The authority of the Rivers State University on Wednesday confirmed that the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, was its student and graduated from the institution in the 1996/1997 academic session.
The Directorate of Legal Services of the school, Fyne Amanyie, said this at the state’s Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja, where Ewhrudjakpo’s qualification to contest the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state is being questioned.
The petitioner, Vijah Opuama, who contested the governorship election on the platform of the Liberation Movement, a party that was later deregistered by the Independent National Electoral Commission in February this year, had asked the tribunal to disqualify Ewhrujakpo for allegedly forging a National Youth Service Corps exemption certificate.
Amanyie, a witness subpoenaed to testify in the case as the fourth respondent witness, explained that the deputy governor graduated from the institution in 1996/1997 academic session, with the convocation ceremony taking place in 1998.
The witness, who was led in evidence by Ewhirudjakpo’s lawyer, Mr Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume (SAN), also talked about the controversy surrounding the deputy governor’s NYSC exemption certificate.
Amanyi said Ewhirudjakpo’ surname was wrongly spelt as Ewhrudjakpa on his degree certificate.
“He wrote a letter to the university dated January 1, 2000 complaining that his name was wrongly spelt in his degree certificate and that it should be corrected.
“The 4th respondent applied to the university for the correction of his name through the Exams/Record Department.”
The witness tendered some documents, including the certified true copies of the spread sheet of results of the 1996 part-time students of the university and the convocation brochure of the school.
Earlier, Ewhirudjakpo told the tribunal that there was an error in his NYSC exemption certificate as issued by the NYSC. He said he applied for the correction of the error and it was done.
Others, who testified were a Principal Registrar II with the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Musa Garba, who tendered some documents, including an enrolled order of the court; and the Director of Legal Services of the Department of State Services, Ibrahim Adbulsalami, who tendered copies of a correspondence between the agency and the NYSC in respect with the forgery allegations levelled against Ewhirudjakpo.
Under cross-examination, the DSS admitted that the deputy governor was not invited during its investigation into the allegation.
The three-man tribunal, led by Justice Mohammed Sirajo, adjourned for adoption of final addresses.
It said the date would be communicated to parties