The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Edo state chapter says the purported error in the certificate of Godwin Obaseki, the state governor, was caused by a photocopier.
In a suit marked EPT/ED/GOV/01/2020, the Action Democratic Party (ADP) and Iboi Emmanuel, the party’s governorship candidate, asked the tribunal to nullify Obaseki’s election on the grounds that he submitted false information to the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to enable him run for office.
The petitioners alleged that in an affidavit deposed to and presented to INEC in his form CF001 in 2016, “Obaseki submitted a certificate purported to have been signed by the vice-chancellor and the registrar of the university”.
“In the form EC9 submitted to INEC in 2020, Obaseki attached an un-dated certificate with only one signatory purporting to be the signature of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan,” the petitioners claimed.
“The petitioners will rely on oral and documentary evidence to show that professor Tekena Tamuno who was vice-chancellor of the University of Ibadan from December 1975 to November 1979 had not only died in 2015 but could not also have signed a document purporting to be a document of the University of Ibadan after his retirement and death.”
Responding to the allegations, Adetunji Oyeyipo, PDP counsel, said: “There was a misstatement in mixing up the year of graduation with the year of admission.”
“While filling the forms for the election in 2016, Obaseki inadvertently and mistakenly wrote 1976 in a portion of the form for the year of the graduation which was the year of his admission into the University of Ibadan.”
“At the time Obaseki was completing his form CF001 in 2016, he deposed to an affidavit stating that he had misplaced the originals of all of his certificates while changing offices with the intention to apply for a re-issuance if his certificates.”
“Subsequently, before Obaseki submitted his Form EC9 in 2020, the original certificate issued by University of Ibadan was eventually found which has the signatures of the Vice-Chancellor and Registrar of the University.”
“The original certificate was issued in A5 size; however, in order for the photocopy of the certificate to be attached to the form CF001, the size was reduced to A4 and in the process, leaving out some information on the certificate.”
On the contention over Obaseki’s participation in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, the party said the matter is a pre-election issue which the tribunal cannot entertain.
The PDP also challenged the jurisdiction of the tribunal to hear the matter on the grounds that it is statute-barred since the issues raised relate to facts from the 2016 governorship election.
“The tribunal lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the petition for reason that same is statute barred because the issues raised by the petitioner, according to the PDP are averments which are not relevant for the purpose of determining the petition at the Election Petition Tribunal, as the said averments relate to facts concerning the previous election conducted in 2016 and that since the election under dispute is that of September 2020 and as such should be dismissed,” Oyeyipo said.