…Says form EC9 tells a lie about itself
The Osun Election Petition Tribunal has said that the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate in the July 16 Governorship election, Adegboyega Oyetola, were able to prove a case of forgery against incumbent Osun Governor, Ademola Adeleke.
The Tribunal however held that the forgery case, established against Governor Adeleke, was not enough to disqualify him from contesting the July 16 Governorship election, adding that he had acquired additional qualifications.
Delivering the majority judgement, the Tribunal led by Justice Tertsea Kume, noted that the petitioners were able to prove forgery case against Governor Adeleke as EC9, which is the affidavit in support of personal particulars about the governor told “a lie about itself.”
Interestingly, the only member of Tribunal,Justice B.A. Ogbuli, who gave a dissenting ruling on the Tribunal judgement, aligned with the position of the majority judgement on the issue of disqualification.
The Tribunal held that “respondent through Mrs. Joan Arabs produced FILE D which was tendered in evidence. The said exhibit FILE D is in respect of the election conducted by the 1st Respondent in 2018.
“Exhibit EC9, as earlier indicated, is the affidavit in support of the personal particulars of the 2nd Respondent which he presented to the 1st Respondent for the election of 16h day of July, 2022.
“On page 2 of exhibit EC9, the 2nd Respondent (Adeleke), in his handwriting wrote under: (1) School Attended (Educational qualification with dates: Thus: 2. SECONDARY EDE MUSLIM GRAMMAR SCHOOL, EDE – ATTENDED 1976
– 1981, PENN FORSTER HIGH SCH-HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA -2021
“3. HIGHER ATLANTA METROPOLITAN STATE COLLEGE – BSC CRIMINAL JUSTICE 2021.
“On page 4, of exhibit EC9, there is a letter of Attestation from Ede Muslim High School dated 22 day of May, 2016.
“Learned counsel for the Petitioners, as earlier stated, referred to the different names in the schools reproduced above and the evidence admitted by RW2 under cross-examination, that Osun State was created in 1991, and as such, any evidence that a qualifying certificate or document stating that it was from Osun State in 1981 is a forgery.
“Forgery, is defined in Section 464 of the Criminal Code of Osun State (Supra), as follows: 464. A document or writing is said to be false– ‘(a)in the case of a document which is a register or record kept by lawful authority, or an entry in any such register, or which purports to be issued by lawful authority as testifying to the contents of any register or record kept by lawful authority, or as testifying to any fact or event, if any material particular stated in the document is untrue; or
“(b) if the whole or some material part of the document or writing purports to be made by or on behalf of some person who did not make it or authorise it to be made, or if, in a case where the time or place of making is material although the document or writing is made by or by the authority of the person by whom it purports to be made, it is with a fraudulent intent falsely dated as to the time or place of making; or (c) if the whole or some material part of the document or writing purports to be made by or on behalf of some person who does not, in fact, exist; or (d) if the document or writing is made in the name of an existing person, either by that person himself or by his authority, with the fraudulent intention that it should pass as being made by some person, real or fictitious, other than the person who makes it or authorise it to be made.’
“The word ‘or’ appearing in the above reproduced section of the Criminal Code (Supra) is a disjunctive connotation. See Section 18(3) of the Interpretation Act, Laws of Nigeria. See also Suswam v. Govt. of Benue State (2018) LPELR-47368 (CA) 1 at 6-15, para A.
“A clear reading of the above reproduced section of the Criminal Code and exhibit EC9 reproduced above reveals that EC9 tells a lie about itself. See ACN vs. Lamido (2011) LPELR-91741 (CA) 1 at 79 80 paras C- A, and 80 81 paras F- A.
“In that regard, forgery of the said documents presented by the 2d Respondent (Ademola Adeleke) to 1 Respondent (INEC) has been proved.
“The same consequence applies to FILE D in so far as the contents therein relates to ‘Osun State’ that was not in existence before 1991. See PDP v. Degi-Eremenyo (2021) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1781) 274 at 292 paras A-C cited by learned counsel for the Petitioners.
“Exhibit 2R.RW6 is a certificate from Atlanta Metropolitan College. Exhibit 2R.RW9 is a Diploma Certificate from Penn Foster High School. Both exhibits 2R.RW6 and 28.RW9 are in proof of the Schools, indicated by the 2nd Respondent(Ademola Adeleke) in exhibit EC9 as the schools he attended.
“RW3 testified in the petition for the 2” Respondent. He tendered exhibits 2R.RW6 and 2R.RW9 amongst several other documents. His evidence, for emphasis, is to the effect that he is a Personal Assistant of the 2d Respondent (Ademola Adeleke) and has custody of the said documents by that fact. RW3 was not challenged on that piece of evidence by the Petitioners. The Petitioners, also did not call evidence of the authorities that made exhibit 2R.RW6 and 2R.RW9 to deny issuing the said documents to the 2nd Respondent.
“The absence of an evaluation report from the Federal Ministry of Education attesting to the credibility or otherwise of the said exhibits does not render them false documents. The said exhibit 2R.RW6 and 2R.RW9 are hereby deemed genuine documents, as rightly submitted by learned counsel for the 1st Respondent (INEC).
“The question of the qualification of a candidate at an election is determined with reference to the documents presented by him to 1” Respondent at the time of the election. See Section 177 of the Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) especially paragraph d thereof. The said Section 177 of the Constitution of Nigeria (Supra) provides as follows: 177. A person shall be qualified for election to the office of Governor of a state if- (a) he is citizen of Nigeria by birth;
(b) he has attained the age of thirty-five years;
(c) he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party; and
(d) he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.
“A clear reading of the said section, reproduced above shows that exhibits 2R.RW6 and 2R.RW9 meets the qualification for an election as contained in section 318 of the Constitution of Nigeria (Supra).
“The question, however, is whether having found forgery in parts of exhibit EC9 and FILE D, the 2nd Respondent (Ademola Adeleke) is exonerated by exhibits 2R.RW6 and 2R.RW9. We think he is. It would have been otherwise if no other qualifying certificate of attendance at an institution had not been presented to 1st Respondent for the election,” the Tribunal added.