Election Tribunal: Etteh Absent In Court, Declines To Enter Defence In Multiple Forgery Allegations


News Investigators/ The Election Tribunal in sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State at its resumed hearing witnessed a mild drama Thursday with more revelations emerging on how the defendant, Okpulupm Etteh obtained OND Certificate in a non existing private polytechnic in Aba in 1992 before getting his WAEC Certificate in 2002.

The matter presided over by Justice Kudirat Jose involves the dispute between Mr Etteh and Hon Eseme Eyiboh in the last National Assembly polls.

The drama started when the 1st Respondent, Mr Etteh was to open his defense after the petitioner Mr Eyiboh had closed his case on Monday, but defendant was failed to appear before the tribunal even though he had earlier said he will testify and defend himself as the only witness.

Testifying before the tribunal, one Ozemene Goodluck James who appeared as the Registrar of Temple Gate Polytechnic, Aba ( formerly School of Management Technology), presented documents letter, attestation letter, admission form, result after completion of the program, ND Certificate, application he wrote to get the certificate to back up his claim that Mr Etteh attended the school.

However, during crossed examination by counsel to the petitioner, Uyo-obong Jumbo Udom Esq, Mr James claimed that Mr Etteh gained admission into the Polytechnic in 1990 two years after his Primary School (FSLC) certificate in 1988.

He also admitted before the tribunal that Etteh got WAEC in 2002, ten years after he got his National Diploma.

On further cross examination on the status of Etteh’s claimed institution that awarded the National Diploma the he filed with INEC, it was revealed that the institution was not only unaccredited by National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), but not in existent.

It was revealed that the school was not also on the list of accredited Polytechnics by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE). Till date, neither School of Management Technology nor the later claimed Temple Gate Polytechnic is found in the list of accredited institution.

Efforts by the 2nd Respondent (PDP) to confer legitimacy on the institution in tendering their governing council attendance register was disallowed and objected by the Tribunal.

In another testimony at the Tribunal by a second witness and Deputy Registrar, Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State, – Alexander Anukam, tendered documents that included, IT, letter of admission for HND, certificate in marketing from Polytechnic Oko, pre-HND results from Oko, statement of results from Institute of Management and Technology, Aba.

However, counsel to the Petitioner – Jumbo Udom Esq objected to the documents, noting that there is no admission letter to back up the claim. He also objected to the pre- HND result and submitted that there is no result like that for admission into any tertiary institution in the country, not to talk of a Federal Polytechnic like Oko.

Akaninyene Inyang, Deputy Director of Examination Certification Division, Ministry of Education, Akwa Ibom State, also testified as another witness to the PDP in the case. He tendered before the tribunal, First School Leaving Certificate, FSLC, which the ministry issued in 1998 to one Okponette, Okpolump Ikpong after successful participation in the Primary School examination as a private candidate. He submitted that the document was not forged.

But when confronted with the FSLC result and the birth certificate as filed before INEC, Inyang was taken unawares and sweating at the witness box as he could not reconcile the inconsistency in both the name on the birth certificate and the name on FSLC issued by his institution.

The fourth witness from the People’s Democratic Party in the state, Mr. Oku Johnny, who identified himself as an administrative officer, also testified before the tribunal. He admitted submitting the disputed documents to INEC.

It would be recalled that the National Board for Technical Education, NBTE, on Monday denied existence of the School of Management and Technology, Aba.

It would equally be recalled that the Petitioner, Eyiboh approached the Tribunal that Etteh presented forged certificates to INEC, thus making him unqualified to have contested the election for Eket Federal Constituency seat. Hon Eyiboh’s petition is premised on the single ground of eligibility.

On Monday during the resume hearing, Eyiboh subpoenaed the National Board for Technical Education, NBTE, an agency empowered to approve, regulate, accredit and sanction Polytechnics, Monotechnics and related institutions.

The NBTE was represented by its director of legal, Rakiya Shuaibu, Esq who confirmed the non existence of the school that issued Etteh the diploma certificate.


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