By Adenitan Akinola
On 8th August, 2018, an Osun State High Court dismissed the case challenging the eligibility of Senator Ademola Nurudeen Jackson Adeleke to contest the Osun Governorship election as candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party.
As I listened to Justice David Oladimeji reading the ruling for over an hour, I pondered on the “Ratio Decidendi” of his well-considered ruling and the obvious lacuna in our constitution and most fundamentally, the interpretation of the Apex court on the same and their consequences on the Nations education system, as well as the quality and character of leadership dominating our contemporary political space.
The Judge’s dismissal of the case is predicated on the combined reading of Sections 177(d) and 318(b) of the 1999 constitution as amended. Most irresistibly are the Supreme Court decisions in Kakhi Vs PDP 2014 and Bayo Vs Njidda. The cases are the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the above sections of the constitution.
Alas! the Apex court declared as Justice Oladimeji reaffirmed in the instance case that Senator Ademola Adeleke need not pass the secondary school exam nor provides the WASCE certificate. All he requires is to show evidence that he attended Ede Muslim Grammar School, now Ede Muslim High school.
However, Justice Oladimeji observed that the documents (WAEC results and Testimonial) attached to Senator Adeleke’s counter affidavit and preliminary objection contain “serious and damaging irregularities”, despite the fact that the statement of result being claimed has only one F9 and other subjects pending.
Arriving from the above, I’m of the opinion that being educated up to secondary level implies by the constitution will mean to be certificated based on a particular measure. For instance, for a person to be eligible for admission into higher institution in Nigeria, he’s required to have between 4 and 5 credits pass at the SSCE level including Mathematics and English. I submit that same measure should apply as the correct interpretation of Section 177(d) of the constitution.
Respectfully, I’m not challenging the capacity and the rights of their Lordships at the Apex court to interpret the Nigeria Constitution the manner they deem appropriate and applicable, but I’m not sure that the 109 and 360 tenants of the National Assembly who are the drafters of the law will opine that a person with one F9 in English Language, absconded from other subjects in WASCE in 1981 and never bothered to sit for another exam since then is qualified to contest for the post of the Governor of a state anywhere in Nigeria, not to mention the south West with its sophistication.
As we individually ruminate on this malady, particularly in the South west Region of Nigeria, I make bold to conclude that we in our collectives, as policy makers, clergy, community leaders, activists and people of good conscience have conspired in our silence to promote ineptitude, incompetence and mediocrity.
One just wonders, how did we get here?
- Akinola is a journalist