Foremost Nigerian attorney and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Wole Olanipekun, is leading four other SANs in cases of certificate forgery and perjury instituted against Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and his deputy, Philip Shaibu.
The cases have been filed before the Federal High Court in Benin City. The All Progressives Congress (APC) and a member of the party, Mr. Edobor Williams, instituted the cases against the incumbent governor and his deputy.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs are asking the court to disqualify the governor and his deputy from contesting in the September 19 governorship election in the state.
The plaintiffs are also asking the court to stop the PDP from fielding any candidate in the election.
Obaseki and Shaibu, who are contesting the election on the platform of PDP, had contested and won the governorship election in 2016 under the flagship of the APC.
In two separate suits filed against them by the APC and Williams, the plaintiffs have prayed to the court to stop Obaseki and Shaibu from participating in the September 19 governorship election in Edo State for allegedly lying on oath and submitting false documents to INEC to aid their qualifications in the forthcoming election.
According to them, the alleged offences of the defendants contravene the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010, as amended, and the punishment is automatic disqualification.
They have also sought the barring of the PDP from fielding any candidate in the election on the allegation of sponsoring ineligible candidates for the election.
In the first suit marked FHC/B/CS/74/2020, which has Obaseki, PDP and INEC as first, second and third respondents, respectively, the plaintiffs want the court to hold that Obaseki lied on oath in his INEC Form CF 001 submitted in aid of his qualification.
The plaintiffs have further accused the first defendant, Obaseki of forging his West African Examinations Council (WAEC) result to aid his admission for a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Ibadan.
In a statement of claim in support of the suit by Dr. Ehiogie West-Idahosa, the plaintiffs further claimed that Obaseki did not meet the minimum requirements to gain admission into the university, as he had just three credits and two passes in his school certificate results purportedly issued by WAEC.
In another suit, the governor was also accused of perjury for claiming to have graduated from the University of Ibadan in 1976 in his form CF 001 completed in July 2016, while in his form CF 001 completed on June 29, 2020 he claimed to have graduated in 1979.
The plaintiffs in the suit added that Obaseki had also been disqualified by the APC Screening committee after discovering huge discrepancies in his documents and academic qualifications.
The plaintiffs, in their accusation or forgery against Obaseki said that his degree certificate, which photocopy was presented to INEC, revealed that only the Vice Chancellor of the university signed the certificate and without effective date of award, as against the standard operating procedure of the Examination, Records and Administrative Data Processing Division.
They further sought the court’s declaration as false, Obaseki’s claim that he worked at Afrinvest between 1994 and 2014.
While the APC and its candidate have presented a case of falsification of documents, the party has also asked the court to disqualify Obaseki and Shaibu on the grounds that they were granted a waiver by the PDP last month. The APC said this contravened section 177 of the 1999 Constitution.
In the other suit marked FHC/B/CS/75/2020, which has Shaibu, PDP and INEC as first, second and third respondents, respectively, the plaintiffs, apart from accusing Shaibu of also parading false academic documents, want him disqualified for presenting forged tax clearance certificate to INEC in 2006 in aid of his qualification for the 2007 House of Assembly election in Edo State in 2007.
In Shaibu’s academic record, the plaintiffs claimed discrepancies and alleged forgery in his WAEC result, adding that Shaibu’s claim that he obtained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Benin in 2012 was false.
Meanwhile, the Edo 2020 APC Campaign Council has petitioned the Police and also accused the signage agency of the state of perpetuating the state government’s undemocratic actions.
The campaign council said, “We will, nonetheless, stop at nothing to ensure that the rule of law prevails in the state and that the governor is made to come to terms with the fact that all constitutional powers have limits and responsibilities and that as it has been said by scholars, nobility commands responsibility.”