The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has told Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State to return to the Federal High Court in Abuja for an accelerated hearing in the case of certificate forgery and perjury preferred against him.
According to reports, the trial Judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed gave assurance of his preparedness to forfeit this Christmas holiday for the speedy and timely hearing of the case even if it has to be on a daily basis
In their appeal, chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr William Edobor and the party had preferred the case of forgery and perjury preferred against Obaseki at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The plaintiffs in the suit marked FHC/B/CS/74/2020, prayed the court for an order disqualifying Obaseki from contesting the September 19 Edo governorship election on the grounds that he supplied false information on oath to INEC, an act said to be contrary to Section 31(5) and (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010.
They accused the governor of forging his university certificate presented to INEC in aid of his qualification for the governorship election in Edo State. The plaintiffs also claimed that there are discrepancies in the subject Obaseki claimed he passed in his West African Examinations Council (WAEC) exam.
Although Obaseki through his lawyer Ken Mozia, SAN applied to the Federal High Court to expunge the pleadings of the plaintiffs; an application the court declined.
Obaseki thereafter approached the appellate court to challenge the refusal and decision of the high court to expunge some paragraphs in the APC’s reply to his affidavit and applied for a stay of proceedings and for the matter to be adjourned sine die (indefinitely) at the Federal High Court pending the determination of the appeal.
However, Chief Akin Olujimi, counsel to the APC who argued for the party urged the court to dismiss Obaseki’s motion for indefinite adjournment of the certificate forgery suit on the grounds that it was a pre-election matter and was bound by time.
Olujimi contended that since the case had a life span of 180 days that would terminate by January 2021, it was in the interest of justice for the court to continue with proceedings.
But the application by Governor Obaseki for a permanent stay of prosecution scaled through on Wednesday and hearing of the main suit was stalled, forcing the APC to return to the Appeal Court in Abuja.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed had in the ruling on Wednesday said the court was not in doubt that an appeal had been lodged and both counsel conceded.
As to whether to proceed with the main suit or stay proceedings, the Judge said, “this court is not prepared to go on a collision course with the court of appeal and the suit is adjourned” to allow the appellate court determine the case before it.