A Benin based pro-democracy group, the Rainbow Caucus has warned the Senate not to drag its name to the mud by sweeping under the carpet the serious allegation bordering on forgery and perjury levelled against Edo State nominated candidate, Mr. Jude Idehen, a member of the Action Congress (AC) representing Ikpoba-Okha Constituency in the state House of Assembly, for the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission by Senate.
Addressing newsmen in Lagos after a meeting of the group, the President of the group, Mr. Okharedia Ihimekpen, alleged that Mr. Idehen was not qualified to be confirmed by the Senate, based on the investigations on his educational qualifications, birth certificate and tax clearance.
Mr. Ihimekpen said that investigations have further revealed that before his (Idehen) election into the House of Assembly, the form he filled and submitted to INEC, he claimed to have attended American International University Computer Training Institute.
But investigation in the Institute is to the effect that the University has no record of such student that has passed through the Institute.
Mr.Idehen also attached a personal income tax clearance certificate for the periods of 2003-2005 paid at Irua in Esan Central Local Government Area, whereas his alleged place of work was Benin City in Oredo Local Government of Edo State. Mr. Ihimekpen also alleged that while Mr. Idehen attached a birth certificate No. 34 issued from St. Philomina Catholic Church to have been born on June 7, 1969, and the certificate reads Edo State whereas as at 1969, Edo State was not in existence.
Mr. Ihimekpen said that while Mr. Idehen also claimed to have obtained his General Certificate of Education (GCE) in 1985 from the University of Benin Demonstration Secondary School, whereas the first of graduates from the said school was 1986.
Mr. Ihimekpen lamented that for the law that armstronged the INEC from screening candidates before elections, these anomalies would have been detected before Idehen contested to go to the House of Assembly.
Lampooning the two senators from the state who are not even from the oil producing areas to vave endorsed Mr. Idehen, Mr. Ihimekpen said that only Senator Ehigie Uzamere who objected Mr. Idehen nomination is from the oil producing area of the State and thus in a better position to represent the feelings of the stake-holders of the oil producing communities of the state.
“Was it not the same Nigerian Senate that rose to the occasion on the issues of perjury of Senator Evan Enwerem? Was it not the same National Assembly that redeemed the Nigeria’s image in the case of Salisu Buhari? Why are they now dilly-dallying in this similar case of Idehen and putting the integrity of the Senate at stake? Mr. Ihimekpen asked.
Mr. Ihimekpen said that his group had petitioned the Senate President, EFCC, ICPC, the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly.