Hearing in the petition filed by Sen Bassey Albert Akpan, who was present at the tribunal today, against the election victory of Gov Umo Bassey Eno commenced today.
The governorship petition panel is constituted by Justice A A Adeleye as chairman. Others are Justice Kadi Usman A. Sikudu – member 1 and Justice Buetnaan Mandi Bassi – member 2.
Ahmed Raji (SAN) who led a team of lawyers for the petitioner called 5 witnesses. Witnesses tendered their original WAEC certificates as exhibits.
Though Paul Usoro (SAN) leading other lawyers for Gov Umo Eno, and Tayo Oyetibo also leading a team of lawyers for the PDP objected to the admissibility of the documents, they however reserved the reasons for their objections for the final addresses.
The 5 certificates were admitted as exhibits and marked Exhibits P1 to P5.
Pw1 gave his name as Pastor (Hon) Hogan Ben Inyang whose WAEC certificate was obtained in 1980.
Pw2 , a bussiness man residing in Uyo said his name is Sunday Ekanem Ibuot. He told the tribunal that he attended Government Secondary School, Nto Nsek where he sat for, and obtained his certificate in 1980.
Pw3 – Nkeruwem Dickson Akpabio who identified his witness statement through his signature said he is a business man living in Uyo. He sat for the WAEC examination and obtained his certificate in 1982. He attended Methodist Secondary School, Ibiatu Ishiet.
Other witnesses are, Pw4 who gave his name as Asuquo Effiong Odiong who lives in Uyo. He sat for WAEC and obtained his certificate in 1981. He attended secondary school in Oron. Mr Odiong said that WAEC had several other centers for the same examination in 1981, just as he could not tell the number of centers for Akwa Ibom State.
Pw5 was one Ndifreke Edem Udoh who was two and a half years old in 1981 when Gov Umo Eno obtained his WAEC certificate which the petitioner is challenging as being forged. Ndifreke was, according to him, born in December 1978. He attended federal government college, sat for and obtained his WAEC certificate in 1995.
He told the tribunal that somebody wrote his witness statement on oath for him, declaring that he read it. His certificate is blueish in color, different from others which came in greenish color.
Under cross examination, all 5 witnesses made the following admissions:
*The certificates have features different from each other. While exhibit P1 has CD no 18, P2 has CD no 19, P3 CD no is 00 and P4 code no 07.
*On the face of the certificates, the headings were different. P1 has – West African Examination Council School Certificate. On P2 is written – West African Examination Council General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level.
*All the witnesses admitted that they have never worked in WAEC, and do not know the procedures leading up to the issuance of certificates by WAEC. They also insisted that it is not possible to explain the differences on the certificates, and that such knowledge is exclusive to the examination body.
- Witnesses were unanimous in rejecting any suggestion that the certificates are forged or fake as a result of the differences. It was also their individual position that the only role they played in the issuance of the certificates was to sit for the WAEC examination, confirming that their names as appeared on the certificates were transmitted to the examination body by their different schools.
Pw5 in reply to a question under cross examination said, “I have never attended any training by WAEC where they taught how to identify fake certificates.”
You are not in a position to say anything about certificates issued in 1981 because (a) you were two and a half years old, (b) you have never worked with WAEC, and (c) you know next to nothing about how WAEC issue certificates.
Yes my Lord!