Legal fireworks at the Godwin Obaseki alleged forgery case were sparked on Wednesday as the plaintiffs presented an expert forensic examiner among others to argue their case against the Edo State governor.
Obaseki had been dragged to court by a member of the APC, Williams Edobor and the APC over the allegation that he forged the University of Ibadan certificate he presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The plaintiffs had also raised issues with the governor’s WAEC results saying that the results he obtained could not have given him admission into the university.
On Wednesday, the plaintiffs subpoenaed a retired Assistant Superintendent of Police and a forensic document examiner, Mr. Raphael Onwuzuligbo to give testimony.
A report prepared by the witness which the plaintiff sought to tender was, however, strongly opposed by the defence team led by Obaseki’s lawyer, Mr. Ken Mozia SAN.
He argued that it was not frontloaded and even more that it was prepared on November 16, well after the case had commenced.
The judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, however, allowed it to be submitted saying he would give a final ruling on its admission during judgment.
Earlier, the plaintiffs had presented another witness, an associate professor in the Department of Economics, Emmanuel Balogun.
Prof Balogun who was the the third principal witness, PW-3, told the court in his testimony that he had never set eyes on Obaseki’s original certificate and as such could not comment on it.
He, however, presented his own original certificate to show the kind of certificate the University of Ibadan produced in the year of graduation, 1979.
GWG Judiciary Desk asserts that the decision of the plaintiffs to present Balogun was to give a guide on the nature of the certificate presented in the year, 1979.
However, an attempt by the plaintiff’s lead counsel, Chief Akin Olujimi, SAN, to replace the original certificate for a photocopy was seriously opposed by the defence team as the alleged forgery case got more technical.
Olujimi had said:
“My lord, in view of the nature of the certificate which is very valuable and important, if any mark is mistakenly made on the certificate while it is in custody of the court, it becomes void and universities does not issue replacement certificates.
“That is why we have made photocopy of the certificate which we humbly urge your lordship to substitute in the record for the original certificate”.
Mozia, SAN for Obaseki, however, opposed him saying that they wanted to make use of the tendered document in the course of their own presentation.
Prof. Balogun also told the court how he entered the University of Ibadan.
According to him:
“University of Ibadan had an admission office that dealt with issues that pertained to admission. I never worked in the admission office”, he added.
“I am an academic staff. I have never also worked in the admission office of University of Lagos.
“I will be surprised that somebody can get admission into the University of Ibadan as at then with only three O’level results or two A level results with a minimum of 2 HSC papers.
“1975 was before JAMB was established and each University had its own policy and criteria for admission, including University of Ibadan.
“Even though the Universities had their preliminary exams, but the exams were structured in such a way that either you enter through O’level or through direct entry.
“Anybody with A’ level did not have to sit for the preliminary exam”, the witness added.
Continuing, he said: “I have never set my eyes on original certificates of the 1st Defendant, Godwin Obaseki.
“As at 1976, there were different entry requirements for prelim and direct entry students.
“As at then, admission requirements varied from one faculty to the other
“The basic requirement for admission was 5 credits, including Maths and English, but anyone coming in through direct entry must have made the 5 credits and then choose two subjects in HSC.
“Generally, a certificate is signed by the Vice Chancellor and the Registrar, with a date on it.
“Generally, all certificates issued by University of Ibadan are coloured with a coloured logo on it.
“The certificate is usually larger than the normal A4 papers”.