Commercial Law

UI clears Obaseki as court admits certificates as exhibit

By Olalekan Awojodu

Abuja

The authority of the University of Ibadan Tuesday cleared Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state of alleged forgery of degree certificate.

The development was in respect of forgery allegation leveled against Obaseki by the All Progressives Congress (APC).

At the resumed hearing, the degree Certificate was confirmed to have been issued Obaseki by the University in 1979 after his formal graduation.

Testifying on subpoena before the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday, the Deputy Chief Registrar, Legal of the University, Mr. Abayomi Samuel Ajayi told the court that the governor is a graduate of the University.

Led in evidence by Obaseki’s counsel, Ken Mozia (SAN), the witness adopted the witness statement on oath deposed to on December 31, 2020 in defence of the first defendant (Obaseki).

Relevant pages of the University of Ibadan calendar for 1976, admission for degrees, award of diplomas and certificates and Obaseki’s application for collection of his certificate from the University were tendered by the witness and admitted as exhibits by the Court.

The witness maintained that from the records of the University, Obaseki was admitted as student in 1976 through direct entry and that he graduated in the year 1979, during the tenure of Prof Tekena Tamino who was the Vice Chancellor while S.J Okufu was the Registrar.

Under cross examination by Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN), counsel to the APC, the witness insisted that the fact that some part of the photocopies of the certificates were cut off by the photocopying machine, due to the largeness of the certificates did invalidate the originality and the authenticity of the original Certificate.

“I will not regard the photopy of the original certificate as forged but incomplete photocopy because the certificate of the University of Ibadan is larger than the paper upon which the photocopy was made”.

The deputy registrar who claimed to have joined the University in 1995 further told the court that the University was using A5 paper for certificate production at the time, adding that the Minister of State for Education had referred the disputed photocopy of Obaseki’s Certificate to the University authorities and that the institution in response confirmed the Certificate to be original.

While giving his evidence, Barr Charity Aiguobarueghian, and un-official advisor to Obaseki had admitted making the disputed photocopy of the original degree Certificate for his principal.

He added that part of the photocopy attached to form EC9 and submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were cut off because of the largeness of the original certificate.

He tendered the primary school Certificate obtained by Obaseki in 1971, School Certificate obtained in 1973 and Higher School Certificate obtained in 1971, University of Ibadan degree obtained in 1979 and another Masters Degree from Pace University obtained by Obaseki as his educational qualification.

All the certificates, which are original copies were admiited as exhibits by the trial judge.

Under cross examination, the witness insisted that the photocopy of the degree certificate, which had the signature of the University’s Chief Registrar, the date of issuance of the certificate and the name of the Vice Chancellor did not make the photocopy of the certificate a forged document.

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