Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba
Oftentimes, we unwittingly help others to make their case for them when we set out to attack them from a foundation of cheap lies and blackmail. This is what the lumbering attempt by one Ossai Ukwu to turn the facts upside down(see Daily Sun newspaper, Wednesday, December 11, p16) in the election petition case of Sen. Hope Uzodinma against Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha turned out to be.
From the title of the write up, “Imo election petitions: Blackmail won’t work,” it was as though Ukwu was unwittingly admonishing himself, for while he tried without success to turn around Uzodinma’s insistence on justice in the Imo governorship election to represent blackmail, he ended up giving himself away as the blackmailer who, unfortunately, is relying on outright falsehood to push his blackmail trade.
One thing that the Ukwus of this planet earth should always remember is that blackmail can never kill or suppress facts, no matter how spirited or repeated. Facts, on the other hand, remain the lethal weapons that will always render blackmail impotent and ineffectual.
Take the instant case of Ukwu trying to paint the false impression that the election tribunal and the appeal court did not rely on technicalities to dismiss Uzodinma’s petition. He claims that Uzodinma produced voodoo results from 366 polling units (388 actually), where INEC excluded his scores from. He goes further to claim that the results from the 388 polling units were strange to INEC and the courts, hence the tribunal found them worthless and unable to put them to any use and, consequently, threw them away.
What can serve as a better definition of lyrical lies than the above outburst from Ukwu? Or what can better demonstrate a chronic disrespect for the truth than his puerile attempt to twist facts? Just for the record, Uzodinma went to court because he believes he won the election and he is determined to reclaim his stolen mandate on the altar of truth and justice
Now, back to the instant issue, the results from the 388 units that were unlawfully excluded from the final tally by INEC were tendered by Uzodinma and admitted as exhibits by the tribunal. The police on the subpoena of the tribunal tendered 366 results out of the 388 tendered by Uzodinma,and they were also admitted as exhibits by the tribunal
The shock of the dramatic volte face the tribunal made on this matter of results from 388 polling units is best captured in the judgement of the court of appeal judge that gave a dissenting judgment which declared Uzodinma winner of the election
Here are his words: “ On the question of whether the tribunal was right when it not only rejected the evidence of PW54 (police officer), but also expunged the exhibits tendered through the said PW54, on the grounds that he had no competence and authority to give evidence and tender the documents tendered by him and that he was ‘on a frolic of his own,’ the need to begin by visiting the facts on the record may be apposite at this stage…”
In Obedience to the command of the trial tribunal, PW54 (police officer) appeared before the tribunal on 31st July, 2019. The respondents, of course, took objection to the competence of PW54 to give evidence in the petition. The trial tribunal took argument on the objection and in a well considered ruling of the same date overruled the Respondents’ objections.(See Pages 2601-2609 of Vol.4 of the record). The Respondent herein appealed against the tribunal’s ruling on the issue. (See the relevant Notice of Appeal at pages 2610-2615 of the Record). Pursuant to the tribunal’s ruling, the PW54 gave his evidence. (See pages 2596- 2597 of Vol. 4 of the Record). In the course of his testimony, the Tribunal admitted a copy of his subpoena tendered and marked same as Exhibit NNN1–NNN18. He also produced
The witness finally, in chief testified that upon the receipt of the subpoena through the DIG Zone 4, he proceeded to Owerri to brief the Commissioner of Police on whose authority his successor- in- office i.e. the current DC Operations IMO State released Exhibits PPP1- PPP366 to him.(See page 2598 Vol.4 of the Record).
A careful look at the record shows that PW54 was rigorously cross-examined by counsel to the respondents, but no one questioned his identity, which was well spelt out in Exhibits NNN1-NNN18. However, to the surprise of the Appellants, in its judgement under appeal, the trial tribunal made a volte face with respect to the evidence of PW54 when it held as follows:
“We find no difficulty in concluding that PW54 has no authority whatsoever to have testified and tender the said Forms EC8A, Exhibits PPP1 to PPP366. At least this tribunal did not see any evidence of such authority. It is the view of this tribunal that PW54 DCP Rabiu Hussaini was definitely on frolic of his own when he testified before this tribunal and tendered Exhibits PPP1 to PPP366”. (See pages 3039 of Vol.4 of the Record).
The trial tribunal thereafter expunged the PW54’s evidence including Exhibits PPP1 to PPP366 as having been “wrongly “ admitted.
If all the qualms raised by the tribunal had anything to do with the manner by which the subpoena reached the hands of PW54, the reason for the concern expressed by the tribunal are rather hazy. pressed by the tribunal are rather hazy.
•Emelumba is the Director Media Uzodimma Campaign Organization