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‘INEC lacks power to disqualify Obaseki for forgery’

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By Bisi Olaniyi, Benin 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it lacks the power to investigate or disqualify Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki from contesting the September 19 election for alleged forgery.

It said only a court order could disqualify a governorship candidate from participating in an election.

INEC insisted it could not investigate the originality, authenticity or otherwise of the disputed certificate presented by Obaseki as it was beyond its responsibility.

The commission gave the responses at the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal as the first respondent in a petition by the Action Democratic Party (ADP) and its governorship candidate, Iboi Emmanuel.

The response was signed by its lead lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN).

INEC said: “The information given by the third respondent (Obaseki) in the affidavit and documents submitted as a candidate in the election in INEC’s nomination form (Form C.F. 001) are presumed manifestly true or prima facie correct until and only if the contrary is proved and/or pronounced false by an order of the court.”

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last week admitted there were noticeable errors in Obaseki’s certificate, which it claimed occurred while filling the forms for the election in 2016, with the governorship candidate ‘mistakenly’ writing 1976 as his year of graduation, which ought to be his year of admission.

A PDP chieftain  Kenneth Imasuagbon has assured the people that Governor Obaseki will fulfil his campaign promises.

He urged the people to keep supporting Obaseki’s administration to move the state forward.

Imasuagbon, a former governorship aspirant on the PDP’s platform, spoke at his Ewohimi home in Esan Southeast Local Government Area when he hosted party supporters from ward one to four at the weekend.

The party chieftain said the event was to appreciate his people for voting for Obaseki. He also pleaded with the youths to shun violence.

He said: “I am here with leaders of this local government, especially from ward one to four, to say thank you for re-electing Godwin  Obaseki. I told Obaseki that I was coming to Ewohimi and he asked me to thank you for your support…”

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