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Duke’s NYSC exemption certificate is suspect – Odu

Posted by Ofonime Umanah, Calabar on 2005/08/25 | Views: 788 |

Duke’s NYSC exemption certificate is suspect – Odu


Candidate of the National Democratic Party during the April 2003 gubernatorial election in Cross River State, Chief Akpang Obi Odu has filed his brief of argument before the Court of Appeal in Calabar, against the judgement of the elections petition tribunal in the state.

Candidate of the National Democratic Party during the April 2003 gubernatorial election in Cross River State, Chief Akpang Obi Odu has filed his brief of argument before the Court of Appeal in Calabar, against the judgement of the elections petition tribunal in the state.

The tribunal, which was headed by Mr Justice Akintunde Boade, had ruled on June 6, 2005, that Obi Odu was not able to prove his case against Duke and therefore dismissed the petition, provoking the former ambassador to proceed to the Appeal Court.

Through his lawyer, Mr Mba Ukweni, the politician faulted the verdict of the tribunal on the NYSC exemption certificate of the governor, arguing that the tribunal ought to have disqualified Duke on the grounds that the exemption certificate he obtained from the NYSC was forged.

The tribunal’s position was that “ while it may be morally condemnable that a person who failed to serve the compulsory one-year NYSC scheme should aspire to be elected to office of a governor of a state, we are of the opinion that such a failure to serve is not disqualifying ground to contest the election under the law as it is today.”

But in the argument, a copy of which our correspondent obtained on Thursday, Odu said Duke’s alleged refusal to take part in the compulsory national service as at the time he graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University was an offence against the constitution.

He also argued that it was more offensive for him to allegedly mislead the NYSC and obtained what he called a fake exemption certificate, since the Corps had no powers at the time to issue such certificates to people.

He said: “Non participation in the mandatory NYSC scheme is a negation of the national policy behind the promulgation of the Decree, now an Act.

“Exemption from national service on grounds of age was not available as at the time the first respondent( Duke) graduated and was obligated to embark on national service. The NYSC certificate of exemption purportedly issued to the first respondent on grounds of age and on the basis of Masters Degree is false, fake and a forged certificate. It is a counterfeit of a sort.

“Even if the said NYSC certificate of exemption came from the Directorate of the NYSC, the directorate will clearly be acting ultra vires in issuing such a certificate. Such an ultra vires act will also render the certificate forged being issued by a body that has no power or legal authority to issue it.”

He asked the court to declare that Duke was not qualified to contest the election and also set aside the verdict of the tribunal on the grounds that election did not take place in most places in the state.

The governor would be expected to also file his reply through his lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, to pave way for the hearing to commence on the appeal.

The PUNCH, Friday, August 26, 2005

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