Federal high court sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday, dismissed the Peoples Democratic Party and Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki‘s motion seeking to stop a suit against the governor bordering on ‘forged certificate, thereby granting accelerated hearing for Dec 3.
The same court had adjourned the hearing of the suit filed by the All Progressives Congress against the governor from November 16th to November 18th which was subsequently adjourned again.
The adjournment followed the submissions by counsel to Obaseki, Mr Ken Mozia, that all pending motions relating to pleadings must first be resolved before going into the substantive matter. Mozia specifically asked the court to allow him move his motion challenging the competence of the reply filed by the APC to the defence in the matter.
However, lawyer to the APC, Mr Akin Olujimi, objected to the position of the governor’s counsel on the pending motions. He prayed the court to step down all the pending applications and allow him proceed with the substantive matter by calling his witnesses who were in court.
In a short ruling before adjourning the suit, Justice Mohammed held that the motion of Governor Obaseki challenging the competence of the APC’s reply to his defence was fundamental because it related to the pleadings and has to be resolved first.
The plaintiffs(APC) are asking the court for an order disqualifying Obaseki from contesting the September 19 governorship election in Edo State on the grounds that he supplied false information on oath to INEC, an act said to be contrary to Section 31(5) and (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010.
They specifically accused the governor of forging his university certificate presented to INEC in aid of his qualification for the governorship election in Edo State. They also claimed that there are discrepancies in the subject Obaseki claimed he passed in his West African Examinations Council (WAEC) exam and that in his testimonial.
Obaseki contested the September 19 governorship election on the platform of the PDP, where he moved to after the ruling party, APC, disqualified him from seeking a second term as governor of the state.
The governor secured 307,955 of the total votes, 84,336 more votes than his closest rival Ize-Iyamu of the APC, who got 223, 619 votes.