Benue APC: When The Wrong One(s) Suspends The Right Person(s): Phony or Funny? By Bemdoo Hulugh
“We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, with so little, for so long, we are now qualified to do anything with nothin”
-Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Three days ago, I was notified by friends and supporters alike that an announcement was aired on Radio Benue and Harvest FM Makurdi purportedly suspending me and 11 others including, notably, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Jime, Sen. JKN Waku and Justice Utsaha, et al, by the Benue State APC. The release was signed by ‘Conman’ Abba Yaro.
In a manner reminiscent of pre- medieval mentality, a press release of such magnitude was made without relaying the message, first to the targets, and without the benefit of fair hearing. This is an absolute negation of the preamble to Article 21 of the APC Constitution 2014 (as amended)(hereinafter simply refered to as ‘APC Constitution’) which they may have relied upon.
Okay, what was the alleged reason for the suspension?: ANTI PARTY ACTIVITIES. What gave rise to this so-called anti party activities?- We have different matters in court bothering on the undemocratic practices of the Benue APC. Let’s assume these people put a blind eye to the first word on our party’s motto: JUSTICE. They may have obviously ignored the advice given to them by the two most civilised and decently educated members of the State APC Exco: Barr. Omale Omale (Legal Adviser) and Hon. Onov Tyulugh (Secretary ).
How does litigation against the party amount to anti – party activity. In an attempt to be deceitful and dubious, ‘Conman’ Abba Yaro and his Co – conspirators may have resorted to a haphazard interpretation of the spirit and letters of Article of Article 21(A)(x) of the APC Constitution which defines offences against the party,to include:
“Filing an action in a Court of Law against the Party or any of its Officers on any matters relating to the discharge of the duties of the Party WITHOUT FIRST EXHAUSTING ALL AVENUES FOR REDRESS PROVIDED FOR IN THIS CONSTITUTION” (emphasis mine).
For so long, I have chosen the path of mute passivity over my pre – election action in court. This is because, as a Lawyer, I wouldn’t want it to be subjudiced by exposing so much of the issues in contention. However, this illegal suspension of a consummate patriot and party loyalist has coerced me to slide part of my head out of the shell and ask the question, who really should suspend who?
This is the prelude to the actions leading to the alleged suspension:
February 2014, the newly formed APC commenced her membership drive throughout the country. Some of us were involved in expending so much time, energy and resources to mobilise our people and galvanise their resolve towards registering as members of this new party which the PDP never gave an inch of a chance. This is a part for a new and glorious Nigeria. Along the way I expressed my interest to vie for the House of Representatives seat of Makurdi / Guma Federal Constituency in the 2015 elections to give my people efficient and effective representation. I consulted with the youth, aged, men, women, the leaders and the led, the haves and the haves-not and I was given a resounding nod of approval. I traversed the nook and cranny of the 21 Council Wards in my constituency to seek support.
God’s blessing was released upon me and the people’s support was overwhelming. These two higher powers solidify my resolve to go ahead to achieve victory however long and hard the road may be and even in the face of terror. Interestingly, the same forces behind the phantom suspension never supported my cause ab intio and stood vehemently against me even when the wordings of their Oath of Office contained words such as, ‘I do solemnly swear that …. I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions … will do right to all manner of people according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill -will..’
As a fact, the Chairman – Abba Yaro and the Organising Secretary – Titus Zam and their grand hatchet man in the form of one Mark Hanmation were the de facto DG and Chief Strategists of my ONLY opponent and respectable brother, Engr. Terhide Conrad Utaan. The Presiding Officers of the Primaries were specifically drafted with the sole intention of manipulating the process to favour my opponent. Eagle – eyed security men as constituted by the DSS, Police SARS, INEC Monitoring Team and Civil Defence together with loyal party faithfuls prevented any form of manipulations and at the end of voting and counting on Sunday, December 7, 2014, I was declared winner of the primaries with 295 votes while my opponent scored 279. However, 24 hours after the election and declaration of results, the Electoral Committee while acting functios officio in the APC state secretariat, presented a Certificate of Returns to my opponent.
The APC Constitution provides for a right of appeal. I appealed against the illegal decision of the electoral committee, in accordance with Article 21 (C) of the APC Constitution and my appeal was rightly upheld by the APC National Assembly Primaries Appeal Panel. Article 21 (C)(iii) states that:
“Where a decision or action taken by an Organ of the Party is appealed against, the decision or action shall remain in force and binding until the appeal had been determined. THE DECISION OR ACTION SHALL CEASE TO BE BINDING IF THE APPELLATE BODY UPHOLDS THE APPEAL” (emphasis mine).
In a gross violation of the sacredness of the APC Constitution whose supremacy is spelt out in Article 2, the musketeers in our party forged APC Nomination forms and Result sheets, Clearance certificates and State Secretariat ‘s receipts indicating that one BULAUN PETERS T emerged winner of the primaries while Dickson Tarkighir who was still recuperating from his unsavoury defeat in the same election in PDP was said to be the runner up in the APC ‘s primaries. These forged documents were deposed by Conman Abba Yaro in an affidavit and sent to both INEC and the Court. The phone number: 08036153269, on the INEC FORM CF001 of BULAUN PETERS T belongs to Titus Zam (State Organising Secretary of the APC ). It has become evident that while we use our progressive virtues to promote CHANGE, these conmen use change as a veil to promote their careers.
I initiated an action in court after exhausting the internal appellate mechanisms of the Party and also in accordance with the provisions of section 87 of the Electoral Act 2011 (as amended ) which the provisions of our Party’s Constitution are subject to. Now, I still ask: who ought to be suspended and/or expelled from the Party? Is it he who has followed the complete provisions of the law or those who have committed all imaginable and unimaginable crimes in the name of the party?
What, now, constitutes ANTI – PARTY activities?
Article 7 of the APC Constitution states that the aims and objectives of the Party shall include (viii) ‘To promote and uphold the practice of internal democracy at all levels of the Party’s organisation ” – who’s guilty of this?
On DISCIPLINE OF PARTY MEMBERS, The APC Constitution states in Article 21 (A)(xi), to wit:
“In cases of alteration of Delegate lists, FALSIFICATION OF NOMINATION RESULTS, AND OR TAMPERING WITH THE PROCESSES OF INTERNAL DEMOCRACY OF THE PARTY, THE OFFENDER SHALL BE LIABLE TO EXPULSION FROM THE PARTY AND BE PROSECUTED! (emphasis mine). Does this provision not qualify these vile men to be immediately expelled from the Party?
And prosecution they must get! We hope that at the end of our case in court we shall petition relevant security agencies to commence the prosecution of these fraudsters for forgery and perjury and other extant crimes.
Our foes may want people to believe that I am in court beause of desperation. Far from it. I am in court because, for posterity sake, I want the right thing to be done to prevent future occurrences. I would have lost my locus to describe myself as a change agent if I had rest this matter and opt for an appointment, which has severally been dangled. In the words of J.F.Kennedy,”The future shall not forgive you, not for what you have done, but for what you refused to do”. I don’t want to be found wanting here. Very importantly, our elders, supporters and God almighty are against any withdrawal of this case.
Finally, friends and well-wishers have constantly advised me to be careful with ‘these people’, some of whom have deep seated vicious propensities, some of whom are renowned fraudsters and suspected armed robbers, assassins, corpse thieves, unrepentant forgers et al. I have never been/will never be afraid of cold blooded humans and their principalities.Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of evil in my bid to entrench Truth, Right and Justice, the good LORD will always be with me. I only write to denounce the great evils which menace our Party in Benue. These evils of hatred, ignorance and injustice are the motivating force behind the proponents of this fake suspension and their supporters. As I conclude, the long and proud history of my people unravels itself before my inward eye, I see the oppressors of our people over the ages as they pass one after another in evil procession into oblivion, while the Motto of our party, APC, become very resonant: JUSTICE, PEACE AND UNITY.
“Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war; and we know that God is not neutral between them” – George W. Bush
I take my bow!
Franc Fagah Utoo, Esq.
Abuja – Nigeria.