The Court of Appeal sitting in Akure, Ondo State, yesterday, affirmed that the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Osun governorship election, Senator Ademola Adeleke, is qualified and eligible to hold office.
The court ruling, therefore, contradicts the verdict of an FCT High Court, Bwari, which, few days ago, said Adeleke was not eligible to run for governorship, for alleged certificate forgery.
The court, presided over by Justice M A Danjuma, dismissed the appeal against the judgment of Osogbo High Court, which had confirmed the eligibility of Adeleke to contest for the governorship of Osun State.
The court has Justices R A Abdullahi and PA Mahmoud as members of the panel.
The Osogbo High Court had ruled that Adeleke was qualified to contest for the governorship having been educated up to secondary school level.
Not satisfied with the Osogbo High Court’s decision, the runner up in the gubernatorial primary election, Dr Akin Ogunbiyi, proceeded to the appellate court to challenge the decisions.
Adeleke insisted that the appellate court should declare him the candidate of the PDP.
However, the Akure Appeal Court, in its ruling, dismissed the appeal on three grounds, affirming the judgment of the lower court that confirmed the eligibility of Adeleke.
The first ground was that the court has no jurisdiction to hear the case.
The second was that the sponsored petitioner, one Kingsley Awosiyan from Ife Central, has no locus standi to file the case and third was that the matter was brought to court outside the stipulated 14 days after the conduct of the governorship primary election.
The decision of the appellate court apparently put to rest the controversy over Adeleke’s eligibility to contest the Osun State governorship election last year.
Reacting to the ruling of the court, the PDP said the decision was gratifying, adding that the case has no substance.
The party’s director of Publicity for South West Zone, Ayo Fadaka, signed the PDP’s reaction.
“We take due cognisance of the victory of Senator Ademola Adeleke at the Court of Appeal, Akure on issues concerning his qualification to contest the gubernatorial election.
“It is gratifying to note that the matter was resolved in his favour, particularly as there is no substance to this red herring accentuated and sustained by the APC for such a long time.
“This judgment has most fortunately castrated the curious verdict of the FCT High Court, Bwari.
“While we await hopefully, the removal of all roadblocks that the APC has installed to forestall the inauguration of Adeleke as governor of Osun State, we express our confidence in the judiciary to do the needful in ensuring that justice and fair play continue to remain the threshold upon which our democracy is built,” PDP said.
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