The Federal High Court Abuja, has dismissed the alleged certificate forgery case filed by the All Progressives Congress, (APC) and one of its chieftains, Mr Williams Edobor, against Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo.
Delivering judgment in the suit on Saturday, Justice Ahmed Mohammed held that the plaintiffs failed to discharge the burden of proof placed on them, having failed to provide credible evidence to prove their case.
Justice Mohammed said that there was no iota of evidence before the court to prove that Obaseki forged his O’level certificate or the degree certificate awarded to him by the University of Ibadan in 1979.
The judge maintained that the allegation of forgery the APC levelled against Obaseki bordered on crime and such an allegation was required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
“None of the witnesses called by the plaintiffs was able to prove that the certificate as forged.
“In fact, the witnesses admitted that none of them visited the University of Ibadan to confirm the authenticity of the certificate.
“The plaintiffs only relied on photocopies that were attached to the Form EC9 Obaseki submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).”
The judge further said that the discrepancies alleged by the APC on the degree certificate in question were adequately explained by the defendants that it happened because the size of the paper of the certificate was bigger than the A4 sized paper used for the photocopy.
The judge also noted that Obaseki called as one of his witnesses, a deputy registrar, legal of the University of Ibadan who identified the original certificate issued to Obaseki by the university in 1979 as authentic.
He said that the witness also tendered the original certificates obtained by the governor from primary school through secondary school to HSC level.
He said that in law, such documents were refered to as direct evidences showing that Obaseki did not forge any certificate.
According to the judge, this case is like that of a stranger claiming that the child has no father whereas the father is saying that this is my child.
The judge therefore held that the APC had failed to prove the allegation that Obaseki forged his primary, secondary and university certificates.
“It is the conclusion of this court that the plaintiffs failed to prove their case and so the plaintiff’s case has failed and is accordingly dismissed,” the judge held.
Meanwhile, Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo has commended the ruling of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on the certificate forgery case levelled against him by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Obaseki gave the commendation in a statement issued to newsmen on Saturday in Benin.
According to him, the judgement is a triumph of the rule of law and a testament to the fact that truth will prevail ultimately, no matter how vehemently detractors push lies in the face of incontrovertible evidence.
He said that the verdict, delivered by Justice Ahmed Mohammed, was well-received as a victory for the rule of law.
“It is the needless attempt by desperate individuals, trying to undo the will of the people through the backdoor, but we are happy today that justice and truth have prevailed,’’ he said.
The governor added that the verdict confirmed, once again, that the Edo people were well-guided in trusting him to lead them in the September 2020 governorship election.
He promised to continue to prioritise the development of the state, irrespective of all odds.
“My profound gratitude goes to the judiciary who have stood indefatigably for truth and justice and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari.’’
Obaseki also thanked the People’s Democratic Party, the party leaders and members as well as his teeming supporters and people of Edo State for standing with him.