As Justice Agatha A. Okeke of the Federal High Court, Uyo gets set to once again entertain the case between Akan Okon vs PDP, Umo Eno and INEC on July 18, 2022, damning revelations may pop up as the case progresses.
Mr Akan Okon, a contestant in the May 25 governorship primary of the PDP in Akwa Ibom is dragging Pastor Umo Eno, the winner of the said election to the Uyo Judicial Division of the FHC. Okon is alleging that Eno is parading forged WAEC certificate in his bid to actualize the governorship ambition.
The court sat on June 21 but adjourned to July 18 primarily to give the plaintiffs 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 afforded him by the court to enter his defence.
Eno failed to file copies of WAEC certificates he submitted to public institutions, especially the PDP in the run up to the primary.
As obtained by TheMail Newspaper, the documents filed by Pastor Eno are ‘Confirmation of Result’ for his 1981 and 1983 certificates.
The new documents filed by Eno and his team has 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’ 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. The emphasis is on the name of the subject.
In the 1981 certificate, the candidate number 15520232 has no punctuation mark inserted in between the digits, 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, TheMail Newspaper noted that while the 1983 confirmation of result has Eno Umo Bassey as candidate name, the 1981 version has Bassey Umo Eno as candidate 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”.
Also, our team of reporters who studied the documents noticed that two different WAEC letterheads were used for the two ‘Confirmation of Result’. The document ‘confirming’ Eno’s 1983 GCE O/L had a triangular-shaped stamp, while the 1981 Confirmation of Result had the well-known circular (sun-like shape) 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.
An egghead in the Umo Eno camp who did not want his name featured in this report however 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”, stated in the two-hour interview.
Eno’s claims that as at the time he appeared on the referenced media interview, he had filed his certificate in court is untrue. This assertion however raises question marks on the personal integrity of the pastor as checks by TheMail Newspaper reveals that he never filed his defence nor certificate as at the time the interview was conducted. Checks by TheMail at the court registry reveals that Eno filed a Confirmation of Result on Wednesday, sixth July, 2022.
Despite the filing of the Confirmation of Result, reprieve may not come the way of the embattled guber candidate anytime soon. This is owing to the fact that another document obtained from WAEC by an NGO (obviously acting on behalf of Akan Okon) had stated clearly that the examination body does not have anybody with the names Umo Bassey Eno with candidate number 15520232 in their record. The document sighted by TheMail Newspaper was signed by the head of the Exams Records unit of WAEC and issued back in April 2022.
However, our team of reporters noted that while the letter confirming Umo Eno’s result was issued at the National Headquarters of the body located at 21 Hussey Street, Yaba, Lagos, the one obtained by the NGO acting on behalf of Akan Okon was issued at the Zonal Office at Ijaye Road, Ogba Estate, Ikeja Lagos under whose jurisdiction Umo Eno’s exam centre falls under.
One of our credible sources in Government told our reporter on Friday night that Umo Eno has been served with a response from Akan Okon. The source confirmed that in his response to Umo Eno’s defence, Akan Okon equally attached the letter from WAEC zonal office, Ikeja which clearly states that they have no records of Umo Bassey Eno with the index number 15520232 in the year under review.
“This has really dampened the spirit in critical government circles. I guess those in-charge of getting the Confirmation of Result that were affixed to our candidate’s defence never knew that Akan Okon had gone ahead to get such document that states otherwise. It was only discovered yesterday. It is a tricky situation and many senior lawyers, mostly renowned SANs who have been contacted to handle the case have out rightly rejected it, saying it is a bad case.
“So if WAEC is subpoenaed by the court, it will be the words of the representatives of the zonal office in Ikeja against those from the National Headquarters in Yaba. It may turn out to be a very messy litigation process which is not good for the image of our candidate and the party. As you know, I am very close to the governor, I can tell you for a fact that he feels let down. He is not his usual self as he looks disillusioned and confused. A political solution may be explored to sort out the situation”, said our source.
Meanwhile, a senior official of WAEC who spoke to our correspondent on Saturday informed the paper that there is a difference between Attestation of Result and Confirmation of Result.
The official of the examination body who pleaded anonymity told our reporter that attestation is an official document for candidates who lost or damaged their results while Confirmation of Result is issued on behalf of a candidate to an organization to affirm the originality of the WAEC result or certificate presented by the candidates to such organization.
Pastor Umo Eno has not stated that his certificates are missing, hence he opted for Confirmation of Result since his certificate is under scrutiny. TheMail learnt that 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 the embattled PDP guber candidate.