…As court dismisses PDP’s suit against Ize-Iyamu
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday, tendered in evidence before the Federal High Court in Abuja, the nomination form Governor Godwin Obaseki filled and submitted for the purpose of the governorship election that held in Edo State on September 19.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed admitted and marked the document known as Form EC9, with other attachments that accompanied it, as Exhibit PL-2.
He dismissed objection the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, raised to query the admissibility of the document, which INEC was summoned to produce before the court in the forgery case the All Progressives Congress, APC, instituted against Obaseki.
The APC had in the suit it jointly filed with one of its members in Edo, Mr. Williams Edobor, alleged that Obaseki forged the University of Ibadan degree certificate he submitted to INEC in aid of his qualification for the election.
At the resumed hearing of the case, yesterday, following a subpoena issued against it on December 23, INEC produced a Certified True Copy, CTC, of Obaseki’s nomination form, through one of its legal officers, Mr. Samuel Omale.
Obaseki’s lawyer, Mr. Ken Mozia, SAN, and that of the PDP, Mr. Razaq Isenalohme, had insisted that Omale, who appeared as the second principal witness in the case, PW-2, lacked the capacity to tender the document in evidence.
They argued that under the rules of the court, the INEC official was not supposed to be sworn on oath before the court since he was merely subpoenaed to produce documents and not to tender them as a witness in the matter.
In his ruling, Justice Mohammed noted that though the PW-2 was not supposed to be sworn on oath, he held that the document sought to be tendered was “very relevant and should not be rejected on the ground that there was an error in the manner it was produced by the witness.”
Justice Mohammed held that since substantial part of the suit centred on the Form EC9, it made the document very relevant.
“In fact, without the Form EC9, this case will collapse like a pack of cards,” the Judge held, adding that the defendants were at liberty to cross-examine the witness.
In a separate judgement, Justice Mohammed, dismissed the suit PDP filed to disqualify APC’s candidate, Pastor Osaze Ize-Iyamu, from participating in the Edo State governoship election.
The court held that the suit had turned to an academic exercise since the crux of the action was to stop Ize-Iyamu from participating in the election that had since been held and won by the PDP and its candidate, Obaseki.
OML42: Tension as ex-freedom fighters warn firms, workers to vacate oilfields
Aggrieved former freedom fighters in Delta State have warned the management of Obijackson Group of Companies and Nestoil Nigeria Limited not to send their workers to any of the oilfields in OML42 for the safety of their lives.
They also issued a 14-day ultimatum to the managements of the two companies to vacate all the oilfields in OML42 until all pending issues concerning the people are resolved.
In a statement jointly signed by Charisma Ikare, Timi Oluba, Peter German, Andy Ekpebide, Ebimaye Itillah and others made available to newsmen in Warri, they called on President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources to prevail on Neconde Energy Limited to do the needful and address the collective demands of the people for the interest of peace in OML42.
Part of the statement read: “All the flow stations in OML42 have been shutdown, amounting to the loss of hundreds of thousands of crude oil barrel daily for the past four weeks by Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, and Neconde Energy Limited.
“We don’t want to see any staff or workers of Obijackson Group of Companies and Nestoil near any of the flowstations in OML42 and we are warning the managements of Obijackson Group of Companies and Nestoil not to send their workers anywhere near OML42, as doing so will be risking their lives.”