By Esezobor Ohimai, Benin
The All Progressives Congress on Thursday opened its case of alleged certificate forgery against Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The case opened before Justice Ahmed Mohammed after Obaseki’s failed bids to have the court and the Court of Appeal halt the hearing pending the determination of an appeal he had filed in respect of the case.
The Court of Appeal in Abuja ruled that pre-election cases such as the one instituted against Obaseki were time-bound and could not be halted based on an interlocutory appeal.
The APC and one of its members, Mr Williams Edobor, had filed the suit, urging the court to disqualify Obaseki as the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate in the last governorship election in the Edo State.
They anchored their suit on the grounds that Obaseki allegedly forged a University of Ibadan degree certificate which he used in securing his candidacy in the election.
Other defendants sued in the suit are the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission.
On Thursday, the APC’s lawyer, Mr Akin Olujinmi (SAN), called his first witness, Prof. Omoregie Edobo, a Professor of Law at the University of Benin.
During cross-examination by Obaseki’s lawyer, Mr Ken Mozia (SAN), and the counsel for the PDP, Mr Razaq Isenalohme, Edobo told the court that he was not aware that Obaseki had a degree certificate from the University of Ibadan.
Edobo said he had alleged that Obaseki presented a fake certificate purportedly issued by the University of Ibadan.
He said his allegation was based on the photocopies of Obaseki’s certificate that he had seen at different times.
INEC’s lawyer, Mr M.A Bawa, had no questions for the witness.
Justice Mohammed discharged the witness and adjourned the matter till December 29 for further hearing.