A Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo state, Mr Konstante Timi Olopele, has dragged the state deputy governor, Hon Agboola Ajayi, before an Akure High Court, seeking his disqualification from the July 22, 2020, primary election of the party.
In the suit filed by Olopele, he prayed the Court to stop Ajayi from participating in the primary election of the party, having breached the code of conduct for public office holders, saying the deputy governor should be banned from holding any public office for a maximum period of ten years.
The ex parte motion brought before the court was instituted with originating summon that was dated July 17, 2020, with suit number AK/45M/2020, filed on behalf of Olopele and others by Barrister Akpofiwei Anthony Macleans of AMAC Solicitors
Olopele averred that the deputy governor has consistently acted in breach of Section 1, 5th Schedule, Part 1 of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers and Section 9 of the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.
The Counsel also prayed for the disqualification of Hon Agboola Ajayi on the breach of the provisions of the regulations of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) Act, Cap W4 Law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004.
The plaintiffs claimed in the suit that Ajayi had breached the extant laws that regulate WAEC and Nigerian Law School attendance while he was serving as elected Local Government Chairman and member of the Federal House of Representatives respectively.
Meanwhile, a group within the PDP in the state, Sunshine Redemption Group (SRG), has queried the rationale behind Ajayi’s decision not to present his degree qualification in Law from the Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, and his Law School certificate.
The group in a statement signed by its chairman, Mr Emmanuel Agbara, and Secretary, Chief Ebiemi Williams, said the development confirmed the allegation that Ajayi did not possess the degree certificate and the Law school certificate he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to contest as deputy governor in 2016.
“The whole world can now see that the deputy governor is liable to forgery and perjury prosecution, having used two sets of certificates to go to the House of Reps and the office of deputy governor, only for him to now abandon them simply because their authenticity is in contention.”
The group stated that: “The truth is that, PDP risks a potential jeopardy in the candidature of Agboola Ajayi if he is allowed to contest for the party’s governorship ticket next Wednesday.
“If he is sure that he graduated from the University and the Law School as he officially claimed in the past, let him submit those certificates along with his school cert.; but we know he dares not.”
The group, who urged the party to the disqualify Ajayi, said: “In the first place, the main issue for the cancellation of his victory into the House of Representatives by the Ondo State Election Petition Tribunal in 2009 has not been fully discharged.
“The tribunal upheld the allegation that he sent mercenaries to write his school certificate examination in a secondary school in Mobolorunduro, while he was chairman of Ese-Odo Local Government, in 2004.
“In the said exam, Ajayi was reported to have fast-forwarded his date of birth from 1968 to 1980, so as to gain qualification to sit for the papers.
“He afterwards went ahead to reverse his date of birth to 1968, through a court affidavit, knowing that his 1980 claim would never fly anywhere.
“All these allegations were upheld by the tribunal to form the grounds for the cancellation of Agboola Ajayi’s victory.
“Although the judgment was later reversed by the Court of Appeal, the appellate court only permitted him to remain in the House of Representatives not because he didn’t commit the offence but because it was a pre-election matter.”
However, the Publicity Director of PDP in the state, Mr Zadok Akintoye, confirmed that the deputy governor submitted his Secondary School Certificate as a qualification to contest in next Wednesday’s governorship primary election of the party.
He said: “That is the least minimum required qualifications by the constitution, but often time people that have questionable qualification and which has been a source of litigation can avoid that because if there is any litigation, it is what submitted that would be challenged and not what he claimed to have because that will be circumstantial in evidence”
The Deputy governor while reacting, however, described the suit seeking his disqualification from the primary of the PDP as an exercise in futility.
Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Babatope Okeowo, who said: “We are not surprised because of the imminence of the defeat of the architects and their masters at the poll.
“It’s obvious that both the governor’s camp and his collaborators in the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), are in excruciating pains and confusion since the Deputy Governor left the All Progressive Congress (APC) for the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP).
He said the latest attempt is a case of “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Okeowo said: “The facts and issues in the matter are the same as the case already adjudicated upon by the Court of Appeal in case appeal number: CA/B/EPT/330A/2008, between the Deputy Governor, Hon. Agboola Ajayi (then Member of the National Assembly) and Prince Olubukola Ebietomiye of the Democratic People’s Alliance, (DPA) in 2007, wherein the Appellant was absolved of any wrongdoing.
“Also, the same matter was adjudicated upon in a suit Olukayode Ijifusi V. Hon. Alfred Agboola Ajayi Suit Number: FCT/CV/1261/2020 Before Hon. Justice Adeniyi and again the Deputy Governor was vindicated.
“We, therefore, urge our teeming supporters to be focused and undeterred. These are deliberate attempts made to distract attention. We know their principal sponsor and his antics. Just like the impeachment plot, this too will fall.”