Confusion In Okowa’s Camp As PDP MAY Screen Out Oborevwori From Governorship Race Over Credentials

THE governorship ambition of the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori, may already be falling fast like a pack of cards.

It was gathered that credentials presented by the Speaker in his PDP governorship expression of interest and nomination forms for the Thursday’s screening were riddled with various forms of discrepancies including those of his names.

The information sighted on Wednesday, which were later verified on Thursday, showed that there were discrepancies in the names in Oborevwori’s educational certificates and age declaration.

According to the details, Oborevwori’s educational certificates parade five different names like those of the former Bayelsa Deputy Governor-elect, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, who was disqualified on the eve of his swearing in with then governor-elect of Bayelsa, David Lyon, for forging his credentials.

It was learnt that despite the obvious discrepancies in Oborevwori’s credentials, his political godfather and Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, was still pushing on to ensure that he was cleared by the screening committee headed by Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa.

The Discrepancies in Oborevwori’s certificates

From the information available to this medium, all of the Delta Assembly Speaker’s educational certificates which he tendered and attached to his forms carried different names ranging from his First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) to his Master’s degree. 

Oborevwori in his FSLC certificate which he obtained in 1977 from Alegbo Primary School, Effurun, (then Bendel State) bears “Oborevwori Francis” not “Sheriff Oborevwori” which he is publicly known today.

Also, the Speaker’s name in his West Africa Examinations Council (WAEC’s) certificate which he obtained from Oghareki Grammar School, Oghara, bears “OBOREVWORI O. FRANCIS ” which is also different from his current names.

Similarly, there was also discrepancy in the name in his BSc which he obtained from Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, which contained OBOREVWORI SHERIFF FRANCIS as against the names in previous certificates.

Furthermore, his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) exemption certificate had OBOREVWORI SHERIFF F while his MSc certificate carries OBOREVWORI FRANCIS SHERIFF OROHWEDOR.

APC Interim Report Indicts Oborevwori

The discrepancies were confirmed in an interim report of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) which discreetly investigated Oborevwori’a legal eligibility for the 2023 governorship election in Delta State.

“We have identified discrepancies in the certificates submitted with his Form CF001 to the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] in 2018 and those submitted with the PDP Party’s Brief Form in 2022 provided to us for this exercise.

“The above discrepancies in the names of the candidate makes his case exactly the same as that of DEGI EREMIENYO which led to the disqualification of David Lyon by the Supreme Court in the case of PDP & 2 ORS v. DEGI-EREMIENYO & 3 ORS, where the victory of your great party, the APC, was voided on the basis that the Deputy Governor -Elect, Senator Degi Ereminyo used different names in all his educational certificates and affidavits submitted to INEC

“This same position was established earlier by the Supreme Court in the case of ESENOWO v. UKPONG [1999] 6 NWLR PT.608, where the issue bordered on the arrangement of the Appellant’s name as “E Esenowo” as opposed to “Esenowo, J.E.”, the Supreme Court aptly held that both names connote different individuals and emphasized on the great importance for one to always insert names correctly in professional matters.

“We note that Mr Oborevwori submitted an Affidavit titled “Affidavit of Ownership of Educational Certificates” along with the documents submitted to PDP in April, 2022 but believe that taking the issue of the discrepancy in his names to Court would be strategic and would also adversely affect him in the event that he emerges as the PDP candidate”, APC interim report partly read.

APC Picks Holes In Oborevwori’s WAEC certificates

Meanwhile, the said APC report also picked further holes in Oborevwori’s certificate claims that he graduated from Oghareki Grammar School, Oghareki in 1999, whereas the school was founded by the Delta State Government in 2014.

“Mr Oborevwori’s WAEC results claim that he finished from Oghareki Grammar School, Oghareki in 1999, however investigations revealed that the said school was founded in 2014.

“Investigations revealed that prior to 2014, the School was named Baptist Mission School Oghareki before the same was returned to the Baptist Mission by the State Government in 2011”, the report added.

Oborevwori Battles To Reconcile Credentials

But Oborevwori in his quest to lay claims as the original owner of the documents he presented to PDP and INEC, the Delta Speaker deposed to several affidavits stating to correct the names in his certificates and age declaration.

According to the documents, Oborevwori sworn to three affidavits at separate times which also contained some of the errors spotted in the documents.

Firstly, the embattled Delta Speaker in an age declaration, his “cousin”, Benson Ogbolo, deposed to an affidavit in a bid to clear him of the age controversy, referred to him as “Francis Oboroguwori”, a surname, entirely different from all the names presented by Mr Oborevwori over the years.

Similarly, Oborevwori in another affidavit in 2003 in the Magistrate’s Court of Delta State of Nigeria in the Effurun Magisterial District at Effurun sworn to the effect that himself, “OBOREVWORI OROHWEDOR FRANCIS”, this time around without Sheriff was the owner of WASC Certificate with No. NGWASSCS384793.

He also contended in the affidavit that the date of birth (12th November, 1979) contained in his WAEC result was also wrongly written and maintained that he was born 19th June, 1963 in the Effurun area of Delta State.

In a third affidavit sighted by this medium, the 2023 governorship aspirant is also being subsequently alleged to have sworn in another affidavit in the Magistrate’s Court of Delta State of Nigeria in the Osubi Magisterial District, Osubi, on 4th March, 2022, he said his full name is SHERIFF FRANCIS OROHWEDOR OBOREVWORI.

Delta PDP Chieftains Want Oborevwori Disqualified

Meanwhile, some chieftains of the PDP in Delta State have written to the National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, seeking the disqualification of the Speaker Oborevwori from participating in the governorship primary in the state.

The aggrieved party members in a letter dated April 26, 2022, by their lawyer, B. O. Ojumah, Managing Partner, Pristinus LP (Legal Practitioners & Notary Public) urged the party to disqualify Oborevwori over the discrepancies in the Delta Speaker’s credentials.

The letter read, “We are solicitors to Messrs. Augustine Oritsasrfunsaho of INEC ward 1 Obodo/Ureji, Warri South Local Government Area, Delta State, Kanabar Ovie Duke Orogu ward 1, Ughelli North Local Government Area, Delta State and Osigidi Amos Uvwie, ward 7, Uwie Local Government Area, Delta State whom we shall hereinafter throughout the entire gamut of this letter referred to as our clients on whose instructions we write this letter.

“Our clients are concerned members of the People Democratic Party, Delta State chapters. We have their instructions to bring to your attention an issue they felt strongly about.

“There is no doubt, the elections are here again of which all stakeholders are leaving no stone unturned in putting their houses in order to enable them win the elections at all levels. As you are well aware of, the People Democratic is one of the major stakeholders in Nigeria politics and not just a stakeholder but the main opposition party at the National level.

“So far the party has not fare badly particularly in Delta State since the inception of the present democratic dispensation in 1990. It has always maintained the lead in all elections into offices in the state. The secret behind this is not far fetch – It is by keeping to the rare tradition of fielding the best and most qualified candidates in all the elections.

“Our Clients are aware that many persons have expressed their interest and desire to contest for various offices in the state including the office of the governor of the state. One of such persons is Rt. Honorable Oborevwori Francis Orohwedor Sheriff. This is the name he stated/bears in INEC form CF 001 he presented to the party and to INEC in other occasion when he contested for the seat in the state house of Assembly.

“Our Clients stumbled on other documents he attached to the said form and a careful scrutiny of these documents reveals that Rt. Hon. Sheriff is not qualified to context the election. This is due to the obvious inconsistencies in the names in the documents. The names transform from one form to another. For instance, in the Master Degree Certificate issued by the Delta State University, Abraka, the name on it is at variance with the one in the said form 001. The certificate bears Oborevwori Francis Sheriff Orohwedor.

“In his first” degree certificate issued by Ambrose Alli Unversity, Ekpoma, the name Oborevwori Sheriff Francis is what it was issued with. Again this is at variance with the one in the said INEC form 001. Not only so, in his NYSC Certificate, the name is Oborevwori Sheriff F. and nothing more. It did not end there, in his West African Senior School Certificate, the name Oborevwori O. Francis is what is on it. And in his Primary School Leaving Certificate Oborewori Francis is what he bears. For the benefit of doubt, the documents are attached herewith for your ease of reference, perusal and necessary action.

“Our Clients are compelled to instruct us to bring this to your attention because in the past, political parties have lost elections due to situation such as this. A recent case which is in all fours with this case is the case of David Lyon of Bayelsa State where his deputy Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo presented certificates/documents of different level of his academic career with inconsistent names and the People Democratic Party challenged the election on this ground. The matter went to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court agreed with the People Democratic Party and upturned the election of the All Progressive Congress that the said deputy was not qualified to contest the election on this ground. For the benefit of doubts, this is what happened: “The name he stated on INEC Form CF 001 was Degi-Eremienyo whereas the name written in his Primary School Certificate was Degi-Biobara. In his Secondary School Certificate, a different name – Adegi Biobarakumo was shown and when he entered the University, the name changed again to Degi Biobarakuma. And lastly in his MBA Certificate, the name again mutated to Degi Biobarakuma Wangaha. As a result of these unstableness, the Supreme Court while upturning the election declared that none of the certificates has any bearing with the Degi-Eremienyo.

“Our Clients’ fear is that the party will be taking a very disastrous and catastrophic risk if it fields Rt. Hon. Sheriff in the upcoming election in 2023 as its gubernatorial candidate. As faithful members of the People Democratic Party, they cannot fold their arms and allow the party makes the same error the All Progressive Congress made in Bayelsa State hence the need to call your attention to this.

“It is their concern that if the People Democratic Party must maintain her leads in the upcoming elections into various political offices in Delta State particularly the office of the governor, as it has always done hitherto, then the right and the fice of most qualified person should be fielded. Such a person must certifies the basic requirements for the election.

“Our Clients are not candidates gunning for the position of the governor of the state but are persons who have party’s interest at heart. Their desire is that the party must not lose the election on technical ground but on merit if assuming without conceding it has to lose. This information is brought to you to assist party in exercising her discretion when nominating/presenting the candidate that would represent her in the gubernatorial election.”

Effort by our correspondent to speak with the Oborevwori on the allegations against him proved abortive at the time of filing this report on Friday. (Source Niger Delta Today)