It was drama yesterday in the Federal High Court, Uyo as Mr. Akan Okon, the defeated 2023 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant fumbled in court when he admitted accusing the PDP governorship candidate, Pastor Umo Eno without meeting or getting any concrete evidence directly from WAEC or an expert opinion.
The Plaintiff, Okon in his oral testimony told the court that despite not having any prior training on Forensic analyses and sciences, and despite not contacting the West African Examinations Council, (WAEC), he had presumed that Pastor Eno’s documents submitted in photocopies to the PDP screening panel were forged. Okon said this yesterday as Counsel to Eno, Chief Usoro Usoro, SAN squeezed him (Okon) for hours in the witness box as hearing resumed yesterday at the
Federal High court in Uyo in the suit FHC/UY/CS/110/2022, instituted by Okon against Pastor Eno and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Okon who lost in the governorship primaries of the PDP on May 25, 2022, is asking the court to disqualify Pastor Eno over allegations of possession of forged credentials.
During the resumption of hearing on the case on Tuesday, Okon who was in the witness box as witness in chief, was confronted with all the allegations he raised in his amended motion on notice and statement on oath before the court.
Okon had posited that all candidates writing WAEC in a given year have the same serial index numbers and that Eno’s number in the 1981 certificate indicated 15520232 when every other certificate of all the candidates in 1981 began with 15.
When asked if he knew all the students that wrote examination in December 1983, he answered in the negative. He also admitted that he spoke to very few of those who wrote WASC examination that year.
He claimed he saw a result of a candidate who wrote in Ikeja and gave the name as Akan Bassey but confessed he never sent the said Akan Bassey’s results to a forensic expert to analyse, neither could he remember the candidate’s center. He also admits that he never made any contact with the school he alleged Eno forged its certificate.
Okon linked this assumption with his banking experience and told the court that all bank notes of same year carry the same index serial numbers. He was however dumbfounded when two five hundred naira notes produced by the CBN within the same year where displayed before him and he admitted that the serial numbers were completely different.
Mild drama ensued when the court was urged to stand down for one hour to enable Okon produce the contacts of one Ademola Alakija who he claims is the leader of a group, Association for Advancement of Democracy in Nigeria (AADN) and another Victor Anwana who he claims introduced him to Alakija in April 2022.
Okon had told the court that he did not have to contact WAEC to authenticate the veracity of Pastor Eno’s certificates as he did so indirectly through the group and he was relying on the letter written to the AADN by WAEC which confirms that Umo Eno has faked WAEC Certificates.
The court however erupted in laughter when Okon told the court that he was not sure if the Alakija was still alive since he last had interaction with him in April. He also told the court that his phone that contained such phone numbers are at home and not with him in court.
He further told the court that he does not belong to the group and has no copy of the letter the group purportedly wrote to WAEC. In his oral evidence Okon pleaded that the phone contacts or address of the AADN which he used to gain access to WAEC, is at home and he needs 30 minutes to get them, but his counsel, Okey Amaechi opposed the request.
Despite the opposition by his counsel on the additional information on the group demanded by the counsel to the 1st and 2nd Defendants, Paul Usoro, SAN, the court ruled that the plaintiff (Okon) be given one hour to go and he the needed additional information to aid the case.
When the court resumed sitting later in the day, Okon gave the address of the alleged NGO,Association for Advancement of Democracy in Nigeria, as Unic Plaza, Wuse 2, Abuja, adding that he had no further details on the actual location of the office in Abuja and the second address in Lagos.
Okon also told the court that he only got a photocopy of WAEC’s purported disclaimer letter from the group through his email and that he had never had physical contact with any member of the group.
He further supplied the number of the head of the group , Ademola Alakija as 08187439287 and the Secretary, Sunny Ekanem as 08039497450 but insists he has never met them in person. He says his friend one Victor Anwana who linked him up with the group is a staff of the National Intelligence Agency.
Okon had earlier confessed before the court that he has never acquired any skill in forensic science and as such he was not an expert in forensic analysis, and gave the court an overview of all his working experiences cutting across several banks from 1987 until he left First Inland Bank to join a firm known as Fantitix Investments Ltd.
His witness Chief Reginald Udunze had stated yesterday that he was contacted by Okon’s lawyers to carry out forensic investigations of Pastor Eno’s credentials on August 25th 2022, whereas the case had been instituted since June 5, 2022 by Okon without the prompting of a forensic science expert.
When asked by the defense counsel how he established that the certificate of 1983 was forged when he had admitted that he is not a forensic scientist, Okon told the court he was able to see it with his eyes that the signatures were fake and different from all other signatures on WAEC certificates of same year.
He was later heard by the court confessing that he had access to only few certificates of 1983 WAEC candidates.
The defense counsel had earlier produced the original 1981 and 1983 WAEC certificates of Pastor Eno to Okon and his counsel and the two examination certificates were admitted in court as exhibits.
Among his contradictions in court was that he never contacted the school that he claimed Umo Eno never attended and never contacted WAEC to find out if his claims had roots.
He also denied knowing roadside printer that he claimed had printed a fake voter’s card to the 2nd Defendant and denied working with INEC to authenticate if the voter’s card was indeed fake.
The case resumes today with further cross examination of the claimant, while the Defense team is expected to commence its case.