2023: Court Urged To Disqualify Gombe Governor, Deputy

The Federal High Court in Abuja has been urged to disqualify the Gombe Governor, Mohammed Yahaya and his Deputy, Jatau Daniel, from contesting the 2023 governorship election for allegedly submitting forged certificates.

The request forms part of the reliefs being sought in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1301/2022 filed The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its Gombe governorship candidate, Muhammad Barde and Hon. Timothy Danlele, filed through their lawyers, Arthur Okafor (SAN) and Johnson Usman (SAN).

Listed as defendants in the suit filed on August 2, 2022 are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mohammed Yahaya and Jatau Daniel.

The plaintiffs are claiming among others, that Yahaya and Daniel submitted forged documents and certificates to INEC which was published on 22nd July, 2022.

In their originating summons, the plaintiffs further alleged that Daniel bears multiple names in his educational certificates without a deed poll and any valid change of name attached to his Form EC-9 submitted to INEC.

They identified some of the certificates to include: Certificate of primary Education, bearing the name – Manassah Jatau; the West African examination Council School Certificate, with the name -Daniel Manassah J.

The plaintiffs also referred to a University of Maiduguri Certificate , with the name – Manassah Daniel JJatau National Youth Service Corp Certificate, with the name -Daniel Manassah.

They stated that Yahaya, in 2022, submitted FORM EC-9 (affidavit of personal particulars of person seeking election into the office of Governor of Gombe State) where he stated that he worked in Bauchi State Investment Company Limited in 1984, A.Y.U & Co. Ltd between 1985 to 2003 as against what he deposed to in 2018 as working in Bauchi Investment Company Limited in 1985, A.Y.U & Co. Ltd between 1980-1990.

The plaintiffs added that Yahaya, in 2018 while presenting his personal particulars in aid of his qualification to participate in the Gombe State governorship election stated in his INEC FORM CF001 that he worked with A.Y.U & Co. Ltd from 1980 – 1990, while in 2022, the same 3rd defendant stated in his INEC FORM EC-9 that he worked with A.Y.U. & Co Ltd from 1985 – 2003.”

They added that, by his INEC FORM CF001 Yahaya has stated under oath that in 1980 -1990, he worked with A.Y.U. & Co Ltd, however, in 2022, the Governor stated again on oath via his INEC FORM EC-9 that he worked with the same A.Y.U. & Co. Ltd from 1985 – 2003.

The plaintiffs stated that Daniel, who claimed to have worked with the Nigeria Army from August 1979 to July 1980 has submitted an NYSC discharge certificate that stated that he commenced his National Youth service in August 1979 and completed same in July 1979.

They contended that from Paragraph D of the Daniel’s INEC Form EC-9, he claimed to have worked with the Nigerian Army from July 1979 till August 1980 and his reason for leaving in July 1980, was for the National Youth Service.

The plaintiffs contended further that in his INEC FORM EC-9, Daniel commenced his NYSC after he left the Nigeria Army in July 1980, but he submitted an NYSC Certificate that stated he commenced his National Youth Service in August 1979 and ended in July 1979.

They argued that FORM EC-9 being an affidavit on oath, both the Governor and his Deputy (Yahaya and Daniel) are not qualified to contest the election, thereby urging the court to disqualify them.

The plaintiffs cited some Supreme Court decisions in aid of their contention that Inuwa and Daniel, having deposed to FORMS EC-9, which constitutes certificates, and making false statement in it, amount to submitting forged certificates which is a disqualifying ground under Sections 177(d) and 182(1J) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended).

The case is yet to be assigned for hearing.

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