Politics & Governance

SPECIAL REPORT: How Aiyedatiwa’s Guber Bid And Ondo APC’ Prospects Hang in the Balance Over Certificate Forgery 

As the dust surrounding the alleged certificate forgery by Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa of Ondo State is gradually settling down, following the latest statement from the Nigeria Police Force disowning the alleged report that indicted the governor, there seems to be so much to worry about by the ruling All Progressive Congress in the State.

According to the press release by the Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the Police is unaware of circulated report on governor Aiyedatiwa.

It reads “The Nigeria Police Force wishes to address the recent circulation of a document purportedly containing conclusions of an investigation into allegations against the Ondo State Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa.

“The document alleges fraudulent misrepresentation, certificate forgery, examination malpractice, and perjury against the governor.

“We wish to clarify that the said document did not originate from the Nigeria Police Force.

“The alleged signatory, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, does not have the authority to release such a report on behalf of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) or any other Departments within the Nigeria Police Force.”

A civil society group known as Ondo State Redemption Initiative had earlier accused the governor of certificate forgery, branding him unworthy to lead or contest the forthcoming election.

In a statement jointly signed by its president, Pastor Adebayo Ogunsanmi, Secretary, Jide Oriola and Publicity Secretary, Sunday Ayeni, the group alleged that Aiyedatiwa’s educational claims have been exposed as fraudulent.

The group’s revelation sparked a whirlwind of controversies within the state, triggering speculations on the possibility of Aiyedatiwa throwing-in the towel ahead of the state staggered election.

Reacting to the development, the governor, through his chief press secretary, Ebenezer Adeniyan described the group as faceless, asking it to provide verifiable evidence to support the claim.

“Forgery is a weighty allegation that nobody can bring without evidence. His documents were screened by the electoral body committee and nobody sued him.” Adeniyan stated.

While the police statement appears to have provided a new direction for both the accusers and the accused, there are indications that the allegation will eventually boomerang against the ambition of the governor who is currently working round–the-clock to grab the party ticket and contest the governorship election scheduled for October this year.

Aiyedatiwa, an incumbent governor is one of the 15 aspirants in the All Progressive Congress warming up for the party primary slated for the 25th of April.

Considering his edge over his co-contestants in the State, Aiyedatiwa is in a good stead to secure the party ticket and contest the governorship poll. However, the governor and his co-travelers must pause and ponder to consider the raging allegation of certificate forgery that has the tendency to ruin his emergence as the party flag-bearer and the chances of APC at the main election.

The group, which many political observers believe comprises aggrieved members within his party has provided a veritable platform for the opposition who are currently waiting by the side with a view to launch a negative campaign against governor through the certificate scandal if he eventually secures his party ticket.

Also, if Aiyedatiwa wins the party primary, the APC in Ondo state should brace up for litigation both within and outside the party and the Court case may linger and  cause untold distractions for his campaign organization which may consequently lead to the party’s failure.

Aiyedatiwa’s scenario regardless of his previous position as a deputy and now incumbent governor may lead to a repeat of the Bayelsa court judgement that cost David Lyon his inauguration as governor after his resounding victory at the 2019 governorship election in the State.

The governor-elect was sacked by the Court a few hours to his swearing-in after it was fully established by the Supreme Court that his running mate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo submitted forged certificates to INEC, paving the way for the inauguration of Duoye Diri, the then PDP candidate who came second in the election.

As politics gathers momentum in Ondo State, there is a need for Governor Aiyedatiwa and APC to look inward and put their house in order before the blast of political whistle in the State, to avoid an impeding pitfall and repeat of the Bayelsa saga.

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Seun Akin

Seun Johnson is a professional journalist and proficient media strategist with over 10 years of consistent work experience. He is Verse in content creation and versatile in editorial administration with a deep knowledge in digital, print and broadcast journalism.

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