The Bayelsa State governorship election tribunal sitting in Abuja, yesterday ordered the state deputy governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo to appear before it on Thursday to produce the original copy of his disputed certificate.
The three-man tribunal had earlier issued a subpoena on Ewhrudjakpo to appear and produce the original of the exemption certificate issued to him in 1998 by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
This was sequel to the request by the candidate of the Liberation Movement (LM) in the November 16, 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa, Vijah Opuama.
The petitioner is challenging Ewhrudjakpo’s qualification to stand election on allegations that he (Ewhrudjakpo) submitted a forged exemption certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the election.
During yesterday’s proceedings, counsel to the deputy governor, Chukwuma Machukwu Ume (SAN) applied to withdraw an earlier motion filed on May 17, 2020 urging the court to set aside the subpoena on the ground that it was incompetent.
Ume explained that his client was no longer challenging the subpoena and was ready to attend the tribunal’s sitting. There was no opposition to the application by counsel to the petitioner, Pius Dande Pius and other parties in the case.
In his ruling, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo struck out the motion and ordered Ewhrudjakpo’s appearance on Thursday. Although counsel to the Ewhirudjakpo urged the court to allow his client to appear next week in view of the lockdown, he was overruled by the tribunal.