Tribunal summons Bayelsa Dep Gov over certificate forgery

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The Bayelsa State Governorship Election Tribunal has ordered the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo to appear before it on Thursday to produce the original copy of his disputed certificate.

The tribunal’s order is in furtherance of a subpoena earlier issued on Ewhrudjakpo to appear and produce the original of the exemption certificate issued to him in 1998 by the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC.

The subpoena was issued on the request by the candidate of Liberation Movement, LM, in the November 16, 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa, Vijah Opuama, who is challenging Ewhrudjakpo’s qualification to stand election, alleging that he (Ewhrudjakpo) submitted a forged exemption certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, before the election.

Although Ewhrudjakpo had, by a motion filed on May 17, challenged the competence of the subpoena and prayed the tribunal to set it aside, his team of lawyers, led by Chukwuma Machukwu Ume, SAN, on Tuesday changed its mind and applied to withdraw the motion.

The lawyer said his client was no longer challenging the subpoena and was ready to attend the tribunal’s sitting.

Lawyers to the petitioner, Pius Dande Pius and other parties in the case did not object to the application to withdraw the motion which challenging the subpoena.

The Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo struck out the motion and ordered Ewhrudjakpo’s appearance on Thursday.

The tribunal rejected his lawyer’s request that Ewhrudjakpo be allowed to appear next week on the grounds that since Bayelsa State does not have an airport, it would be difficult for him to travel in view of the lockdown.