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Tribunal dismisses forgery suit against Bayelsa lawmaker

bayelsa mapTHE Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital has struck out a certificate forgery suit brought against Senator Foster Ogola of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The panel arrived took the decision having taken the briefs of all counsel a fortnight ago.

Senator Ogola was declared winner of the Bayelsa West Senatorial District in the May 28 election but the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Hon. Eddi Julius and this partyare challenging his victory, saying he was not qualified to represent the district.

The petitioners had joined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the PDP as co-defendants in the complaint filed on April 18.

Julius had told the tribunal that Ogola presented a forged First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) to INEC to enable him contest the election and urged the Commission to withdraw his Certificate of Return and present it to him.

In dismissing the application, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Chikere Annie Ononneze said it lacked evidence and subsequently upheld the election of Ogola.

The tribunal had earlier taken the closing arguments of both parties but the plaintiffs only presented Julius as witness and failed to turn in the other nine witnesses or any evidence before the tribunal.

The respondents had urged the court to strike out the case as the plaintiffs had failed to prove their case and that there were no issues of substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.

APC and Julius were represented by Somina Johnbull while INEC and the PDP fielded Ofodile (SAN) and Joe’Kyari Gadzama respectively.

Addressing journalists after the judgment, the counsel to the PDP and INEC commended the tribunal for the ruling.



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