A Federal High Court in Abuja heard yesterday that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in last year’s Osun State governorship election, Senator Ademola Adeleke, did not sit for the National Examination Council (NECO) examinations in 2017.
It was at the resumed proceedings of the trial of the Ede-born senator and four others for their alleged involvement in examination malpractices.
The prosecution called two witnesses – Emmanuel Odesola and Adigun Akintayo – who said they acted as supervisor and invigilator during the June/July 2017 NECO examination in Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School, Ojo-Aro, Osun State.
Odesola (a teacher, who was a supervisor during the examination) and Akintayo (a teacher and invigilator) said they only saw Sikiru Adeleke (the Senator’s brother), who is listed as the 2nd respondent, in the examination hall.
The witnesses also said they did not experience malpractices.
They said of the five defendants, they only saw the second defendant (Sikiru Adeleke), the principal and registrar of Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School during the examination.
Senator Adeleke, Sikiru Adeleke (who is said to be the senator’s relative), Alhaji Aregbesola Mufutau (the school principal), Gbadamosi Thomas Ojo (registrar) and Dare Samuel Olutope (teacher) were arraigned in November last year.
The five were arraigned on a charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/156/2018, filed in the name of the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
Ademola and Sikiru were accused of fraudulently, through impersonation, registering as students of Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School, Ojo-Aro, Osun State to enable them sit for the National Examinations Council (NECO) examination of June/July 2017.
The other three defendants were accused of aiding the commission of the alleged offence.
Testifying yesterday as the third prosecution witness, Odesola said he teaches at Akode Middle High School, Akoda, Ede, but served as supervisor during the 2017 examination.
He admitted knowing the Adeleke and three other defendants, except Olutope, who he said he only met for the first time in court.
Odesola said although he was in the school for the first time, the school authorities failed to provide him with the school album to enable him match the students’ faces with their names.
He said it was the school’s registrar that identified the students before they were allowed into the examination hall.
Odesola said he saw some four elderly men in the exam hall on the day of the Economics examination, but that he could not confront them because they had the school identity cards.
The witness said although that was his first day in the school, he did not see the senator in the exam hall.
He added that, although he could not identify who among those in the examination hall were actual students of the school, the principal and registrar of the school confirmed that they were all students, who were issued the school’s identity card.
He said although 60 students were scheduled to write the examination, two were absent on the day the Economics examination was written.
Odesola added: “I observed that there were some elderly people in the examination hall. They were about four of them.”
Prosecution lawyer Simon Lough later tender, through Odesola, some documents, including one answer sheet, numbered 057, with the name: Ademola Adeleke written on it.
Under cross-examination by lawyers to the defendants, among whom were Alex Izinyon (SAN), and Nathaniel Oke (SAN), the witness said he did not know the hand writing of the defendants and could not tell who wrote on the examination sheet tendered in court.
The witness said it was not easy to ascertain if somebody was old by mere looking at his face.
Odesola said he could not see the four elderly people, who he saw in the examination hall, in court yesterday.
The witness, who said he screened the students with the assistance of officials of the school, before they were allowed into the examination hall, said: “The students are supposed to have identity cards, with their pictures, and signed by the school principal.”
Akintayo, in his evidence-in-chief, said that while he was distributing question papers, “I saw a candidate that was more matured. He was Sikiru Adeleke.
“I asked him for his identity card, and he showed me one that was issued by the school and signed by the principal.
“As a school teacher, I could not ask him to leave the hall or query him any further.”
On whether he saw all the defendants in the examination hall, the witness said: “I only saw the registrar. Outside that, I did not see the others.
“When the examination was in progress, a woman, who was the examination supervisor, Mrs. Kusamotu Fumilayo (PW2) was surprised to see Sikiru Adeleke in the hall.
“She asked for his identity card, which he brought out. She was not satisfied. She sat beside him for some minutes and later left.”
Akintayo said, apart from Sikiru Adeleke, he did not see any of the other defendants in the examination hall.
Under cross-examination, Akintayo said he made a statement to the police at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) in Osogb on October 8, 2018.
The witness said it was at the police station that the police showed him the first defendant’s scores in the examination.
Akitayo said he did not see the 1st defendant on that day of the examination. He added that it is strange for NECO to award marks to a student who did not write an examination.
He said external candidates do not write the June/July NECO examinations because it is meant for and always written by students of the school.
On further cross-examination, Akintayo said it is NECO that issues numbers to students who sits for its examination.
The witness said he did not check whether Sikiru Adeleke has examination number allocated to him by NECO.
Akintayo said there was no incident of malpractices during the examination, but insisted that Sikiru Adeleke “was the most matured students on the examination hall.”
On whether they were issued certain guidelines, the witness said: “The only instruction given to us was that anybody with school ID card should be allowed to write the exam.”
At the conclusion of Akintayo’s testimony, Lough told the court to vacate the hearing scheduled for Thursday (today) on the grounds that he would be before the Supreme Court.
Lawyers to the defendants did not object to the prosecution lawyer’s application, following which Justice Inyang Ekwo adjourned to June 10 and 11 for continuation of trial.
Justice Ekwo warned the prosecution to keep to the days given by the court.