Wednesday, 20th May, 2015, was a bad day for a member-elect for the House of Representatives.
Rep-elect, Christian Abah came out of the premises of the Federal High Court, Abuja with red eyes as the court not only nullified his election but also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw his Certificate of Return and that the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, to commence criminal proceeding against him.
Ruling on the eligibility suit filed by Hassan Saleh against Abah, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, held that the allegation of certificate forgery leveled against the first respondent (Abah) has been proved beyond reasonable doubts.
The plaintiff alleged that Abah forged the National Diploma (ND) certificate in Accountancy he claimed to obtain from the Federal Polytechnic Mubi, Adamawa State, in 1985 which he submitted to the INEC.
The judge reiterated that the outcome of the investigations indicated that an earlier ruling of the National/State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, delivered on September 6, 2011 as well as the purported letter written by the institution’s Registrar, Mr. Suleiman Buba, confirmed that the certificate was fake.
Consequently, the court ordered the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Solomon Arase, to immediately commence prosecution of Abah, who was recently elected to represent Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo of Benue State Federal Constituency seat for forgery and perjury.
Abah, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was returned unopposed by the INEC as he was the only candidate fielded for the March 28, 2015 Presidential and National Assembly elections in his constituency.
Sequel to the ruling, Justice Ademola established that the votes he garnered during the state’s NASS primary held December 6, 2014, were invalid, hence simultaneously ordered that a new Certificate of Return be issued to the plaintiff, Mr. Hassan Saleh.