Posted: July 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

2011 ELECTIONS: SUSWAM FORGERY CASE RE-EMERGES
• as Saror, Ugbah petition INEC
It all started when a Kaduna based magazine, Power Steering, published
a story concerning one Chigozie Ukpabi, a former staff of West African
Examination Council (WAEC) and Governor Gabriel Suswam over a
certificate forgery matter. This issue which was initially taken
lightly soon became not only the toast of the press but every
politically minded Benue indigene
In the build up to the elections, Gov. Suswam’s only contender to the
PDP ticket, Mr. Terver Kakih, filed a court case against the governor
based on this premise aimed at restraining the party from fielding
Suswam as candidate. The case which has since reached a deadlock after
the withdrawal and refilling of the case in Abuja to enable an
accelerated hearing of the case.
In as much as the court case was received with so much frenzy within
camps opposed to Suswam’s re-election bid, the excitement was soon to
whittle down with the thrill of the campaigns taking centre stage.
With the attention of all who saw the certificate saga as the
governor’s Achilles’ heel concentrating and dwelling their energies on
democratically unseating Suswam, the certificate issue was laid to
rest, it was assumed settled and done with.
But like the proverbial cat with nine lives the certificate saga has
refused to die. With the declaration and swearing-in of Gov. Suswam,
this hydra-headed dragon has awakened courtesy of those who also lay
claim to Suswam’s purported mandate.
Chief amongst those who have awakened this issue is Sen. Daniel Saror,
a two time gubernatorial aspirant and flag bearer of the All Nigeria
Peoples Party (ANPP), in the just concluded elections. Saror who had
in 2007 taken Suswam to court to re-claim a mandate he believed was
stolen but decided to settle out of court after much persuasion from
prominent indigenes of the state, is back in court with Suswam. This
time the two time senator is petitioning the Independent National
Electoral Commission (INEC) that Rt. Hon. Gabriel Suswam was
unqualified to contest in the April 27 polls.
‘that the 1st respondent, Hon. Gabriel Torwua Suswam was at the time
of the elections not qualified to contest the election, having
presented a forged certificate to the INEC, the 3rd respondent
contrary to Section 182 (1) (j) of the constitution of the federal
republic of Nigeria, 1999’. He petitioned.
Saror in his petition prays that INEC who is also joined in the suit
as 3rd respondent , disqualify and nullify the April 27 polls and
restrict the PDP which is also the 2nd respondent from fielding Suswam
or any other candidate in the subsequent election.
The former Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, submitted that
Governor Suswam graduated from Government College Makurdi, in 1982
with three results that vary in subject and grade.
But Prof. Saror is not the only person to have filed petitions against
the governor on certificate grounds with the aim of nullifying the
elections and disqualifying Suswam.
Another professor, the 1st runner up in the just concluded polls,
Prof. Steve Ugba is also in court to reclaim his mandate. The petition
which is based on three grounds, submits in his 3rd submission that
Gov. Gabriel Suswam forged certificates submitted to INEC to enable
him contest the April 27 polls.
‘ the first respondent was not qualified and/or was disqualified to
contest and to be elected or returned as governor of Benue State
since the 1st respondent has contravened the mandatory provision of
the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as
amended)by presenting to the Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC), a forged certificate or forged certificates
purported to have originated from, issued by, or attributed to the
West African Examination Council (WAEC), sequel to the May/June Joint
School Certificate and General Certificate (O’level) Examination. It
reads.
Ugbah who also submitted in his 1st and 2nd prayers that Suswam was
not duly elected and had rigged in several local governments, also
prays that the court nullifies or declares Prof. Ugba winner of the
last general elections.
It will be apt to mention that the Gov. Suswam is already engaged in a
running legal battle with the publisher of the magazine and the said
Mr. Ukpabi , in a bid to clear this controversy. The governor has also
displayed originals of his results on the Benue State website
(www.benue.org), for people to confirm. This, according to the
ministry of information was done so that people interested may not be
misled by those believed to be detractors of Gov. Suswam.
Also in the governor’s defense, his Special Adviser on Media and
Public Affairs, Dr. Cletus Akwaya explained that though the governor
had lost his GCE certificates sometime in 2005, WAEC was immediately
notified for the issuance of a certified true copy but the governor is
yet to receive the response of the examination body. He said the
governor’s records are straight and verifiable, adding that Suswam’s
credentials as a lawyer, scholar, politician and public servant are
quite outstanding.
‘Rt. Hon. Gabriel Suswam is a bona fide lawyer, having been called to
the bar in 1991. He has since then discharged several duties and
therefore, his professional standing as a lawyer is not in doubt. We
want the public to totally disregard the reports being published, as
it is the work of black mail and mischief aimed at smearing the
governor’s hard earned reputation. Akwaya advised.
With Suswam and his legal team battling to answer these petitions and
the courts yet to clear this issue, it is pertinent to ask, will this
be Suswam’s albatross or will he survive this hurdle like the survivor
he has proven to be.

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