Alleged Certificate Forgery: Court To Rule On Wike's Eligibility March 8

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The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday fixed March 8 to deliver judgement in the suit seeking an order disqualifying Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State from contesting the 2019 governorship election in the state.

The judgement is to be delivered barely 24 hours to the conduct of the governorship election scheduled to hold on March 9.

Justice Inyang Ekwo adjourned the matter for judgement after parties to the suit argued and adopted their written addresses on Tuesday.

The plaintiff, Elvis Chinda, who hails from Rivers State, had filed the suit in 2018, asking the court to disqualify Wike from contesting the forthcoming governorship election on the grounds that the governor allegedly forged his birth certificate.

The plaintiff had contended that the certificate of birth (statutory declaration of age) said to have been deposed to on October 3,1986 by one Collins Nyeme Wike from Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State was forged.

According to the plaintiff, the document being contested was attached to Wike’s Form CF.001, which was presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Adopting the plaintiff’s written address on Tuesday, his lawyer, Achinike William-Wobodo, argued that as of 1986 Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State was not in existence.

He maintained that the local government in question was created in 1989 by Decree No 12 of 1989, two years after the alleged forgery was committed.

INEC’s lawyer, Mr Wale Ajayi, who filed and argued a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit, urged the court to dismiss the suit because the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain it.

Wike’s lawyer, Mr Ferdinand Orbih (SAN), too asked the court to dismiss the suit on the same grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear it.

Contending that the suit qualified as a pre-election suit, Orbih argued that the suit ought to have been filed within 14 days after the governor emerged as the candidate of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party.

He argued that having been filed outside the 14 days provided for in the 4th Alteration of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it had become status barred.

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