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Bayelsa Election Petition Tribunal: Court Adjourns Further Hearing to June 17


The Bayelsa state governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja today, adjourned the hearing of the petition between the Liberation Movement(LM) gubernatorial candidate, Vijah Opuamah, the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over an alleged certificate forgery to Wednesday, 17th of June 2020.

The legal counsel for the People’s Democratic party, Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem said ” we do not have the need to call for any witness in defense of the second respondent since the petitioner has tendered all documents required.”

The chairman of the three man panel, Justice Sirajo Muhammad, in a short ruling, adjourned the case to Wednesday, June 17 for further hearing.

Meanwhile, yesterday, the representative of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) affirmed the position of the DSS, that Mr. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpor altered his own certificate by himself and brought a copy from the alteration to the NYSC for arrifmation.

“It is not NYSC that altered the deputy governor’s discharge certificate, rather it was Mr. Lawrence, the Deputy Governor who did the alteration by himself.” He said.

The tribunal has however ordered Mr. Lawrence to appear before the court.

The Street Journal had reported that on Tuesday, June 9, at a court sitting, the lawyer representing Gov. Duoye Diri (Bayelsa State Governor), Mr Chris Uche (SAN) alleged that Mr. Vijah had unidentical names on his First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) and his West African Examination Council (WAEC) Certificate. The 3rd respondent’s lawyer pointed out that the names on both certificates were contradictory.

Under cross-examination by Mr. Chris, the Petitioner who was a subpoenaed witness however mentioned that the names on the certificate were different as a result of a change of name. He claims that he has a change of name certificate purportedly issued by the court of law to show for it.

He also alleged that the Deputy Governor’s names were not identical on all his school certificates, also pointing out that Mr. Lawrence was due to graduate in 1994/1995, four years after he gained admission but according to his certificate, he graduated on 2nd February, 1998; three years after his expected year of graduation. He therefore insinuated that the document was “false and contradictory”.

In a short ruling, the chairman of the three man panel, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo held that there were unidentical names on both certificates. He said “I hope players are not turning into preachers.”
Justice Sirajo, discharged the subpoena which was earlier served and adjourned the proceedings to Friday, June 12.

Meanwhile, the case of unlawful exclusion between the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) Vs the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) which was adjourned to June 8 for defense was called.

However, both INEC and PDP could not call a single witness in defense of the petition against them.
Hence, it means that the Respondents have admitted the averments against them.

The Street Journal had earlier reported that the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party [ANDP] took the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] to court for unlawfully excluding it from the Bayelsa gubernatorial elections held on November 12, 2019.

ANDP through it’s National Chairman, Barr Charles Ogboli had asked the tribunal to cancel the entire process of the 2019 Governorship Election and order for a fresh election to enable his party participate in the process.

The matter is adjourned for adoption of final written addresses on a date that would later be communicated by the judge.


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