Alleged perjury: I’m not aware UI issued Obaseki original degree certificate, witness tells court

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A witness in the ongoing perjury case filed against Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, told the court Thursday, he was not aware that the original degree certificate had been issued to Obaseki.

Professor Omoregie Edobo, who is the first plaintiffs’ witness, told the court at today’s proceedings that the degree certificate Obaseki submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in aid of his qualification for the 2020 governorship election was forged.

Led in evidence by the plaintiffs’ lead counsel, Chief Akin Olujimi, SAN, Edobo, a Professor of Law from the University of Benin, presented various documents to prove that the Bachelor of Arts in Classical Studies Obaseki submitted to INEC was not original.

Although, the defendants had used the same documents to cross examine the witness, the documents were however not admitted following defendant’s claim that Edobo was not the maker and as such cannot tender them.

But Chief Olujimi told the court that the said documents sought to be tendered were the same documents of Obaseki in his defence.

However, during cross examination by Obaseki’s lawyer, Ken Mozia (SAN), the witness who identified the University of Ibadan Bachelor of Arts in Classical Studies certificate issued on July 6, 1979 to Godwin Obaseki, observed that while the signature of the Vice Chancellor was very clear that of the Registrar was “not legible”.

On qualification for direct entry into the university, the witness told the court that candidates with Advanced Level or Higher School Certificate (HSC) were admitted for a three-year degree programme and went ahead to confirm Obaseki’s HSC certificate issued to him by West African School Certificate (WASC) in June 1976.

When asked by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP’s) lawyer, Rasaq Isilalomhe, if he had ever sighted the original copy of the UI certificate issued to Obaseki, the witness said, “I am not aware that an original copy of the degree certificate was issued to the 1st defendant by UI.”

Professor Edobo also told the court that he had never seen the original of the HSC certificate WASC issued to Obaseki in 1976.

He also told the court that his allegation of forgery against Obaseki was based on photocopies of certificates Obaseki presented to INEC.

He explained that there were two BA degrees Obaseki presented to INEC, adding that in the one of 2020 the signature of the registrar was not legible.

While he told the court that he did not report the alleged forgery to the police because it was not his duty to do so, he however said he was not aware that Obaseki was prosecuted by any court for forgery of certificate.

However, counsel to INEC, Bawa told the court that his client had no question for the witness.

At the end of cross examination, Justice Mohammed announced that hearing in the matter would continue on December 29, 2020.

The APC is calling its first witness in the suit filed in July this year against Obaseki, who became governor in 2016 under its platform.

In the suit which has barely 16 days from today, Dec. 23, before it lapses, the APC and one of its chieftains, Mr Williams Edobor are claiming that Obaseki forged his first degree certificate with which he used in securing his candidacy in the last September governorship election, hence he should be disqualified.

The court in September after deciding that rulings in all applications as well as objections would be delivered alongside judgment ordered the APC to call its witnesses to prove allegations made against Obaseki.

The court also on Tuesday fixed Thursday and December 29 for the plaintiffs to open their case after it declined Obaseki’s request to halt proceedings pending the determination of his appeal he filed at the Supreme Court against the ruling of the Court of Appeal, Abuja.

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