Osun: Tribunal admits Adeleke’s certificates as exhibits
From Lateef Dada, Osogbo
The Osun State Election Petition Tribunal yesterday admitted in evidence the file with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) containing the secondary school certificate and testimonial of Governor Ademola Adeleke.
This is just as the petitioners, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola and the All Progressives Congress (APC), closed the prosecution of the matter, leaving the respondents to state their defence.
The admission of the documents followed the appearance of the INEC representative, Mrs. Joan Arabs, who brought Adeleke’s original files containing the certificate he submitted to the Commission in 2018.
It would be recalled that during the last sitting of the panel, the commission had submitted a blank document as the secondary school certificate of the governor, a situation that compelled the panel to order that the original file be brought, even as it threatened to invoke coercive power if the electoral body failed to do so.
At the resumed hearing of the petition yesterday, counsel for Oyetola, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), said the hearing for the day was basically meant for the appearance of INEC representative to produce Adeleke’s file in line with the court order.
Counsel for INEC, in his response, said that INEC representative was already in court with the files containing a clearer and legible certificate and testimonial in question, saying he would be willing to apply for the return of the documents to INEC, when the tribunal is done looking at it.
After the production of the documents, the tribunal, while discharging the INEC official, said, “You can now go if you wish to. No policeman will accost you again.”
Subsequently, Oyetola’s counsel sought to tender the documents, which contain form CFO01 and its attachments, including Adeleke’s credentials, saying the original file brought to court is a primary evidence and he was comfortable with it.
Counsel for INEC, Chief Henry Agunedo (SAN), said he would be objecting to the admissibility of the documents on the ground that the basis for the production of the whole file was because only two pages of the earlier-produced Certified True Copies were in contention, saying tendering the whole documents was out of place.
Counsel for Adeleke and PDP, Niyi Owolade and Alex Izinyon (SAN) respectively, said they had objection to the tendering of the said documents, but said they would reserve their objections till the final address stage.
Izinyon also observed that the only documents in contention were only two pages- Adeleke’s certificate and testimonial – saying the CTC earlier produced had not been tendered before the court.
Responding, Fagbemi said the practice everywhere is that INEC can only apply and get back the files after the dispensation of the cases, saying, «We asked for CTC and now that they brought this. We are fine, we will take it.»
Ruling on the documents tendered, the tribunal led by Tertsea Kume admitted the credentials and the Adeleke’s nomination form as exhibit ‘FILE D’ and taken as read.
It was after the tribunal admitted the documents that Fagbemi informed the panel that he had decided to close his case, saying, “My Lord, we rest our case.”
When the tribunal asked INEC’s counsel to open his defence, Chief Agunedo said it would be difficult for him to open his case on Monday, saying that the non-availability of his witnesses would make it practically impossible.
The panel then asked the counsels to meet and agree on adjournment date after which Counsel for INEC briefed the panel on the outcome of the meeting.
Subsequently, the tribunal adjourned the case till December 20 for the respondents to open their defence, saying the adjournment was based on another engagement by the tribunal somewhere else between 12th and 19th December 2022.