The Supreme Court in Abuja on Friday cleared all charges of certificate forgery levelled against the Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam by a former governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Mr. Terver Kakih.
The five-man panel of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Suleiman Galadima, in a judgment that took 62-pages, unanimously held that Kakih’s appeal lacked merit and consequently threw it out.
The apex court upheld the concurrent judgment of the Federal High Court Makurdi delivered on July 11, 2012, as well as the Court of Appeal Makurdi, which had on March 5, 2013, dismissed the suit filed by Kakih.
Kakih, who lost the January 9, 2011 governorship primaries by six votes to Suswam’s 976 votes, had challenged his opponent’s qualification to contest the governorship poll on the basis that he allegedly forged his GCE certificate.
He also alleged that the ward and state congresses of the party were conducted in violation of the PDP constitution and provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, and sought the court’s relief declaring him as the duly elected candidate of the party and, therefore, winner of the April 26, 2011 governorship election in the state.
However, the apex court held that the appellant failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the criminal allegation of certificate forgery against Governor Suswam as required in section 362 of the Penal Code.
The court declared: “There is no piece of evidence led by the appellant to prove that the 4th respondent (Suswam) presented forged certificate to either 1st (PDP) or 2nd respondent (INEC) or that he swore falsely to an affidavit stating facts relating to his certificate which are false in order to bring his case within the ambit of section 31(5) of the Electoral Act 2010”.
Citing Section 131-134 of the Evidence Act, Justice Galadima noted that the appellant filed the appeal out of sentiments without any supporting facts or evidence, adding that political sentiments “command no place in judicial deliberations”.