Rivers Guber: Court Asked to Disqualify Wike over Alleged Certificate Forgery

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Nyesom Wike

By Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Abuja division of the Federal High Court has been asked to disqualify the Governor of Rivers State Nyesom Wike from contesting in the forthcoming governorship election in Rivers State, for allegedly forging the certificate of birth he presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for his clearance.

The plaintiff, Elvis Chinda, in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1430/3018 and filed on 26 November, 2018 had asked the court to grant the order on the grounds that the governor lied in the information given to INEC in his form C. F. 001.

The suit is supported by a 39-paragraph affidavit wherein the plaintiff averred that he is aware that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria disqualifies any person seeking election into the office of the governor, who presented a forged certificate to INEC.

He also averred that Wike breached the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) in his deposition titled: “Affidavit in Support of Personal Particulars of Persons Seeking Election to the Office/Membership of Governor( Form C. F. 001)on 29 October 2018 sworn to at the High Court Registry, Port Harcourt, which he submitted to INEC on the 2nd November, 2018 for the 2019 governorship election.”

He further averred that Wike’s certificate of birth (Statutory Declaration of Age) attached to his Form C.F.001 presented to INEC, purportedly deposed to on the 3rd October, 1986 by one Collins Nyeme Wike had claimed that Nyesom Wike at the time of deposition is a native of Rumuepirikom in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State and that the said certificate was forged.

That 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.

According to the plaintiff, “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.”

The plaintiff in the originating summons raised six issues for determination by the court thus: Whether having regards to the facts and circumstances of this case, 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/Chief Magistrate Court Registry, Port Harcourt lied about/against itself and contained falsehoods.

“Whether the information contained in the affidavit Form C.F. 001 deposed to by the 2nd defendant on the 29th October 2018 and presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (1st defendant) on the 2nd November, 2018 for the purpose of the 2019 general governorship election in Rivers State was false.

“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).”

If the answers to the questions raised are in the affirmative, he is seeking the court’s 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.

“A declaration that by the provisions of section 182(1)(i) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), (Wike) the 2nd defendant is not qualified or eligible to contest and participate in the 2019 governorship election in Rivers State or any other such election, having presented a forged certificate to (INEC) the 1st defendant.

“An order of the Court directing the disqualification of (Wike) the 2nd defendant from contesting or holding out himself for the 2019 general governorship election in River State or any other elections made pursuant to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended) having presented a forged certificate to the 1st defendant.

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining INEC, the 1st defendant from receiving or accepting from (PDP), the 3rd defendant or any other person any nomination of the 2nd defendant from processing such nomination, or from presenting Wike the 2nd defendant on ballot, in respect of the2019 governorship election or any other elections made pursuant to the Constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).”

When the matter came up last Friday, the plaintiff’s counsel, Achinike William-Wobodo, informed the court that INEC which filed some processes was not represented in court.

Chief Ferdinand Orbih, counsel to Wike and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), however, urged the court to take his preliminary objection challenging the suit. But the plaintiff’s counsel opposed the submissions on the grounds that the application was not ripe for hearing.

He also said that the respondent’s objection would be taken after the substantive matter as it was filed out of time.

The presiding judge, Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo, however, adjourned till February 6 for hearing of the substantive suit.