Court asked to disqualify Wike from contesting over alleged certificate forgery

The Federal High Court, Abuja has been asked to disqualify Governor of Nyesom Wike of Rivers State from contesting the state governorship election having allegedly forged 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 November 26, 2018 prayed that except an order is made to disqualify Gov Wike from contesting the election scheduled for March this year, INEC, the 1st defendant will not be in a position to enforce the violation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) committed by Wike.

The trial judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo last Friday adjourned the hearing of the substantive suit to February 6, after plaintiff counsel Achinike William-Wobodo informed the court that INEC, who filed some processes was not represented in Court.

Chief F. O. Orbih, counsel to Gov Wike and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had urged the court to take his preliminary objection challenging the suit, but, plaintiff counsel opposed the submissions on the ground 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.

According to the document in Court, Wike had forged his certificate of birth and lied to INEC to secure his nomination as the governorship candidate of the PDP for the forthcoming election in Rivers State.

Plaintiff averred that Wike breached the Constitution 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 29th 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.”

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He further averred that Wike 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”.

He said 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 and 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.

According to the plaintiff: “There was no Court Registry, whether in 1986 or afterwards 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 confirms his alleged date of birth, given as 13th March 1963.

The plaintiff stated that Wike presented the forged certificate of birth to maintain consistency and coverup falsehood and lies which he started in 1998.

According to the document in Court, the coverup began “in 1989, when Wike expressed the 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.

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The plaintiff stated 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.

The plaintiff wants the court to declare 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.

A declaration that the said certificate of Birth presented by the 2nd Defendant  (Gov Wike) to the 1st Defendant (INEC) 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 1st Defendant (INEC) 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), the 2nd defendant (Wike) 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 the 1st defendant (INEC).

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, the 3rd defendant (PDP) 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.

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