By Ikechukwu Nnochiri ABUJA – The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, will on Wednesday, hear a suit seeking to disqualify Governor Nyesom Wike from
participating in the forthcoming governorship election in Rivers State, over an allegation that his birth certificate was forged
Wike Justice Inyang Ekwo directed the service of hearing notice on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Governor Wike and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who were listed as Defendants in the suit marked FHC / ABJ / CS /1430/3018, which was filed by one Mr. Elvis Chinda. The plaintiff, alleged that the certificate of birth Wike attached to the Form C. F. 001, which he submitted to INEC on November 2, 2018, for clearance to participate in the 2019 general election, was forged. He told the court that the certificate titled “Statutory Declaration of Age”, attached to Wike’s Form C.F.001, and purportedly deposed to on October 3, 1986, by one Collins Nyeme Wike had claimed that Nyesom Wike at the time of deposition, was a native of Rumuepirikom in Obio / Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State According to the Plaintiff, “As at 3rd October 1986, there was no local Government Area known as Obio /Akpor Local Government Area in existence in Rivers State. “As at 1986, Rumuepirikom was not in Obio /Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State , but in Port Harcourt Local Government Area of Rivers State being the parent LGA from where Obio /Akpor Local Government Area was carved out”. He told the court that Obio /Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State was created in 1989 by Decree No 12 of 1989, two years after the alleged forgery was committed. “That the certificate of birth ( Statutory Declaration of Age) was purported sworn to and issued at the High/Magistrate’s Court Registry, Port Harcourt but allegedly bears stamp of the Judiciary Probate Registry ,Port Harcourt. “There was no Court Registry, whether in 1986 or afterward known as High/Magistrate Court Registry Port Harcourt. No such Registry existed or exists any where in Port Harcourt or Rivers State”. Plaintiff said the forged certificate of birth misled INEC into believing that Wike had a genuine birth certificate that confirmed his alleged date of birth given as 13th March1963. The alleged that Wike presented the bogus birth certificate to maintain consistency and coverup falsehood and lies, which he started in 1998. He said the coverup, “began in 1989, when Wike expressed desire to contest for the local chairmanship of Obio/ Akpor Local Government Area Council election in Rivers State which INEC had fixed 35 years age for eligibility. “Wike was 30 years of age then and ineligible for that election. In order to qualify for that election, he forged the Certificate of birth now in contention. He has used it in subsequent elections.” The plaintiff argued that INEC, “is not in a position legally to disqualify Wike from contesting the governorship election except the court gave an order disqualifying him for the breach of Section 182 (1) (j) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria”. Consequently, he is praying the court to among other things, determine: “Whether the certificate of Birth titled Statutory Declaration of Age deposed to by one Collins Nyeme Wike purportedly sworn to on 3rd October 1986 at the High/ Court Magistrate’s Court Registry, Port Harcourt lied about/against itself and contained falsehoods. As well as, “Whether by the combined provisions of section 182(1)(i ) and 1 (1) & (2)of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the 2nd defendant ought to be disqualified and declared ineligible to contest the 2019 governorship election in Rivers state made pursuant to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). In a 39 paragraphs affidavit in support of the originating summons, Elvis Chinda said that he is aware that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria disqualified any person seeking election into the office of the Governor, who presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)”. He is further seeking, “A declaration that the Certificate of Birth titled Statutory Declaration of Age deposed to by one Collins Nyeme Wike purportedly sworn to on 3rd October 1986 at the High/ Court Magistrate’s Court Registry, Port Harcourt and presented by (Gov Wike)the 2nd Defendant to (INEC) the 1st Defendant on the 25th December 2014 for the purpose of the 2015 General Governorship Election in Rivers State was forged. “A declaration that, the information contained in the Affidavit Form C.F. 001 deposed to by 2nd Defendant on the 29th October 2018 and presented to the (INEC)1st Defendant on the 2nd November, 2018 for the purpose of the 2019 Governorship Election in Rivers State was false.
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