THE Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has invited the state’s Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, to appear before it at the resumption of its sitting on June 1, 2020.
The invitation, which is in the form of subpoena duces tecum (witness summons) issued by the Chairman of the tribunal on May 5, 2020, directs Ewhrudjakpo to appear in person and tender a copy of his disputed National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) exception certificate allegedly issued in 1998.
The tribunal issued the subpoena at the close of pleadings during the pre-hearing stage and upon the issuance of pre-hearing report in respect of the petition filed by the candidate of the Liberation Movement (LM) in the last governorship election in Bayelsa State, Vijah Opuama.
An acknowledgement copy of the subpoena, sighted by The Nation in Abuja, was served on the Bayelsa Deputy Governor on May 8, 2020 at the state’s Government House.
The subpoena reads in part: “You are commanded in the name of the President and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of Federal Republic of Nigeria to attend before this Tribunal on the 1st day of June 2020 at the hour of 9 o’clock in the forenoon, and from day to day until the above case is tried, to give evidence on behalf of the petitioner and also bring with you and produce at the time and place aforesaid: The original copy of the NYSC Exemption certificate with serial No. 139708 dated 2nd February I998 in the name of Ewhirudjakpo Lawrence 0.”
The petitioner alleged that Senator Ewhrudjakpo submitted forged documents and documents containing false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 16 November 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa State.
The petitioner is praying the tribunal to disqualify the Governor, Senator Duoye Diri, Senator Ewhirudjakpo and their political party – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – and order for a fresh election without the disqualified PDP.
Listed as respondents in the petition are INEC, the PDP, Diri and Ewhirudjakpo.