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C’River PDP gov candidate sued for alleged perjury



 THE governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River State, Senator Benedict Ayade has been sued for perjury as the legal battle to stop him from contesting the elections intensifies.  

   Earlier Mr. Joe Agi (SAN) dragged Senator Ayade to the Federal HighCourt Abuja for failing to pay his party dues as at when due, thus asking the court to disqualify him from the race. When the matter came up for hearing on March 3rd in Abuja, the plaintiff, who emerged second in the primaries filled a motion to amend his earlier suit in the court presided over by Justice Adeniyi Ademola.

   The amendment being sought by Agi states that Senator Ayade submitted three different dates of birth, saying when Ayade won the PDP nomination, he was given form CF00 1 by INEC, which he filled under oath and gave his date of birth as 2nd March 1969 as stated in his age declaration of 20th November 2014. 

   Under oath again he attached another affidavit as his age declaration deposed to by his brother, Mr. Frank Ayade at the High Court in Delta State on 1st February 2007, that, “Ayade Benedict Bengioushuye was born on the 2nd of March, 1968 in Obudu Local Government Area of Cross River State.”

   Again, his school; the University of Ibadan in a letter dated

February 26, 2015 and signed by the Deputy Registrar (Academic), Dr. Ikeoluwapo O. Moody giving the bio data of Senator Ayade to a consulting firm, gave his date of birth as March 2nd, 1966. In his nomination form PD003/G, he gave his date of birth as 2nd of March, 1969 which he submitted to the PDP. 

   In that form he attached his birth certificate, which shows that he was born on 2nd March 1968. In the screening form SF/PD/G, which he submitted to the party and signed by him, he gave his date of birth as 2nd March 1968.    

   Agi, in his amendment argued that in line with the constitution or guidelines of the PDP, Part IV, paragraph 14, (b) which states that “an aspirant to the gubernatorial primary election shall not be qualified to be nominated or to contest the primary election, if he/she presents a false birth certificate or declaration of age for the purpose of the primary elections or for any other purpose.”  

   In view of this guideline, Agi argued that Senator Ayade ought not to have contested but having contested, his votes are void and this act of different certificates of birth to INEC is against section 181 (i) of the Nigerian constitution, which says he shall not be qualified to contest, apart from the party’s constitution.   

   Counsel to Ayade, Mr. Paul Erokoro (SAN) said there was no perjury in the documents his client filed, admitting that the discrepancies in the dates between 1968 and 1969 was an error by the person who filled the forms for him before he signed. 

   Erokoro stated, “you know how somebody fills the form for you and you sign. Then instead of eight the man writes nine and you sign it and you say it is a wrong date of birth whereas alongside the form, he attached the correct birth certificate. So in the form they filled, they mistakenly wrote nine instead of eight and the birth certificate showed the correct date of birth.  

   “His birth certificate reads 1968 and it has always been 1968 in all his documents. His international passport, driver’s licence has 1968, the forms that he filled when he was contesting as senator has 1968. All his records have 1968.”

   On the letter from the University of Ibadan having 1966 as Ayade’s date of birth, Erokoro described the letter as forged, saying, “they went and forged one letter claiming that the University Ibadan says Ben was born in 1966, there is nothing like that at all.”    

    The court fixed March 10 for hearing. 


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