…Forensic expert testifies on Obaseki’s UI certificate
By Gabriel Enogholase & Ozioruva Aliu
A Federal High Court sitting in Benin City, Edo State, has dismissed the suit by African Action Congress, AAC, seeking to nullify the result of September 19, 2020, Edo State governorship election won by Governor Godwin Obaseki on account of its (AAC) exclusion from the election.
Trial judge is Justice Adefunmilola Demi-Ajayi.
The plaintiffs had approached the court, contending that the names of their candidate was excluded by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, prior to the state gubernatorial election last year .
In its judgment, the court held that though it was within the rights of the plaintiffs to file their applications within 14 days of publication of names of governorship candidates by the defendants, it maintained that their counsel was complacent.
The court held that since the forms were not collected or refused by the defendants, it was not possible for same names to be published by INEC, which did not have the information.
The court dismissed the suit for being filed out of time. The court also awarded the cost of N100,000 in favour of the defendants.
Forensic expert testifies on Obaseki’s UI certificate
Meanwhile, despite the judgment of a Federal High Court in Abuja dismissing the allegation of certificate forgery against Governor Obaseki, the University of Ibadan Bachelor’s degree certificate of the governor, yesterday, resurfaced at Edo State election petitions tribunal in Benin City, where a forensic expert, Raphael Onwuzuligbo, testified in the allegation of forgery and was cross-examined by the counsel to the respondents.
Onwuzuligbo, a retired Assistant Superintendent of Police, appeared based on the subpoena by Action Democratic Party, ADP, and its governorship candidate, Iboi Emmanuel, and he claimed that the UI’s certificate presented by Obaseki in 2016 was different from the one he presented in 2020 to INEC.
He was examined by the lead counsel to INEC, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN; PDP, Rotimi Oguneso, SAN; Obaseki, Ken Mozia, SAN; APC, Emmanuel Usoh; and Ize-Iyamu, Austin Osarenkhoe.
ADP and its candidate sued INEC, PDP, Obaseki, All Progressives Congress, APC, and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, praying the tribunal to disqualify Obaseki because of the discrepancy in his certificate and nullify the votes he got in the election.
They want INEC to conduct a fresh election involving all other qualified governorship candidates except PDP and Obaseki.
Obaseki inaugurates new judges
In another development, Obaseki has sworn-in eight new judges to serve in the Edo State High Court, and assured that the judiciary of his administration’s support.
He congratulated the judges and urged them to carry out their duties without fear or favour as their appointment was from God and not any man.