BY: Famous Osawaru,
You may recall few months ago, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and one of its chieftain Mr. Edobor Williams filed a suit against Governor Godwin Obaseki praying for his disqualification from participating in the September 19th governorship election that took place in Edo State.
Their reasons is that it is either the Governor forged his certificates or he lied on oath to aid is qualification to contest for the Governorship position. Some of their reasons are:
1. In 2016 when The Governor contested election for the position of the number one position in the state. In his INEC form CF001 he filled on oath he claimed he graduated from University of Ibadan (UI) in 1976.
2. He claimed that he lost all his original documents but have photocopies.
3. He deposed to Affidavit to this facts
4. He claimed he work with Afrivest from 1994 to 2016.
In 2020 INEC form he (Obaseki) filled on oath he claimed as follows:
1. He graduated from UI in 1979
2. He worked with Afrivest from 1994 to 2014 when he retired.
3. He have ‘O level testimonial’ and he submitted the following:
a. A copy of UI certificate issued to him
b. WAEC certificate
c. O Level testimonial
d. The corrected NYSC certificate issued to him in 2020
d. His CV
The complain of the plaintiffs are:
1. The copy of the certificate from UI he submitted to INEC in 2016 has the VC and the registrar signature and date of issue.
2. The one he submitted in 2020 has no signature of the registrar and no date of issue.
3. That his WAEC has only 3 credits without Credit in Maths and English and question his qualifications for the degree.
4. That if he retired from Afrivest in 2014 how come he was still working with Afrivest in 2016 when he was in the service of Edo state government.
5. That the subjects contained in his ‘O level testimonial’ as courses he passed are different from the once in the WAEC certificate.
6. That the information he gave was to aid his qualifications to contest for the position.
7. That any information given on oath is believed to be the real position of fact.
8. That any contradiction in such affidavit is a gound for disqualification by virtue of the relevant provisions of our laws.
The defence of the Governor are:
1. That the UI certificate the Governor submitted in 2016 is the same he submitted in 2020 only to the extent that upon photocopying the certificate being a big paper more than A4 paper the area that carry the registrar signature and date was cut off but said the original is available to compare and they are willing to call the issuing authority to confirm same.
From the totality of the facts within my knowledge gathered from the writ of summons and statement of defence as one of the legal team for the APC I have no doubt in my humble opinion that it is only the issuing authority that can confirm or discredit a certificate issued by them. (my legal Opinion) they are also in position to explain how he got admission into the university with 3 credits and cleared him for NYSC.
It is unfortunate that the defendants counsel major focus are on the UI certificate and undermining the others germane issues raised in the writ of summons. It is trite law that giving force information on oath in aiding your qualifications is a ground for disqualification.