On Saturday 9th of January 2021, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja struck out the alleged forgery of certificate suit tendered against the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Edobor Williams, a chieftain of the party.
The verdict delivered on Saturday represented another heavy hammer blow to the APC in what has become a bitter running saga that is gradually turning into a show of shame for the party in Edo state. In a verdict delivered by Justice Ahmed Mohammed, he said, “None of the witnesses called by the plaintiffs was able to prove that the certificate is forged. The witnesses admitted that none of them visited the University of Ibadan to confirm the authenticity of the certificate. The plaintiffs only replied on photocopies that were attached to the form EC9 the 1st defendant submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).”
That the plaintiffs could not do the simple thing of proper crosschecking with the University of Ibadan but depended on photocopy and tendered that as evidence in an alleged case of forgery; an act that is tantamount to crime showed a high level of laziness but even more unseriousness. That is literally, LAW 101!
The University of Ibadan was subpoenaed to be cross-examined at the high court and the University through her Deputy Registrar Legal, Mr. Abayomi Ajayi duly confirmed to the court that certificate could not be regarded as forged but as an incomplete photocopy and he explained why saying, “This is because the certificate issued by the University is larger than the paper size on which the photocopy was done. In the process, the date of issue and signature of the Registrar, S.J. Okudu was cutoff, likewise the signature of the then Vice-Chancellor, Prof Tekena Tamuno.”
This is the latest in a long series of drawn-out events that have trailed the Edo governorship elections which were held in September 2020. Of course, the election was shrouded in politicking due to the history between Obaseki and the APC. He had won the governorship elections in 2016 on the APC platform before decamping to the PDP in 2020 after he was disqualified from the primary election of the party; a move Adams Oshiomhole engineered.
Cynics cannot help but snicker at Oshiomhole and laugh at what is surely further humiliation for the ousted former National Chairman of the APC and a definite end to godfatherism in the state. Although the election was a battle between Godwin Obaseki and Osagie Ize-Iyamu; who Oshiomhole had publicly campaigned against towards the 2016 election but later made a dramatic u-turn to become his praise leader, on a wider scale it was a battle between Obaseki and Oshiomhole and defeat for the APC and Oshiomhole was as embarrassing as it was a political injury to the party.
Oshiomhole had been humbled and the APC were left to ruin a bad political move that had seen them lose power in the state as well as key political positions within the state. They had now become the opposition party and knowing very well the political terrain, it might be yet a while before the seat of power within the state can be moved hence the reluctance to accept defeat and let go.
Unfortunately, the APC itself within the state is far from being able to mount a political comeback. Just a few days ago; 6th January 2021 precisely, Justice Courage Ogbebor in a High Court in Edo nullified the candidacy of the Deputy governorship candidate that ran on the platform of the APC, Mr. Gani Audu in the September election and by extension nullified the candidacy of Osagie Ize-Iyamu the party’s governorship candidate on the account of false information given to INEC by the deputy governorship candidate. Ize-Iyamu has come out to say they will appeal at the Court of Appeal describing the judgment as “unfortunate and utterly wrong”.
As things stand, the APC has a lot on their plate to settle and that’s where their energy should be focused. The earlier they lick their wounds and move on, the better chances they have of reorganizing themselves.
This charade has to stop now, but don’t be surprised when another episode of this soap opera comes again.