Judgment Likely In Obaseki’s Certificate Forgery Suit This Week

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• Parties to adopt final written addresses today

Parties in the alleged certificate forgery suit filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja against Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki will Thursday adopt their final written addresses.

The parties are: the All Progressives Congress (APC); one of its members, Mr. William Edobor; Governor Obaseki; the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The court adjourned till 2 p.m today for the parties to adopt the final written addresses.

Lawyers to the parties agreed on Wednesday to exchange the final written addresses through emails.

This followed the completion of the testimony by a former Vice Chancellor of Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, Prof. Eghosa Emmanuel Osaghae.

Lawyer to Obaseki, Mr. Ken Mozia, announced the closure of the governor’s defence, having called three witnesses.

Lawyer to the PDP, Razak Isenalumhe, also said he would not call any witness but would rest the case of the second defendant on the first defendant’s case and rely on evidence from the first defendant’s witnesses under cross-examination.

Lawyer to the third defendant, the INEC, S. M. Danbaba said his client was also not calling any witness.

The trial judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, ordered the closure of the cases of the defendants.

Prof. Osaghae had said there is nothing wrong in submitting an incomplete photocopy of a certificate.

The Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Ibadan (UI) said this could happen, if one is constrained from producing a complete copy when needed.

He said he would risk submitting an incomplete photocopy of his original certificate, if it was difficult for him to make a complete photocopy when he needed to submit same for that purpose.

The plaintiffs are contending, among others, that the photocopies of the UI degree certificate attached to the nomination form Obaseki submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was forged because they did not contain the signature of the Registrar of the university and the date the certificate was issued.

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But, Obaseki, through the two witnesses he called on Tuesday, explained that the Registrar’s signature and the date of issue were cut off from the photocopies of the certificate submitted to INEC because the person who made them used a smaller size paper, an A4, which was smaller than the size of the original certificate.

But during cross-examination on Wednesday by the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Akin Olujinmi (SAN), Prof. Osaghae said he would not consider as an untrue duplicate of the original when a photocopy does not contain all the features of the original copy.

He added that if a photocopy captures portions that could be seen in the original (as is the case with Obaseki’s certificate), such a photocopy can be regarded as incomplete.

Prof. Osaghae, who graduated from UI in 1979 (the same year with Obaseki) with a Bachelor degree in Political Science, insisted that he would submit an incomplete copy of his certificate for any purpose, knowing that the original would be verified.

“If I had constraints with the photocopier I was using, and it turned out that all I could get was an incomplete copy of my certificate, I would, given those constraints, go ahead to send that incomplete photocopy, knowing that I was still going to be required to submit the original certificate,” he said.

On whether he would risk submitting an incomplete copy, if the original would not be demanded, he said: “If that is all I could get under the circumstances, I would take the risk.

“I would take the risk, because I know that as it is my certificate, it is subject to verification.”

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