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Alleged certificate forgery: Tribunal orders Bayelsa deputy gov to appear  before it June 4

The Bayelsa State Governorship Electoral  Petition Tribunal on Tuesday in Abuja  ordered that the state deputy governor, Senator Lawrence Oborawharievwo Ewhrudjakpo must appear before it on Thursday with the original copy of his certificate.

The  tribunal on Tuesday gave the order in Abuja following a subpoena earlier issued on Ewhrudjakpo to appear and produce the original of the exemption certificate issued to him  by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) 1998.

The subpoena was issued on the request of the candidate of the Liberation Movement (LM) in the November 16, 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa,  Vijah Opuama, who is challenging  Ewhrudjakpo’s qualification to stand election,

He is alleging that the deputy governor submitted a forged exemption certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the election.

Although Ewhrudjakpo had, by a motion filed at the Tribunal on May 17, 2020 challenged the competence of the subpoena and prayed the Tribunal to set it aside. But, his counsel Chukwuma Machukwu Ume (SAN) changed his mind   and withdrew the motion.

The senior counsel said that 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 matter did not object to the application to withdraw the motion, challenging the subpoena.

In his ruling, the tribunal’s Chairman, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo struck out the motion and ordered Ewhrudjakpo’s appearance on Thursday, the 4th of June, 2020.

 The tribunal rejected the 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 the Deputy Governor to travel in view of the lockdown.

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