Forgery Case: Tribunal dismisses suit, uphold Abdulrasaq’s election

Kwara State Election Petition Tribunal has dismissed a petition by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking nullification of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq’s election for want of evidence.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had asked the court to nullify the governor’s victory at the poll on the ground that he allegedly lacked the academic qualification to run for the office.

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

“From all the evidence before us, we hold that the petition lacks merit and is hereby dismissed,” Justice Bassey Effiong, chairman of the three-person panel, held in a unanimous judgment in Ilorin, the state capital.

Effiong said the law is that where a petitioner makes commission of crime the kernel of his 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,” Effiong added.

“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 added.

The petitioners according to the presiding judge 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.

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