Illegality Of The Injunction Obtained By Akwa Ibom Government Against EFCC, ICPC And Others, By Inibehe Effiong

The Akwa Ibom State Government through the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Uwemedimo Nwoko, Esq., filed an ex-parte motion (application) at the High Court of Akwa Ibom State, Ikot Ekpene Judicial Division, presided over by Hon. Justice NFN Ntong, sought and obtained inter alia, an order of interim injunction restraining the Federal Government or any of its agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and the Inspector General of Police from arresting, detaining or investigating any official of the state government, past or present, without any report of indictment by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.

Also, the Judge granted an order of interim injunction restraining: The Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly; The House of Assembly for Akwa Ibom State; The Clerk of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly; The Auditor General for Akwa Ibom State and the Accountant General for Akwa Ibom State from surrendering themselves or any document or financial records to the EFCC, ICPC or any other person, authority or body.

Furthermore, the court restrained ALL commercial banks in Nigeria, including: Zenith Bank Plc; Keystone Bank Plc (formerly Bank PHB); Skye Bank Plc; First City Monument Bank Plc and United Bank for Africa Plc from submitting any document, Financial Statement/Record, Statement of Account, Cheque or Voucher related to any account of the Akwa Ibom State Government to any Agency of the Federal Government, including the EFCC, ICPC or the Inspector General of Police.

The enrolled order which I have in my possession and have dispassionately perused, was issued by Justice Ntong on July 13, 2016.

Defending the injunction, The Attorney Attorney of Akwa Ibom state, Mr. Nwoko, in an interview on Friday July 22, 2016 with Premium Times, stated that the State Government went to court because EFCC wrote letters to banks requesting documents on state government transactions.

Mr. Nwoko said Akwa Ibom is a federating unit in the Nigerian federation, and that EFCC being an agency of the federal government isn’t empowered by the Nigerian Constitution to investigate the finances of the state.

     “It’s not about whether there’s anything wrong with the accounts of the Akwa Ibom state government! Why should the EFCC look into it? Is the state looking into the federal government account?”

Mr. Nwoko said other state governments that allowed EFCC and other federal agencies to investigate them may not have had the wisdom and courage to challenge the federal government.

     “As the Attorney General of Akwa Ibom state, I am setting a precedent,” he said.

Contrary to the submissions of Mr Nwoko, the orders granted by Justice Ntong are not only incurably bad and illegal but constitutes a gross abuse of judicial process and powers in the light of litany of judicial decisions, including those of the highest court of the land (the Supreme Court) on the matter.

There is neither wisdom nor courage in Mr Nwoko’s action.

There are at least five (5) settled principles of law that have been violated by the grant of the interim injunction which deserves elucidation.

First, the High Court of Akwa Ibom State lacks the requisite jurisdiction to entertain any subject matter or question relating to: (a) The administration, management or control of the Federal Government or any of its agencies, including the EFCC and ICPC; (b) The operation and interpretation of the Constitution in so far as it affects the Federal Government or any of its agencies and (c) Any action or proceeding for a declaration, order or injunction affecting the validity of any executive or administrative action or decision by the Federal Government or any of its agencies.

By virtue of Section 251 (1) (p), (q) and (r) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the jurisdiction over the subject matter listed in the preceding paragraph is conferred EXCLUSIVELY on the Federal High Court. This is a trite law that every serious student of the Nigerian Law School is familiar with. No lawyer worth his salt will contest it. The Supreme Court has repeatedly and emphatically restated this position in a plethora of cases. For ease of reference, the following cases are apt: NEPA v. Edegbero (2002) 18 NWLR (Pt. 798) 69; Benson Agbule v. Warri Refinery & Petrochemical Co. Ltd. (2013) 6 NWLR (Pt. 798) 78; Olutola v. University of Ilorin (2005) 3 MJSC 151 at Pp. 173-174; Inegbedion v. Selo-Ojemen & Anor (2013) All FWLR (Pt. 688) 907 at Pp. 922-923 and very recently, John Shoy International Limited v. Federal Housing Authority  (Unreported Appeal No. SC. 98/2005) delivered July 2016 by the Supreme Court.

It is beyond argument that the suit instituted by the Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State and the orders made by Justice Ntong clearly offends the provisions 251 (1) (p), (q) and (r) of the Constitution and the Supreme Court authorities cited supra. The subject matter in the case relates to the operation and interpretation of the Constitution as it affects the EFCC and ICPC (both of which are agencies of the Federal Government). The interim injunction affects the validity of the administrative actions of the anti-corruption agencies. The law is now firmly established that proceedings no matter how well conducted and orders made by a court without jurisdiction are a nullity. The locus classicus on this is Madukolo v. Nkemdilim (1962) 2 SCNLR 341.

Since only the Federal High Court can entertain such suit, the orders made by Justice Ntong are a nullity.

Second, the Attorney General has contended that because the EFCC and ICPC are Federal Government agencies, they are not constitutionally empowered to investigate the finances of the federating units (States). Mr Nwoko wondered whether Akwa Ibom State is looking into the finances of the Federal Government to warrant the prying eyes of federal anti-corruption agencies in the affairs of the state.

With due respect, Mr Nwoko’s contention is ridiculous and legally indefensible.

This is an issue that had been resolved by the Supreme Court 13 years ago, precisely on Friday the 7th day of June, 2002 in the case of Attorney General of Ondo State v. Attorney General of the Federation (2002) 9 NWLR (Pt.772) 2222. In that case, the Attorney General of Ondo State instituted a case against the Attorney General of the Federation and the Attorneys’ General of the other 35 States seeking to invalidate the Corrupt Practices and Other Offences Act 2000 (which established the ICPC) because, according to the Plaintiff, the National Assembly lacked the constitutional powers to enact a law on anti-corruption to apply to the federating units (States).

Relying on Sections 4 (4) and 15 (5) and items 60 (a) and 67 of the First Schedule to the Constitution and other enabling provisions, the Apex Court upheld, validated and sustained the ICPC and its establishment Act and dismissed the arguments canvassed by Ondo State. This decision was followed consistently in subsequent cases on the subject.

The power to prosecute economic crimes is exclusive to the Federal Government. It is not shared with the States. See the Supreme Court decision in Nyame v. Federal Republic of Nigeria  (2010) 11 NWLR (Pt. 1193) 344. In the Amadi v. Federal Republic of Nigeria  (2008) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1119) 259 at 276, Muktar, JSC (as he then was) held that:

     “Indeed, the EFCC is a common agency for both the Federal and State Economic and Financial Crimes”.

In the light of the position of the law as encapsulated above, it is most shocking, regrettable and embarrassing that Mr Nwoko, who is the Chief Law Officer of Akwa Ibom State by virtue of Section 195 of the Constitution purported to set “a precedent” over an issue that the Supreme Court of Nigeria has settled. If the Attorney General is oblivious of the state of the law on a constitutional issue like this, what becomes of the rule of law and justice in Akwa Ibom State?

It is indeed very pitiable.

Third, the injunction granted by Justice Ntong is a daring slap on the face of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and a vitriolic attack on the law. No court in Nigeria is vested with the power to restrain the EFCC, ICPC, the Nigeria Police Force or other law enforcement agencies from discharging their constitutional and statutory functions, including investigation, arrest, detention and prosecution, except where the fundamental rights of a citizen is infringed.

The dangerous practice of running to court to get injunction to stop investigation by law enforcement agencies was excoriated by the Court of Appeal in the case of the Attorney General of Anambra State v. Chief Chris Uba (2005) 33 WRN 191 where Bulkachuwa, JCA (as he then was) held that:

     “For a person, therefore, to go to court to be shielded against criminal investigation and prosecution is an interference of powers given by the Constitution to law officers in the control of criminal investigation. The Plaintiff has no legally recognizable right to which the court can come to his aid. His claim is not one that the Court can take cognizance of for it has disclosed no cause of action. The Plaintiff cannot expect a judicial fiat preventing a law official in the exercise of his constitutional power.”

In the recent case of Orji Uzor Kalu v. Federal Republic of Nigeria (Unreported Appeal No. SC/215/2012) delivered on March 18, 2016, the Supreme Court, Per Suleiman Galadima, JSC held that:

     ” For a person to rush to court to place a clog or shield against criminal prosecution is a clear interference with the powers given by law and the Constitution to the EFCC in the conduct of criminal investigations and prosecution. It is clearly an abuse of process of the law.”

See the Punch Newspaper of Thursday March 31, 2016- Case Review at pages 34-35 for details of the judgment in.

Recently, a Judge of the Federal High Court, Mohammed Yunusa, was recommended by the National Judicial Council (NJC) for compulsory retirement from Office for granting injunctions against the EFCC. This shows the gravity of the conduct of Justice Ntong of the High Court of Akwa Ibom State.

Fourth, the injunction granted by Justice Ntong exceeded the legal lifespan of an interim order in the State. Under Order 39, Rule (3) of the Akwa Ibom State High Court Civil Procedure Rules, 2009, “An order of injunction made upon an application ex-parte shall abate after 7 days.” By Rule 4 of the same Order 39, a Judge of the Akwa Ibom State High Court can only extern the effective period of an order made upon an application ex-parte if “he is satisfied that the Motion on Notice has been served and that such extension is necessary in the interest of justice or to prevent an irreparable or serious mischief”. An application for extension must however be made before abatement of the order and such extension shall not exceed 7 days.

Justice Ntong made the order(s) upon an application ex-parte by Mr Nwoko on Wednesday the 13th day of July, 2016, which he declared shall be effective pending the determination of the Motion on Notice. Strangely, His Lordship adjourned the matter to the 5th of August, 2016 for hearing of the Motion on Notice. Simple arithmetic will show a period of 24 days between the date of the order and the date slated for hearing of the Motion on Notice.

This by implication means that contrary to the mandatory provisions of Order 39, Rule (3) & (4), the effective period of the interim injunction as stated by Justice Ntong exceeded the 7 days period allowed by law. I know as a fact that the EFCC at at Friday July 23, 2016 ( 9 days after the orders were made) had not been served with the Motion on Notice. There is no evidence that an application for extension was made before the abatement of the order(s). Supposing without conceding that the order(s) was later extended, it will still not bring it within the duration specified by the law. Which ever way one looks at it, Justice Ntong violated the Akwa Ibom State High Court Civil Procedure Rules.

The fact that all Judges in Akwa Ibom State will commence their annual vacation on the 8th of August, 2016 gives an impression of desperation and ulterior motives on the part of the Attorney General. Mr Nwoko’s conduct deserves the disciplinary searchlight of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

Fifth, the orders were made against persons, agencies and bodies that the Attorney General (the Plaintiff/Applicant) never joined as parties (Defendants/Respondents) in the application ex-parte. Whereas only four commercial banks were joined, Justice Ntong restrained ALL the commercial banks and financial institutions in the country from submitting any document, Financial Statement/Record, Statement of Account, Cheque or Voucher related to any account of the Akwa Ibom State Government to any agency of the Federal Government, including the EFCC, ICPC or the Inspector General of Police.

It is elementary law that only parties to a suit are bound by orders or decisions arising from the case. See. Green v. Green (1987) 3 NWLR (Pt. 61) 480. Except for declaratory judgments (in which case evidence must be adduced and and the claim proved) which binds the whole world, a court is not allowed to make orders in rem (against the whole world). Even equity acts in personam and not in rem.

The court order purports to protect all past and present officials of the Akwa Ibom State Government from arrest, detention and investigation for economic or financial crimes. This is very disheartening. The tenor of the strange order(s) suggest that the EFCC, ICPC and the Inspector General of Police cannot take legal action against anyone that has served in the Akwa Ibom State Government from September 23, 1987 when the state was created to date.

What a mockery of the legal system!

It is apparent that the ex-parte order(s) made by Justice Ntong is illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

Judges are enjoined to exercise judicial powers both judiciously and judicially and not arbitrarily. The Nigerian judiciary has been tried and crucified over the years in the court of public opinion because of the abusive conduct of some compromised judges. A nation without an independent and conscientious judiciary cannot advance or be taken seriously in the comity of nations. Strange injunctions, such as the one granted by Justice Ntong, has greatly diminished the sanctity of our courts and eroded public confidence in the administration of justice.

Interestingly, the Attorney General, Mr Nwoko, did not find it convenient to bring his illegal application for ex-parte injunction before any of the High Court Judges in Uyo, the State Capital where the bulk of the Judges, the Judiciary Headquarters and his office are domiciled, but went all the way to the Ikot Ekpene Judicial Division to obtain the injunction from Justice Ntong that was appointed a High Court Judge by the erstwhile governor of the State, Mr Godswill Akpabio, at the twilight of his administration.

I also find it rather curious that Justice Ntong described the submission of the Plaintiff/Applicant (The Attorney General) as “brilliant”. This was an ex-parte application where the Defendants/Respondents were not heard. The merits (if there is any) of the case could not and cannot legally and procedurally be considered at that stage. Yet, Mr Nwoko’s submission was “brilliant”.

The popular perception is that the injunction was granted to enable the Akwa Ibom State Government obliterate and interfere with documents, records and other material evidence which may be required for the smooth investigation and prosecution of those found culpable of commission of economic and financial crimes which may have taken place under the immediate past administration of Senator Godswill Akpabio.

Whether this is true or not, injunction should not be used as “a weapon of mass destruction” against anti-corruption agencies. It is important for the NJC to take serious disciplinary actions against Justice Ntong. The NJC should not relent in its bid to purge the judiciary of bad eggs.

If Justice Yunusa’s injunctions against the EFCC amounted to judicial misconduct and resulted in the NJC recommending him for compulsory retirement, what does the orders made by Justice Ntong amount to?

Nigerians await a satisfactory answer from the NJC.

Thank you.

Inibehe Effiong is a Legal Practitioner and Convener of the Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (COHRD) and can be reached at:inibehe.effiong@gmail.com

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Again, Avengers Blow Up NNPC Pipeline In Akwa Ibom

The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), the militant group responsible for most attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta, says it has a blown up a pipeline of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Akwa Ibom state.

The militants made this claim in a tweet on Thursday.

“At 4:00am @NDAvengers blow up NNPC Pipeline in Oruk Anam local government area in Akwa Ibom,” the tweet read.

The attack is coming a few days after the group listed conditions for negotiation with the government.

In a statement issued by Muduch Agbinibo, its spokesman, on Monday, the militants said that they desired a “genuine attitude” from the government before it would commit to any dialogue.

They warned the government against  “social media agitators”whom it claimed were being sponsored by politicians.

“The high command of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) is using this medium to restate that there are no new items to put on the table for dialogue, we only want a genuine attitude and conducive atmosphere that will make us commit to any proposed dialogue and last peace talk,” the statement read.

“We want the federal government to commit members states of the multinational oil corporations to commit independent mediators to this proposed dialogue; we believed that it is only such environment that will engender genuine dialogue that will be aimed at setting up a framework for achieving the short, medium and long term demands of the Niger Delta to de-escalating this conflict and bring about lasting peace.

“The NDA high command is restating our commitment to attack the interest of oil corporation and international refineries operators that bring in vessels to the Niger Delta territory to buy our oil that every successive government has refused to use and reapply the proceeds towards any development in the region since 1958.

“If they refuse be heed to our advice will result to sinking of two their mother vessel as an example to others. They should not undertake any repair of pipeline, oil and gas facilities that are damaged or attacked by our forces during this period of ‘Operation Red Economy’ until and/or after the dialogue.

“We are using this medium to warn and condemn the activities of all brands of social media agitators being peddled around by some politicians to promote their criminal ways in affairs of the Niger Delta. This genuine spirit behind our struggle for the Niger Delta cannot be derailed on the basis of connivance by politician, traditional rulers, settled ex- agitators and criminals moving around to fill their pockets.

“The issues of the Niger Delta are as old and as new as the days of Pa Dappa Biriye, Major Jasper Isaac Adaka Boro, Ken Saro Wiwa and the government of President Musa Yar’ Adua. We are warning this government of President muhammadu Buhari not to turn the essence of genuine peace talk and dialogue to political jamboree that is prevailing now where all manner of social media agitators and criminals have being sponsored by the job seeking corrupt political class to safe faces before the government of the day.

“Finally, if need be we may review our earlier stance of not taking lives. We are going to redirect and reactivate all our activities if the government, oil companies and their services firms don’t heed to these modest warnings of not carrying out any repair works,   and suspend the buying of crude oil from our region as we await the right atmosphere that will engender genuine dialogue. We want peace with honour not peace of our time.”

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EFCC Probes Ex-Akwa Ibom Governor Over N450millin Diezani Poll Fund

Also yesterday, It was learnt that the EFCC was probing a former governor of Akwa Ibom State in connection with N450million which was allocated to the state out of the N23.29billion allegedly provided by former Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The cash is believed to have been for INEC officials as bribe to change the results of the 2015 presidential election.

The arrow head of the distribution is the former minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who allegedly used funds from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to fund the 2015 election.

The $20billion said to be missing from the NNPC which was revealed by former Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido has been traced to the election.

READ: EFCC Traces Diversion Of ‘Missing’ $20bn NNPC Fund

In the last few weeks, the EFCC has arrested and detained several persons including bank officials for engaging in helping to launder the fund.

The anti-graft agency had also questioned a former Military Administrator of the state and others in connection with the bribe.

But during one of the interrogation sessions, one of the suspects said the ex-governor allegedly “deducted N150million out of the bribe sum for personal use”.

“We are likely to invite the ex-governor for interaction,” the EFCC source added.

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Naij.com Report On The State Of Governance In Akwa Ibom State: A Rejoinder, By Inibehe Effiong

Dear Naij.com Editor,

I write to draw your attention to a misleading report published on your site on Monday the 18th of April, 2016 on the current state of governance in Akwa Ibom State under governor Udom Emmanuel.

While re-publishing an investigative report originally published by Sahara Reporters on the new lavish mansion built by governor Udom Emmanuel within few months in office, you made a very wrong appraisal of the governor’s “performance” by crediting non-existent projects to his administration.

Precisely, the last two paragraphs of your report states thus:

“The banker-turned-politician is redefining how governance should be in Nigeria. Perhaps because of his extensive background in the private sector, Governor Emmanuel has started on a bright note.”

“Among his achievements so far are the commissioning of a led factory at Itam and an automobile assembly plant at Itu.

Sir, this is not correct.

The truth of the matter is that there is no “led factory at Itam and an automobile assembly plant at Itu”, or in any part of the State.

I am an indigene of the area (Itu). I can confirm to you on good authority without any fear of contradiction that the project(s) you reported as having been commissioned do not exist anywhere.

Sometime in July 2015, the governor performed a so-called “ground breaking” exercise of the purported Automobile Assembly Plant while he was still defending his election in the courts to convey the false impression that he was working and should be allowed to continue. It was a scam – until the contrary is proved.

The Israeli company (MIMSHAC Merkavim Transportation Technologies Plant) that was fronted by the governor for the setting up of the plant had since disappeared.

I have attached the photos of the current state of site of the so-called Automobile Assembly Plant in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State for your attention. You can see that there is nothing on the ground. The site has been overgrown by weeds. This is pure fraud. You can visit the site for verification if you doubt me.

As at today, the governor has obtained more than three credit facilities (loans) from commercial banks. Civil servants in some establishments and pensioners in Akwa Ibom State are being owed arrears of salaries and pensions, respectively. The State government has not commissioned any tangible project in the state since its inauguration on May 29, 2015. Nobody knows exactly what is going on in Akwa Ibom State, it seems the government is on sabbatical.

The above assertions are factual and verifiable. Given your wide readership, it is pertinent for the public not to be misled. I strongly recommend that subsequent appraisals of the government of Akwa Ibom State should be preceded by objective and dispassionate research and investigation.

On the purported second term advocacy by some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State, my simple response is that people are entitled to express their views. You will however agree with me that it is sheer sycophancy and utter nonsense for anyone to be campaigning for a second term for a governor that is yet to exhaust the first year of his first term in office.

The Nigerian public are very aware of the sham that took place in Akwa Ibom State on April 11, 2015 in the name of an election. The verdict of local and international observers on the election is a matter of public knowledge. The judicial approval of that sham cannot obliterate the memories of Akwa Ibom people and Nigerians.

No court judgment can alter settled facts of history. It is therefore ludicrous and repugnant for anyone to be talking about a second term when the crisis of legitimacy of the first term is still hanging on the governor’s neck.

I am not writing this rejoinder because I believe that facts are sacred and should be respected. I urge you to avail members of the public the benefit of reading this rejoinder.

Please accept the assurances of my highest esteem.

Inibehe Effiong, Esq.

Legal Practitioner and Convener of the Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (COHRD).

inibehe.effiong@gmail.com

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Senator Nelson Effiong: A Waste Of Akwa Ibom Senatorial Slot And The Need For A Recall From The Senate By Eneh John

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”-Dr.Seuss

The above defines the glorious moment Nelson Effiong is currently basking in the upper chambers of the National assembly. His ascension to the Senate Chambers was propelled by the former Governor o Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio.

Almost one year of Nelson Effiong’s journey to the senate, I make bold to say that Akpabio disappointed the people of Eket Senatorial District with the choice of Nelson.

One man his constituents will never love, for his lack of care and attention to the people is Nelson Effiong. Suffice to say that, the relatively unknown Nelson nicknamed Tabasco has nothing to how so far in his ascendancy.

One begins to imagine the level of hatred the Oro people has for him to the extent that his incomplete building in Oron which he could not complete even while he serve as the Speaker of the Akwa ibom State House of Assembly was burnt by irate youths.

It is interesting to note that over 70% of the people in Eket Senatorial District do not know Nelson Effiong. What a shame.

I have consistently followed up proceedings in the National Assembly, and I have never heard any motion from the man who claims to represent my senatorial district.

Nelson Effiong’s journey to the senate representing Eket Senatorial District has been a monumental waste. As an unknown Author had rightly posited, “Dignity does not consist in possessing honours, but in deserving them”. The question remains, did Nelson actually deserve the senatorial slot?

Can Nelson Effiong point at any project he has so far executed? The price of service to the people is more than bearing titles and nicknames.

What empowerment programme has he been able to put in place for his people?

Will this same man if not for electoral fraud be able to garner one third of the votes he claimed to have gotten in the senate race?

The process to recall Nelson Effiong begins with me and the constituents. Never again will politicians play on our intelligence.

There are better sons and daughters in Oron who would have done better in the Senate. Whose voices the constituents yearn to hear in the House.

To say the least is to tell anyone who cares to listen that at the moment, Eket Senatorial District has no Senator.

In the words of Benjamin Disraeli, he said, “The youths of a Nation are its trustees for posterity.”  Someday, the youth will arise and take its rightful position, where non-performing men like Nelson will be shown the way out.

It is not your buildings that will speak; your legacy is the people. And if the people whom you represent do not feel an impact, then you have to bow out.

I write this with no ethnic coloration, but that the truth might be to for the sake of posterity.

 

THE TIME TO RECALL NELSON EFFIONG FROM THE SENATE DRAWS CLOSER…

 

A REPUTATION FOUNDED ON INTEGRITY, MUST BE NURTURED BY TRUTH.

Eneh John is an Investigative Journalist and Human Rights Activist.

E-mail: enehjohn33@gmail.com

 

Editor: Opinion expressed on this page are strictly those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of abusidiqu.com and its associates

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Ibom Multi Specialist Hospital Appoints Media Consultant

The management of the 20th anniversary hospital, the Ibom Multi Specialist Hospital, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, yesterday, appointed Mr. Godwin Akpan as its media consultant.

The executive director Mr. Gregory John Viyani, who made the pronouncement in his office, said the appointment takes effect immediately.

The newly appointed Media Consultant who is the Producer/Presenter of a popular political programme FOR THE LOVE OF NIGERIA on Atlantic 104.5, Nigerian Television Authority-NTA and Akwa Ibom Broadcasting corporation – AKBC, described the appointment as simply an act of God, who considered him worthy of the position.

“This is simply God at work. It’s not by my efforts nor by my intelligence, this is the grace of God who decided to favour me at a time like this.

“Remember, this is not just an hospital, but an hospital that is described by many as the very best in Sub Sahara Africa. This is an hospital that can be compared to some of the best anywhere in the world. So to be appointed to manage the media of ISH is the grace of God.

“When I was officially announced as the Media Consultant by the Executive Director, Mr. Gregory John alongside the Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Paul Robin, I told them they have given me a huge challenge and by God’s grace we will succeed together.

Earlier, Mr. John has described Mr. Godwin Akpan as a true professional, whose patriotism has been displayed through his TV and Radio platform, promoting development in Nigeria for Nigerians. He said the appointment takes effect immediately.

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Supreme Court Upholds Election Of Governor Emmanuel Of Akwa Ibom State

The Supreme Court has upheld the election of Governor Edom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom state.

The seven man panel of Supreme Court delivered the judgement Wednesday evening after resuming its over one hour break few minutes ago.

In the ruling on Wednesday, the court said Governor Emmanuel won the lawfully cast votes, setting aside the earlier ruling of the two lower courts.

Reasons for verdict are to be given on February 15.

The court has been in session since morning hearing the appeal of the Akwa Ibom and Abia governorship election petition.

Earlier in the day, Damien Dodo, SAN the lead counsel to Udom had urged the court to uphold the election of his client because the APC candidate did not tender sufficient evidence to indicate that the gubernatorial election was marred by irregularities as he claimed.

He also argued that the Tribunal relied on the use of card readers to arrive at its decision, contrary to the decisions in some of the recent cases determined by the Supreme Court.

But Wole Olanipekun, the lead counsel to Umana disagreed.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria told the court that his client did not just rely on card readers to prove its case

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Judicial Independence: What Fayose Should Know About Akwa Ibom Governorship Election Petition, By Inibehe Effiong

On Monday February 1, 2016, the embattled Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Peter Fayose, in a press statement issued through his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, in response to the innocuous comments on the judiciary credited to President Muhammadu Buhari, made a very desperate effort to scandalise the judgment of the Court of Appeal which nullified the locally and internationally condemned sham gubernatorial election held in Akwa Ibom State on April 11, 2015.

Ordinarily, one would have ignored the offensive outburst made by Fayose given his notorious penchant for mischief and mindless controversies. However, given the curious timing of his statement, which is coming less than 48 hours to the hearing and possible judgment by the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the Akwa Ibom State gubernatorial election appeal cases pending before the apex court, one is tempted to respond to the unsubstantiated and premeditated insinuations made by Fayose.

President Muhammadu Buhari had said on Sunday, January 31, 2015, in Addis Ababa that the ongoing fight against corruption in Nigeria can be effectively tackled with the strong support of the judiciary. Speaking at a town hall meeting with Nigerians living in Ethiopia, the President said far-reaching reforms of the judiciary remained a key priority for the present administration.

Buhari said among others:

“On the fight against corruption vis-à-vis the judiciary, Nigerians will be right to say that is my main headache for now.”

In his response to the innocuous comments by the President, Fayose tactically embarked on a voyage and deviated from the crux of Buhari’s solemn and general statements and attempted to discredit the judgment of the Court of Appeal in the Akwa Ibom State governorship election petition.

In the statement widely reported in the media, Fayose stated thus:

“When your own men are corrupting an institution like the judiciary just because they needed to win back states like Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Taraba and others that they lost at the polls, thereby causing the courts to give conflicting judgments, it is morally wrong for you to go outside the country and complain about such a judiciary.”

From the wordings and tenor of the above statement, it is beyond dispute that Mr Fayose is saying that the judgments of the Election Petitions Tribunal and the Court of Appeal, as the case may be, which nullified governorship elections in the three States; Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Taraba States, were given based on inducement and compromise.

However, I will restrict my response to the case of Akwa Ibom State because of its peculiarity. The Supreme Court has already given its judgment on the Rivers State governorship election appeal, though the reasons for same has been reserved to a latter date. No date to my knowledge has been fixed by the apex court for judgment in the Taraba’s case.

President Buhari never made remarks bordering on the election petition cases arising from the 2015 general elections. Buhari never accused the judiciary of partisanship or compromise in the discharge of its constitutional mandate. Specifically, there was no express or implied reference by Buhari to the case of Akwa Ibom State.

It is difficult to comprehend why a high public office holder in the position of a State Governor will make such blanket and asinine derogatory remarks against the judgment of the Election Petitions Tribunal and the Court of Appeal in the Akwa Ibom gubernatorial case.

There is reasonable basis to infer that Fayose’s pre-judicial and diversionary commentary is intended to blackmail the Supreme Court of Nigeria to reverse the widely applauded December 18, 2015, epochal judgment of the Court of Appeal which ordered a fresh election in the whole of Akwa Ibom State in consonance with the law, the facts and the uncontested evidence corrupt practices and substantial non-compliance adduced by the Petitioners in the case.

It is possible that Fayose may have missed the compelling facts of the Akwa Ibom State governorship election petition. A governor who dissipates most of his time at beer palours and markets; distributing pomo, rice and other ingredients of stomach infrastructure may not be conversant with the hard facts of the Akwa Ibom’s case. What baffles many Nigerians is why the pre-occupation of a State Chief Executive should be unprovoked and uncensored attacks on the presidency as if that is the hallmark of responsible opposition.

It is apposite to advert the mind of Mr Fayose to some settled facts in the Akwa Ibom State governorship election petition.

Both international and local observers, including the European Union, the United States Embassy and the Nigerian Civil Society Election Situation Room, returned independent and unanimous verdict that the April 11, 2015 election in Akwa Ibom State was a complete sham and demanded its outright cancellation. Security agencies who also monitored the so-called election, particularly the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in their separate reports on the election detailed cases of killings, kidnappings, violence, ballot box snatching and other electoral malfeasance that characterized the make believe election. The NSCDC particularly stated in their report that “INEC seem to have had a close dealing with the sitting authority in the State.” The reports of the NSCDC and the Police were tendered and admitted at the Tribunal and marked Exhibits 12 and 337, respectively.

During the trial of the petition filed by Mr Umana Okon Umana and the All Progressives Congress, APC (Petitioners), several facts were never contested by the Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC (Respondents).

While the polling unit by polling unit Card Reader Accreditation Report (Exhibit 317) showed that only 437, 128 persons were accredited, the VOTERS REGISTER for all the polling units in Akwa Ibom State (Exhibit 13A – 313B) had a different figure of 448, 307 as the number of persons who were accredited. In what could be described as the “8th wonders of the world”, INEC arbitrarily declared a phantom vote of 1, 222, 836 and awarded “victory” to the PDP.

The case of the Respondents as stated in their pleadings (Replies to the Petition) was that “there was no sustained malfunctioning of the Card Readers” and that recourse was made to manual accreditation through the filing of Incident Forms in instances where the Card Readers failed. The PDP actually caused subpoena to be issed on INEC to produce the alleged Incident Forms. Seven bags purportedly containing Incident Forms allegedly used in the 31 LGAs of Akwa Ibom State were brought to the Tribunal. Instead of tendering the alleged Incident Forms as promised, the Respondents developed a cold feet and refused to tender the Incident Forms despite being reminded by the Tribunal.

Beyond the fundamental issue of over voting, the Petitioners presented irresistible evidence that there was no collation both at the State Collation Centre in Uyo and at the various Local Government Areas. A former member of the Board of Trustees of the PDP, Chief Don Etiebet, the APC State Collation Agent and several other APC collation agents and witnesses gave chilling evidence at the Tribunal that as at 10 pm of April 11, 2015, and the morning of April 12, 2015, the State Collation Centre in Uyo was under lock and key; with no activity going on there. Further, a revealing video clip (Exhibit 6) evincing the closure of the State Collation Centre as at 10 pm on April 11, 2015 was tendered by the Petitioners and admitted in evidence.

Fayose who is in the habit of making unsubstantiated utterances should explain to Nigerians why the person who purportedly acted as the PDP State Collation Agent during the Akwa Ibom gubernatorial election failed or refused to give evidence at the Tribunal to counter the evidence of non collation adduced by the Petitioners. It is on record that one Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem (a serving Commissioner in Akwa Ibom) had deposed to over 20 paragraphs statements. Indeed, the said Enoidem was supposed to be the prime witness of the PDP. Instead of entering the witness box to give evidence in support of the PDP, Enoidem abandoned his depositions and absconded from the Tribunal on the day he was scheduled to testify. He never returned. The Respondents completely failed to adduced any adverse evidence whatsoever on the issue of non collation.

In twenty seven (27) out of the thirty one (31) Local Government Areas of the State, there were shocking cases of fraudulent and multiple signing of result sheets, non-signing of results by any of the parties and mutilation of results.

For example: In Uyo Local Government Area (EXH. QQ1-QQ11) one Joseph Okon Peter signed Form EC8B in six wards, one Samuel Efiok Edem signed Form EC8B in 3 wards. All the results of Joseph Okon Peter is dated 12/04/2015 whereas the said results is said to have been collated on 11/04/2015. Results were also mutilated in Uyo. In Itu (EXH. LL1 – LL10), one Hon. Effiong O. Ebong signed Form EC8B in all the ten Wards in the area, that is Wards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. He also signed Form EC8C as Local Government Collation Agent. Alteration and mutilation of results in Itu occured in (West Itam 11, Ward 9), (East Itam 11, Ward 04), (East Itam V, Ward 07), (East Itam 111, Ward 05). In Ikot Abasi (EXH. NN1 – NN10), no party agent (not even PDP) signed Form EC8B in any of the Wards. In Udung Uko (EXH. FF1 – FF9) no party agent signed Form EC8B except in Ward 10. No agent signed Form EC8C (the local government result).

It is also on record that the Petitioners tendered a total of 360 Exhibits (documentary evidence) in support of their case at the Tribunal. In contrast, the Respondents; Udom Emmanuel, PDP and INEC did not tender a single document throughout the trial except few Permanent Voters Card (PVCs).

During the trial, evidence was adduced by the Petitioners showing that ballot papers purportedly used for the so-called election were mangled and mixed up in total disregard to the INEC Manual. An INEC Electoral Officer admitted to the terrible state of the ballot papers and could not identify the ones used in the Local Government Area that he supervised. Apart from the 1st Petitioner, Umana Umana, candidates of two other political parties (Accord and the DPP), also testified at the Tribunal that they were not allowed to even vote for themselves. Obong Victor Attah, a former governor of Akwa Ibom State also testified that he was not allowed to vote.

Fayose equally alluded to what he termed “conflicting judgments.” Which conflicting judgment(s) is Fayose talking about and how does it affect the case of Akwa Ibom State? The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, in the case of APC versus Agbaje NEVER held the Card Reader to be inconsistent with the provisions of the Electoral Act. All that Justice Ogbuinya who read the lead judgment said was that the use or non use of the Card Reader should not be made a substantive ground in a petition. Interestingly, Justice Ogbuinya stated that the Card Reader can be used as facts to buttress the non compliance provisions in Section 138 (1) (b) & (c) of the Electoral Act.

Faced with these irresistible evidence of corrupt practices and non compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, the Election Tribunal nullified election in eighteen (18) out of the thirty one (31) LGAs of Akwa Ibom State. Dissatisfied with the judgment, both the Petitioners and the Respondents appealed to the Court of Appeal. In a well considered judgment, the Court of Appeal nullified the entire governorship election in the whole of Akwa Ibom State and ordered INEC to conduct a fresh election.

What then is the basis for Fayose’s reckless allegation that the nullification of the sham Akwa Ibom election was procured through corruption? What is corruption in the Courts upholding the truth? How can the same Fayose who led thugs to disrupt the sitting of a Court be talking about corrupting the same Judiciary he treated with utter contempt?

Instead of delving into issues that are beyond his knowledge, Fayose should come out clean and defend the grave allegations levelled against him by the former PDP Secretary in Ekiti State, Dr Tope Aluko. Fayose should be ready to give account of his inglorious role in the very embarrassing #EkitiGate imbroglio.

Let me end by reproducing verbatim the timely admonition of the Court of Appeal in its historic judgment on the Akwa Ibom State governorship election appeal filed by Mr Umana Okon Umana and the APC:

“I chip in a word of warning. May this country never again experience the violence and thuggery found to have taken place in Akwa Ibom State during the Governorship elections held on 11th April 2015. Politics should never be so desperate that lives and decorum are sacrificed on the altar of winning at all costs. The descent into almost anarchy as occured in this case must never again be allowed to take place. The supervising body, INEC, is charged at all times to remain on the side of truth and never be complicit in any subversion of due process.” Per OLUDOTUN ADEBOLA ADEFOPE-OKOJIE, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656c/2015 at page 58.”

Inibehe Effiong Esq. is the Convener of the Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (COHRD).

inibehe.effiong@gmail.com

 

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Ibom Multi Specialist Hospital Built With A Vision 50years Ahead Of Its Time – Dr. Koshy

Godwin Akpan

“If we must get the best in life, we must spiritually, physically, mentally, technically, technologically, politically, socially, financially, economically and orally encourage people to do what they can do best; so long as what they can do best is to the glory of God and benefit of humanity”.

These were the exact words of Dr. Eapen Koshy, the world renowned Plastic/Cosmetic surgeon at the Ibom Multi Specialist Hospital ISH, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, when he was responding to questions from Godwin Akpan, Presenter, FOR THE LOVE OF NIGERIA, recently, following another successful surgery recorded at the hospital described as the best in Sub-Sahara Africa.

With an emotional tone, Dr. Koshy described the vision behind the ISH as a vision 50years ahead of its time, while noting that the greatest impact that could be created by anyone on planet, is providing medical succor to humanity, and according to him: “Godswill Akpabio has made tremendous impact on his generation with the establishment of ISH in Nigeria. This hospital has positioned Nigeria as a destination for Medical tourism, not only to the African continent but other continents of the world”.

In less than 14days, Dr. Koshy has restored hope to several families who hitherto were hopeless as a result of their medical conditions through his superior medical prowess. Their testimonies are endless.

Seventy-six year old clergyman, Pastor Ekerette Frank, who’s major activities has been in Europe and America, described the man behind the ISH as God’s gift to the people of Akwa Ibom, Nigeria and Africa, following a successful major operation he had.

Ekerette had multiple hernias and large abdomen. He had had four unsuccessful surgeries in London. He had doubted the possibility of ISH providing solutions to his aged-long ailment. “If prominent hospitals in London could not provide permanent solution to this problem, is it the hospitals in Nigeria that can do it?” He questioned!

He said he was encouraged to proceed with the operation when he went through the credentials of Dr. Koshy, and was satisfied with the modern facilities that are available at the hospital. “I was encouraged by the facilities here which of a truth, are superior to some of the hospitals I have visited in Europe. Of course, I also needed to know more about Dr. Koshy. His records in the medical world is quite outstanding. He is among the five best surgeons in the world. And to have such a man here in AKS where I come from is a thing of joy to me. I am sure in a short period of time, this hospital won’t contain people. With my medical problems now over, I can now engage my children and grandchildren in soccer whenever they come visiting”.

Professor Nicholas Dousis who hails from Athens, Greece, was full of excitement few hours after undergoing a major surgical operation. Dousis suffered from severe back and chest pains as a result of his over-hanging abdomen resulting from obesity. He was obsessed and when he lost plenty of weight, his muscle could not function anymore, thereby resulting to a fallen abdomen.

He described the surgery performed at ISH as the best he has had. “This is the fourth surgery in my life, and I can tell you that this is the best. I have never experienced medical wonders like this before. I had three operations before, all in Europe; none of the operation could be compared to the operation conducted by Dr.Koshy here in Nigeria.

“When I heard of ISH and was told that the surgeon here is Dr. Koshy, I decided to visit the hospital. I was amazed at the facilities when I was conducted round the hospital. I can tell you without doubt that this hospital is the best anywhere in Africa and can be compared to some of the very best anywhere in the world.

“Yes Dr. Koshy that I know has a great reputation in the medical field, but I wouldn’t risk my life if the facilities here were not world class. I could have done this operation in my country, Greece, but I decided to do it here because of the state-of-the-art facilities here and the medical team here are excellent professionals with great reputation. Nigerians and Africans should be thankful to Mr. Godswill Akpabio”.

The testimony of Uwem Johnson Akpan, a Port Harcourt based Akwa Ibom born was not different, as sadness and sorrow, which has always been his constant companion, has been completely replaced with joy and happiness following his encounter with the Indian ‘magician’, Eapen Koshy.

Speaking with FOR THE LOVE OF NIGERIA, Uwem described Dr. Koshy as a ‘magician’ sent by God to serve humanity.

Uwem was billed to be flown to India for his surgical operation, but was constrained by finances. His marriage plans were postponed because according to him “I was ashamed of the embarrassing skin growth known as Large Bilateral Keloid. We had made plans to fly to India for the operation but my brother, no money. Money was my major setback. We were advised to visit the ISH since operations were ongoing. I was booked for operation and the operation was very successful. Look at me now, I am a brand-new man. We have fixed our wedding for February 2016. May God bless Sen. Akpabio for this gift to the people of Nigeria”.

It would be recalled that Dr. Eapen Koshy had given back life to a certain Mohamed Omar who is from Zanzibar during his time at the MIOT international hospital, India. Omar, who had represented his country at various football tournaments across Africa, was a victim of acid attack, and all hope of living was lost. The situation got worse after developing infections on the affected areas notably, his head and face.

Omar’s condition defiled all medical assistant provided in his local hospital until he was flown to India where he met with Dr. Koshy. He had a second chance to live when he had an encounter with this renowned Surgeon.

“My situation was getting hopeless each passing day, and all hope to live was diminishing. I spent almost all the fortunes I made playing football for my country, but no positive result was achieved. I was flown to India to meet with Dr. Koshy and that single encounter changed my stories. I will always be grateful to God for giving me a second chance to live through Eapen Koshy”.

Dr. Eapen Koshy reckoned that he has handled so many complicated cases in the past in his many years of practice. He ascribed his expertise to gift from God and God alone.

“I have done so many major complicated cases before. It’s a divine gift from God. Having practiced in India, Europe and America, I wanted a change of environment – I wanted to practice in Africa.

“I discovered the former governor, Mr. Godswill Akpabio was very serious about his vision of putting up the best facilities here in ISH. This was quite encouraging, and of course, without the quality of facilities we have here, all the successes we have recorded since we started full operations wouldn’t have been possible. We have so far succeeded as a team because everyone is committed to giving the best and nothing but the best”.

The Ibom Multi-Specialist Hospital has some of the best manpower deployed to run proceedings both in the medical and administrative setup.

Dr. Yemi Johnson is the hospital’s Medical Director, Dr. Eapen Koshy is the Chief Plastic surgeon,

Mr. Gregory John Viyani is the Executive Director while Mr. Paul Robin is the Chief Operating Officer ISH.

The ISH has over 150 medical experts who are readily available to handle any medical issue.

Visit ISH on: www.ibommultispecialtyhospital.com

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What International And Local Election Monitors As Well As The Courts Say About Akwa Ibom 2015 Governorship Poll

REPORTS OF INTERNATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTION MONITORS:

THE US GOVERNMENT: “We have seen the reports of violence and irregularities, particularly in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states. We hereby call on aggrieved parties to pursue their grievances peacefully in the judicial arena.”

THE EUROPEAN UNION: “The elections on 11 April 2015 were … marred by systemic weaknesses, misuse of incumbency, use of violence, and an increasingly pressured environment for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), especially in the south. The election day process appeared to be overall more efficient, however procedural shortcomings were prevalent and incidents of violence and interference were evident, especially in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states….Incidents of violence and interference were most pronounced in Rivers and Akwa Ibom…. On 12 April, INEC referred to “66 reports of violent incidents, targeting polling units, INEC officials, voters and election materials in 19 states in all geopolitical zones except for the North East.  Problems were most pronounced in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states where there are multiple credible reports of violence and interference, which warrant further investigation.”

NIGERIAN CIVIL SOCIETY:   “Information obtained from our networks of field observers and partners indicate the following: Numerous cases of electoral misconduct at polling units – 10 reports in Akwa Ibom. [There were] killings in Rivers State where seven people (including a police officer) were killed and in Akwa Ibom where three people were killed. The Situation Room hereby calls on INEC to urgently take steps to clinically scrutinise the final collated results from Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia against the polling unit results and make a reasoned judgment about them. The Situation Room also notes and condemns in the strongest terms the leading role played by prominent public political officeholders and other politicians as well as some INEC officials in encouraging and actively taking part in organized misconduct and disorderly behaviour that violated the sanctity of the electoral process and calls that action be taken to investigate their activities with a view to prosecuting and sanctioning them, if found culpable, under the law.”

EXCERPTS FROM JUDGMENT BY COURT OF APPEAL

AKWA IBOM GUBER POLL AS NIGERIA’S WORST:
“I chip in a word of warning. May this country never again experience the violence and thuggery found to have taken place in Akwa Ibom State during the Governorship elections held on 11th April 2015. Politics should never be so desperate that lives and decorum are sacrificed on the altar of winning at all costs. The descent into almost anarchy as occurred in this case must never again be allowed to take place. The supervising body, INEC, is charged at all times to remain on the side of truth and never be complicit in any subversion of due process.” Per OLUDOTUN ADEBOLA ADEFOPE-OKOJIE, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656c/2015 at page 58.

MUTILATION OF BALLOT, LACK OF COLLATION AND OVER-VOTING:
“Mutilation or alteration of a document has been held to seal the death for that document. In other words, it makes it worthless and lifeless to the extent of the mutilation. See ORJI V. DORJI TEXTILES MILLS (NIG.) LTD (2010) ALL FWLR (PT.519) 999 AT 1020. Again, documents which ought to be signed have not been signed or purportedly signed by persons who ought not to sign, cannot be relied upon and smacks of presumption of regularity in law. Pertinent also is Exhibit 317, the report of accredited voters in the election on polling unit by polling unit in the entire State, shows that the number of accredited voters was 437,128 while the alleged number of votes cast was 1, 222, 836. Further, the voters register reveals that the accredited voters were 448, 307 while the alleged votes cast was 1, 222, 836…. It is also trite that where over voting has been proved, the effect is to void that election.” Per  Per UWANI MUSA ABBA AJI, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656/2015 at page 28-29.
“The Tribunal in considering substantial non-compliance that necessitated the nullification of the results in the 18 LGAs at page 3791 of the records held in paragraph 4 therein thus:
“We did simple arithmetical calculation from the table of voters supplied in the petition in these Local Governments and arrived at a number of 566, 436 voters as those who were by rough estimate disenfranchised. Adding these figures to 89, 685 votes that the 1st Petitioner scored will close the gap between the results declared in favour of the 1st Respondent.” I wonder why the Tribunal could not show how it arrived at this figures. It is evident generally that by Exhibit 317, the total number of accredited voters is 437, 128 while the total figure of votes cast in the election is 1, 222, 836, thus establishing over-voting by documentary evidence. Also, that there were ballot papers muddling and mangling in bags. Where the court/Tribunal has nullified an election for non-compliance, the issue of proving disenfranchisement is a non sequitur and cannot stand.” Per UWANI MUSA ABBA AJI, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656/2015 at page 31.”
“From Eket Local Government  Area almost all ward results (Form EC8B) and the Local Government result sheet ( Form EC8C) were mutilated and there was no explanation for the mutilations in so many other Local Government Areas apart from the 18 there were so  many of these irregularities. There are overwhelming evidence suggesting  that there was no visible collation of results at the State Collation Centre which has impugned the integrity of the Final result in Form EC8D on which the 1st Respondent in the petition was declared and returned as the winner of the election. There was also evidence of over voting. INEC have said nothing on the fact of there being no collation of results at the State Collation Centre. This fact has very telling reciprocal bearing on the integrity of the election even at the 18 affected Local Government Areas.”Per EJEMBI EKO, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656A/2015 at page 28.
SIGNING OF MULTIPLE COLLATED RESULTS BY ONE AGENT
“In Uyo LGA, it is apparent by the reflection on Exhibits QQ1 – QQ11 that one Joseph Okon Peter signed Form EC8B in Wards 1,3,4,6,10 and 11. One Samuel Efiok Edem signed Form EC8B in Wards 5,7 and 9 and also signed Form EC8C as LG collection agent. All the signatures of Joseph Okon Peter is dated 12/4/2015 when it is true that the said result was collated on 11/4/2015. There are also mutilations and alternations of figures in (Etoi ward 4), (Uyo Urban 2, Ward 02), (Etoi 11, Ward 05), (Oku 11, Ward 02), (Ikono 11, Ward 09), (Uyo Urban 1, Ward 01), (Ofot 1, Ward 06), (Ofot 11, Ward 07).”  Per UMANI MUSA ABBA AJI, JUSTICE OF THE COURT OF APPEAL (JCA), in Appeal No. CA/A/EPT/656/2015 at page 22 – 23.

COLLATED RESULTS SIGNED BY PEOPLE OTHER THAN THOSE WHO SWEAR ON OATH TO BE AGENTS FOR THOSE WARDS
“In INI LGA, Exhibit HHH1-HHH9 show that those who signed as Ward collation agents in Form EC8B are different from those who deposed to be Ward agents. In Nkari, Ward 04, one Joseph Iseyen deposed to be witness statement on oath at pages 311- 313 of the 1st Respondent’s reply that he was the PDP Ward agent but one Hon. Godwin Akpan signed Form EC8B. In Odoro Ukwok,Ward 09, one Gabriel Asuiko deposed to WSO on pages 326-328 of the 1st Respondent’s reply that he was the PDP ward agent but one Moses Udo Solomon signed Form EC8B. In Iwere, Ward 05, one Ukpai Akpan Abia deposed to WSO in pages 314 – 316 of the 1st Respondent’s reply that he was the PDP Ward agent but one Iboro Nse Nnah signed Form EC8B. In Ikono North 2, Ward 07, one  Okon Asuquo deposed to WSO in pages 320 – 322 of the 1st Respondent’s reply that he was the ward agent but one Ayanime Idiasen signed Form EC8B.  In Ikpe II, Ward 02, one Richard Edikpo deposed to the WSO on pages 305 – 307 of the 1st Respondent’s reply that he was the Ward agent but one Akaniyene Ebong signed Form EC8B. In Itu Nbonuso, Ward 03, one Friday Akpan deposed to WSO on pages 308 – 310 of the 1st Respondent’s reply that he was the Ward agent but one Ekpeyong Ransome Daniel signed Form EC8B.  In Ikono North III, Ward 08, one Hon. Michael Etim Ekanem deposed to WSO  on pages 323 – 325 of the 1st Respondent’s reply that he was the Ward agent but  one Imoh Abam signed Form EC8B. In Nsuk, Ukwok, Ward 10, one Chief  Sunday Obiofin deposed to WSO on pages 329 – 331 of the 1st Respondent’s reply that he was the Ward agent but one Isreal Ufia Inyang signed Form EC8B.”  Per UMANI MUSA ABBA AJI, JUSTICE OF THE COURT OF APPEAL (JCA), in Appeal No. CA/A/EPT/656/2015 at page 24 – 25.

STANDARD OF PROOF:
“The proof beyond reasonable doubt standard envisaged for corrupt practices or electoral offences in the Act is geared towards not sentencing and convicting aspirants with their electorates but to produce winners ultimately in elections. I think where there is found to be overwhelming evidence of over-voting the standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt may not be necessary to prove the electoral offence that culminated into over-voting since election petition is a species of civil suit and not a criminal one.” Per UWANI MUSA ABBA AJI, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656/2015 at page 35 – 36.

PARTISAN UMPIRE:
“Exhibit 12 seems to expose the partisan role of INEC in the election which smacks of corrupt practice. The trial Tribunal believing that Exhibit 12 has content found that its significance cannot be overlooked. When Exhibits 12, 337 and 317 are taken together with other evidence of the Petitioners one gets the impression that INEC did what they did in the disputed election because they “had a close dealing with the sitting authority in the State.” Per EJEMBI EKO, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656A/2015 at page 13 – 14.

NON-COMPLIANCE WITH ELECTORAL ACT:
“Exhibit 317 is an INEC document. It is their report on the card reader accreditation. It indicated that only a total of 437,120 voters were accredited to vote on 11th April 2015. However, a total of 1,122,836 votes were said to have been cast at the election. That is 685, 708 votes more than the 437, 128 voters accredited to vote at the election. The evidence of Dw. 24 called to douse this fire does not seem to be a sufficient fire extinguisher. The Dw. 24 testified that the information’s from the Card Readers were still being uploaded. The question then is why would INEC declare final result and make return of the winner of an election when there was uncertainty whether, from the field, the total votes cast prima facie exceed the voters accredited? If the return was premature then a case of non-compliance with the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended, had in my view been established.” Per EJEMBI EKO, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656A/2015 at page 20.

“The issue of over voting, like the overwhelming evidence of there being no collation exercise at the State Collation Centre, are weighty enough to warrant INEC offering explanation since a strong prima facie case had been made that the election, as conducted,  was not in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act. As submitted by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, there are other cases of non-compliance with the Electoral Act which evidence abound in the Record.  They include cases of the same persons across different and diverse polling units and wards in different Local Government Areas signing result sheets or electoral forms. Those persons were not shown to be omnipresent at the same time in those various places. INEC had the evidential burden to satisfactorily explain these irregularities and incidents of non-compliance with the Electoral Act and INEC Guidelines etc that are capable of vitiating the election.” Per EJEMBI EKO, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656A/2015 at page 21

USE OF CARD READER; APC V. AGBAJE:
“I have studied both sets of regulations above, I do not see any conflict between the regulations in Section 10 (a) of the Guidelines which stipulate that accreditation shall be the verification of the PVC by the Card Reader and the requirement in Section 49(2) of the Act which stipulates that accreditation shall be by verification of the Register of Voters. Whether the verification be from an electronic data base, as the Guidelines state or from a physical register, the important factor is that the verification be from a Register, whether it is an electronic register or otherwise.” Per OLUDOTUN ADEBOLA ADEFOPE-OKOJIE, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656c/2015 at page 18.
“Indeed, in the case of APC v Kolawole Agbaje CA/L/GOV/751A/2015 relied upon by the Tribunal and the Respondents as authority for holding the Guidelines to be inconsistent with the Electoral Act, the Court never held the Guidelines to be in conflict with the Act. What Ogbuinya JCA held was the following:
“The evolution of the concept of smart card readers is a familiar one. It came to being during the last general election held in March and April, 2015 in Nigeria. On this score it is a nascent procedure injected into our infant and fledgling electoral system to ensure credible and transparent election. Specifically, it is aimed to concretise our fragile process of accreditation – the keystone of any suffrage. The concept, owing to its recent invention by INEC, a non legislative body, traces its paternity to the manual for election officials, 2015. Put the other way round, the extant Electoral Act as amended which predates this concept, is not its parent or progenitor. Since it is not the progeny of the Electoral Act, a ground in a petition fronting it as challenge to any election does not have its blessings,… section 138 (1) of it”.
This decision is not a denunciation but a commendation of the innovation of the Card Readers. The warning however by the learned Jurist is that the issue of Card Reader should not be the ground for challenging an election. This is however not the case in the Appellants’ Petition, where the primary ground is that the election is invalidated by substantial non-compliance with the Act…. The instant case does differ from the situation in APC v Agbaje Supra where the issue of the Card Reader was one of the grounds. As the Appellants’ Counsel submits, and I have no reason to disagree, even though this issue is not one of the Grounds, nothing precludes the Petitioner from alluding to the non-compliance with these Guidelines to buttress the grounds of their Petition. Per OLUDOTUN ADEBOLA ADEFOPE-OKOJIE, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656c/2015 at page 18 – 19.

BURDEN OF PROOF:
“From the state of the evidence before the Tribunal, the burden placed on the Appellant to prove the figures accredited by INEC on the date of the election was discharged, I hold, by the production of the Report from INEC (Exhibit 317) detailing the data of accreditated voters. The Respondents, however, failed to discharge the evidential burden which shifted on them to disprove the documentary figures produced by the Appellants, they being the party who, by Section 133 (2) of the Evidence Act would fail if no further evidence is adduced in rebuttal. The lower Tribunal, I thus hold, was in grave error to have placed on the Appellants the burden of proving the figures relied upon by the Respondents as showing supplementary accreditation. It was held by the Supreme Court in the case of Okoye v Nwankwo (2014) 15 NWLR Part 1429 Page 93 at Para G-H per Peter-Odili JSC that where the burden of proof has been wrongly placed on the wrong party, there is the likelihood of miscarriage of justice.” Per OLUDOTUN ADEBOLA ADEFOPE-OKOJIE, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656c/2015 at page 44.

“In the event that one takes the figures in the voters register, which the Respondents claim that they had recourse to on failure of the Card Readers, the total figure of votes accredited is 448, 307, short of the total votes cast by a whopping 674, 529 votes. Again, for the purpose of arguments, if one were to combine both the Card Reader and the Voter’s Register accreditation, the total is 885, 435, still short of the total number of votes cast. Indeed, the last two scenarios are in the realm of speculation, the Respondents, as held by me above, have produced no figures of accredited voters in rebuttal of the figures produced by the Appellants.” Per OLUDOTUN ADEBOLA ADEFOPE-OKOJIE, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656c/2015 at page 46.
“Whichever way one looks at it, the facts show that the votes recorded at the Governorship elections of April 11th, 2015 were far in excess of the voters accredited for that election. Where the number of votes cast at an election is more than the number of accredited voters, there is a massive irregularity, with the only conclusion being that the candidate returned as the winner did not secure the total number of votes cast. Per OLUDOTUN ADEBOLA ADEFOPE-OKOJIE, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656c/2015 at page 46.
“The case of Ucha v Elechi Supra relied on for proof of non compliance by production of evidence polling unit by polling unit, ward by ward, can thus not apply in a case as in the instant one, when the very foundation of the election is flawed.” Per OLUDOTUN ADEBOLA ADEFOPE-OKOJIE, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656c/2015 at page 47.
“It is my opinion that the Tribunal, having believed the evidence of PW33 without reservation and having seen in open court video clips (Exhibit 5 and 6) showing the locking of the gate at INEC should have proceeded to hold it proved that there was indeed no collation of results of the election in question and that votes were merely “allocated”. No finding on this important aspect was unfortunately made by the Tribunal. The evidence of PW33 on the failure of collation is not alone in this contention. Other witnesses also gave evidence of the lack of collation, not only at the ward and local government levels but also at the State level…. The lower Tribunal strangely made no mention nor drew any conclusions from this evidence. The question is, if there is no collation of results, can there be said to be an election? In the absence of any collation of results, the injunction that evidence should be produced by the Appellants from each polling booth by polling booth, as held in the case of Ucha v Elechi Supra, can thus not apply to a case, as in the instant, where there is clear evidence that there was no collation of results.” Per OLUDOTUN ADEBOLA ADEFOPE-OKOJIE, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656c/2015 at page 56.
Where there is no collation of results, there cannot be an election, I hold. Per OLUDOTUN ADEBOLA ADEFOPE-OKOJIE, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656c/2015 at page 57.

OUR POSITION

Having clearly shown what happened during and after the governorship election as well as the position of the Court of Appeal on the poll, the Akwa Ibom League for Democracy hereby condemns in very strong terms the ongoing campaign on AIT by the Government of Akwa Ibom State meant to intimidate, discredit and misdirect the Supreme Court and Nigerians in general.
Nigerians are shocked that every day on AIT the Akwa Ibom State Government is frittering away scarce public funds by way of fabricated videos purporting to show how Udom Emmanuel and former governor Godswill Akpabio alone voted during the governorship election. We challenge them to show videos where the candidates of other parties voted also, as well as voting by such elder statesmen as former governor Victor Attah and Atuekong Don Etiebet, both of them life BOT members of the PDP at the time of the election.

At the tribunal, former governor Attah, Otuekong Etiebet, Bishop Samuel Akpan, governorship candidate of the Accord Party, and Umana Okon Umana, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, testified with video evidence and it was accepted by the courts that they did not vote because there were no elections in their wards and local government areas.

We have it on good authority that the ongoing TV campaign of calumny and threat directed at the Judiciary is coordinated by the Akwa Ibom State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr Uwemedimoh Nwoko.

We wonder when television became the court of law. Why did Nwoko and the government that he is advising on the issues of law not present the evidence at the Tribunal if they had any to show how credible elections held in Akwa Ibom State, contrary to the position of international and local election monitors that there were no elections in the state?

Nigeria should not be made a laughing stock before the international community.
The National Judicial Council should take appropriate actions against Nwoko for discrediting and threatening the Judiciary through the ongoing video campaign on AIT by the Akwa Ibom State Government, which seeks to dictate to and intimidate the Supreme Court over the pending appeal by Udom Emmanuel against the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

SIGNED:

AKWA IBOM LEAGUE FOR DEMOCRACY
6 OLD FIRING ROAD, IKOT EKPENE
AKWA IBOM STATE

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Supreme Court Has Not Delivered Judgment On The Akwa Ibom Governorship Election Appeal Cases

There have been malicious insinuations on the social media and some mushroom blogs by some mischievous elements that the Supreme Court of Nigeria today delivered judgment on the Akwa Ibom State governorship election appeal cases.

Ordinarily, such contemptuous insinuations should not be dignified with a response. However, one is tempted to put the records straight owing to enquiries made by unsuspecting members of the public on the true state of the case before the Supreme Court.

The true facts of the case currently are as follows:

1. The Appellants before the Supreme Court only filed their briefs of argument last Friday, 15th January, 2016.

2. As at Monday, 18th January, 2016, the Respondents have not been served with the briefs.

3. The Supreme Court can only hear the appeals after both parties have filed their briefs of argument. After which a date will be slated for judgment.

4. By the provisions of Section 285 (7) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the Supreme Court has 60 days from the date of the judgment of the Court of Appeal to deliver its judgment in writing.

5. The Court of Appeal delivered judgment on the Akwa Ibom State governorship election appeal cases on the 18th of December, 2015.

6. The Supreme Court still have about 29 days from today to deliver judgment in the appeals brought before it.

7. The Chief of Justice of Nigeria to our knowledge has not yet constituted a panel to hear the Akwa Ibom State governorship election appeal cases before the Supreme Court.

We understand the desperation of riggers of election. In the end, the truth will be upheld and the enemies of democracy and free and fair elections will be shamed.

This was a so-called election that was condemned as a SHAM by independent observers including; the United States Embassy, the European Union, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and even the Nigeria Police Force.

The world cannot be wrong.

Our faith in the Nigerian Judiciary is unshakable.

Inibehe Effiong Esq.

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Umana Ask Court To Dismiss Case Challenging Akwa Ibom APC Guber Primaries, Court To Rule February 24

January 18, 2016

The attempt by the defeated governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State, Senator James John Akpan Udoedehe to consolidate three separate applications seeking to relist his case which was struck out by Justice E. S. Chukwu met a brick wall today at the Federal High Court, Abuja. Udoedehe is seeking to challenge the conduct of the December 4, 2014 primaries which produced Umana Okon Umana as the APC governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom State.

The Lawyers representing the Akwa Ibom State APC governorship candidate Umana Okon Umana and the APC; Solomon Umoh (SAN) and Chief Victor Iyanam, former Attorney General in Akwa Ibom State stoutly resisted the attempts.

Udoedehe had brought an application asking the court to relist his case against the conduct of the 2014 APC governorship primary election which was earlier struck out for want of diligent prosecution.

Upon being served with the response filed by Umana Umana and the APC, lawyers to Mr Udoedehe realised that the application to relist was filed several days outside the six days period allowed by law. They then brought another application seeking for extension of time to enable them file the application for relisting. Again, Udoedehe’s lawyers failed to obtain the leave (permission) of the court before seeking for externsion of time as stipulated by law. Surprisingly, when it was time for Udoedehe’s lawyers to file their response to the counter affidavit by Umana Umana and the APC in opposition to the application for relisting, lawyers to Udoedehe again failed to do so within the time allowed by law. A third application seeking to regularise (correct) the errors was equally filed.

When the matter came up in court on Monday, lawyer to Udoedehe, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), sought to consolidate all three separate applications aimed at correcting the many defects in the case and argue them together. This was strongly resisted by Solomon Umoh (SAN) who led other lawyers for Umana Umana and the APC. In its ruling, the court rejected the plea to consolidate the three applications. Mr Magaji eventually argued the applications separately.

In his argument for the relisting of the suit, lawyer to Udoedehe stated that the case was struck out in his absence on the 06/07/15 when the case came up because of misinformation by the court’s Registry and that the court had brought the date slated for hearing of the case forward by two days which led to his absence from court on the day the case was struck out for want of deligent prosecution. He urged the court to relist and revive the case.

However, the presiding judge, Justice Chukwu drew the attention of Udoedehe’s Lawyers to the court’s record which did not support their submission.

In his submission, Solomon Umoh (SAN) contended that the facts upon which Udoedehe’s application for relisting is based were false. He insisted that Udoedehe lied by deposing to facts which were not true just to tarnish the image of the court. He further argued that the applications were baseless and undeserving of attention and urged the court to dismissed same in their entirety.

Meanwhile, an apparently embarrassed Sen Udoedehe who arrived the court late refused to speak with press men who accompanied him to the court after the hearing.

The APC in Akwa Ibom State has consistently accused Udoedehe of working for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Udoedehe is expected to officially decamp to the PDP before the fresh governorship election in Akwa Ibom State.

The court has adjourned to February 24, 2016 for a formal ruling on the application to relist.

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