A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed the alleged certificate forgery suit filed against Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki.
In a judgement delivered by Justice Mohammed on Saturday, in a suit filed by the All Progressives Party (APC) and a chieftain of the party, Williams Edobor, against the governor.
The APC and Edobor had filed the suit alleging that Governor Obaseki presented a forged certificate to seek re-election in the Edo State governorship election held on September 19, 2020.
According to the plaintiffs, the said document was purportedly issued by the University of Ibadan, while the governor presented same to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which conducted the poll.
According to a new report monitored on Channelstvonline, before Justice Mohammed delivered the judgement in the suit, counsels to both parties in the matter had closed their cases after they presented witnesses and evidence to the court.
During proceedings on Thursday, lawyer to the Plaintiffs, Akin Olujimi, adopted his final written address.
He urged the court to affirm their position that the governor presented a forged certificate to the electoral umpire and was unfit to occupy the office.
This was, however, rejected by Governor Obaseki’s counsel, Ken Mozia, who asked the court to dismiss the suit over what he described as the plaintiff’s failure to prove their case.
Justice Mohammed declared that
the plaintiff witnesses could not prove their case even when they are aware that the burden of proof rest on the plaintiff to really prove what he alleges. “The burden is on the plaintiff to prove allegations, which they have failed to do.”
The presiding justice then declared that the failure of the plaintiffs left the court with no other choice than to dismiss the case for want of proof.
“For the Plaintiffs to insist that Obaseki forged his certificate, even after the school confirmed the genuity of the document, was akin to alleging that someone has no father, even in the presence of the person’s father.”
The judge further said “Allegation of forgery borders on crime which must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
“In the instant case, no iota of evidence talk-less of a proof beyond reasonable doubt was brought to prove the allegation of forgery against the first defendant (Mr Obaseki).
“Having thoroughly analysed the evidence of this case, it is the conclusion of this court that the defendant did not forge his O’Level Certificate, his HSC certificate, and particularly his University of Ibadan degree certificate.
“Accordingly, the plaintiffs’ case is dismissed.”
Justice Mohammed then declared that Governor Godwin “Obaseki was duly qualified to contest the Edo September 19th 2020 election”.
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