No Place for Certificate Forgers in Electoral System – Supreme Court

The Supreme Court came hard on certificate forgery among Nigerian politicians, Friday, when it delivered judgment in a pre-election matter between Christian Abba and Hassan Anthony Saleh both of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The Supreme Court said that anybody found to have forged certificates to seek any elective post in the country has no place in the present democratic evolution.
The apex court said that the issue of certificate forgery to secure eligibility for election is a serious issue that must not be allowed to stand.
Delivering judgment in the dispute, Justice Sidi Dauda Badeh said that Nigeria will be doomed when certificate forgers are allowed to take central stage in the election for political offices.
A Court of Appeal judgment had earlier recognised Abba as PDP candidate to represent Okpokwu, Ado, and Ogbadibo Federal Constituency of Benue State, at the House of Representatives.
Setting aside that judgement, the apex court recommended the trial of Abba for certificate forgery.
Justice Badeh who delivered judgment in the appeal filed by Saleh held he is the rightful candidate of the party in the 2015 National Assembly Election, haven come second in the primaries.
The apex court said that the respondent in the case, Abba, who is laying claim to the ticket of PDP for the Federal Constituency must not be allowed to have his way because he has soiled his hand in the certificate forgery.
Abba was said to have forged a certificate purported to have obtained from the Federal Polytechnic, Mubi in Adamawa State.
He was said to presented a fake National Diploma Certificate in Accountancy upon which he was forced to withdraw from the same race in 2011 but in a dramatic turn, used the same forged certificate to secure PDP ticket in the 2014 PDP primary.
Subsequently, Saleh challenged his nomination.
Justice Badeh said that Supreme Court being the highest court in the land must take the lead in righting the wrong so as to bring sanity into the murky water of the country’s electioneering process.
He said Nigerian politics will remain contaminated if people who forged certificate with reckless impunity are not shown the way out.
Justice Badeh said that Abba has no basis to be in the race for the National Assembly election in 2015 having being found to have secured the eligibility through forged certificate.
“Let me say it here categorically and with emphasis that this court being the highest court in the country must rise and take the lead in righting the wrongs in our electioneering process.
“The murky water will remain contaminated in our body polity until the reckless issue of certificate forgery with impunity is thoroughly addressed and put to a final end in our own interest,’’
The apex court therefore, nullified the nomination of Abba and ordered that the clearance issued to him by PDP for the National Assembly Election be withdrawn.
In the same vein, the apex court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Abba on the ground that he did not merit it.
The Supreme Court ordered that PDP ticket for the constituency should be given to Saleh who came second in the 2014 PDP primary election, while also ordering INEC to immediately issue him with the certificate of return.

Author: News Editor

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