Potential criminal implications of Ademola Adeleke’s academic record are a key prong of Gboyega Oyetola’s prayers before the election petitions tribunal in Osogbo.
To run for office and become governor-elect in Osun last month, Ademola Adeleke tendered a high school diploma and a college degree that were obtained 24 days apart in the United States last year, according to a review of academic credentials before the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
In the records he filed with the electoral commission between March 11 and 18, 2022, Mr Adeleke said he earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Atlanta Metropolitan State College on August 9, 2021. In the same declaration, Mr Adeleke presented a diploma certificate obtained from Penn Foster High School dated July 16, 2021 — only 24 days prior to his college certificate.
The Nigeria Cast learnt that Penn Foster High School is an education consultancy in the U.S. that offers online high school diplomas. Atlanta Metropolitan State College, where Mr Adeleke said he attended, accepts diplomas from Penn Foster, this website said. If Mr Adeleke was admitted into Atlanta Metropolitan for a bachelor’s degree programme with a high school diploma, he should spend at least four years on the course he selected.
But Mr Adeleke, born May 13, 1960, said he didn’t use the Penn Foster diploma to gain admission into college, and The Gazette could not establish or disprove his statement since the school failed to respond to enquiries.
For three weeks several emails and exchanged telephone calls with officials of the school, but they failed to give any categorial clarification as to whether or not Mr Adeleke earned a bachelor’s degree there.
Weeks after initially promising to respond after the conclusion of a review of request by the school’s leadership, officials at the registrar’s office started hanging up calls relating to Mr Adeleke.
The University of Georgia system, which supervises Atlanta Metropolitan State College, among other tertiary institutions in the state, also did not return a request seeking comments.
The obtained credentials, which an analyst described as jarring and questionable bearing in mind the politician’s 2018 trial on a similar matter, as Governor Gboyega Oyetola was preparing to challenge Mr Adeleke’s victory before a tribunal in the capital Osogbo.
Mr Adeleke, of the Peoples Democratic Party, had been declared winner of the July 16 election by the electoral office, defeating incumbent Mr Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress by nearly 30,000 votes.
While the election was widely deemed free and fair, including based on the conclusion of who covered activities across the state during the exercise, Mr Oyetola’s legal team said it was banking on Mr Adeleke’s alleged presentation of forged credentials, a grievous perjury that could cost the governor-elect his victory if established at trial.
Mr Oyetola’s petition was accepted at the tribunal on Monday, with Mr Adeleke’s lawyers filing initial response on Tuesday. The case is expected to proceed to trial in three weeks. Since potential criminal implications of Mr Adeleke’s academic credentials are critical to Mr Oyetola’s petition, the tribunal may be compelled to enlist the support of the U.S. mission in Nigeria to liaise with the law enforcement back home towards getting to the bottom of the matter by either extracting a position from Atlanta Metropolitan State College or deploying other means of investigating the matter.
Mr Adeleke insisted to that he didn’t use his Penn Foster diploma to enroll at Atlanta Metropolitan, saying he used a combination of academic scores since 1981 to finish school in 40 years later.
Mr Adeleke said his “university degree was a cumulative outcome of his intermittent higher educational sojourn which started in June 1981 and concluded in August 2021,” according to a statement sent through his chief spokesman Olawale Rasheed.