The last may not have been heard in the tussle for the Anambra South senatorial seat between incumbent Senator Ifeanyi Ubah of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) and his challenger, Dr. Obinna Uzoh of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
This is as a top member of the Anambra State chapter of the PDP is insisting that the National Examination Council (NECO) School Certificate tendered by Ubah to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was forged even though the examination body had affirmed the authenticity of the politician’s certificate.
The top PDP member, who spoke with THISDAY on account of anonymity, said the party would explore all possible legal means available to retrieve its mandate from Ubah.
Uzoh had filed the pre-election suit challenging the nomination of Ubah and his party, YPP for the Anambra South senatorial election, alleging that he (Ubah) presented a forged NECO certificate to INEC.
The presiding judge of the court, Justice Bello Kawu, in his judgment nullified Ubah’s election as the senator representing Anambra South, for allegedly using a forged NECO certificate to contest the senatorial election held on February 23, 2019.
The court had also ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Ubah and issue a fresh certificate of return to Uzoh of the PDP who came second in the election as the senator-elect for the district.
The lawmaker, however, approached the Federal High Court in Abuja to set aside the judgment on the grounds that he was neither given fair hearing nor served with the court process and hearing notice in the suit before the court delivered the judgment against him.
Following his application for a stay of execution, Justice Kawu on December 4, restrained the Senate President from swearing-in Uzoh, pending the hearing and determination of the motion challenging the verdict.
The court equally ordered all the parties, including the INEC to maintain the status quo until it decides the merit in Ubah’s contention.
But the judge on Friday, January 17 held that Ubah’s application to vacate its judgment lacked merit and accordingly dismissed it.
However, NECO wrote to the YPP leadership affirming that the NECO certificate issued to Ubah in 2003 was genuine.
But the PDP alleged that the NECO certificate which Ubah submitted to INEC and the one NECO validated are two different certificates.
“There is everything wrong with the NECO certificate which Ubah submitted to INEC and the one NECO validated. The two certificates are different.
“The serial numbers are also different. While the initial certificate Ubah submitted to INEC had serial number: 303865920, the NECO certified copy is 303565920, the top party member said.
The party equally stressed that the certificates have different signatures, logos and even fonts.
But Ubah has continued to maintain that his certificate his authentic.
In a response to THISDAY, he said: “Let them certify it and go to court and sue NECO. They are spreading photo-shopped letter. Let them write to NECO or INEC. That’s photocopy effect. Let them to swear affidavit to that effect or go to NECO and ask.
“They said it was forged earlier now NECO said it was okay and they are using INEC photocopied copy to deceive people. Why not go to INEC and get them to certify the one they are using to deceive people.”
Ubah also vowed to approach the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment of the High Court based on the supposed validation of his certificate by NECO.
When contacted, Uzoh declined comment on the issue, saying since the case is likely to go before the Appeal Court, there was not need to comment on it.