By NBF News

Benue State Commissioner for Information and Culture, Dr. (Mrs.) Diana Ochoga, has described the alleged certificate forgery scandal, involving Governor Gabriel Suswam, as the handiwork of political opponents, detractors and some disgruntled elements in the state's political firmament.

Ochoga made this accusation while addressing a press conference in Makurdi and maintained that the campaign of calumny was launched on the governor to smear his hard-earned reputation.

She described the controversy trailing the ordinary level certificate of the governor as 'uncalled for,' insisting that he graduated from Government College in 1982, having obtained six credits and two passes.

Ochoga stated further that Suswam was a graduate of University of Lagos and attended Nigerian Law School after which he was called to bar in 1991.

'For the clarification of doubts, Governor Suswam graduated from Government College, Makurdi, in 1982 and sat for the May/June 1982 GCE Ordinary Level in which he obtained 5 credits and 2 passes but the Commerce result was initially withheld but later released the same year, which he credited.'

'While in form four, in 1981, Governor Suswam, quite unlike his contemporaries, had the vision to sit for the November/December External General Certificate Examination, GCE where he got four credits, including English Language and one pass. At the then School of Basic Studies, Makurdi, the records show that he scored a B in Economics, a D in Geography and a C in Government.'

She noted that these mischief makers were only out to soil the integrity and credibility of Governor Suswam, who had demonstrated determination and will power to take the state to a higher level of development to the envy of these persons.

'It is a smear campaign, using fertile imagination, to cause disaffection in the minds of the millions of admirers, sympathisers and supporters of the governor towards his re-election bid in April this year.'

Ochoga, who explained that the governor only recently successfully defended his Ph.D thesis at the University of Jos, Plateau State, revealed that he possessed two Masters degrees from reputable universities as well as other professional certificates earned both at home and abroad.

She further said the governor duly passed through the screening details of the aforementioned institutions that possessed internal mechanisms for the detection of fraud in academic records without any one raising eye brows.

She described as untrue, the spurious claims made by a dismissed WAEC staff, alleging that the governor needed the forged certificate to fill INEC forms and face screening for election, stressing that no subject grades were required for filling INEC forms to stand election, insisting that the governor's six credits at a sitting was enough qualification to contest any election.

The state spokesperson claimed that the WAEC officer's inability to secure an alleged promised contract from the state's ministry of water resources and environment could be the cause of his anger and recourse to cheap blackmail.