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Sunday, October 2, 2022

Certificate Forgery Suit Against Tinubu, APC, INEC for Hearing October 12

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A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday fixed October 12 for hearing in a suit seeking disqualification of the All Progressives Congress (APC), presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, from the 2023 election for alleged certificate forgery.

Justice Obiora Egwuatu fixed the new date to enable parties in the suit complete filing of their processes and exchange the same as required by law before the adjourned date.

The suit dated and filed on June 21, has the Independent National Electoral Commission, the APC and Senator Tinubu as 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants respectively.

Tinubu, who is the major defendant in the suit, has however engaged the services of a Seenior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Babatunde Ogala to defend his case.

At Thursday’s proceedings, counsel to Action Alliance (AA) which instituted the suit, Mr Ukpai Ukairo, informed the court that he just received the notice of preliminary objection from Tinubu, asking the court not to entertain the case against him on various grounds.

Among the grounds, Tinubu claimed that the foundation for the certificate forgery suit against him was rooted in the 1999 electoral forms he submitted to the then electoral body.

He also claimed that the report of the Lagos State House of Assembly which probed him on the alleged certificate forgery is the main foundation of the fresh suit and hence, has become statute barred.

However, counsel to the AA informed the court that the claims of the former Lagos State Governor especially on the statute barred position would be adequately addressed in the subsequent proceedings.

Ukairo told the Judge that Tinubu’s claims made orally by his counsel has to be made formally and served on him to enable him respond appropriately.

While the INEC which is the 1st defendant in the suit, sought for time to respond to the suit, the APC was not represented in court despite proof of service of the suit on it.

The Judge accordingly adjourned the matter till October 12, for all parties to put their houses in order for proper hearing of the alleged certificate forgery suit.

The suit filed on behalf of the plaintiff by Ukairo claimed that Tinubu forged his University of Chicago certificate he submitted in 1999 in aid of his qualification for the 1999 governorship election in Lagos State, which was won by Tinubu.

In a 16-paragraph statement on oath deposed by one Kalu Agu, the plaintiff submitted that “the 3rd defendant is a person who is not qualified for election to the office of President of Nigeria on the grounds of alleged forgery.”

According to the deponent, the 3rd defendant had provided false information and attached forged documents in his form CF 001, he submitted to INEC in 1999 in aid of his qualification for the governorship poll.

The deponent stated that the claim of Tinubu that he possesses Bsc degrees in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Chicago and Chicago State University in 1976 and 1979 respectively were false.

“The 3rd defendant knew he did not possess all the educational qualifications he listed in the said INEC form,” he added.

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