The federal government has charged the senator representing Osun West, Ademola Adeleke, and four others before the Federal High Court in Abuja for alleged examination malpractice.
Mr Adeleke and others were accused, in a four-count charge by the police, of fraudulently registering as students of Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School, Ojo-Aro, Osun State, to enable them sit for the National Examination Council (NECO) examination of June/July 2017.
The Nigeria Police Force filed the charges of examination malpractice against Mr Adeleke on September 19, three days before the state governorship election and after a certificate forgery suit of him was dismissed in the Osun State High Court.
The alleged offence is said to be contrary to Section 9(1) of the Examination Malpractices Act Cap E15 LFN 2004.
The other four accused of malpractices are Sikiru Adeleke, brother to Mr Adeleke; Aregbesola Muftau, the principal of Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School; Gbadamosi Ojo, the registrar of the school and Dare Olutope, a teacher in the school.
While the four other defendants were present in court on Monday, Mr Adeleke, the PDP candidate in the recent Osun State governorship election, was absent.
In the opening of session on Monday, the judge, I.E Ekwo, during a brief hearing, which was stalled due to Mr Adeleke’s absence, directed the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to ensure all the five defendants were brought to court for arraignment on October 31.
“The prosecution is ordered to ensure the defendants are in court at the next date, to take their plea,” the judge ruled.
But Mr Adeleke’s lawyer, Alex Izinyon, told the court that his client took ill on Friday and had been stooling.
According to Mr Izinyon, Mr Adeleke suddenly took ill at the weekend, but was getting better and added that a copy of a medical report was available to that effect.
“His Personal Assistant informed me yesterday (Sunday) that he was indisposed because he was stooling. “He sent a sent medical report to that effect.”
He said that Mr Adeleke had served the medical report, showing his client was on medication, on the prosecution. He pleaded with the court to grant a short adjournment to enable the first defendant to recover.
The prosecuting counsel, Simon Lough, acknowledged that the medical report had been served on him and urged the court to grant a short adjournment.
Mr Adeleke has, however, described the trial as a political witch hunt, designed to scuttle the retrieval of the “stolen mandate of Osun people.”
In the recently concluded Osun governorship election, Mr Adeleke was defeated by Adegboyega Oyetola, the All Progressives Congress’ candidate.
However, the PDP’s candidate filed a petition before the election petition tribunal challenging the cumulative results of the September 22 election and the September 27 re-run declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“The police is in collusion with the APC in the plot to implicate me on trumped up charges as a way of disrupting the commencement of our petitions before the Election Petition Tribunal,” Mr Adeleke said, in a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday.
“Their plan was originally to arrest me before the election so that I won’t be able to effectively participate at the governorship election but (a) court order and interventions stopped the evil agenda.
“Now that the APC (knows) the game is up and the stolen mandate is about to be retrieved, the party, in collusion with the police, has perfected (a) fresh plot to distract, harrass and intimidate me,” the senator said.
He, however, affirmed that no amount of intimidation will distract him from his undiluted determination to retrieve the stolen mandate, declaring that he will “leave no stone unturned to ensure that the will of Osun people as expressed at the last poll, (is) realised.
“Nigerians are aware that the so called examination case is politically motivated. The public is aware of the many intimidation and attacks I have been subjected to – before, during and now, after the election. We stand by the people and we will not surrender their mandate to anti-democratic forces.
“Let me use this medium to reassure the people of Osun State that our lawyers are on top of the situation. All necessary legal actions are being taken to stop these illegalities from standing. We are equally proceeding to commence our legal action to redress the electoral injustice of the last poll,” the statement, signed by Olawale Rasheed, his spokesperson, highlighted.