Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State on Thursday said allegations of certificate forgery and perjury levelled against him are baseless and will be thrown out at the courts.
According to him, the present case instituted against him was the same that was pursued by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2016 when he first contested as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The governor, who is seeking re-election under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was dragged before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja by Messrs Edobor Williams, Ugbesia Abudu Godwin and Amedu Dauda Anakhu.
The plaintiffs are asking the court for a declaration that Obaseki’s statement that he graduated from the University of Ibadan with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Classical Studies in 1976, made under oath in INEC form CF001 at Part B, paragraph C dated 11 July, 2016.
They are also asking for a declaration disqualifying Obaseki from contesting the Edo state governorship election scheduled for September 19, 2020 on the grounds that he submitted false information on oath to the INEC in Form CF001, and thereby lied under oath.
Listed as defendants are the All Progressives Congress (APC), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Inspector- General of Police (IGP) and Governor Godwin Obaseki.
Part of the summons sighted by our correspondent reads “Let the following: 1. All Progressives Congress (APC), c/o The National Legal Adviser, National Secretariat, All Progressives Congress, No 40 Blantyre Street, Wuse 2, Abuja;
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of Plot 436, Zambezi Crescent, Maitama District, Abuja;
Inspector-General of Police of Police Headquarters, Louis Edet House, Shehu Shagari, Way, Abuja;
Mr Godwin Obaseki, of Government House, Benin City, Edo State – within thirty (30) days after service of this Originating Summons on them, inclusive of the day of such service, cause appearance to be entered for them to this summons which is issued upon the application of the plaintiffs (whose addresses are hereinafter stated) in and who pray the Court for the determination of the following questions.”
Obaseki, who spoke through Crusoe Osagie, his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy said the case will collapse like a pack of cards just as it happened in 2016.
According to him, those who filed the case against him were former PDP members who are now parading themselves as APC members.
In his words, “The University of Ibadan is not an institution that is unknown, not just in Nigeria but across the world. That is the university the governor attended. To claim that the certificate that the governor received from that institution is not genuine is not just laughable but baseless.
“If they are in doubt, whatever verification they want to make can be done in the University of Ibadan. We know this will not fly.
“This same matter which they have raised now was the same matter that was raised by the PDP in 2016 when the governor was also running for this same position and the same processes were instituted by these same individuals who are now parading themselves as APC members.
“What they just did now was to go to the archives and dust up the falsehood they tried to propagate at that time which failed miserably and will also fail this time because there is no truth in it.”
Speaking further, he said “The University of Ibadan 2018 Alumni lecture was delivered by the governor; which means that he must have gone to that university and graduated before you can deliver such lecture. Let me add that it is only distinguished ones among them who attended that university that can be given that opportunity.
“If Governor Obaseki did not attend that university and come out in flying colours with his certificates intact, will he be given that opportunity to deliver that lecture? So, it is a rubbish suit and once it gets before the court, it will fall like a pack of cards.”
On June 1st 2020, it was known that Governor Godwin Obaseki may be disqualified from participating in the primaries, slated for June 22 by the screening committee set up by the national leadership of the party.
A credible source in the party said aside the mode of primaries which has become a subject of controversy, there is a likelihood that Obaseki may not scale the screening session of the APC which may scuttle his chances of becoming the party’s flag bearer in the September 19 governorship election.
According to him, the party said it is trying to prevent a reoccurrence of what happened in Bayelsa when the Supreme Court nullified the victory of David Lyon, the governor-elect, on the grounds that his running mate, Senator Biobarakumo Degi-Eremienyo, presented forged certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“The national chairman and his group want to use some lack of original certificates to disqualify Governor Godwin Obaseki at the screening.
“If they succeed, the implication is that the governor may not even participate in the primary, whether direct or indirect,” the source said.