The University of Ibadan’s (UI’s) Bachelor’s Degree certificate forgery and perjury case against Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, Thursday, resurfaced at Edo State Election Petitions Tribunal in Benin, with a forensic expert, Raphael Onwuzuligbo, testifying and cross-examined by the counsel to the respondents.
Onwuzuligbo, a retired Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), who appeared based on the subpoena by Action Democratic Party (ADP) and its governorship candidate, Iboi Emmanuel, declared that the UI’s certificate presented by Obaseki in 2016 was different from the one he presented in 2020 to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
ADP and its governorship candidate, in the petition with reference number: EPT/ED/GOV/01/2020, prayed the tribunal to disqualify Obaseki over his controversial UI certificate and nullify the votes cast for him, thereby ordering INEC to conduct a fresh election involving all other qualified governorship candidates, excluding PDP and Obaseki.
Respondent in the case are: INEC, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Obaseki, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
The forensic document examiner (Onwuzuligbo) was grilled during cross examination 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.
Justice Yunusa Musa, who led two other judges (Justices Suleiman Yahaya Abubakar and Olufunmilayo Stanley), adjourned till Tuesday for continuation of hearing in the ADP’s petition.
At today’s sitting of the tribunal, there was also hearing in the petition by the governorship candidate of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Tracy Agol, who also prayed for an order to compel INEC to conduct fresh election involving all the qualified candidates, excluding PDP and Obaseki.
Counsel to the first respondent (INEC) in Agol’s petition, Razak Isenalumhe, opened his defence by tendering the Certified True Copies (CTCs) of INEC’s timetable and schedule of activities for the September 19 last year’s election in Edo state, without objection from the lead counsel to PDP, Hamed Raji; Obaseki, Ken Mozia, SAN; and Agol, Stella Agoha.
In the Agol’s petition, the chairman of the tribunal adjourned till Wednesday for defence of the second respondent (PDP).