NIGERIA. Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, appears to be lying about his age, date of birth and submitted forged documents to the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) while running for the governorship election in 2015.
On December 13, 2017, Mr. Wike marked his “50th birthday”, suggesting that he was born on December 13, 1967. To celebrate the occasion, the governor invited friends from across the country to his home in Port Harcourt. A flood of adverts congratulating him on his jubilee anniversary were placed in newspapers and accepted by the governor.
However, there are strong indications that Wike’s claim to being 50 is false. Very false. Documents he submitted to INEC when he ran for the governorship in 2015 indicated he was born on March 13 1963. This provides an uncomplicated indication that Mr. Wike turned 54 in March 2017, not 50 on December 13 2017.
This is made more curious by the fact that Mr. Wike did not attach a birth certificate to the documents he submitted to INEC, but a sworn affidavit obtained by his brother, one Collins Nyele Wike on October 3 1986. The affidavit obtained 22 years after Mr. Wike’s purported birth date, stated that the Rivers State governor was born in 1963. But even that date on the affidavit was tampered with, using a pen instead of a typewriter.
A detailed examination of the affidavit also revealed another falsehood. The said Collins Wike claimed that he was a resident of Obio-Akpor Local Government Area at the time he swore to the affidavit. However, Obio-Akpor Local Government Area was not created until May 3 1989, a glaring evidence that the affidavit was fake.
The year the affidavit was sworn to was also the year Mr. Wike claimed to have obtained his West African Examination Certificate. This means he was 22 when he sat for the secondary school leaving examination, something many observers consider very unusual, as most people at the time completed secondary education between the ages of 16 and 18.
For reasons not known, Mr. Wike did not include much information about his primary and secondary education in his INEC form. Although he named the schools he attended, he did not indicate the dates he graduated from both, he, however, included the date he obtained his 1st degree, a B.sc in Political and Administrative Studies which he obtained in 1990 from the University of Port Harcourt, that will put his age at 27th if his INEC form date of birth were valid. Curiously, Wike did not attach a “Discharge Certificate” to his INEC form to show where did his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) as required by law. He included his his Law Degree certificate from the Rivers State University of Science And Technology that he obtained in 1997 and a call to bar certificate obtained in January 1998.
On realising that there had arisen some curiosity about his multiple dates of birth, Mr. Wike sought to take the sting out of the matter by jocularly asking guests at his party: “Who told them I am 50?” Regardless of the rant which was applauded by his guests, he still did not reveal his real age.
A SaharaReporters’ Twitter post asking why the governor chose a different date to celebrate his birthday generated a lot of comments. But the governor and his aides did not address the question. An effort to obtain an official position from Mr. Simeon Nwakaudu, the governor’s Special Assistant on Electronic Media, was futile.
In a statement, the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) pointed out the fact that Mr. Wike has three birth dates in the public domain. A Google check shows Mr. Wike’s birthday as August 24 1967, while Wikipedia records his date of birth as December 13 1967. Both platforms inevitably said he is 50 years old.
But in his own handwriting in 2015, while filing forms he submitted to INEC, Mr. Wike stated he was born on March 13 1963, a claim he supported with a cooked affidavit.
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