Court Delivers Judgment Tomorrow in Suit over Obaseki’s Alleged Certificate Forgery

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Godwin Obaseki

Alex Enumah in Abuja

The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, as well as his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), will know their fate tomorrow in a suit seeking to remove Obaseki from office for allegedly forging his degree certificate.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, fixed the judgment day yesterday after lawyers to parties adopted their written addresses.

The judgment will come barely 24 hours to the expiration of the suit filed by the APC and one of its chieftains, Mr. Williams Edobor.

They had sued Obaseki for allegedly forging his University of Ibadan (UI) degree certificate he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the second defendant in the suit, in aid of his qualification for the September 19 governorship election in Edo State.

In the suit filed on July 14, 2019, the plaintiffs are asking the court to disqualify Obaseki and his party, from the poll, in the event that Obaseki was found to have forged his degree certificate.

Obaseki won the election on the platform of the PDP, defeating the APC governorship candidate, Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

In adopting his written address, Obaseki’s lawyer, Mr. Ken Mozia, (SAN) urged the court to dismiss the case of the plaintiffs on the grounds that they “woefully prove” allegations made against the governor.

PDP’s lawyer, Mr. Rasaq Isenalumhe, prayed the court to dismiss the APC’s suit for being incompetent and unmeritorious.

However, INEC’s lawyer, Mr. Mohammed Bawa, informed the court that the electoral umpire did not file any process because of its neutrality in the suit.

The plaintiffs through their lawyer, Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN), however, urged the court to deliver judgment in their favour, owing to the evidence they were able to establish against Obaseki.

During the hearing of the case, the plaintiffs called in a total of six witnesses, including two associate professors, who tendered their individual certificates obtained from the University of Ibadan in 1978 and 1979 respectively.

But in his defence, Obaseki called three witnesses, including the Deputy Registrar, Legal, University of Ibadan, Mr. Abayomi Ajayi, who told the court that the mere fact that some parts of the original of Obaseki’s degree certificate from the UI were missing in the photocopy he attached to his form EC9 and 001 to INEC did not amount to forgery.

PDP and INEC, however, did not call any witness, although the PDP had based its refusal to call witnesses on time constraint, while INEC insisted on its neutrality.