The Bayelsa state governorship election tribunal sitting over a petition of certificate forgery against the deputy Governor was yesterday surprised with the ongoing event that has taken an unexpected turn as the Liberation Movement gubernatorial candidate of 2019 Bayelsa elections, Vijah Opuamah who dragged the Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewrudjakpor to court over an alleged Certificate forgery has admitted to having discrepancies in his own educational certificate.
On Tuesday, June 9, at a court sitting at the tribunal, 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-exemination 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 over.
Certificate forgery is a serious offensive in Nigeria
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.
Meanwhile, in Edo State, the Federal High Court in Benin City has again refused to grant an interim injunction filed by Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and his allies asking the court to restrain the All Progressives Congress from conducting its primary election set for the 22nd of June in the state.
In his ruling, the Judge who acknowledged the urgency and sensitivity of the matter refused the request of Obaseki’s legal representatives to grant an ex-parte order. Instead, the Judge set a full hearing for Thursday, June 11.
The Thursday hearing, according to the Judge, will allow the court to properly examine the merits of the filed injunction and provide a chance for all parties involved to argue their case before a verdict is delivered.
The Judge also ordered that the status quo should be maintained by all parties pending the hearing on Thursday.
Meanwhile, due to the absence of journalists during the hearing today, certain media stations have reported misleading accounts of the Judge’s decision.
An erroneous post earlier posted on the website of Channels Television claiming that a restraining order was issued has been deleted following clarifications from the legal teams and court officials.
All parties involved have expressed willingness to maintain the status quo as ordered by the court until the hearing on Thursday.