The arrest and ongoing trial of Ademola Adeleke, a Nigerian senator, is an attempt to hound opposition voices in the country, the governorship candidate of Restoration Party in Osun State, Mercy Ayodele, has said.
She also suggested that the state governor, Gboyega Oyetola, was behind the trial.
“Such act was a manifestation of intolerant political leadership using state apparatus to intimidate its citizens, most especially those who have mass support to change the status quo,” Mrs Ayodele said in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES.
Mrs Ayodele was the only female candidate that contested alongside Mr Adeleke, Governor Oyetola and others in the Osun governorship poll last September.
She noted that the issue over which the senator was arrested was an “issue of litigation and was prejudicial to arrest and arraign him over same offence.”
Mr Adeleke was arrested by the police on Monday and brought before a Magistrate Court in Abuja on Tuesday for alleged certificate forgery. He was granted bail by the court on health grounds after he pleaded not guilty to the charges leveled against him.
According to the charges, the politician presented forged certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in 2017.
Mrs Ayodele argued that it was unknown to any of Nigeria law that an individual could stand trial on same offence in two different courts almost at the same time.
The female politician also suggested that the trial might be connected with the ongoing litigation on Osun governorship election before the appeal court.
She urged President Muhammadu Buhari to “thread softly on the Osun political imbroglio, as the whole world is watching with keen interest, the ongoing political development in the country.”
Mr Adeleke, a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was first arrested last September, a few days to the Osun governorship election, in which he won in the first ballot. His victory was however short-lived after the supplementary polls.
The senator, representing Osun West district, was accused of writing WAEC with a fake identity to beef up his credentials, an allegation he strongly denied, claiming he had been a victim of vindictive politics of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
PREMIUM TIMES reported that a statement from his office Monday night said the principal of the school and WAEC swore affidavits while defending the senator against forgery or impersonation.
The statement also said Mr Adeleke’s latest arrest was aimed at frustrating his case at the election petitions tribunal where he is challenging the outcome of the September 2018 governorship election.
The tribunal declared him winner of the election in March, but the APC’s incumbent governor, Mr Oyetola, appealed the ruling.