The Osun State Election Petition Tribunal on Wednesday compelled the State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to produce the nomination form and academic certificates of Senator Ademola Adeleke used for his nomination in the 2018 governorship election.
The order of the tribunal, chaired by Justice Tertsea Kume, was contained in a Subpoena issued to the REC by the panel following the request of the Counsel for Governor Adegboyega Oyetola and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
This is just as Counsel for the INEC, Adeleke and the PDP failed in their attempt to have the petition dismissed abruptly at the hearing.
At the sitting of the tribunal on Wednesday, Counsel for Governor Oyetola and the APC, Dr. Abiodun Saka Layoonu (SAN), informed the court that the petitioners have filed a Subpoena dated 3rd of November 2022, compelling the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) to appear before the court to present Adeleke’s Form CF 001, which is the nomination form and all its attachments, including the certificates used in the 2018 election.
He indicated that since the bailiff was yet to serve the REC with the Subpoena, even after being signed, he would be compelled to ask for adjournment until Monday, 21st of November.
Counsel for the INEC, Paul Ananaba, SAN, objected to the application for adjournment, saying it was a clear evidence that the petitioners were not prepared for diligent prosecution of the petition, citing Paragraph 18(11) of the Electoral Act.
While also arguing that the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) being subpoenaed to bring the said documents was never mentioned in the petition, Ananaba added that by planning to call the REC as a witness without informing the tribunal earlier, the petitioners had violated Paragraph 3 of the tribunal’s pre-hearing report.
He noted that the said Paragraph 3 indicated that the tribunal must be furnished with a list of witnesses to be called 24 hours to the hearing day.
Ananaba insisted on his application for the petition to be dismissed immediately.
Counsel for Adeleke, Mr. Niyi Owolade, and that of the PDP, Nathaniel Oke (SAN), aligned with Ananaba’s arguments and prayed that the tribunal should dismiss the petition.
Responding, Oyetola’s counsel, Layoonu, SAN, described the respondents’ arguments as baseless, saying the question of not being diligent in the prosecution of the petition was just a blanket statement by the respondents.
“The question of diligence is a question of fact.
“My learned friends have just made a blanket statement, but they have never come with any fact to that effect.
“Your Lordships know that there was no hearing day that we had not been here to prosecute our case.
“Besides that, my Lord, it is our prerogative to conduct our case the way we want as permitted by the law and we have been so diligent with it because we know what we are doing. What then is their problem?” Layoonu SAN argued.
Layoonu also referred to Paragraph 69(vi) of the petition, where it was expressly stated that the documents in question would be relied on.
In his further arguments, Layoonu said since the tribunal has not issued the subpoena, it could not have been served on the respondents, asking the INEC counsel to take a hint from the tribunal and stop being apprehensive unnecessarily.
He then urged the tribunal to discountenance all the arguments of the respondents’ counsel.
In his ruling, read by the Chairman, the tribunal agreed with the petitioners’ counsel and ignored the applications to dismiss the petition.
It said that the subpoena was issued by the tribunal around evening on Tuesday and would subsequently be served on the REC.
He then adjourned the matter until Monday, November 21, for continuation of hearing.
Speaking with journalists after the hearing one of the petitioners’ Counsel, Chief Yomi Aliyu (SAN), said
“The Subpoena was to bring Adeleke’s Curriculum Vitae to court, including all the documents he filed in form CFO01.
“It concerns Adeleke on the certificates he claimed he had, and that is why you heard the protestation of his lawyers.
“But it must be brought to court one way or the other.
“The court must see his certificates that he got from wherever he said he got them.
“That is why you see that it was hot for two hours as they were asking for the dismissal of the petition.”