Alleged certificate forgery: Appeal Court orders prompt hearing of suit seeking sack of Obaseki

By Benjamin Arida/:

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has ordered accelerated hearing at the Federal High Court, Abuja in the suit seeking the sack of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State over alleged certificate forgery.

A three-man panel of the Appeal Court, presided over by Justice Stephen Adah, rejected an application for stay of proceedings filed by Obaseki.

Justice Adag, in the lead judgment, held that the constitutional provision that stipulate 180 days for the hearing of pre-election cases did not permit granting of a stay of proceedings in such matter.

The All Progressives Congress, APC and a member of the party, Williams Edobor are, by their suit filed before the last governorship election in state, seeking Obaseki’s disqulification.

They alleged, among others, that Obaseki forged his Bachelor of Arts Degree certificate he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in aid of his qualification for the last governorship election in Edo State.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed (before whom the case is pending at the Federal High Court) elected, in a ruling on Tuesday, to adjourn proceedings indefinitely pending the Court of Appeal’s decision on Obaseki’s application for stay of proceedings pending the hearing of an appeal he filed against an earlier ruling of the trial court.

At the hearing of the application on Wednesday at the Court of Appeal on Wednesday, the appellate court disagreed with the position of Justice Mohammed, noting that section 258 of the Constitution does allow for a stay of proceedings in a pre-election or election matter.

The panel in its unanimous decision then ordered a return of the case to the trial judge, adding that trial should be on a day to day.

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