BY MANFRED EKPE ESQ
About three weeks ago, I got feelers from a very top government functionary that the plans on ground is to destroy the chances of all the strong governorship candidates in Akwa Ibom State so that only the governor’s anointed can be the only viable candidate in the field.
My said informant said that though the plots in place against the governorship candidates of APC and YPP may not stand but that it will check the impending defection from PDP as planned in December 2022 and will also destroy the chances of these opposition parties at the polls.
He informed that Akan Okon’s case will not see the light of the day. And that the plans are that Akanimo Asuquo Udofia the APC Guber candidate for Akwa Ibom State will be disqualified while Obong Bassey Albert the YPP guber candidate will be convicted before the election. And that though he will appeal, but that this will be used as an effective blackmail tool against him to destroy his public appeal.
I dismissed such permutations on grounds that Senator Ita Enang’s case against Akan Udofia is so frivolous and incurably bad that no court of law can give him victory on it. I still hold this stand.
The judgment disqualifying Obong Akan Udofia is a travesty of justice which unpretentiously violates his fundamental right, is illegal and a blackday Judgment.
On that of Obong Bassey Albert, I did argue with my informer that I had followed his case, and that the burden of proof in criminal trial being on the threshold of “beyond reasonable doubt,” and the prosecution witnesses having contradicted themselves in material facts and giving conflicting evidence, that conviction is not likely.
However, within two weeks, what the top Government functionary told me began to materialize. I was not trained in Nigeria and was evaluating the cases based on the law. I didn’t know that in some instances in Nigeria the law doesn’t count. And that in Nigeria Government officials even know the terms of court Judgment before delivery.
The Judgement against Obong Akan Udofia and Akan Okon became so miraculous that they beat all jurisprudential reasoning and principles of law known to the common law jurisprudence.
For instance, for that of Akan Okon, the learned trial judge did not use the exhibits duly admitted, for the evaluation of the evidence thus arriving at an erroneous conclusion that the case lacked merit. Of course the supporters of Governor Udom Emmanuel even in the court premises before court sat had already boasted that the court will dismiss the suit for lacking in merit.
In that of Akan Udofia, this would be the first time in the history of electoral jurisprudence in Nigeria that a person who duly resigned from his previous political party, took up membership of another political party, granted waiver by the appropriate authority of his new party to stand election as by law requires, would be declared by a court of law not to be a member of his new party! The court had to decide for him which should be his party which is PDP! which is contrary to and in contravention of his fundamental right of freedom of association under section 40 of the Nigerian constitution 1999 as altered.
Yet Gov. Godwin Obaseki left APC in or about 2020 and the next day flew PDP gubernatorial flag and it was lawful in the same Nigeria.
Secondly, in the Nigerian electoral jurisprudence, courts of law are bereaved of jurisdiction to interfer in the internal affairs of a political party except the regulation of such internal affairs has been legislated upon by an Act of the National Assembly. This is not the case for party membership in Nigeria which remains absolute internal affairs of political parties and as such a no go area for the courts as affirmed by His Lordship Justice Agatha Okeke of the Federal High Court Uyo, in the case of Jeremiah Otu-Inyang v. INEC, APC and others suit no. FHC/UY/CS/750/2022 delivered on 6th October 2022.
I will therefore not be surprise, if the prediction of my top Government official informant is consistently fulfilled so that, in other to embarrass OBA and create a new blackmail material against him, he is convicted on Friday 25 November 2022 as predicted, no matter how frivolous his charges might be. The blackmail of being a cultist has since lost traction.
The most suspicious part of the Akwa Ibom political cases before court is that the aides of the Akwa Ibom State Governor have a ritual of celebrating court judgements hours before they are delivered. As nonlawyers they even precisely give the terms of the judgment using legal terminologies. Once decided, the judgment proclaims exactly in their words. This means there is erosion in our judicial system.
But I call on all Akwa Ibomites to stand strong in faith. The Government know too well they can’t hold OBA in prison because he has committed no offence. Their only strategy, as confided in me by my top government functionary, is to create doubt in the minds of voters that APC and YPP have no governorship candidate thus pulling the population only to the side of PDP. How do you get goodwill by coercion?
They have successfully used Mike Igini the former INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State to nearly destroy APC chances in the State who created confusion all over the place till many APC grassroots supporters scattered.
The Bible talks about striking the shepherd for the sheep will scatter. This is exactly the demonic strategy employed by Gov. Udom Emmanuel against those who brought him to power and sustained him .
OBA will never be held in prison. They are afraid of his popularity and real grassroots appeal. They want to use the imminent expected conviction to destroy the YPP’s guber candidate’s goodwill so as to steal his victory through the back door. But they cannot succeed. Gov. Udom Emmanuel is so afraid of life behind bars after leaving office because of the humongous amount of money he can’t account for. He wants a friendly govt to succeed him in order to cover up his leprous fingers.
Dear Akwa Ibomites, I can assure you that OBA had been aware of all these frame ups and has long prepared for it. It isn’t coming as a surprise and he has already put mechanisms in place to checkmate such demonic attacks on him. They may convict him on Friday just like Jesus Christ was convicted and killed, but the grave could not hold him. Take me by my words, OBA knew all these things before now, and prison will never hold him. You will see that if convicted on Friday 25 November, 2023, he will still go about his campaign unperturbed.