Tribunal Summons Bayelsa Dep Gov over Alleged Certificate Forgery

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Wuse area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, yesterday ordered the state’s Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, to appear before it on Thursday and produce his original National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) exemption certificate.

Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo, made the order in a short ruling on an application by lawyer to the deputy governor.

The order is in furtherance of a subpoena earlier issued on Ewhrudjakpo to appear and produce the original of his exemption certificate issued to him in 1998 by the corps.

Candidate of the Liberation Movement (LM) party in the November 16, 2019 governorship election, Mr. Vijah Opuama is seeking the sack of Governor Douye Diri and his deputy on the grounds that the deputy was not qualified to have participated in the governorship election for allegedly submitting a forged exemption certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the election.

The petitioner who is challenging the election without his party, accordingly applied to the tribunal to issue a subpoena on Ewhrudjakpo to come and testify on the certificate matter.

Although Ewhrudjakpo had in a motion filed on May 17, 2020 challenged the competence of the subpoena and prayed the tribunal to set it aside, however his team of lawyers, led by Chukwuma Machukwu Ume (SAN), yesterday applied to withdraw the motion.

The lawyer said his client was no longer challenging the subpoena and was ready to attend the tribunal’s sitting.

The application for withdrawal was however not opposed by parties in the petition.

Justice Sirajo in a short ruling struck out the motion and ordered Ewhrudjakpo to appear before the tribunal on Thursday, June 4, 2020.