An aspirant in the just concluded governorship primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State has asked the Federal High Court in Uyo to disqualify the governorship candidate of the party, Umo Eno, for allegedly presenting forged certificates.
The aspirant, Akan Okon, said Mr Eno was cleared in error by the party’s screening committee to participate in the primary.
According to the court documents, Mr Okon claimed Mr Eno altered his date of birth resulting in three different dates of birth – 24/25 April 1964 and January 1, 1964.
He argued that the date of birth presented by Mr Eno to the State House of Assembly when he was screened as a commissioner nominee was different from the one on his voter’s card and the one he received best wishes during his 58th birthday anniversary.
He also alleged that the party’s governorship candidate presented forged voter’s cards and two forged West African School Certificates of 1981 and 1983 to the screening committee.
He stated that the examination number and the ”boldened signatures” of the principal officers of the examination body contained in Mr Eno’s certificate of 1983 and 1981 respectively do not correspond with the ones issued by the examination body for the said year.
He, therefore, urged the court to disqualify Mr Eno and declare him the winner of the primary.
When contacted, Anietie Usen, the spokesperson of Mr Eno campaign committee, dismissed the allegations as a “political gimmick”.
“If the man (Mr Eno) did not forge his certificate to do his first degree, second degree, is it now that he’s at the tail end of his third degree that he will forge his certificate,” Mr Usen said, adding that the allegations were not true.
Borono Bassey, the spokesperson of PDP in the state, told PREMIUM TIMES that the party was yet to be served on the documents and would respond accordingly after being served.
‘Malicious smear campaign’
Responding to the suit, Maintain Peace Movement (MPM), the umbrella campaign organisation for Mr Eno, described it as an “utter vicious and malicious smear campaign of desperado”.
“The plaintiff, Mr Okon is displaying an extreme and classic case of desperation as it’s challenging to see how he can sustain the suit in the face of impeccable credentials of Mr Eno,” Emmanuel Enoidem, chairman of MPM said in a statement in Uyo on Thursday.
Mr Enoidem said the aspirant through his brother, Anietie Okon, a former Senator, had petitioned the party National Working Committee (NWC) through the party National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu demanding the disqualification of the party’s governorship candidate.
Mr (Anietie) Okon in the said petition posted on Facebook accused the party’s national chairman, Mr Ayu, of ignoring his letter.
But the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, told our reporter that the chairman does not ignore any official communication to his office although it has to undergo a process.
The governorship primary
The PDP in Akwa Ibom State held its governorship primary on May 25 in Uyo where Mr Eno who polled 993 votes was declared winner.
Mr Okon who also participated in the primary held at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium scored three votes.
A total of 13 aspirants were cleared to participate in the primary but two of the aspirants, Bassey Albert, a senator and Onofiok Luke a House of Representative member boycotted it, citing court order and non-participation of statutory delegates in the exercise.
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