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Mixed reactions trail suit seeking to disqualify Wike from guber race

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Mixed reactions have trailed a suit seeking to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from accepting the nomination of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike for the 2019 polls over discrepancies in his age declaration.

A lawyer, Achinike William-Wobodo had taken INEC and Wike to a Federal High Court in Abuja, alleging that the governor lied on oath about his age.

But reacting to the development, the state Commissioner of Information and Communications, Emma Okah, dismissed the suit as politically motivated and a non-issue since Williams-Wobodo is an aide to Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi.

“I have not seen the process, so, I will treat it as a non-issue. This is a political era and all manner of things are thrown up. I have not seen the process and I won’t be able to make detailed comment until I see it,” he said.

On his part, former Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Leyii Kwanee, told The Guardian that the facts as submitted by the plaintiff are before the court to determine the veracity of the claims.

Also reacting to the matter, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Tonye Princewill, said the onus is on Wike to extricate himself from the allegation.

Princewill said the matter is not political irrespective of the fact that the governor is a political figure, stressing that the fundamental issue people should be concerned with was whether it was legally right or wrong for anyone to lie on oath.

William-Wobodo in Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/1020/2018, is seeking a declaration that the information contained in the declaration of oath made on December 19, 2014 and the certificate titled: Statutory Declaration of Age, Wike presented to INEC for the purpose of the 2015 election into the office of Governor of Rivers State that commenced in 2014 and held on April 11 and 12, 2015, was false.

In an originating summons brought in pursuant to section 182 (1) (j) and 6 (b) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the plaintiff asked the court to disqualify Wike from contesting any election made in pursuant to the constitution having allegedly presented a forged certificate.

Williams-Wobodo alleged that in 1999/2000, when Wike wanted to contest the Obio/Akpor Local Council chairmanship election, he was less than 35 years, which was the age limit for anyone seeking election into that office at the time.

According to him, in order to qualify for the election, Wike allegedly engaged one Collins Nyeme Wike, who deposed to an affidavit that he was born on March 13, 1963, which made him eligible for the election.

To buttress the claim that Wike forged the age declaration, he said Collins Nyeme Wike had in the affidavit sworn to in 1986, claimed that he was a resident of Rumuepirikom in Obio/Akpor Local Council, which was created by a military decree in 1989.

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