Alex Enumah in Abuja
Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday adjourned indefinitely hearing in the suit seeking the sack of Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, over alleged certificate forgery.
Mohammed in a ruling on Obaseki’s application seeking a stay of further proceedings in his alleged certificate forgery trial held that “it is better to tarry a while for the decision” of the appellate court.
The All Progressives’ Congress (APC) and one Williams Edobor, had dragged the governor to court accusing him of forging his Bachelor of Arts Degree certificate he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in aid of his qualification for the last governorship election in Edo State.
But Obaseki had applied to the court to adjourn indefinitely, further proceedings in the matter on the grounds that he had filed an appeal at the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, challenging the refusal of Justice Mohammed to expunge some paragraphs in the APC’s reply to his affidavit.
The judge agreed with Obaseki’s lawyer that the proper thing to do once an appeal against a ruling has been confirmed at the Court of Appeal, is to halt further proceedings at the lower court.
According to him, “once a lower court is aware of an appeal at the Court of Appeal, it will be wrong to ignore such application and go ahead with the suit.
“This suit is hereby adjourned sine die to await the decision of the Court of Appeal for the first defendant’s application for stay of further proceedings,” the judge held.
The APC, in the suit marked FHC/B/CS/74/2020, prayed the court for an order disqualifying Obaseki from contesting the September 19 governorship election in Edo State on the grounds that he supplied false information on oath to INEC, an act said to be contrary to Section 31(5) and (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010.
The party accused the governor of forging his university certificate presented to the INEC in aid of his qualification for the governorship election in Edo State.
The APC also claimed that there are discrepancies in the subject Obaseki claimed he passed in his West African Examinations Council (WAEC) exam.
The governor won the September 19 governorship election in Edo State under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to secure a second term in office.