From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna
The All Progressive Congress (APC) in Niger state has shifted the submission date of list of candidates over the allegations of certificate forgery involving it aspirants contesting the forthcoming local government polls slated for 23rd November in the state.
At least no fewer than three chairmanship and four councillorship aspirants are said to been involved in certificate forgery which the Department of State Security (DSS) is helping the party to unravel the genuineness of the certificate they have submitted to State Independent Electoral Commission.
Consequently, our reporter reliably gathered that the matter have prevented the party from submitting the final list of successful candidates to the state electoral body after the party primaries three weeks ago to ensure that only names of candidate who did not have any questionable certificate are cleared and submitted to avoid losing the seat to the opposition part through litigation.
A source at the state party secretariat, said that the party had received a number of petitions which borders on falsification of educational certificates by some aspirants both for chairmanship and counselorship positions.
“We have received a lot of petitions, three against chairmanship aspirants and some councillorship aspirants that they forged the educational certificates they presented to us.
“The party is therefore trying to verify the authenticity of these certificates so that we do not field a wrong candidates whereby after the election, the opposition party will challenge it in court and claim the mandate.
“This is the main reason why the party has not submitted the names of the successful candidates after the party primaries about three weeks ago. The party does not want to take any chance, so any candidate that is found to have forge his educational certificate will be disqualified”, he said.
However a copy of one of such petitions of certificate forgery against one of the chairmanship candidates from Paikoro Local Government Area of the state made available to our correspondent alleged that his grade 11 certificate which he submitted to the party was forged.
The petition written by a group, Garkuwa Support Group (GSO) dated September 17, 2019, titled “petition against the candidature of Hon. Yohana Yakubu for chairmanship of Paikoro Local Government in the forthcoming election under the platform of All Progressive Congress, said “there is a strong suspicion that all the documents submitted by Hon. Yohanna Yakubu for the purpose of contesting the election were all forged”.
The petition which was signed by one Comrade Hamsun Isah, pointed out when the allegation of certificate forgery go to the ear of the candidate by way of privilege information, “he quickly withdrew the forged SSCE certificate and replaced it with grade 11 statement of results which he claimed to have obtained in 2009 but issued to him in 2015.
The petitioner also alleged that the candidate “is presently using two primary school certificate from the same school and one out of the two was altered”, wondering why a person could be using two primary school certificates issued by one school.
According to the petitioner, “this alone is enough for his disqualification because the facts are already known to the opposition party, if we refused to handle the matter, we may lose the chairmanship seat of Paikoro local government to the opposition who are waiting for the general election to reclaim the mandate”.
Nevertheless, the opposition PDP and APGA have submitted the names of candidates for both chairmanship and counselorship for 25 local government areas and the 274 wards for the upcoming local government elections in the state.