The hearing of appeal filed by Senator Ademola Adekele, Osun State Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) candidate in the September 2018 governorship election, was on Thursday stalled at the Court of Appeal, Abuja due to improper service of Notice of Appeal.
Adeleke is challenging the judgment of the Federal High Court, Bwari, delivered by Justice Othman Musa, on April 2, invalidating his nomination as the PDP governorship candidate for the election.
Recall that Wahab Raheem and Adam Habeeb, both members of the Osun state chapter of All Progressive Congress(APC), instituted the suit against Adeleke. They accused him of not possessing the requisite educational qualification for contesting the election.
At the resumed hearing of the case, Mr. Bankole Komolafe, counsel for Raheem and Habeeb, stated that four vital pages of the Notice of Appeal served on him were not included.
Komolafe said the development had prevented him from filing his respondents brief.
Counsel for Adeleke, Mr. Nathaniel Oke(SAN), had earlier told the court that he had met all conditions preparatory for the definite hearing of the appeal.
Oke informed the court that the four listed respondents were duly and promptly served with the Notice of Appeal on April 15.
He described the inability of the counsel to the first (Raheem) and second (Habeeb) respondents to file his client’s responses as a violation of the court’s practice direction, which allows them only five days to respond.
However, Komolafe countered Oke’s argument, stating that it was misleading for Oke to rest his submission on the court’s practice direction on a pre-election matter.
In his ruling, Justice Stephen Adah, who is leading two other justices of the court, upheld Komolafe’s argument.
“If you have errors in your record, it is your responsibility to correct them.
“Why do you have to serve counsel with incomplete process and still go ahead to put the blame on them?
“This is not an election petition; so, the practice direction where respondents are only given five days to respond to processes does not apply.
“In the circumstance, you must correct the record and give them time to respond. The matter is therefore adjourned until May 2 for hearing of the appeal,” Justice Adah said.
The other respondents are APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC).
Adeleke is praying the Appellate Court to set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court.
According to him, the court relied on inadmissible evidence to arrive at its decision.
The Federal High Court judgment had said findings showed that Adeleke was admitted into Ede Muslim High School, Ede, Osun State, in 1976, but without a record showing that he graduated.
The court also stated that the results Adeleke attached to INEC’s form CF001 contradicted the one presented to the court by the Principal of Ede Muslim High School, where he claimed to have graduated from, thereby nullifying his nomination as a governorship candidate in the September 2018 poll.