By Nwangwu Uba
Until April 25, 2019, not much was heard about the involvement of the police in the investigation of Ademola Adeleke, a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and People’s Democratic Party, PDP, governorship Candidate in Osun state, south west geo-political region. Adeleke had contested against Gboyega Oyetola, described as a relation of Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and national leader of APC , in the September 2018, governorship election in the state.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had declared Oyetola, the APC, Candidate, the winner, which Adeleke, the PDP, Candidate , did not find funny, insisting that he election was manipulated by the Commission and the security agencies, particular the police, to rob him of him of victory. He had dragged the matter to the state Election petition Tribunal which had reversed the Electoral Umpire result, by declaring him as the real winner based on the documentary evidence before i on March 22, 2019.
The Tribunal ruling may have forced Oyetola and the APC leadership to go back to the drawing to decide on the next line of action to ensure that that Senator Adeleke, the PDP, Candidate, would not be sworn in as the governor of the state by the state Chief Judge . The APC Candidate had no option but to appeal against the Tribunal Judgment. The APC , Candidate had pleaded with the Appeal Court to void the Tribunal Judgment, insisting that he won the election in all its ramifications.
Wole Olanipekun, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, who incidentally is the APC and Oyetola, lawyers , had argued during the Court proceedings that that Tribunal’s decision violated the country’s Electoral Act of 2010 and Judicial precedence of the Supreme Court. He claimed that Peter Obiora, a Justice of the Appeal Court , who prepared and read the judgment did not participate fully during the hearing of the petition in Court and therefore not qualified to do so.
The APC Candidate and the party think tanks in the state and the Federal level including Tinubu, the party leader may have known that that the Appeal Court would confirm the ruling of the Tribunal going by the direction of the arguments at the Court that they quickly came up with the allegation that he used a forged School Certificate result and testimonial to get cleared by INEC, to contest the election.
Recall, that the party had made the initial attempt to stop him from contesting the 2018 governorship election by going to the Akure High Court but lost , thus paving the way for him to contest the election. Note that a High Court in Abuja, had earlier declared him ineligible to contest the election based on the alleged Certificate forgery.
Many had expected the Adeleke Certificate issue to have been settled with the Appeal Court ruling on the Osun governorship election petition. Unknown to many the case has just begun with the return of President Muhammadu Buhari, of the ruling APC, from his private trip to the United Kingdom on Sunday , May 5, 2019. Indeed, on the evening of Monday, May 6, 2019,on the invitation of the police, the PDP, Osun governorship Candidate , was said to have walked up to the Force Headquarters bout arrested and detained , fueling speculation that Abubakar Adamu, the acting Inspector General of Police, IGP, may have waited for the President to return in order to brief him about the plan to arrest the lawmaker over the alleged certificate and testimonial forgery. The police boss may have given Nigerians the impression to believe that the police was not neutral in the Osun election.
Frank Mba, a Deputy Commissioner of Police and the Force Spokes Person, who confirmed the arrest in a Statement disclosed that he was taken to police custody on the evening of Monday, May 6th ,2019, in readiness for his subsequent arraignment in Court, today, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. As a prelude to the trial, the Force Image maker, averred that he was” arrested in connection with the ongoing criminal investigations touching on his person”. He noted that he has already been served with the relevant ”charges sheet containing his alleged offences in the presence of his Lawyers.
The embattled Osun PDP governorship Candidate Campaign Organisation which did not find his detention funny were said to have kicked against it, insisting that it was part of the plot by the APC , to rob him of his election victory in the state.
The Lawmaker Campaign Organisation could not agree with the police that he forged his School Certificate result and testimonial to contest the September 2018, governorship election in the state. It described the allegations as a trumped up charges to rob him of his well deserved victory in the election.
The Campaign Organisation lamented that the allegations are coming after the school Principal and school Authority had through sworn affidavits in Court ”denied any forgery of Certificate and testimonial by Adeleke as it had owned up to the school Certificate result and testimonial issued to him.
The argument in the lips of most people was that if the petitioners were really in doubt about the Senator’s school certificate result, the West African Examination Council, WAEC, office Head office in Nigeria is in Abuja , the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, for them to find out without whether the Senator was lying or not instead of going through the legal battles which is time consuming. More so, the WAEC , Board, could save the country the embarrassment by producing the Osun S enator’s WAEC, result which should be presented to the Court and to the police Authorities to stop his harassments and intimidations.
There are fears that the continued harassment and victimisation of the Senator by the APC government controlled security agencies might lead to a break- down of law and order in state but the Lawmaker Campaign Organisation may have realised this early enough that they have intervened to save the situation from degenerating by urging its supporters to remain calm and law abiding.
They are optimistic that justice shall prevail on the Senator’s case. Political watchers believe that Tinubu, the APC, national leader and the Presidency, are not ready to handover Osun on a platter of gold to Adeleke, the PDP Candidate without a fight. Political Observers believe that they could do any, using Federal might, to force Adeleke to back from pursuing the case in Court by frustrating him. It is not surprising why they are coming up with different allegations of certificate and testimonial forgery to rubbish the lawmaker and possibly force him to decamp to the ruling APC.
Adams Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo state and now National Chairman, of the ruling APC reportedly said that a thief who decides to join the APC, becomes a saint from that day, an indication that if Adeleke had contested the Osun governorship under the platform of the APC, with such an alleged baggage on his neck, the matter would have been buried under the carpet. Many believe that he was being harassed because he contested the election on the ticket of the opposition PDP to weaken him.