By Olalekan Awojodu
The Edo state governor, Dr Godwin Obaseki is seeking to stop further hearing in the certificate forgery suit brought against him by the All Progressives Congress, APC.
To achieve this, the governor applied to the court to adjourn indefinitely (Sine die) further proceedings in the certificate forgery suit against him on the grounds that he had filed an appeal at the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal challenging the refusal of Justice Mohammed to expunge some paragraphs in the APC’s reply to his affidavit.
While moving a motion for stay of further proceedings at the resumed hearing, Mozia told the court that the records of proceedings have been transmitted to the Court of Appeal and that the notice of appeal has been entered at the appellate court with appeal number CA/ABJ/CV/1072/2020.
The senior lawyer canvassed that since the decision of the high court refusing to expunge some paragraphs in APC’s reply is being challenged, it is trite for the lower court to hands off from the matter pending the outcome of the appellate court’s decision.
Mozia who cited several authorities in support of his argument insisted that the high court must await the decision of the Court of Appeal before anything could be done in the matter.
However, Olujimi, who argued for APC urged the court to dismiss the motion for indefinite adjournment of the certificate forgery suit on the grounds that it was a pre-election matter and was bound by time.
Olujimi contended that since the case had a life span of 180 days which would terminate by January 9, 2021, it was in the interest of justice for the court to continue with proceedings.
“Notwithstanding the documents produced by Obaseki in support of his request for sine die adjournment, this court is still endowed with jurisdiction to proceed with hearing in this certificate forgery suit.
“This court is bound to continue with the hearing since the suit is sui generis (its unique). Nothing shall be done to clog the smooth wheel of proceedings in a suit of this nation especially in line with the fourth alteration act.”
Responding on points of law, Mozia argued that no provision of the constitution as amended forbids the court from staying further proceedings upon becoming aware of an appeal at the Court of Appeal.
According to Mozia, this is not an election tribunal, neither is it an election petition, the facts in this case are distinguishable from election petition matters.
He urged the court to resist the temptation to continue with hearing in the matter so that it would not be accused of judicial incompetence.
Earlier, Mozia tendered to the court a certified true copy of a letter which forwarded filed copies of record of appeal with an acknowledgment of receipt, certified true copy of a motion on notice in CA/ABJ/CV/1072/2020 between Godwin Obaseki vs APC and three others.
Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed fixed 15th December for a ruling in the motion.
The APC In the suit marked FHC/B/CS/74/2020, prayed the court for an order disqualifying Obaseki from contesting the September 19 governorship election in Edo State on the grounds that he supplied false information on oath to INEC, an act said to be contrary to Section 31(5) and (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010.
The party accused the governor of forging his university certificate presented to INEC in aid of his qualification for the governorship election in Edo State.
APC also claimed that there are discrepancies in the subject Obaseki claimed he passed in his West African Examinations Council (WAEC) exam.
The governor won the September 19 governorship election in Edo to secure a second term in office.