Justice Agatha A. Okeke of the Federal High Court (FHC), Uyo, Akwa Ibom State will listen to the case between Akan Okon and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Umo Eno and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on July 18, 2022. New issues have, however, been thrown up with the filling of his defense by the defendant, Pastor Umo Eno.
Mr. Okon, a contestant in the May 25, 2022 governorship primary of the PDP in Akwa Ibom has dragged Pastor Eno, the winner of the said election to the Uyo Judicial Division of the FHC, alleging that Eno is parading a forged West African Examination Council (WAEC) certificate in his bid to actualize his governorship ambition.
The court sat on June 21, 2022 but adjourned to July 18 primarily to give the defendants ample time to file their responses to Akan Okon’s Writ of Summons. Akan Okon had told the court to disqualify Eno based on discrepancies in his WAEC result, Permanent Voter’s Card and Date of Birth, while also praying that he be declared winner having come second in the primary.
Pastor Umo Eno, through his counsels filed his defence on Wednesday July 6, a day to the deadline given to him by the court to enter his defence.
Eno failed to file copies of the WAEC certificates he submitted to public institutions, especially the PDP in the run up to the primary.
Documents filed by Pastor Eno are ‘Confirmation of Result’ for his 1981 and 1983 certificates.
The new documents filed by Eno and his team have, however, opened more loopholes that could be exploited by the plaintiff through his counsels in court.
Dated June 27, 2022, the two ‘Confirmation of Result’ documents were addressed to the Attorney General/Commissioner for Justice of Akwa Ibom State.
For the 1981 result, the first disparity noted was in the name of the school. While the certificate carries Victory High School, Ikeja as the exam centre, the Confirmation of Result bears Victory High School ‘1’, Ikeja.
In the 1981 Certificate, Religious Knowledge is recorded as one of the four subjects, while Bible Knowledge is one of the six subjects in the Confirmation of Result.
In the 1981 certificate, the candidate’s number 15520232 has no punctuation mark inserted in between the digits, but the 1981 confirmation of result has 15520/232 as candidate number with a slash (/).
Just like in the case of the 1981 certificate and confirmation of results, the main certificate of the 1983 WAEC has 15725119 (without punctuation sign) as candidate number while his confirmation of result for the same year has candidate number (15725/119) with a slash.
Putting the 1981 and 1983 confirmation of result side-by-side, as noted in the report by a Newspaper, the 1983 confirmation of result has Eno Umo Bassey as candidate’s name, while the 1981 version has Bassey Umo Eno as candidate’s name. This probably is what prompted representatives of the examination body who signed the confirmation of result to clearly put the addressee (Attorney General) on notice via a caveat in the letter thus: “You will have to satisfy yourself that he/she and Bassey Umo Eno of our records are one and the same person.”
Further studies on the documents showed that two different WAEC letterheads were used for the two ‘Confirmation of Result’ documents. The document ‘confirming’ Eno’s 1983 GCE O/L had a triangular-shaped stamp, while the 1981 Confirmation of Result document had the well-known circular (with the sun-like shaped logo) stamp of WAEC with one embossed just beneath the candidate’s photograph and the other beside the signature of Mrs. Omotosho.
For the 1983 confirmation of result, Omotosho M. O. (Mrs.) signed for/on behalf of the Head of National Office with the Results Officer, Adekunle R.O (Mrs.) signing for herself. The 1981 confirmation of result has the signature of Anerua P.O (Mrs.) as Results and Certificates Officer while Omotosho M. O (Mrs.) still signed for the Head of National Office.
Offering clarity on the subject, a staunch supporter of the embattled PDP Governorship Candidate who pleaded anonymity said that the difference in the letterhead and signatures is because the unit of WAEC in charge of regular school/internal (also called May/June) candidates is different from the GCE (private/external) candidates also known as November/December. He said this explains why one letterhead had a footnote while the other doesn’t have, while there are also different persons signing as the Results Officer.
Recall that in an interview held on June 23, 2022 anchored by ace broadcaster, Michael Bush, Pastor Eno said he had since filed copies of his certificates in court, stating that the onus is on Akan Okon to bring out the originals and prove that what he submitted are fake.
“It will be unthinkable for anyone to say I forged a WAEC certificate. I went to school, I never had to forge. I like the fact that it is in court. I have filed my certificate, let Akan Okon prove that I forged the certificate, let him bring the original one,” he stated in the two-hour interview.
Pastor Umo Eno has not stated that his certificates are missing, hence he opted for Confirmation of Result since his certificate is under scrutiny. Pastor Eno didn’t file the contentious certificate(s), but only submitted the confirmation of result to court. To this end, the confirmation of result which Umo Eno filed is to confirm that the WAEC certificates Akan Okon presented to the court as fake are actually genuine. But the discrepancies in the data recorded in the Certificates and the Confirmation of Results may provide legal bottlenecks for him.