Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State has maintained that he did not forge any certificate to secure his seat or occupy any political office.
The governor blamed the rumor of his alleged certificate forgery on some people, who he said were plotting to discredit him because they opposed his 2015 senatorial ambition.
Suswam said despite the “blackmail”, he would win the senatorial election any time.
The governor, who spoke with reporters yesterday in Abuja, assured that primary school teachers’ six-month-old strike in the state would soon end.
He said: “I have never forged any certificate in my life. I attended schools in Nigeria; anyone can go to and verify my studentship there. I am not a dubious person and I have never been.
“I will fight to the last to protect my integrity and name within the ambit of the law. I will not do anything outside the law. Some people are just out to rubbish me and bring me down politically.
“It all started in 2005, when I applied for admission for my Master’s. I was then in the House of Representatives. The university needed to see my original certificates before it could give me admission. So, I gave my Special Adviser (SA) then, who is still my SA, all my certificates. It was not only me; the former Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Sam Ode, also gave my SA his certificates. We applied for admission together. We gave him all the certificates to take the university.
“But armed robbers took his vehicle and left with all my certificates. They were in one envelope; I lost all of them.
“I quickly applied to all the institutions: I applied to the Law School, the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and the West African Examinations Council (WAEC). Of course, the certificates from Harvard, there was no way I could apply for those ones. So, those ones I did not bother myself about. I had photocopies; I made a police report to apply.
“The Nigerian Law School said they don’t reissue a certificate but they gave me a statement to any person who cares to know.
“Luckily, I had photocopies of all my certificates that I had sent to the University of Jos (UNIJOS) for another programme that I also applied. I applied there to read Master’s in Law. So, I had photocopies”, he narrated.