Calls Certificate forgery “culture of reckless impunity”
According to the Supreme Court’s previous ruling on March 10, 2017, in the case between Hon. Hassan Anthony Saleh and Christian Adabah Abah, involving the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who was controversially declared the winner of the February 25th Presidential Election by INEC, will likely be removed from the presidential seat.
This is due to the submission of a forged certificate falsely affirming his graduation from Chicago State University, along with other fabricated documents.
Recall that on Friday, the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in Abuja admitted certified copies of President Bola Tinubu’s academic and work records. These documents were tendered by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The documents that were admitted as evidence include a BSc certificate from Chicago State University, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Discharge Certificate, and a certificate of service from Mobil Nigeria Oil Plc.
A witness named Mike Enahoro Ebah, who was subpoenaed, presented the documents. He stated that they were obtained by Tinubu but bear the name ‘Bola Adekunle Tinubu’.
According to Channels TV, the witness referred to certified true copies of Tinubu’s nomination letter (form EC9), receipts of payment for certification, an application letter requesting the documents, and a response letter from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The witness also mentioned a certificate from Chicago University belonging to the second respondent (Tinubu), an NYSC discharge certificate bearing the name Tinubu Bola Adekunle, a certificate of service from Mobil Oil Nigeria PLC, and a party membership card.
Also submitted by the witness are a notarized judgment from the USA for the criminal forfeiture of Tinubu’s assets, along with the cover note authorizing and copies of Tinubu’s Guinea passport and the respondent’s certificate of compliance were also submitted as evidence.
In it’s judgement, the Supreme Court acknowledged that the appellant who is Honorable Hassan Anthony Saleh and the first respondent, Christian Adabah Abah of the People’s Democratic party (PDP) participated in the primary election conducted by the second respondent, prior to the 2011 general election into the House of Representatives.
They contested again each other for the seat of Ado, Okpokwu, and Oghadigbo Federal Constituency of Benue State, thereafter simply referred to as “the disputed constituency.” Christian Adabah withdrew from the race after he had defeated Hassan Anthony.
However, in the relevant INEC form, Christian Adabah had answered “NO” to the question of if he had ever presented any forgery certificate to the electoral body (that is, INEC). Based on this, appellant sought that Christian Adabah be disqualified. But PDP and INEC refused to do so which prompted Hassan Anthony to file a suit via originating summons at the Federal High Court.
The court adjudged the suit in favor of Anthony. But PDP and INEC proceeded to the court of Appeal and succeeded.
Again, Hassan Anthony proceeded to the Supreme court. In response, the Supreme court set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal that has favoured Christian Adabah and PDP cum INEC and affirmed the decision of the trial court that has previously been to the favor of Hassan Anthony.
The supreme court ruling partly read: “This court must take the lead, in righting the wrongs in our society, if and when the opportunity presents itself as in this appeal. Allowing criminality and certificate forgery to continue to percolate into the streams, waters and oceans of our national polity wold only mean its waters are, and will remain dangerously contaminated. The purification efforts must start now, and be sustained as we seek as a nation, to now ‘change’ from our old culture of reckless impunity.
“The Nigerian Constitution is supreme. It desires that no one who had ever presented forged certificate to INEC should contest election into Nigeria’s National Assembly. This is clear and sacrosanct. More compelling, as a judicial determination had been taken by no less a technical panel sitting in, at least, a panel of three judges, as election tribunal with constitutional mandate to determine such issues as they relate to elections and its outcomes, including eligibility. This has also been affirmed by the trial court in this appeal. On these issues, our duty is to apply the Constitution and the law in its start, original form – undiluted by ‘colorated’ interpretations.
“In sum, this appeal succeeds. The decision of the court below is here by set aside. The judgement of the trial court is restored and upheld. The election of the 1st respondent into the Ado, Okopkwu and Ogbadibo Federal Constituency of Benue State is a nullity, as he stands constitutionally disqualified from the contesting the said election. The appellant is and hereby declared the candidate if the 2nd respondent and winner in the Ado, Okopkwu and Ogbadibo Federal Constituency of Benue State and should be issued certificate of return immediately by the 3rd respondent (INEC).”