Akure based lawyer, Femi Emodamori asks INEC to publish Agboola Ajayi’s particulars in seven days
1st September, 2020 OUR REF: FEE/INEC/04/20 The National Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Through The Ondo State Resident Electoral Commissioner Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Ondo State INEC Office Alagbaka, Akure.
Dear Sir, DEMAND TO PUBLISH THE PERSONAL PARTICULARS OF HON. ALFRED AGBOOLA AJAYI AS THE (PURPORTED) ZENITH LABOUR PARTY (Z.L.P) CANDIDATE FOR THE ONDO STATE 2020 GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION WITHIN SEVEN DAYS.
I, FEMI EMMANUEL EMODAMORI, a Legal Practitioner of Suites 28 & 29, Yafrato House, Alagbaka, Akure, Ondo State, hereby demand that INEC should publish the personal particulars submitted by Hon. Alfred Agboola Ajayi as the candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (Z.L.P) for the Ondo State Governorship Election fixed for 10th October, 2020 within Seven (7) Days from the date of this letter, in accordance with the clear provisions of Section 31 (2) & (3) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). Section 31 (2) & (3) of the Act categorically stipulates that:
“31 (2) The list or information submitted by each candidate shall be accompanied by an Affidavit sworn to by the candidate at the Federal High Court, High Court of a State or Federal Capital Territory, indicating that he has fulfilled all the constitutional requirements for election into that office. (3) The Commission shall, within seven days of the receipt of the personal particulars of the candidate, publish same in the constituency where the candidate intends to contest the election. (Underlining mine).
Following the publication of the final list of candidates for the Election at INEC office in Akure on Friday, 21st August, 2020, curiously without their Particulars, I had, like many other persons known to me, formally applied to the Ondo State Resident Electoral Commissioner for the Certified True Copy of the Personal Particulars of Hon. Alfred Agboola Ajayi as the candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (Z.L.P). Attached hereto as Annexure A, is the acknowledgment copy of my application to that effect.
I forwarded Annexure A to the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ondo State, being “the constituency where the candidate intends to contest the election” as prescribed by Section 31(3) of the Electoral Act reproduced above. Suffice to say that my application is in exercise of the right conferred upon me by Section 31 (4), (5) & (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), which categorically states as follows:
“31(4) Any person may apply to the Commission for a copy of nomination form, affidavit and any other document submitted by a candidate at an election and the Commission shall, upon payment of a prescribed fee, issue such person with a certified copy of document within 14 days.”
(5) Any person who has reasonable grounds to believe that any information given by a candidate in the affidavit or any document submitted by that candidate is false may file a suit at the Federal High Court, High Court of a State or FCT against such person seeking a declaration that the information contained in the affidavit is false.
(6) If the Court determines that any of the information contained in the affidavit or any other document submitted by that candidate is false, the Court shall issue an order disqualifying the candidate from contesting the election.”
I have very strong evidence, like many other members of the Civil Society, that Hon. Alfred Agboola Ajayi has presented false certificates to INEC within the context of Section 182 (1) (j) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), and the recent Supreme Court decision in MODIBO V. USMAN (2020) 3 NWLR (PT 1712) 470 AT page 510, PARAGRAPHS A-H where the Supreme Court held that “Certificate” has a wider meaning than school certificate, and that it actually means “any document that attests, testifies, vouches, ascertains, and verifies the facts therein”. The Supreme Court held further that any declaration or statement in INEC FORM CFOO1 or Affidavit verifying the Personal Particulars of a candidate which is false and the candidate knew to be false, would amount to a false certificate for which such candidate would be disqualified in line with section 31(6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). INEC was the 3rd Respondent in the case cited above, and should therefore appreciate the gravity of submission of false certificate by any candidate for election.
In the final list of candidates for the Ondo Governorship Election published at the Akure Office of INEC on 21st August, 2020, Hon. Agoola Ajayi was listed as Number 33 with his academic qualification stated as WASSC, even though he parades himself as a Lawyer. The notorious information about him in public or official records (including Wikipedia) is that he claims to have acquired a Degree in Law from Igbinedion University and thereafter proceeded to the Nigeria Law School for the compulsory one year post Degree Program as prerequisites for Call to the Bar. He claimed to have been subsequently called to the Bar as a Lawyer in 2010. However, he was actually a member of the House of Representatives from 2007-2011 on full time employment, and could not have simultaneously attended University, and then Law School, which are also full time academic programs.
It was apparently in an attempt to circumvent the legal consequences of his fraudulent claims of attending Igbinedion University and the Nigerian Law School that Hon. Agboola Ajayi has now quietly abandoned his claim of having attended those institutions and obtained qualifications therefrom, in filling the necessary INEC Forms for his personal particulars for the upcoming Ondo State Governorship Election.
Instructively, the Appellant in the Supreme Court case quoted earlier had also stated in his INEC Forms CF001 and CF002 that Senior School Secondary Certificate was the highest educational qualification he had obtained, when in actual fact he held a B.Sc. (Public Administration) from Adamawa State University, Mubi, simply because as a serving National Youth Service Corps member, it was illegal for him to participate in partisan politics. The Supreme Court held that for deliberately concealing material facts about his higher academic qualification in his INEC Forms CF001 and CF002, the appellant had engaged in deliberate falsehood, which was a synonym for “false certificate” as earlier defined in the judgment. Consequently, he was disqualified.
The case of Hon. Agboola Ajayi presents almost the same scenario, except that his own case is even worse. This is because, from the information now available in the public domain, the Senior Secondary School Certificate with number NGWASSCS5529745 which he claims to have obtained as an Internal Student of Community High School, Mobolorunduro in the May/June 2004 Senior School Certificate Examination organized by the West African Examination Council (WAEC), was also illegally or fraudulently procured. Hon. Agboola Ajayi was the Caretaker Chairman of Ese-Odo Local Government from year 2003 to 2004, and was thereafter elected as the Chairman of the Local Government where he served on full time basis as required by law, from 2004 to 2007. He could therefore not have been, and was in fact never, an internal student of Community High School, Mobolorunduro for the May/June 2004 Senior School Certificate Examination.
In view of these crucial pieces of information available to me and many other members of the Civil Society, it is difficult for me not to conclude that the failure of INEC to publish the personal particulars of Hon. Alfred Agboola Ajayi for the upcoming election is either a deliberate act of connivance with him and/or his Zenith Labour Party, or a serious dereliction of the statutory duty imposed on INEC by virtue of Section 31(3), especially when INEC claims to have published the Personal Particulars of other candidates long before ZLP purportedly substituted Agboola Ajayi for its earlier nominated candidate, Mr. Rotimi Benjamin.
Now that Hon. Alfred Agboola Ajayi’s name has been published on 21st August, 2020 as the candidate of Z.L.P in INEC’s Final List of Candidates, I hereby demand that INEC should consequently publish his Personal Particulars in its Ondo State office within Seven (7) Days from the date of this letter, in line with S.31 (3) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). This would enable me and any other Nigerian who so desires, to obtain the Certified True Copy of his personal particulars and institute an action in Court to have him disqualified for having presented a forged certificate, as provided for in Section 31 (4), (5) and (6) of the Act.
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that in the unlikely event that INEC fails to comply with the above demand, I would immediately institute a mandamus action in Court to compel INEC to perform its statutory duties in this regard.
I hope INEC would avoid the damning negative connotation and perception that such failure would engender among the Nigerian populace and the International Community, as well as Civil Societies and other stakeholders/observers assiduously working with INEC to deliver a credible Governorship election in Ondo State.