The management of the Rivers State University (RSU) has told the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja that Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, graduated from the school.

An official of the school, Fyne Le Amanyie, told the tribunal that Ewhrudjakpo graduated from the university in the 1996/1997 academic session, with the graduation ceremony held in 1998

Amanyie testified before the tribunal as the respondent witness number 4 upon a subpoena issued on the university.

The witness, led in evidence by lawyer to Ewhirudjakpo, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume (SAN), said he has been a staff of the university for over 30 years.

“I am a Legal Officer in the Department of Directorate of Legal Services, Rivers State University. I was served with the subpoena of the tribunal on June 11, 2020,” he said.

Amanyie said the Deputy Governor’s surname was wrongly spelt in National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) exemption certificate issued to him (Ewhirudjakpo).

He noted that Instead of Ewhrudjakpo, the name was written as Ewhrudjakpa.

“He wrote a letter to the university dated January 1, 2000 complaining that his name was misspelt in his degree certificate and that it should be corrected.

“The 4th respondent applied to the university for the correction of his name through the Exams/Record Department.”

The witness tendered some documents including the Certified True Copies (CTC) of spread sheet of result of part time students of the University of 1996 including the CTC of the convocation brochure of the school.

“The 4th respondent (Ewhirudjakpo) graduated in 1996 but the ceremony took place in 1998.” he said.

Ewhirudjakpo is a respondent in a petition by the candidate of the Liberation Movement (LM) in the November 16, 2019, governorship candidate in Bayelsa Sate, Vijah Opuama challenging Ewhrudjakpo’s qualification to stand election.

Opuama alleged, in the petition, that Ewhrudjakpo submitted a forged NYSC exemption certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission before the election.

The petitioner further alleged that there were discrepancies in the name of the deputy governor on his NYSC exemption certificate.

Ewhrudjakpo, who earlier testified before the tribunal as a subpoenaed witness, explained that there was an error in his NYSC exemption certificate, which he claimed was the fault of NYSC, and that it was corrected when he applied to agency on noticing the error.

Others witnesses,who testified included a Principal Registrar II with the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Musa Garba.

Garba tendered some documents including an enroll order of the court.

The Director, Legal Services of the Department of State Service (DSS), Ibrahim Adbulsalami tendered copies of correspondence between the Service and the NYSC in respect with the forgery allegations.

Under cross-examination, the DSS admitted that the deputy governor was not invited during its investigation into the allegation.

Ibrahim said “we did not interface with the 4th respondent (Ewhrudjakpo) or interview him in the course of our investigation.”

At the closure of Ewhrudjakpo’s case, the three-man tribunal, led by Justice Ibrahim Sirajo adjourned for the adoption of briefs by parties to the petition on a date to be communicated to them.

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