From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki will know his political fate this Saturday when the Abuja division of the Federal High Court will deliver judgement on the certificate forgery case filed against him by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its member, Mr. Williams Edobor.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed fixed the judgment date on Friday after all the parties adopted their final briefs of argument.
The constitutional lifespan of the pre-election suit which has only 180 days will elapse by midnight on Saturday.
While adopting his final written address, counsel to the plaintiffs,
Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN), urged the court to grant all the claims his clients are seeking in the matter.
On his part, counsel to Obaseki, Chief Ken Mozia (SAN), urged the court to dismiss the suit, insisting that the Plaintiffs, failed to prove their allegation that his client submitted forged credentials to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In like manner, counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Razaq Isenalohme, asked the court to not only dismiss the suit, but to do so with substantial cost.
However, the INEC, through its lawyer, Mr. M. N. Bawa, stressed that it did not file any process in the matter.
“My lord we did not file any process throughout the proceedings, we consistently remained neutral. In the circumstance, we will be urging the court that decide the matter one way or the other, based on processes before this court”, INEC’s lawyer added.
The plaintiffs had in the suit marked FHC/B/CS/74/2020 alleged that Obaseki forged the University of Ibadan degree certificate he submitted to INEC in aid of his qualification for the governoship election that held in Edo state on September 19, 2020.
In addition, they equally alleged that there were discrepancies in the subjects that Obaseki claimed he passed in his West African Examination Council (WAEC) exam and subjects in his testimonial.
They are therefore praying the court to declare that Obaseki’s claim in his INEC form EC9 at column C, sworn to on June 29, 2020 at the Federal Capital Territory High Court Registry to the effect that he obtained from the University of Ibadan in 1979, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Classical Studies, is false and contrary to Section 31 (5) and (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010.
As well as an order declaring that Obaseki lied on oath when he swore to an affidavit on June 29, 2020 that he worked in Afrinvest Limited from 1994 to 2014 when he retired
The Plaintiffs closed their case last Monday after they called a total of six witnesses and tendered 17 exhibits before the court.
On his part, the Governor closed his case after calling three witnesses that testified on his behalf, and also tendered a total of 18 exhibits.
Among exhibits he tendered before the court included the original copy of the Bachelor of Arts degree certificate that was awarded to him by the University of Ibadan in 1979, which the APC insisted was forged.
Other exhibits tendered by Obaseki to prove his qualification, were the School Certificate the West African Examination Council, WAEC issued to him in 1976, as well as the original copy of his Primary School Certificate issued in July 1971.
While PDP told the court that it would rely on Obaseki’s defence, INEC said it had no witness to call in the matter.