By Eric Elezuo
Everyone who followed the tribunal process and judgment that nullified the July 16, 2022 election of Jackson Ademola Nurudeen Adeleke as governor of Osun State, will agree without equivocation that it was one judgment that will not stand the test of time, as the presented a masked review of high school jokes of an idle moment. This is even as one of the judges, who read the text of the judgment used playful and unserious lyrics of club house to describe the judgment.
The Osun tribunal had annulled Adeleke’s victory and affirmed his rival and predecessor, Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress as the authentic winner of the poll after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had returned Adeleke as the winner of the poll.
INEC said Adeleke polled 403,371 votes to defeat then-incumbent Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of the APC, who got 375,027 votes. But Oyetola and the APC rejected the result of the poll and headed for the tribunal.
In its January 27, 2023 majority verdict, the Justice Tertse Kume-led tribunal annulled Adeleke’s victory and declared Oyetola the winner of the poll. However, a minority judgment by Justice B. Ogbuli affirmed Adeleke as the winner of the poll.
Displeased, Adeleke and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) headed for the Court of Appeal.
The much acclaimed irresponsible judgment of the Tribunal brought out the angst of the general public, especially Osun residents and members of the PDP. In one reaction, a former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, described the majority judgement of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal as highly compromised.
Frank in a statement in reaction to the judgement in Abuja, said the verdict fell short of expectations and does not reflect the will of the majority of the people of Osun, who freely elected Senator Adeleke as Governor.
He called on the National Judicial Council to urgently cause a probe of the verdict with a view to restoring Adeleke’s mandate as well as penalizing any of the tribunal members found to have compromised on integrity.
He also called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to urgently investigate the judges who wrote the majority judgement and prosecute those found to have based their decision on other considerations rather than the true facts canvassed during the hearing of the case.
He also called on the United States of America to place a visa ban on the Osun tribunal judges found to have used their highly exalted position as arbiters to derail and frustrate the growth of democracy in the country.
He commended the judge who wrote the minority judgement for sticking to the truth and siding with the wishes and aspirations of Osun people that elected Adeleke during the last governorship election.
He however urged the people of Osun to remain calm and law abiding with the certainty that the mandate they freely gave to Adeleke would be retrieved at the appellate court.
He also vowed that Nigerians will not fold their arms and watch any attempt to use the judiciary to again steal Adeleke’s mandate through the backdoor.
On March 13, 2023, however, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, concluded hearing on the appeal, and reserved judgment for March 24. As expected, the appellate court set aside the tribunal judgment that nullified the election of Ademola Adeleke as governor of Osun State on Friday.
In a unanimous decision by a three-member panel of justices, led by Justice Mohammed Lawal, the Appeal court held that the appeal lodged by Adeleke to challenge his sack by the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal was meritorious. The court also held that the sum of N500,000 is awarded as a cost against the APC, and its candidate, Gboyega Oyetola.
During the ruling, the justice resolved that the preponderance of proof that there was over-voting in the elections rested on the petitioner. The court also maintained that “the party alleging non-compliance with the electoral act must prove its case without merely relying on the weakness of the other party.”
The three-man panel thereafter revoked the tribunal’s order which directed that a Certificate of Return be withdrawn from Adeleke and issued to his predecessor and APC candidate, Oyetola.
In his response to the judgment, an elated but highly confident Adeleke dedicated the Appeal Court ruling to God Almighty and the people of Osun State.
He said: “I thank God Almighty and our good people of Osun state. I dedicate this victory to God and my people. This judgement confirmed my earlier position that the judgement of the Tribunal is a miscarriage of Justice. The judiciary has right the wrongs of the lower Court. This has rekindled the confidence of the nation in the integrity of the judiciary as the stabiliser of the judiciary and last hope of the common man.
“I am particularly glad that the Court of Appeal has ruled that BVAS machine and voters register are the primary sources, not the report from the server. This has strengthened our democracy and remove a time bomb which the judgement of the Tribunal had planted for our democracy.
“I appreciate Osun people for standing by me and my party through repeated validation of my governorship mandate at the recent federal and state elections. My party won three straight elections from July 16. 2022 to the March 18, 2023. It was a resounding vote of confidence in my governorship by the people of Osun state. The judiciary has now confirmed the will of the people that I am the validly elected Governor of my state.
“My appreciation goes to the civil servants, artisans, market people, clerics, students, women and youth. Osun people defended the mandate from 2022 to date.
“I commend the judiciary for resisting all pressure. Rule of law is strengthened when judgement affirms the will of the people. On behalf of Osun people and my party, the PDP,, we appreciate the judiciary and the men of conscience on the bar and the bench.
“Let me use this opportunity to extend sincere hands of fellowship to former Governor Oyetola and the APC. Let build the state together. Let unite for the good of our people. The State needs leaders across party lines to join hands for robust and accelerated development of the state.
“As brothers and sisters, we are all requested to start the process of healing. Forget party politics as election is over. All members of the political class in Osun state should join hands with me to take our state to greater height.”
With the validation of his mandate by the Appeal Court, it is obvious that a new dawn has just emerged in the Land of Virtue, formerly known as state of the living spring, Senator Ademola Nurudeen Jackson Adeleke remains one of the prominent sons of the land, the sixth civilian governor of the state, and the 10th leader the state will produce since inception in 1991. His victory against Adegboyega Oyetola at the July 2022 governorship election remains untainted.
He has one of the most jovial personalities, combined with a mien that is down to earth and thoroughly enterprising. Many call him ever smiling senator; some others call him dancing senator while a whole lot of others call him the incoming governor. Today, the declaration has come to fruition. He is the Senator, who represented Osun West Senatorial district in the Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber between 2015 and 2019. He is Ademola Jackson Adeleke, the fresh governor of the state.
Born of the Adeleke family of Ede in Osun State on May 13, 1960, Adeleke commenced his primary education at Methodist Primary School, Surulere Lagos State before he was privileged to relocate to Old Oyo State to continue his education at Nawarudeen Primary School, Ikire.
Adeleke was born Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke to a Muslim father and Nnena Esther Adeleke, an Igbo Christian mother. Like him, Adeleke’s father, Raji Ayoola Adeleke was a Senator and the Balogun of Ede land in Osun State. His father, Raji Ayoola Adeleke was also the leader of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).
On completion of his primary education, he moved on to The Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School, Ede to begin his post primary schooling. In the later years however, he attended Ede Muslim Grammar School Ede, where he finished his secondary school education and subsequently relocated to the United States of America, joining his two older brothers, who were also studying there.
In the United States, he joined Jacksonville State University, Alabama, and studied Criminal Justice, with minor in Political Science.
To prove doubting Thomases, who wiped up controversies around his educational qualification wrong, he went back to school and got enrolled at Atlanta Metropolitan State College in the United States, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice in 2021.
A businessman and administrator of no mean repute, Adeleke was the humble Group Executive Director at his brother’s company, Pacific Holdings Limited from 2001 to 2016, where his credible performances shot the company to enviable heights; a height it is still enjoying till date. P
It is imperative to note that before he joined Pacific Holdings Limited, Senator Adeleke worked with Quicksilver Courier Company in Atlanta, Georgia, US, as a service contractor from 1985 to 1989. His dexterity to work earned him a progression in career, and he berthed as Vice President at Origin International LLC, Atlanta, Georgia, US, a flavours and fragrance manufacturing company. His meritorious stewardship lasted a period of five years, from 1990 to 1994.
Not a few has described Adeleke as the philanthropic capital of Ede, as his influence in aiding the less privileged and downtrodden remains top notch. He is a voracious believer in community development, and has not spared any expense to see that his community receives global influence.
Politically, Adeleke is a beacon of light and hard but to crack, having remained an albatross to opposing powers and a reference point to ideal administration.
Shortly after he lost his brother, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, who died in April 2017, he contested the Osun West 2017 Senatorial by-election after the death of his brother, emerging as the winner under the Peoples Democratic Party, where he decamped to from the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Having emerged senator, Adeleke’s political influence waxed stronger, an on July 23, 2018, he emerged as the governorship candidate of PDP in Osun State after defeating Akin Ogunbiyi by seven votes. Efforts made to deprive him of the mandate was twated by the courts.
Adeleke’s lawyer in his defense claims his secondary school hasn’t come out to deny his testimonial, and asked the court to dismiss the case. The court dismissed the suit stating that the plaintiff could not prove Adeleke’s forgery.
Adeleke ran for Osun state governorship election under the PDP against top contenders Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola of APC and Iyiola Omisore of SDP on 22 September 2018. The election was declared inconclusive by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) while Adeleke was leading, and a rerun slated on September 27, 2018. The candidate of the APC Oyetola was declared winner after the run-off. Adeleke protested the result describing the election as a “coup”.
Much as on March 22, 2019, the tribunal sitting in Abuja declared Adeleke the winner of the election, the Supreme Court later affirmed Gboyega Oyetola as the authentic winner of the 2018 Osun State governorship election on Friday, July 5, 2019
Popularly known as the Dancing Senator because of his penchant to joyfully react to the sounds of music, Adeleke is uncle to one of Nigeria’s popular musicians, Davido.
Senator Adeleke is married to Mrs. Titilola Adeleke, a successful businesswoman and a self-made boss. They are blessed with three children who are all entertainers. They are B-Red and Shina Rambo and a daughter, Nike Adeleke.
Adeleke is expected to take Osun State to the greatest of heights, as he has already proved if his 100 days stewardship scorecard is anything to go by. Those who knows him agree that he can’t fail.
Congratulations, the Governor of Osun State!