in Osogbo on Thursday, seven of the PDP aspirants urged the National Working Committee of the party to review the choice of Mr Adeleke as the party’s governorship candidate. They alleged that he was not validly elected by the majority of the delegates at the primaries.
The statement was jointly signed by the aspirants, namely, former senators, Olasunkanmi Akinlabi and Felix Ogunwale; Adejare Bello; runner up at the primary election, Akin Ogunbiyi; Ayoade Adewopo; Adeolu Durotoye; and Jide Adeniji.
They faulted the conduct of the election by the five-member committee headed by the Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, saying it left much to be desired.
“Contrary to the promise made by the new leadership of our party, the reign of impunity appears to have continued unabated with the way and manner the primary election in Osun State was conducted,” the statement said.
“The exercise was regrettably marred by gross violations of the Electoral Guidelines issued by the National Working Committee as well as outright manipulation of the results of the election in favour of Senator Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke in a manner suggesting that he was the favoured candidate of some ‘powerful’ individuals in the top echelon of the PDP.
“We make bold to say that Senator Adeleke did not in fact score the highest number of votes in that primary election having polled a total number of 1569 as against his major opponent, Dr Akin Ogunbiyi whose actual votes at the point of sorting was 1690.
“These figures were indeed confirmed by security agents, media men and some of the electoral officers who watched keenly as the ballot papers were being sorted at the end of voting.
“Apart from the very shameful incidence of votes pilfering which happened during a brief period of an orchestrated power black-out, 42 valid votes cast for Dr Akin Ogunbiyi were counted as invalid by the electoral officials in spite of the persistent protests of his agents.
“Such a brazen disregard for best global practices in electoral processes is certainly unexpected of a party desirous of dislodging a party in government through a free and fair election.”
The aspirants also frowned at the alleged neglect and refusal of the National Working Committee of the PDP which serves as the appeal committee to address the matters raised against the election of Mr Adeleke.
“While we had expected that the party would be mindful of the need to protect the sanctity of the electoral process and dispassionately consider the issues arising from the conduct of the primaries, it was most unfortunate to read in the media that the name of Senator Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke has been submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission as the PDP candidate for the Osun State Governorship election,” the aspirants lamented.
“Senator Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke was not the choice of majority of delegates at the Primary election held on Saturday 21st July, 2018 and so could not have been validly nominated by the Party,” the statement further stressed.
“The said Senator Adeleke is the least qualified of the 11 aspirants who obtained forms to contest for the primaries of the PDP in our dear State.
“Fielding Senator Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke as our governorship candidate will put the chances of our great party at risk in view of the several legal and moral issues which will arise before and during the electioneering campaign.
“The candidacy of Senator Adeleke will further divide rather than unite the PDP in Osun State in view of the fact that a great number of party members will not feel secured working for him because of the very controversial circumstances of his nomination.
“The PDP may not be able to secure the support of critical stakeholders in the state with Senator Adeleke’s candidacy because of his not too impressive public conduct as a senator of the Federal Republic.
“In view of the foregoing therefore, we the under listed aspirants call on the National Leadership of our Party to rescind its decision on the nomination of Senator Ademola Adeleke as our candidate for the September 22nd Governorship election.
“We call on the National Working Committee of the PDP to reconsider its stand on the Appeal filed by Dr Akin Ogunbiyi who was the actual winner of the Primary election held on the 21st of July with a view to redeeming the hope of our party and that of the good people of Osun State.
“We are making this call as leaders and major stakeholders in the party who are desirous of salvaging the Osun State PDP and rekindling the hope of thousands of our members in all local governments.”