The African Action Congress has asked the Benue State Election Petition Tribunal to disqualify the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Mrs Agnes Erebe, as winner of Obi Local Government Area election in the state.
The AAC candidate, Akpoko Gabriel Ogbadu, made the call while adopting his final written address challenging the victory of Erebe at the tribunal.
Ogbadu, through his lead counsel, S.O.Idikwu, told the tribunal that the PDP’s candidate was not qualified to contest the election having used a forged certificate.
It reads, “In urging this tribunal to resolve this issue in favour of the petitioners, we adopt our introductory part of this address as a part of our submission and further contend that by the oral and documentary evidence the petitioners have proved as required by the law that the certificates submitted to the 3rd respondent by the 1st respondent in contesting the office of chairman of Obi Local Government Area at the election in dispute are false, fake or forged, as a result of which this tribunal is urged to hold that, the 1st respondent was not at the time of the election qualified to be elected as a chairman of a local government, under the current laws.
“The 1st petitioner’s evidence in terms of paragraphs 13 to 24, (at pages 27 to 30 of the) of the 1st petitioner’s statement on oath; paragraphs 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the additional statement of the 1st petitioner, all adopted as evidence and exhibits 9 Series, are the evidence in proof of this ground of the petition.
It is without doubt that the 1st respondent submitted exhibits 9 A to M in form BCF 001 to the 3rd respondent wherein she claims to have attended several institutions/schools, between the specified period of time, passed their prescribed examinations, graduated and was issued certain certificates, as her qualifying certificates which she submitted to the 3rd respondent.
“On the faces of these certificates she claims to have acquired are the names of the institutions and authorities which purportedly issued them to the 1st respondent and the dates of their alleged issuance.
“Starting with the first school leaving certificate, or certificate of primary education, (exhibit 9K) the 1st respondent submitted the same to the 3rd respondent and claims that it was issued: a. By the Benue State Ministry of Education through Oju Local Government Area Education Authority and under an unnamed area education officer in 1978. See the stamp on the bottom right corner of the certificate
b. That the 1st respondent attended L.G.E.A School, Ito Town and did her primaries one to seven (1 to 7) at the school from 1970 to 1976.
“Flowing from the features on this certificate of primary education the 1st respondent claims to have obtained and which she submitted to the 3rd respondent reveals falsehood in the following areas:
[a]. that there was in existence an authority known as Oju Local Government Area Education Authority (LGEA) which is normally manned by an Area Education Officer as at the period between 1970 and 1976 but which authority had not come into being as at 1978 to have originated such certificate on the alleged date of issue.
[b] There was no school or primary school with the name L.G.E.A, Ito Town as at the period of 1970 to 1976 where pupils would have attended and passed out from. This is more practical and is a fact which this tribunal is in a position to take judicial notice of that, the local government area education authorities, which operated L.G.E.A primary schools, only came into existence in 1991 during the military regime and under Decree No 3 of 1991.
[c]. As at 1970, when the 1st respondent claims she enrolled into/entered primary 1, the Benue State as a state had no yet come into existence neither was Oju Local Government Area, which only came into being in 1976.
3.04. Throughout these periods of time, 1970 to 1978, what used to be primary schools were either missions schools or native authority schools.
“The subpoenaed Area Education Officer from Oju, tendered exhibit 3, a letter attached to which is the admission register of pupils who ever went into the primary school that later changed named to L.G.E.A Primary School, Ito town, from 1963 to 1983, inclusive of 1070 when the 1st respondent allegedly gained admission into the school, at her 5th birthday. EXHIBIT 4 is a copy of the subpoena. In all that this exhibit 3 stated about the records of the School and those who successfully passed out and were issued certificates of primary education, it was categorically stated that the booklet containing the counterfoil of the first school leaving certificate of primary education with nos: 037837, which the 1st respondent submitted to the 3rd respondent cannot be found. It is very curious and leaves no one with no other inference than that the claims of the 1st respondent that the certificate which was allegedly issued in 1978 under the authority of Oju Local Government Area Education Office is false and that is why it could not be found to be confirmed or its counterfoil.
“The name of the 1st respondent is neither on the list of the content of the register attached containing the names of pupils admitted in 1970 also neither has her name been found as one of the pupils of the school. We submit and this Tribunal is urged to so hold that, the 1st respondent who neither attended the primary school in 1970 as she portrayed nor graduated from such a school could not have obtained the certificate with nos: 037837 which cannot be found therefore the same was falsely submitted to the 3rd respondent.
3.05. Similarly, the same scenario is what trended in exhibit 1A and exhibit 2 from the School of Health Technology.
“The 1st respondent had submitted to the 3rd respondent and alleged that she attended School of Health Technology, Makurdi, in 1996 and qualified from there in 1997. See item C of exhibit 9B. The subpoena directed the school management to produce the list of those who attended the school between 1996 and 1997 as alleged by the 1st respondent and also the list of those who successfully passed the qualifying examination and who were issued certificates during the periods referred to by the 1st respondent.
“Whereas the school authority failed totally to produce the requested item 1 in exhibit 1A, it produced only a list covering 1995 and 1996 which year was neither referenced by the 1st Respondent nor requested in exhibit1A. The tribunal is urged to reflect on the scenario which played out during the first day (2/09/2020) these witnesses, including the officer from the Ministry of Education, all appeared in obedience to the subpoena and the interference that trailed to make the necessary inference on these documents.”