Authorities of the University of Ibadan, on Tuesday, cleared Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State of alleged forgery of degree certificate brought against him by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and one of its chieftains, Williams Edobor.
The degree certificate was confirmed to have been issued Obaseki by the University in 1979 after his formal graduation.
The Deputy Chief Registrar, Legal of the University, Mr Abayomi Samuel Ajayi, the second defend witness (DW2) who testified on subpoena told the Federal High Court in Abuja that the governor graduated from the University.
Led in evidence by Obaseki’s counsel, Ken Mozia (SAN), the witness adopted his 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, the 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 a student in 1976 through the direct entry and that he graduated in the year 1979, during the tenure of Prof Tekena Tamino as Vice-Chancellor and S.J Okudu as Registrar.
Under cross-examination by Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN), counsel to the APC, the witness insisted that the fact that some parts of the photocopy of the certificate were cut-off by the photocopying machine, because of the largeness of the certificate did not invalidate the originality and genuineness of the original certificate issued Obaseki.
The witness said: “I will not regard the photocopy 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.
Earlier in his own 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 which Obaseki 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 admitted 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.
Obaseki’s former party, the APC and one of its chieftains, Williams Edobor had dragged Obaseki to court for allegedly forging the university certificate he submitted to INEC as part of his educational qualification.
Other defendants in the suit are the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and INEC.
The APC closed its case on Monday after calling six witnesses amongst whom are two Associate Professors who graduated from the University of Ibadan in 1978 and 1979.
The matter was adjourned till today for continuation.