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Mike Igini and Prof Peter Ogban: The Oxymoron of a Judgment

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 The conviction of a co-accused is the height of hypocrisy and mischief

The recent conviction of Professor Peter Ogban by an Akwa Ibom State High Court over the ignorable role he played during the 2019 North-West Senatorial District election did not come to discerning minds and political players as a surprise.

The professor of soil science at the University of Calabar, it would be recalled, was the Returning Officer for that election. His active connivance with the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Mike Igini, to deny Senator Godswill Akpabio a well deserved victory after the election precipitated the legal battle that culminated in the Appeal Court which ordered a re-run of the said senatorial election.

It is therefore shocking that following Prof Ogban’s conviction few days ago, the People’s Democratic Party in Akwa Ibom State and her apparatus, spared no effort in their wicked attempt at turning truth on its head, with spurious propaganda that the convicte Ogban manipulated the election results in favour of Senator Godswill Akpabio, who was the All Progressives Congress candidate for the said election.

One begins to wonder how on earth can a victim of fraud and election rigging be called a beneficiary of the same manipulation targeted at him? This is the height of mischief!

The truth of the matter is that no matter how you want to bury the truth, falsehood can never gain ascendancy over truth and light.  The attempt to smear and perhaps destroy Godswill Akpabio’s hard earned  reputation and character by few egoistic individuals, both within and outside, will always fall flat  when confronted with  truth and logic.

To put the records straight, towards 2019 General Election, Senator Godswill Akpabio felt uncomfortable with  certain characters in PDP in Akwa Ibom State  and had to exit when his continued membership meant murdering his political fortune and future. The plot for his “downfall” instantly became a project of combined enemies within and without. His second attempt at return to Red Chambers of the National Assembly was truncated by INEC, the State PDP and some external forces who felt threatened by his rising political profile at the national scene.

It is on record that when results of the Senatorial District were collated at the Senatorial District Collation Centre in Ikot Ekpene, it became obvious who the winner of the election was.  Akpabio’s anticipated victory confounded INEC comprising the Returning Officer, Professor Peter Ogban and the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Mike Igini and they quickly planned to violate the electoral law by engaging in brazen illegality. They hijacked the Election Results from the Senatorial District Collation Headquarters,  Ikot Ekpene to INEC office Uyo where the duo arbitrarily declared the candidate of PDP,  Mr. Chris Ekpeyong  the winner of the election, in contravention of the provisions of the Electoral Act.

What transpired at the State Capital was bizarre. At Uyo, the result of Essien Udim was terribly altered with hand to read APC = 6241.This falsified result was contrary to original result wherein APC had 61,339 and PDP had 9050.

The evidence of the evil perpetuated against Godswill Akpabio was exposed during the legal battle that took place at the Election Tribunal in Uyo after the PDP candidate was declared the winner. One Dr Williams, the INEC Collation Officer for Essien Udim admitted during Cross Examination by the Counsel to Godswill Akpabio that the result of Essien Udim was altered by INEC Officials at Uyo which led to the emergence of the PDP candidate as the winner.

If Prof Ogban altered result in favour of Godswill Akpabio as INEC and PDP in the State want the world to believe, few pertinent questions here will put things in proper perspective.

  1. When and where did Prof Ogban admit that he altered the election result in favour of Akpabio?At the Election Tribunal which he refused to appear or at the High Court where he was recently convicted? No such evidence of admission.

  1. Why did he, Prof Ogban and the Resident Electoral Commissioner announce the altered senatorial result at Uyo and not at the Senatorial District Collation Headquarters if he was working for Senator Akpabio?

  1. Whom did INEC comprising Prof Peter Ogban and Mike Igini announce as the winner of the Senatorial election in Uyo in 2019, Senator  Akpabio or  Mr. Ekpeyong?

  1. What was the finding of the Court of Appeal concerning the collation and announcement of the Senatorial Election Result pertaining to Essien Udim by Prof Peter Ogban and Mike Igini who worked for INEC?

  1. If Prof Ogban worked for Senator Godswill Akpabio, as Mike Igini and PDP in Akwa Ibom want the world to believe, how come Senator Akpabio sued the same Prof Peter Ogban as the one who, in connivance with Mike Igini fraudulently manipulated, cancelled and altered the results of Essien Udim and other local government areas where Senator Godswill Akpabio won with overwhelming votes?  The truth of the matter is that Prof Peter Ogban was sued and joined by Senator Godswill Akpabio for his wrongdoings against Senator Akpabio during the senatorial election!

An unbiased answers to the above posers will elicit a clear direction  to a genuine mind that is in search of truth on how wicked and  mischievous  INEC and PDP in Akwa Ibom State have gone in an attempt to make a victim of their manipulations become a villain in the whole saga.

For those who may have been deceived by the manipulations of INEC and Akwa Ibom State PDP over Prof Ogban’s  conviction, which to every fair mind is healthy to our polity and to the glory of  President Muhammadu Buhari’s stance against election rigging, I reproduce here below the conclusions of the Court of Appeal, Calabar Division in an appeal filed by Senator Godswill Akpabio against the “robbery”  that took place in the North West Senatorial District Election held on the 23rd of February, 2019 . His Lordship, Hon. Justice Tanko Husseini held as follows:

  1. “The return of the Ist Respondent(Chief Chris Ekpeyong of PDP) as the winner of the Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District Election held on 23/2/2019 is declared invalid for substantial non-compliance with provision of the Electoral Act, arising in, from acts of vandalism, destruction of Election materials, snatching of Ballot Boxes.

  1. The 1st Respondent(Chief Chris Ekpeyong of PDP) was not duly returned or elected by a majority of lawful votes cast in Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District election held on 23/2/2019, hence his declaration and return is invalid being contrary to provision of the Electoral Act.

  1. Consequently, the Certificate of return issued by the 3rd Respondent (INEC) to the 1st Respondeent(Chief Ekpeyong of PDP) is withdrawn, etc.”

The Learned Justice went further and this is very important to every discerning mind to note:

“Before I draw the curtain, I think I should reiterate the importance of the relevance of the principles established in the Electoral Act by all stakeholders including political actors as well as the Electoral Commission that ALL PERSONS WHO WORK UNDER THE COMMISSION, ie THE 3RD RESPONDENT, MUST ALL WORK TOGETHER FOR THE REALIZATION OF A TRUE ELECTORAL PROCESS IN A DEMOCRATIC SETTING.

“Section 27 of the Electoral Act is one such provision which commands respect and observance of the provisions in relation to the announcement of election results. Section 27(2) (e) for instance provides that;

“The Returning Officer shall announce the result and declare the winner of the election at:

(e) Senatorial District Collation Centre in the case of Election to the Senate.

“Announcement of election results in a place OTHER THAN THE DESIGNATED PLACE, PERMITTED BY LAW IS HARDLY STRICT OBSERVANCE WITH THE PRINCIPLES ESTABLISHED BY THE ELECTORAL ACT. IT NEGATES THAT PRINCIPLE. It amounts to non-compliance”

With this profound pronouncement by the hallowed Court of Appeal, Calabar, Senator Akpabio and his supporters were expectant that ALL THE ELECTORAL HEAD IN AKWA IBOM STATE that conducted the fraudulent election that warranted a rerun to be ordered would be arrested and prosecuted, alas it is the unfortunate Prof Ogban that the mischievous INEC singled out to sacrifice in order to keep the job and name of Resident Electoral Commissioner.

That the said Resident Electoral Commissioner is gloating over the conviction of a co-accused is the height of hypocrisy and mischief! THIS IS CLEARLY ALARMING!

Written By Smart Chizurum 

Political Analyst

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POLITICS

Stop making mockery of the exalted Office of the Governor, Eze to Wike

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Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress and erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New People’s Democratic Party (nPDP), Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze has again, given a sharp retort and squarely discredited claims by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, that Nigeria’s Transportation Minister, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, has failed to attract a project to the state, as a cabinet member of the Buhari/APC government since the administration came onboard in 2015.

The Governor who spoke in a reception organized to formally receive a former Rivers APC Chairman, Dr. Ibiamu Davies Ikanya and others, into the People’s Democratic Party, vowed to put in his resignation should the Minister name a federal project he has attracted to Rivers State since he assumed office.

Wike also alleged that Amaechi claimed he sold a Dash 8 aircraft purchased by former Governor, Dr. Peter Odili administration, to the Government of Cross River at the cost of $6million, but failed to account for the proceeds of the transaction.

The very controversial Rivers Governor had equally claimed to have attracted many projects to Rivers State while he served as Minister of State for Education under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

But reacting to the irking gasconade, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze said the Governor’s sense of ratiocination may have been grossly impaired by his unreasonable fancy for aqua vitae and warned of a possible deterioration of his cognitive orientation and public mannerism, even as he continues to slip deeper and deeper into the bottles.

It would be recalled that Gov. Wike had made similar vow; sometime in 2020, staking his position as Governor and in reply Eze listed over 13 projects to counter his bunkum, but in his usual carriage, he still continue to parade himself as the Governor of Rivers State, yet to put in his resignation.

In a statement made available to media houses in Port Harcourt, the party chief described Wike’s comment as the delirious rant and rave of a man whose sense of fair judgment has been obscured by his very hostile and  tendentious opinion laced with habitual hatred against the Minister of Transportation.

Although the comment is lacking apparent gravitational pull to qualify for a response, coming  from an avowed incorrigible bigot who has not entertained any new thought in years, Eze said a response was necessary to assuage the minds of those who may have been attracted by his venomous outrage.

“For sometime now, I have stopped making any comment on how Governor Nyesom Wike administers Rivers State but the more I resolve to keep quiet the more the Governor continues to act in such a manner unbecoming of a State Governor and to keep quiet under such an environment is not in my character”. Eze said.

On the Governor’s allegation that Amaechi sold a Dash 8 aircraft purchased by former Governor, Dr. Peter Odili administration, to the Government of Cross River at the cost of $6million, but failed to account for the proceeds of the transaction, the party Chief said such comment is utterly misguided and unfortunate, coming from a man who was an Aide and a key player in Amaechi’s government.

Eze pointed out that Wike is feigning ignorance of the facts of the matter in a bid to justify his unending malicious schemes and satanic artifices against his benefactor Amaechi.

Putting the records straight, Chief Eze said it beats one’s imagination to learn that Wike appears to have forgotten that Amaechi sold the Dash 8 Aircraft purchased by Dr. Odili to complete funds to acquire the Bombardier local man which he (Wike) has been using since 2015.

He called on the Governor to leave Amaechi for once and focus a bit on governance and strive to receive sense to address the myriad of challenges facing the State, adding that trying to compare himself with Amaechi is a dream far from reality.

“Let me once again bring to the public some of the projects that Amaechi have influenced to Rivers State which I know that Wike will gloss over and continue shamelessly to parade himself as the Governor of Rivers State contrary to his threat to resign if Amaechi can name a single project he has attracted to the State.” The party chief stated.

On projects attracted to Rivers State by Amaechi Eze said:

  1. The fact still remains that Amaechi pushed for the construction of the 39km Bonny Bodo road and it’s two creek bridges including the bridge over Opobo channel at a whopping sum of 120 billion naira. This gigantic bridge is comparable only to the 2nd Niger bridge project.

  1. The Port Harcourt International Airport that was described as one of the worst Airports in the entire world which renovation was frustrated by the PDP Government when Wike was a Minister stands today as one of the best Airports under Amaechi as substantive Minister of Transportation.

  1. The Soku Oil well supported by Wike to be ceded to Bayelsa has been returned to Rivers State.

  1. The Ogoni Cleanup exercise which was described as impossible by the PDP administration where Wike served as junior Minister is currently in progress.

  1. With the influence of Amaechi, the East West Road abandoned by the PDP administration is currently ongoing and will soon be completed.

  1. Under Amaechi as the best Minister of the decade, Cargo ships now berth in Onne Port, thereby increasing economic activities in the state, shoring up the state’s revenue and creating more employment for Rivers people. This clearly shows Amaechi is not resting on his oars.

  1. The Port Harcourt to Maiduguri rail line which is being negotiated shows Amaechi is bringing development home.

  1. The Calabar through Port Harcourt to Lagos rail line will soon commence.

  1. Amaechi as the Minister of Transposition influenced the setting up of the Maritime University in Oron, where many Rivers sons and daughters are already employed and engaged.

  1. He Influenced the setting up of the Naval Intelligence and Logistics College at Ubima.

  1. Bonny and Warri deep sea ports have been approved.

  1. The Ajaojuta- Itakpe- Warri rail line covering about 320km and cutting across the entire Niger Delta was commissioned in 2020, with hundreds of Rivers State sons and daughters employed. Both the Delta, Edo Governors including the President were full of praises for the tenacity and administrative prowess of Amaechi in achieving the feat.

  1. Amaechi as Transportation Minister has dredged the channels and today the Port Harcourt port is alive. Meraks shipping can confirm that cargo landing at PH has increased by 50%. If Wike has eyes he should have seen that trucks queuing for containers are now stretching to the Rivers State Govt House.

  1. Amaechi has influenced human capital development through appointment and employment of hundreds of Rivers State sons and daughters into various Federal Establishments though Wike never believe in human capital development so this to him is not an attractive project.

  1. Amaechi in collaboration with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, President Buhari and others influenced the ongoing rehabilitation of the moribund Port Harcourt Refinery which Wike in conjunction with others abandoned during their inglorious regime.

16, 17.& 18 Eze added that apart from the above feats, that almost six years after Amaechi left Rivers State as governor, he is still vomiting money for the state, by facilitating the refund of N79 billion to Rivers State from federal projects executed by Amaechi and Peter Odili’s administrations, the release of $400 million for work in Ogoni under the clean up exercise, among others including the flyovers, roads and others projects that Wike may have used the largesse which Amaechi saved and resent to Rivers State.

Eze said Wike is one Governor who has failed in all indexes of performance and thus, he knows nothing about development and related terms in government.

With the listing of over 17 federal projects that Amaechi brought to Rivers as Minister one expects Wike as a matter of urgency to address the public and put in his resignation letter if he still had any integrity. With this Eze gives Wike 2 weeks to resign or face editorial series on his lies and political dishonesty that will explode in his face

 

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POLITICS

DEMOCRACY DAY: Lets Stand for Democracy Today, Even More Tomorrow- Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu

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On this day, I join with all Nigerians in commemorating Democracy Day. The book of the life of this nation has many chapters already written and many more yet to be written.

One of the most profound and inspiring accounts that shall be written of our nation’s history will be the chapter on how we moved from the darkness of authoritarian military suppression into the light of democracy and the establishment of popular government based on the sovereign will of the people.

On this memorable day, we mark, with respect, and honor the sacrifices that have allowed democracy to come to pass. We also celebrate in anticipation of a future in which our democratic institutions, concepts and practices take firmer root; transforming this society from what it is to what it can be.

The pages of our national book inexorably turn. We have seen and experienced much. Victory and setback have entered and exited. The departure of friend and foe we have witnessed. The song of peace and unity we have sung as one national family while others have pounded the drums of war and hate. Laughter and sorrow, we have known.

Through it all, our gaze has remained fixed as if it were focused on a star in the firmament. Our road has remained certain for it is the only road we can reasonably tread. We have moved toward a better Nigeria and a greater democracy.

This path has not been without peril. There are many who care not for the journey we take. They embark on a different trek for they hold to a different concept of governance and of the relationship of government to the people.

They do not believe in a nation where every person therein has substantive rights, freedoms and liberties as God intended for all of his human creations regardless of place of birth, ethnic origin, social station or religious creed. These people hate democracy and despise you for choosing democracy over them and their oppressive ways.

They are violent and coldhearted. They love nothing, save the destruction of the happiness and peace of others. They will not go away quietly or in consideration of the compelling logic of democratic governance.

Instead, they set us up in hopes of laying waste to the good society we seek to build. They levy terror against us in vain hope that their violent impositions might cause us to lose our way. They raze villages, destroy homes assault and kill innocent people. They even attack important symbols of a just society including religious institutions, schools of learning and INEC offices as if they can snuff out, through violence, mankind’s will to worship God, seek knowledge or engage in participatory governance.

However, with all that they do, they will not succeed. In trying to pluck a democratic and just society from our hands they are as mistaken as they are evil.

Our democracy was not here established to be destroyed by the terrible likes of people such as these. Those who sacrificed their lives for democracy did not give of themselves so that we would be turned back by terrorists or by those who seek to tear the nation asunder just so they might imperially rule over some small part of it.

Despite the troubles we face, and those troubles are serious, we must stand up for democracy lest we shall find ourselves falling to oblivion. Democratic good governance offers the only reasonable solution to the challenges confronting Nigeria.

Thus, we must stand for democracy today. We must stand for it even more tomorrow. Ask this question 10, 20, 100 years from now, the answer must remain the same: the people of Nigeria stand for democracy and stand against that which would chase democracy from our land.

Thus, we stand against those who traffic in insurrection and violence. We stand against those whose commerce is bigotry and hatred. We contend against those who would render the people ignorant and poor.

We stand for a better way. We celebrate Democracy Day not only because we have come far but to help give us the social fuel and encouragement to continue onward because we have farther to go and even greater things to achieve as one nation and one people.

On this day, let us remember MKO Abiola whose victory in the June 12th 1993 presidential election was stolen from him. Yet he remained steadfast and surrendered his own life so that we all might enjoy the democratic victory that was taken from him. Without his historic effort and sacrifice, this day would not be democracy day. It would be a downcast and disappointing one. Let us also remember all others who also sacrificed so much to bring democracy to this land.

We best honor these people not by reciting their names but by injecting the spirit and hope of democracy into our words and deeds. In becoming better democrats, we also become better at being Nigerians.

I wish all of you a meaningful and happy Democracy Day.

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POLITICS

June 12: PDP Condemns APC, Buhari’s Clampdown on Peaceful Protesters

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) condemns, in the strongest term ever, the violent clampdown by agents of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Muhamamdu Buhari on Nigerians who are peacefully protesting on Democracy Day.
The party describes the brutal clampdown on citizens on Democracy Day as a sacrilegious demonstration of APC’s aversion to democracy as well as its barefaced repugnance towards Nigerians, particularly in their demands for their rights.
It is awkward that the APC and President Buhari, who were allowed their freedom when they protested in 2014, would turn around to subject Nigerians to actions of inhumanity including the use of firearms against the people, as being witnessed today.
It is instructive to note that President Buhari, in his supposed Democracy Day address, failed to rein in his security operatives despite the cautions by the PDP. This places the culpability for whatever befalls Nigerians, in the face of the violent attacks by security agencies, on the APC as well as Mr. President’s desk.
The PDP is not surprised that in his over 20 minutes speech, Mr. President never made any commitment towards upholding the democratic tenets of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of association and right to peaceful protest, as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution and our statutes, from which he, as APC candidate, drew huge benefit in 2014.
Our party is cataloguing all the infringements which the APC and President Buhari are rudely imposing on Nigerians and we urge all global democratic institutions to take note of the violent infringements and clampdown on democracy in Nigeria by the APC.
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