MURI/ABENEMI AND THE DILEMMA OF CERTIFICATE FORGERY: A WARNING TO KOGI VOTERS
In a legal battle drawn by the Democratic People’s Party (DPP), the Social Democratic Party deputy governor candidate was accused of result falsification. That seems like a coincidence in the camp of the SDP and a common denominator, as both the party flag bearer, Muritala Yakubu Ajaka, and his deputy governor candidate are alleged to be wearing a common badge, leading to the likely disqualification of the joint ticket. This situation seems to be giving the Kogi, particularly Igala voters a stern warning signal.
Not long ago, Hon. Muritala Yakubu Ajaka was directly accused of certificate forgery following the decision of the famous Barewa College to testify to his not being a student of the college in the WAEC records of the academic institution. Till date, there has been no clear denial in refutation of the allegation, leaving the people in confusion.
Curiously, the deputy SDP party candidate, Hon. Samuel Tanti Abenemi, has been accused of certificate forgery on a similar ordinary-level GCE certificate, thereby putting the party ticket in trouble. Needless to say, the dust raised by the allegation against Muritala Yakubu Ajaka and his WAEC certificate has yet to settle.
The lawsuit, which was filed at the High Court in Lokoja, Kogi State, alleges that the Social Democratic Party (SDP) provided false information on Form EC9, a critical document in the electoral process. According to the DPP, it claimed that Hon. Abenemi Samuel Tanti misrepresented his academic qualifications by attaching a forged GCE result with serial number 14709101, allegedly obtained in December 1979. The outcome of the lawsuit could have significant implications for his political career and the SDP’s prospects in the upcoming election on November 11, 2023.
The crux of the matter revolves around the alleged forgery of academic credentials, which is a serious offence under Nigerian law. The lawsuit cites Section 158 (2) of the Penal Code, which specifies the punishment for such an offense. The case is fixed for Friday, October 13, 2023. Section 158 (2) of the Penal Code states:
“Any person who, with intent to deceive or defraud, falsely makes, alters, forges, or counterfeits any document or writing capable of being used to signify any matter or thing, or who makes use of any such document or writing, knowing the same to be false, with intent to defraud, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven (7) years or with a fine or with both”.
Muritala Yakubu Ajaka has yet to publicly respond to these allegations, as weighty as they sound. Citizens are divided in their opinions on the matter. More alarming and surprising is the fact that the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has yet to issue an official statement regarding the allegations and the impending lawsuit.
The legal proceedings are expected to be closely monitored by political observers and the general public, who are not only anxious but curious, as the matter has the potential to impact the outcome of the gubernatorial election of November 11.
As the legal battle unfolds at the High Court in Lokoja, questions about the authenticity of academic credentials and the credibility of the SDP’s candidates and campaign will likely be the focus of discussions among the people and electorates of Kogi State. The lawsuit also serves as a reminder of the importance of transparency and accuracy in the electoral process and underscores the consequences of alleged misrepresentation by political candidates.
In recent years, INEC has been tasked with ensuring that the electoral process remains fair and impartial as it investigates the allegations against the SDP party. It is obvious that Muritala Yakubu Ajaka will not be on the ballot, judging from the discrepancies witnessed on the certificates submitted by the SDP party governorship candidate. From all indications, the issue of certificate forgery has become a recurring decimal, as both Muritala Yakubu Ajaka and Sam Ranti Abenemi edged closer to disqualification. The disqualification of their joint ticket seems inevitable, as it is arduous to ignore the potential legal consequences and ethical dilemma that stem from two candidates entangled in certificate forgery controversies.
Knowing that Muri and his running mate will face this imminent disqualification, the people of the Kogi East who are undeniably the majority must be careful at this point and be decisive in their political alliance else, they are pushed to the back seat in the November 11th election when the forerunner of the ‘Anya-aduga’ mantra is eventually forced out of the race in the days ahead.
Political analysts have already started bearing their minds on the situation on ground, making this expository pertinent for Kogi voters. Let the people be aware now and let them realign with any impeccable candidate from the region with the capacity to champion their course. Anything short of this, Kogi voters believing in SDP will frustrate the chances of a competent person retaking power because they will not have a candidate to vote for.
Written By Hakeem Alhassan
From Lokoja, Kogi State