President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday stopped the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, from inviting the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the governorship election slated for Saturday in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke.
The police had earlier invited Adeleke to the Force Headquarters in Abuja for the purpose of arraigning him on charges of examination malpractices, criminal conspiracy, impersonation, breach of duty and aiding and abetting.
A presidential source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to speak on the matter, told some State House correspondents that the President had directed that Adeleke should not be invited until after Saturday’s election.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, had in a statement told Adeleke and four others to report to the Special Investigation Panel, Force Headquarters, Abuja, immediately for arraignment in court.
Police summon Adeleke, others for alleged exam fraud
In the police invitation, Adeleke was told to report to the Force Headquarters, Abuja, for arraignment on examination malpractice, criminal conspiracy and impersonation.
He was asked to report to the Special Investigation Panel alongside one Sikiru Adeleke, the Principal of Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School, Alhaji Aregbesola Mufutau; a worker who facilitated the registration of candidates for the National Examination Council in the school, Mr Gbadamosi Ojo; and a teacher who allegedly facilitated the crime, Mr Dare Olutope.
The Force spokesman in a statement on Wednesday said it had filed charges against the aspirant and his co-accused.
The charges were reportedly filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja under the Examination Malpractice Act, CAP E15, 2004, on Wednesday.
PDP asks police to stop acting APC script
The PDP, however, cautioned the police to desist from acting the script of the All Progressives Congress against Adeleke.
The PDP described the latest twist in the Adeleke certificate scandal, leading to what it described as laughable trumped-up charges by the police, as horrible, nauseating and displeasing.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement on Wednesday said the allegations that Adeleke was involved in an exam malpractice in 2017, as well as his invitation by the police barely two days before the governorship election in Osun, was a ploy by the APC to distract the PDP candidate and put him out of circulation before and during the election.
He said, “While the PDP is not against any legitimate effort by any security agency in the discharge of its duties, we totally reject this unrelenting attempt to use trumped-up charges to take down our candidate simply because the APC has realised that he is coasting to victory.
“Perhaps, the police needs to be educated that the West African Examination Council has already confirmed that Senator Adeleke sat the body’s examination in 1981, thus ending the earlier unnecessary controversy about his WAEC status.
“Moreover, this is the same police that have not been able to invite the disgraced erstwhile Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, over her forged NYSC Exemption Certificate; or the Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution and Chairman of the Special Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, whose certificate, WAEC openly told the National Assembly, was fake.
“There are several leaders in the APC, whose certificates have been questioned and which the police have not considered it needful to conduct the littlest investigation.”
Also, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Diran Odeyemi, said the police had been compromised.
Odeyemi in a statement said the harassment of the candidate of the opposition party was an indication of what would happen during the poll, urging the people of the state to be vigilant.
The statement read in part, “We affirm that our candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, is not involved in any form of conspiracy to commit examination malpractice at any point in time.
“We once again call on well meaning leaders of thought in Nigeria and the international community to rise up in defence of democracy in Nigeria.”
Odeyemi said the PDP was confident that the party’s candidate would emerge victorious on Saturday.
Saraki, Fayose condemn APC’s alleged desperation
The President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki on Wednesday condemned the APC-led Federal Government over the police invitation to the PDP candidate.
Saraki spoke with journalists at the residence of Adeleke in Ede after a meeting of the PDP leaders at the venue.
Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, also described the APC as a party full of desperate people, saying the party’s actions showed that it had compromised the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies ahead of the poll.
Saraki said, “Security agents are meant to be neutral but when they become partisan, it is a problem to the whole nation.”
Fayose also said, “We must condemn the APC desperation, they are taking over the state one after the other. If the last administration was this desperate, they would not have been here.”
Show your certificate, opposition tells Buhari
Meanwhile, the Coalition of United Political Parties has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to present his school certificate ahead of the 2019 presidential election.
It said it was pleased with the information that WAEC had okayed Adeleke’s certificate, thereby clearing the way for the trouncing of the APC in Saturday’s governorship election in Osun State.
He said the alleged desperate option of causing confusion among voters by pushing for the disqualification of a candidate had failed.
Spokesman for the CUPP, Mr Ikenga Ugochiyere, said in a statement on Wednesday that President “who undeservedly prides himself as Mr Integrity has yet to provide his certificate; apparently, because he does not have any.”
He said, “Having failed in this last plot to continue to hold down a resolute Osun electorate in their mire of misgovernance, the APC-led Federal Government has activated the Nigeria Police Force which has effectively turned itself into the militant wing of the ruling party to summon the candidate again based on concocted allegations just to derail the sacking of the APC in Osun.”
I’ll win and dance to Govt House, says Adeleke
Meanwhile, Adeleke said he would win the Saturday election and dance to the Government House as the governor of the state.
He said this in Osogbo on Wednesday at an interactive session organised by the Oduduwa Youth Development Initiative.
Adeleke said the APC-led government had inflicted hardship on the people, saying he was confident of winning because of the support he enjoyed from the people throughout the state.
Asked why he was being referred to as dancing Senator, Adeleke said, “I will dance to the Government House after winning Osun governorship election on Saturday.
“ I have been tagged dancing Senator, but this shouldn’t be used against me because everybody dances. Have you seen someone who doesn’t dance? I am winning this election and I will dance to the Government House after that.
“When I was in the university overseas, I used to go for dancing competition. Although, I am a Nigerian, I still won dancing competitions which is the reason why I was nicknamed ‘Jackson,’ but my real name is Ademola Nurudeen Adeleke.”
Adeleke, who criticised the educational policy of Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s administration, said the unpaid salaries and school merger were some of the reasons for the poor performance of pupils of the state in public examinations.
He said, “Anybody who fails to pay his or her labourers is wicked and I can boldly say that the APC government is wicked for not paying its workers and pensioners in the state.
“The menace of non-payment of salary is responsible for the 29th position of this state in the ranking of WAEC; but when I get to power, I will turn it around by ensuring that the welfare of every worker in the state is catered for.
“The insensitivity of the All Progressives Congress government is responsible for the state where LAUTECH is today and it is evidently clear to the masses that the PDP government takes education as a priority.”
Adeleke later condemned the police invitation to him over the allegation of certificate forgery.
He spoke through the Director General of his Campaign Organisation, Chief Lere Oyewumi, at a press conference on Wednesday.
He said the certificate issue had been tried and judgement given by an Osun State High Court presided over by Justice David Oladimeji.
He said the police invitation was unnecessary because another case on it was also before a court in Abuja.
He, however, commended Buhari for directing the police to stop the invitation.
“Ballots have been imprinted in Ondo State and they want to bring them in through Ife South, but we will resist them,” he added.
“Arrests have been made. I think four to six people have been arrested with weapons.
“The information as of yesterday was that five people were shot; one was confirmed dead and the remaining four were taken to a hospital.”
Efforts to reach the Public Relations Officer of the university, Mr Edward Aihevba, were unsuccessful as he neither picked his calls nor responded to a text message sent to his mobile number as of the time of filing the report.
When contacted, the institution’s Dean of Students Affairs, Mr Don Akhilomen, dismissed reports that the attack claimed many lives.
Akhilomen, however, said one of the victims (Omobude) was a former member of the legislative arm of the Students Union Government in the university.
He said, “What we heard was that four or five people were victims. The police will be in a better position to give official information on this matter.”
When asked if the school could confirm that the deceased were students of the university, he said, “It is when their identities become clear that we would know whether they were students of our school.
“But I know of one (Omobude) who was a graduate of our university. He graduated last year; he was a parliamentarian on campus.”
The dean, however, noted that the management of the institution had cautioned students against organising parties for security reasons.
“In fact, a department whose students had a wild jubilation faced disciplinary actions and that was communicated, even before this incident, to serve as a deterrent to others,” he added.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that students of the institution had been living in fear since the incident occurred, as some of them living outside the campus fled their hostels for fear of a reprisal.
One of them, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “People are afraid to leave the campus, especially as we are preparing for our exams, which will begin on Friday.
“The party was organised individually and different people attended. Some students prefer to hold their parties outside the school where they will not be interrupted by the university authority.”
An alumnus of the university, Mr President Aigbokhan, decried the prevalence of cult-related activities in the area.
Aigbokhan called on the management of the institution to scale up efforts towards eradicating the menace.