The outcome of the protracted battle for who represents Imo North Senatorial Zone in the Ninth Senate is gradually coming to fruition. The precursor to this is the quashing of Senator Ifeanyi Araraume’s objection to the plea of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and its candidate, Sir Frank Ibezim, to be joined in the suit Araraume filed against the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Araraume had set a judicial ambush against the electoral umpire and hoped to be declared winner of the December 5 senatorial by-election in the zone. He had wanted the court to order INEC to issue him with Certificate of Return, a visa to the Red Chamber.
However, APC and Ibezim, knowing the implication of the Araraume gambit had pleaded with the court to be joined in the suit, a request Araraume opposed. Of course, it is in his nature to snoop from behind as he did prior to the by-election when he obtained a strange judgment, declaring him winner of the APC primaries without involvement of the direct victims of the weighty court decision.
So, he thought he could get underservedly lucky again despite Justice Ringim of the Federal High Court, Owerri, that gave that bizarre judgment earning a severe rebuke from the Court of Appeal. Upturning the ruling, the higher court said: “It is baffling, shocking and unbelievable how the Judge misdirected himself and delivered a ridiculous and controversial judgment without jurisdiction.”
However, since the leopard does not change its spots in old age, Araraume took his trick to Federal High Court, Abuja, and sought to obtain another judgment in the absence of other interested parties. However, obviously surprised Justice Taiwo Taiwo found the objection strange and rejected it. The learned judge could not understand why Araraume should oppose the joining of APC and Ibezim, knowing that they would be affected by the outcome of the case anyhow.
Dismissing Araraume’s objection, Justice Taiwo rightly ruled that the APC and Ibezim must be joined in the suit in the interest of fair hearing, adding that it is the right of anyone that is likely to be affected by court ruling to be joined if he so desires.
“If a party is aggrieved or likely to be aggrieved by the litigation, such party had to be joined to avoid multiplicity of the suit and to ensure that fair hearing is not breached.
“This court ought to and must ensure that the rules of fair hearing and natural justice are not breached,” Justice Taiwo ruled.
Indeed, why is Araraume afraid of Ibezim and APC being joined in the suit? If he is so sure of himself, why does he not stop all these devious schemes and allow due process of the court or throw in the towel?
In fact, this does not bode well for Araraume and is certainly the beginning of a journey to the house of weeping for his acolytes and sycophants, who, instead of telling him the truth, are busy milking him dry through oiled words of deceit.
The truth shall soon be unveiled that the Araraume gang is composed of spin masters and mischief desperados out to confuse everyone but shall soon sink in the red sea of alert justice.
There is no way Araaume could be declared winner of the election, in which he was not a candidate, having been shunted off rather disgracefully by the Appeal Court. The puerile attempt to blackmail INEC to hand him victory shall fail because even though it goofed by failing to directly declare the winner of the poll, it still declared APC winner, knowing fully well that the mandate belonged to APC and to whoever it chose as its candidate in the by-election, who is indisputably Ibezim. It is a fact that Araraume came a distant third in the APC primaries, which Ibezim duly contested and won.
Fortunately, prior to the by-election, Ibezim’s stolen candidature was lawfully restored by the Appeal Court and he was the duly recognised candidate of the party that won the election. Araraume’s purported judgment from Abuja High Court disqualifying Ibezim on trumped up charges of certificate forgery was not current as well as also coming from an inferior court. Therefore, Araraume clinging onto that amounts to extreme fantasy; like his parallel nomination written on a roadside piece of paper instead of the APC letterhead.
His co-traveller in this journey to nowhere, Chief Emmanuel Okewulonu of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is still clutching onto straw and claiming victory. Quite pathetic indeed! Though Okewlonu seems to be Araraume’s pitiable alter ego to rob his party and brother of his rightful dues, one only hopes the straw does not burn his heart so that he would live to contest another year.
Nsu Tiles: Roguery in high places
Something awfully shameful happened in Imo last week. The episode was an extension of the unending tragicomic drama that characterised the government of Owelle Rochas Okorocha, champion of Iberiberism.
The Imo State Government, on Wednesday, announced it had discovered the equipment looted from Nsu Ceramic and Tiles Industry in a warehouse allegedly owned by the former governor.
The equipment had been imported by the government of the late Dr. Sam Mbakwe but were carted away from the site in Nsu, Ehime Mbano Local Government Area, during the administration of Okorocha after the governor had paid a decoy visit to the area and made spurious promises.
Now, the Imo State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Simon Ebegbulem, annonunced to a bewildered public that the equipment, alongside various public-owned facilities, was now discovered hidden in Okorocha’s warehouse along Owerri-Aba road in the state, adding that the Okorocha family intended to use it to set up a private ceramics industry.
In fact, this is not the first time such discovery had been made, as the truncated Emeka Ihedioha administration also discovered the power generating set meant for the Nsu Tiles at the East Palm University, whose ownership is also a subject of dispute between Imo State government and Okorocha.
One is appalled by the level of roguery in high places in Imo State, especially during the Okorocha reign, which he rightly ascribed to iberiberism. It is a shame that when ordinary people are being jailed for stealing yam to feed, the high and mighty are getting away with brazen robbery, not just in Imo but also in other places across the country.
Nsu people greatly appreciate the laudable and gallantry efforts of the state government in recovering the equipment. However, beyond this is what plan the government has for the Nsu Tiles and Ceramics Industry now the stolen equipment had been recovered. It is time the government took decisive steps towards bringing the long overdue firm alive. If it cannot do it alone, it can adopt the public-private investment model or facilitate private investors by guaranteeing access to funds by financial institutions.
The huge expanse of land the community donated to the project has been dormant for decades, and that is such a waste of valuable resources. The raw material or rather part of the essential raw materials for the industry is readily available in the community, which has waited for far too long. Therefore, the government cannot dilly dally anymore. It is time to tackle the project head-on; it can help shore up much needed revenue of the state and also create employment for the many jobless youth.