The electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has said the National Youth Service Corps had cleared the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, of alleged forgery of his exemption certificate.
Counsel to INEC, Ibrahim Bawa (SAN), said this before the governorship election petition tribunal of Bayelsa state sitting in Abuja of Friday, adding that it is the reason why he decided not to call any defence witness in the case.
Recall that the Liberation Movement candidate in the November 16, 2019 governorship election, Vijah Opuama had asked the tribunal to disqualify Ewhrujakpo, citing forgery of his NYSC discharge certificate.
INEC had in February this year deregistered Liberation Movement for not meeting the criteria to exist as a political party, a decision that has been affirmed by both High and Appeal courts.
Opuama also urged the tribunal to cancel the November 16, 2019 governorship election and order a fresh poll before closing his case on June 9.
The Justice Ibrahim Sirajo-led three-man tribunal had on Thursday admitted as exhibit a letter from the NYSC to the Department of State Services confirming that it had corrected a spelling error on Ewrhrudakpo’s exemption certificate which the petitioner challenged as forged.
At the resumed hearing in the case on Friday, INEC’s lawyer, Bawa, said there was no need to call any witness since NYSC had admitted it issued the disputed certificate.
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party’s lawyer, Mr Emmanuel Enoedem, said the NYSC letter had exonerated Ewhrudjakpo.
The tribunal adjourned till June 17 for further hearing. The Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri, and his deputy will take their turns to call their defence.