BY: Eniola Olatunji.
The political cum legal imbroglio rocking the oil rich Balyesa State of Nigeria may be far from being settled as a pending legal work may be exhumed to make a circus show of the state the Patmos Media Line can reveal.
The just sworn in Deputy Governor of the state has been facing a case of criminal forgery since last year.
The Deputy Governor from the stable of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Lawrence Erudjakpo is alleged to have forged two National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificates while he was a serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from Balyesa West Senatorial District.
A Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the arrest of Senator Lawrence for criminal forgery but he somehow evaded arrest by staying out of circulation. The case is still pending in court.
A search shows that the Vanguard Newspapers of 28th November, 2019 had reported that the pre-election suit was filed against him by Benjamin Youdiowei, an All Progressive Congress (APC) chieftain in Balyesa.
The news report said Lawrence had presented a forged NYSC exemption certificate with code no 139708 dated 2nd February 1998 on his nomination form to INEC.
When Patmos Media Line (PML) contacted the NYSC Headquarters in Abuja, a source in the office of the Director-General said “we do not comment on cases already before the court more so we have been receiving calls from political parties also on your investigation from Friday. It is now more sensitive than before”.
This lethal issue of certificate forgery had forced a former Minister of Finance, out of office of which President MuhammaduBuhari had said his Minister was technically knocked out by a judicial blow.
Buhari’s Minister of Finance, Mrs. KemiAdeosun who earlier was Ogun State Commissioner for Finance bowed out of office for similar offence related to that of Senator Lawrence. The question is, will immunity cover him as Deputy Governor as the case was tactically delayed because of his persistent absence in court.
APC Chairman, Adams Oshiomole had vowed to revisit the case of the PDP victory at the eleventh hour when Lyon was already rehearsing his swearing in before the Supreme Court awarded victory to the next party because Lyon’s deputy had certificates with different names.
One of the contestants of the PDP primaries, TimiAlaibe is said to be heading for the court next week to claim that he should be the one to be sworn in. Former Rivers State Governor, RotimiAmaechi strolled into office in the way Alaibe is seeking.
This in essence means that the political ‘wahala’ in Balyesa State is unresolved. The New Governor, had pleaded at his inauguration late Friday night that all Balyesans should forgive one another to move the state to the next level.