The Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, on Sunday dismissed claims he forged his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) exemption certificate, saying at no point did he contemplate doing such.
Ewhrudjakpo, who spoke through his counsel, Clement Bibisa Kekemeka, told journalists in Abuja he would soon put his detractors to shame.
According to him, the forgery allegation had been in public domain even before he was nominated as running mate to the then Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Bayelsa, Duoye Diri, before the election.
He, however, admitted to an error in his NYSC exemption certificate, saying the corps erroneously spelt his surname.
Ewhrudjakpo said: “Sometimes in 2019 preparatory to the National Assembly elections, and specifically that of Bayelsa West Senatorial District, which Senator Ewrudjakpo represented until he was sworn in as deputy governor; one Ibisene Afamkolo took him to the Federal High Court and commenced a suit by way of originating summons accusing him of presenting a forged NYSC exemption certificate.
“While dealing with that matter, being a pre-election matter; at a point, it became status barred having exceeded the period of 180 days within which it ought to have been dispensed with by virtue of the provision of the 1999 Constitution.
“The next thing that followed was that truly on the certificate presented to INEC by my client in his form CS001, which is the nomination form, his surname was spelt wrongly. Instead of Ewhrudjakpo, the name was written as Ewhrudjakpa. After the matter was struck out and even though my client had earlier applied for the correction of this misspelt name, he was further bored by that matter by reapplying again for the issuance of a new certificate.
“He applied again, drawing the attention of the NYSC to the error on his surname and seeking a re-issuance of a correct certificate. Consequently, the NYSC responded and reissued a fresh certificate correcting our client’s name, reflecting the surname now as Ewhrudjakpo, being the issuing authority that has the loci standi to replace an erroneously issued certificate. That put the matter to rest.”