As soon as INEC released the final list of candidates for the Edo and Ondo guber elections, the APC and one of its members in Edo flew to court to challenge the candidacy of Gov. Godwin Obaseki contesting under the PDP umbrella.
And what more, the fresh legal battle came about the same time as the return of the APC former national chairman Adams Oshiomhole who battled Obaseki out of the party.
But as Oshiomhole vowed before, the battle just started, and, now, it seems largely heavy against Obaseki and his sidekick Philip Shaibu.
Both are accused of forging academic certificates; Obaseki was alleged to have made conflicting oaths in 2016 and 2020, and he made false declaration of work experience.
The plaintiffs in the suit against Obaseki and Shaibu are the APC and one of its members, Mr. Edobor Williams.
In the suit with reference number FHC/B/CS/75/2020 filed at a federal high court in Benin, the plaintiffs alleged Shaibu presented to INEC forged documents: his West African School Certificate and tax clearance certificate. This is contrary to Section 31 of the Electoral Act and Section 182 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In the suit against Obaseki, with reference number FHC/B/CS/74/2020, the plaintiffs want a declaration that the governor made false deposition in INEC’s form EC9 at Column C, sworn to on June 29, 2020 at the FCT High Court Registry, Abuja.
The plaintiffs said it was false and contrary to Section 31 (5) and (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended.
The plaintiffs also want a declaration that Obaseki’s INEC Form CF001 at Column “C” sworn to on July 11, 2016 at the High Court Registry, Benin City, where he claimed he obtained from UI in 1976, a BA degree in Classical Studies was false and contrary to Section 31 (5) and (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended.
Also being sought by them are: a declaration that Obaseki’s statement contained in INEC’s form EC9 at Column “D” thereof sworn to on June 29, 2020 at FCT High Court Registry, Abuja, to the effect that he worked in Afriinvest Limited from 1994 to 2014, when he retired, was false and contrary to Section 31 (5) and (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended;
A declaration that Obaseki’s presentation of a BA degree in Classical Studies from UI, with a sole signatory of the Vice-Chancellor and no effective date of award, as against the standard operating procedure of the Examinations, Records and Administrative Data Processing Division of UI, amounts to the presentation of a forged/false certificate to INEC, contrary to the provisions of Section 182 (1) (j) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN), 1999, as altered;
A declaration that Obaseki’s presentation of Advanced Level WAEC certificate, dated June 1976, which showed that Obaseki sat for examination in subjects materially different from those shown in the testimonial of the Institute of Continuing Education of September 25, 1975, where Obaseki was a student and from where he purportedly wrote the said examination, amounts to the presentation of a forged/false certificate to INEC, contrary to the provisions of Section 182 (1) (j) of the Constitution of FRN, 1999, as altered.
In all, the APC and Edobor prayed the court for an order disqualifying Obaseki from contesting the governorship election on September 19 or on any other date that might be approved for the purpose.
They prayed the court that his name be removed from the list of nominated or sponsored candidates for the crucial election, while PDP should be restrained from participating in the election, among others.
Representing the APC and Edobor are: SANs Wole Olanipekun, Roland Otaru, A.T. Kehinde, Kehinde Ogunwumiju, Dr. Ehiogie West-Idahosa, the head of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s/APC’s legal team; and six other lawyers.
Obaseki and his godfather joined battle over a year ago. The bad blood spread so wide it contaminated the ruling party at the ward, state, and federal level.
Oshiomhole had to be suspended by court orders, and the party’s NWC dissolved at a NEC which President Muhammadu Buhari laid the order.
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