Ahead of the December 9, 2016 decision of the Supreme Court on the age falsification suit against Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, The Whistler can report that the apex court is under intense pressure to grant favorable judgment for the governor.
The pressure our correspondent learnt is coming mainly from the All Progressives Congress, who many say the governor would decamp to, once the apex court decides on the matter.
A source, who asked not to be named, fingered a former ranking member of the APC in trying get justices of the Supreme Court to swing the matter in Ayade’s favour.
“I can tell you that justices of the apex court are under intense pressure to stand the matter on its head. The curious thing is that it is members of the APC from the Presidency that are leading the lobbying.
“Some of the justices with corruption cases have been promised soft landing, while others are being lobbied with hefty sums of money. I feel for the Acting Chief Justice who is caught in all of these especially that he is from Cross River State,” the source alleged.
Already, the governor and his entire cabinet and over 1, 000 political appointees have relocated to Abuja ahead of the decision.
Various groups from Cross River State have been mobilized, tee-shirts and caps all printed while prayer groups have been making supplications for Heaven’s intervention.
Mr. Joe Agi, SAN, a chieftain of the PDP in Cross River State, had dragged Ayade to court, insisting that he 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.
The PDP had dramatically at the last sitting of the court asked that Ayade be sacked from office.
The PDP, 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.
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.”