A drama played out at the Supreme Court, yesterday, as the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, asked the apex court to remove Governor Benedict Ayade of Cross River State from office over allegation that he falsified his age.
The party, through its lawyer, Mr. N. Ibegbulam, told the apex court headed by Justice Bode Rhodes Vivour that it was in support of an appeal by Mr. Joe Agi, SAN, against Ayade. Agi who is also a chieftain of the PDP in Cross River State had in his appeal, insisted that Governor Ayade lied about his age.
The appellant who came second in the governorship primary election of the PDP, held in the state on December 8, 2014, adduced exhibits before the court showing that Governor Ayade had in three different affidavits that were deposed to on oath, supplied conflicting dates as his year of birth.
Specifically, the evidence before the court showed that the 3rd respondent (Ayade) had in the Nomination Form, Code PD 003/G, which he used to contest the Cross River State election, stated on oath that he was born on March 2, 1969. However, the age declaration he attached to the form, which his brother Frank Ayade swore to before a Cross River State High Court sitting at Oleh on February 1, 2007, indicated that the defendant was born in 1968.
Moreover, the plaintiff tendered in evidence, a document that showed that the governor, while applying for admission into the University of Ibadan, gave an age declaration stating that he was born on March 2, 1966. The bio-data was allegedly issued by the University itself.
Meanwhile, when the matter came up for hearing yesterday, the, PDP, told the apex court that it was satisfied that Ayade violated its Electoral Guidelines by furnishing it with wrong data about his age. Ibegbulam said, “My Lords, after due consideration, we apply to concede to this appeal and consequently apply to withdraw the 1st respondent’s brief of argument dated May 17.
“We urge your lordships to find merit in the appeal and apply Article 14(b) and 15(2) of the PDP Electoral Guidelines which disqualifies any candidate that gives false age declaration.”After listening to the parties, the apex court reserved its judgment till December 9.