Tribunal dismisses forgery case against Kwara Governor

Tunde Akanbi, Ilorin 

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Kwara State Election Petition Tribunal has dismissed the People’s Democratic Party, PDP’s petition seeking the nullification of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s election on the ground that he lacked the academic qualification to run.

The tribunal said the PDP’s candidate Razaq Atunwa failed to prove the allegations, holding instead that “all evidences before us show that (AbdulRazaq) sat the exam and was therefore qualified to run for the office of Governor.

“From all the evidences before us, we hold that the petition lacks merit and is hereby dismissed.”

Chairman of the three-person panel, Justice Bassey Effiong said the law was that where a petitioner makes the commission of a crime the kernel of their petition, then they must prove it beyond reasonable doubt.

“Has the petitioner discharged the burden of proof expected of them? From the evidence in this case, the answer is a resounding no.

“We hold that all the evidences presented by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) — which the petitioners had relied upon and subpoenaed —were at variance with the pleadings of the petitioners,” Effiong explained.

He insisted that the petitioners failed to prove that the Governor forged a certificate or presented a forged certificate in support of his candidature as alleged in their petition.

The judge said WAEC confirmed to the tribunal that AbdulRazaq’s certificate was “genuine and authentic”, adding that a classmate of the Governor also told the panel that the latter sat in front of him in the secondary school leaving certificate examination of June 1976.

Effiong said WAEC, which is the only statutory body to issue such a certificate, had made it clear that AbdulRazaq’s credential with all the relevant security details had emanated from it and that no other person can make contrary claim.

Confidence Okwuchi