There is palpable tension and anxiety in judicial circles and in Rivers state, over the decision of the Federal High Court in Jalingo to nullify the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Sani, Abubakar Danladi, from contesting in the governorship election for Taraba State slated for Saturday.
This is because the case bears similarities with that of the Rivers state governor for which judgement has been reserved for Friday the 9th of March.
Justice Stephen Pam in his ruling on the case of age falsification brought against Danladi by Usman Udi the APC guber candidate in Taraba state and three others, the judge held that Danladi had filed a different date of birth to the third defendant the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from the one on his WAEC certificate and so declared the information he supplied to the INEC as false.
“The information given by the first defendant Abubakar, Sani Danladi, as to his age in the affidavit in support of his personal particulars in the INEC Form CF001 submitted to INEC is hereby declared false. Danladi is hereby disqualified from contesting the election as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress APC in the governorship election for Taraba State slated for 9th March 2019 or any subsequent date to be slated on the grounds that the information contained in the Form CF001 as submitted to INEC as to his age is false” Pam ruled.
If this judgement is anything to go by, the grounds for the disqualification of Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers state from contesting Saturday’s election may have been laid.
The governor of Rivers state Nyesom Wike has a pending case over alleged age falsification of which Judgement will be delivered on Friday before Justice Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The Federal High Court in Abuja had 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, 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.
Source: Nigerian Pilot NG