A forensic expert, Raphael Onwuzuligbo, on Monday told an Edo Election Petitions Tribunal that Governor Godwin Obaseki presented two different University of Ibadan degree certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission in 2016 and 2020.
Onwuzuligbo, a retired Assistant Superintendent of Police, testified as a subpoena witness in the case filed by the Action Democratic Party, and its governorship candidate, Iboi Emmanuel, who are challenging the victory of Obaseki on the claim that he was not qualified to contest the election on alleged certificate forgery and perjury.
Under cross-examination by the counsel for the respondents, the retired police officer noted that the UI’s certificate presented by Obaseki in 2016 was different from the one he presented to INEC in 2020.
ADP and its governorship candidate, in the petition with reference number: EPT/ED/GOV/01/2020, joined INEC, Peoples Democratic Party, Obaseki, the All Progressives Congress, and its governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, as co-respondents in the matter.
The party prayed the tribunal to disqualify Obaseki over the alleged 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.
The forensic document examiner 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, leading two other judges (Justices Suleiman Abubakar and Olufunmilayo Stanley), adjourned till Tuesday for continuation of hearing in the ADP’s petition.
At the Monday sitting, the hearing of the petition by the governorship candidate of New Nigeria Peoples Party, Tracy Agol, who also prayed for an order to compel INEC to conduct a fresh election involving all the qualified candidates, excluding PDP and Obaseki, did not hold.
Counsel for the first respondent (INEC) in Agol’s petition, Razak Isenalumhe, opened his defence by tendering the Certified True Copies 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 Agol’s petition, the chairman of the tribunal adjourned till Wednesday for defence of the second respondent, PDP.