Alex Enumah in Abuja
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, will yesterday at the Federal High Court, Abuja, open his defense in the alleged forgery of his University of Ibadan, degree certificate.
His former party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and one of its chieftains, Mr. Williams Edobor had dragged Obaseki to court for allegedly forging his university certificate he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as part of his educational qualification.
Other defendants in the suit are the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and INEC.
Presiding judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed yesterday adjourned hearing in the suit till today for Obaseki who is one of the defendants to open his defense, shortly after the APC closed its case after calling six witnesses amongst whom are two Associate Professors who graduated from the University of Ibadan in 1978 and 1979.
The court had at its last sitting on Thursday December 31, 2020, adjourned to yesterday for the cross examination of the fourth plaintiffs’ witness, one Raphael Onwuzuligbo, a retired police officer and a forensic document examiner.
At yesterday’s hearing, Onwuzuligbo told the court how he was engaged by one Faithful Steward to examine some documents relating to the certificate of Governor Obaseki being contested.
During cross-examination he admitted not knowing the origin of the documents sent to him for examination but stated that the documents are Certified True Copy (CTC) on Obaseki’s certificates.
He said his findings showed that there is a difference in the certificate of one of the witness, Dr Emmanuel Balogun and that of Obaseki.
He, however, said he does not know if INEC issue certificate belonging to the University of Ibadan.
The fifth and sixth witnesses, Mr Gabriel Iduseri and Maikano Asekomhe in their testimonies also claimed that Obaseki forged his university of Ibadan certificate going by alleged discrepancies in the CTC documents they said they obtained from INEC.
Iduseri who claimed to be the current Caretaker Zonal Youth leader of the APC, however, admitted that he has never seen Obaseki’s original UI certificate.
He also stated that his allegations were based on photocopies from INEC.
Similarly, Asekomhe, who claimed to be an Associate Professor of Banking and Finance at the Benson Idahosa University, Benin, Edo State, while admitting he never saw Obaseki’s original said based on that fact he cannot comment on Obaseki’s certificate.
He however tendered his original Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics he obtained from UI in 1978 to support his forgery allegations against the governor.
At the end of cross examination of the 6th witness, lead counsel to the plaintiffs, Chief Akin Olujimi, SAN, informed the court that his clients are through with their case and will want to close it.
The judge accordingly ordered closure of the plaintiffs case and ordered the first defendant to open his case and adjourned the matter to Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Justice Mohammed in a judgment delivered on Monday evening struck the case of the National Rescue Movement against the nomination of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and AbdulGaniyu Daudu as Governor and deputy governorship candidates respectively of the APC in the September 19 governorship election in Edo State.
The court held that the case have become an academic exercise as election has been conducted, winners emerged and Ize-Iyamu and Daudu are not challenging the polls outcome at the ongoing election petition tribunal in Edo State.