Eric Ikhilae, Abuja
A Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday heard that the University of Ibadan (UI) operated two modes of admission around 1976 when Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, gained admission into the institution.
An Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Dr. Emmanuel Balogun, who said he was admitted into UI in 1975, explained that the institution combined direct entry with the preliminary admission (prelim) modes.
Balogun was cross-examined as the third plaintiffs’ witness in the suit by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Edobor Williams (a member of the party) against Obaseki, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The APC and Edobor are, by their suit, querying among others, the authenticity of Obaseki’s academic credentials, particularly his first degree certificate which he claimed to have been issued by UI.
Balogun, who said he was admitted into UI through the prelim mode after writing and passing the school’s concessional examination, added that while those admitted through prelim spent a minimum of four years, those who entered through direct entry spent a minimum of three years.
The witness, who studied Agricultural Economics, said though subject combination for admission varied according to faculty, there was the basic and general requirement which every student must possess to be eligible for admission.
Balogun, who has not worked in the Admission Office of UNILAG since he was employed in September 2006, said his colleagues in UI, who he claimed to have consulted before attending court, do not determine the requirements for admission in UI.
He said: “I can’t remember if any of those my colleagues I consulted were admitted through the direct entry. Though UI has an Admission Office, he never worked there.”
The plaintiffs’ lead lawyer, Akin Olujinmi (SAN), tendered Balogun’s original degree certificate in Agricultural Economics issued by UI on July 6, 1979, which the court admitted and marked as Exhibit PL4.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed however rejected Olujinmi’s request that the original certificate, already admitted, be substituted with a photocopy. Olujinmi had hinged his request on the grounds that the original certificate was a precious document to the owner, and it could be rendered valueless if tampered with.
Also, Olujinmi tendered through the fourth plaintiffs’ witness (PW4), Raphael Onwuzuligbo Amachukwu (a retired Assistant Superintendent of Police and Forensic Document Examiner), report of evaluation of copies of the university certificate allegedly submitted by Obaseki to INEC before the last governorship election.
Justice Mohammed accepted the document, but said the determination of whether or not it is admissible would be made at the point of writing judgment.
He adjourned till 12 noon today for the defence to cross examine PW4 and continuation of trial.