INEC can’t disqualify Obaseki over certificate, says counsel

The Independent National Electoral Commission has said only the courts could disqualify Governor Godwin Obaseki, based on the certificate he presented for re-election, noting that certificates presented are regarded as authentic until proven otherwise by the court.

The electoral body equally said it was not within its purview to authenticate the originality or otherwise of documents presented to it by the governor who was seeking reelection.

Recall that the PDP admitted noticeable errors in Obaseki’s certificate but explained that the errors were inadvertent.

The PDP said, “At the time Obaseki was completing his Form CF001 in 2016, he deposed to an affidavit stating that he had misplaced the originals of all of his certificates while changing offices with the intention to apply for a re-issuance of his certificates.”

INEC, was listed as the 1st respondent in the petition filed by the Action Democratic Party, before the Edo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Benin City. In a certified true copy of its reply to the tribunal, INEC said, “it is also not the duty of the first respondent to investigate the origin of the said documents duly submitted to it.”

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Lead counsel to INEC, Mr. Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, who signed the reply said, “the information given by the 3rd respondent (Mr. Godwin Obaseki) in the affidavit and documents submitted by him as a candidate at the election in INEC’s nomination form (Form C.F. 001) are presumed manifestly true or prima facie correct until and only if the contrary is proved and/or pronounced false by an order of the court.”

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