The mistake most failed politicians make when approaching a Court of competent jurisdiction to challenge the legality of their opponent’s success at the polls is the habit of dwelling on frivolities and trivialities.
Instead of getting enough evidence to prove their cases, they are known to often dwell on lies in the mass media to impress their supporters, while in reality, they have lost woefully in Court for lack of superior evidence and defense.
It could be recalled that the case of Ime Umana versus Obong Victor Attah was one of the most celebrated election legal tussles in the history of Akwa Ibom State. The All Peoples Party, APP candidate, Late Dr. Ime Umana was always accompanied to the Court by thousands of commercial motorcyclists, bicycle riders, convoys of cars and buses among other supporters.
During those days, the Newspaper that played the role Global concord plays today was Sensor Newspaper. A day before the Court sitting, the local tabloid had a banner story “COURT SACKS OBONG ATTAH AS IME UMANA TAKES OVER”. And that litigation continued till three months to the expiration of Attah’s tenure.
Most people sold their houses to support Ime Umana’s litigation against Obong Attah, and when the case was lost at the Supreme Court, one among such supporters committed suicide out of frustration.
Chief Dr. Godswill Akpabio’s era also witnessed legal tussles, but the most famous among them was the Frank Okon vs. Akpabio case, which spanned almost to the end of his second term.
That was one legal tussle that was full of fallacies and fantasies, wrecking the economy of hundreds of Akwa Ibom people both home and in diaspora.
Obong Nsima Ekere’s petition against Governor Udom Emmanuel, another wanton litigation, is targeted at deceiving the poor and laymen of the street, while in severe lack of substantial evidence to prove election was rigged in Akwa Ibom State.
It is widely acknowledged that the 2019 election is the fairest and most acceptable in the history of elections in Akwa Ibom State and thus left many to wonder why the failed Candidates of APC should choose to waste their funds in pursuing shadows at tribunal.
Before I do justice to the phantom petition, let me remind the public why Nsima lost the 2019 election.
First, Akwa Ibom State is a stronghold of the PDP and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Since the return of democracy in May 1999, Akwa Ibom has given over 95% of its votes at every election to the PDP.
In the last Presidential polls, the same feat was replicated as the PDP won the APC presidential candidate and eventual winner in election widely criticised by international observers to have been massively rigged by President Buhari’s administration.
This is the reason, the American Government placed on ban those allegedly involved in the electoral fraud, including the INEC chairman.
PDP is so entrenched across the 329 wards, state constituencies, federal and senatorial districts of the state to be uprooted so easily. The so-called bandwagon effect that seemed to momentarily put APC in speculative advantage was ultimately proved to be mere wishful thinking.
Another reason Udom Emmanuel won is the strong persuasion for zoning in the State. Uyo Senatorial District who will take their turn in 2023 never believed in the one tenure promise of Obong Ekere Ekere
What is more? The achievements of Governor Udom Emmanuel also played a pivotal role to why he defeated Nsima, the 16 industries which have provided over 20,000 direct and indirect jobs spoke positively for him.
Needless to mention the 1745km of Roads provided by this administration. The State now boast of four power sub-station and today Akwa Ibom State has over 20 hours electricity supply daily.
In the health sector, Governor Udom Emmanuel has reconstructed and re-equiped eight (8) General Hospital with modern healthcare facilities.
The Government of Udom Emmanuel has invested massively in Agriculture and this investment has helped in bringing down the prices of food in the market, making life affordable for the poor masses.
Above all, Governor Udom Emmanuel brought back peace to Akwa Ibom State, no more kidnappings, killings, robbery. He went as far as proscribing Cult groups.
Today, Akwa Ibom State is the most peaceful State in Nigeria as rated by all Arms of the military and this has made the Governor a darling of all.
In the Court, meanwhile more than 20 of Nsima Ekere’s witnesses confirmed that election was peaceful and PDP won in their Units, contradicting their petition before the Tribunal.
And when it was the turn of Nsima Ekere to mount the Dock, as PW46, Ekere wheeled out his earlier statement deposited before the tribunal which he adopted as his evidence to call for a total nullification of the entire exercise in the 31 local government areas in Akwa Ibom state. He contradicted his earliest witness Statement which he adopted.
From the earlier Statement, Nsima Ekere wanted to be declared the winner but on Thursday he prayed the Court to cancel the election totally and order for fresh poll.
In court processes, a contradictory statement is an incompatibility and clear opposition to two ideas which are the subject of the same proposition.
Whether the defendant in the dock is accused of a crime, providing insufficient information to what has been previously provided or if one or more witnesses reenact the chain of events that occurred, but do not portray a mirrored story, contradictory statements lead to much confusion for the judge and jury.
When a statement made has been contradicted by another in court, the jury is led to believe that all accounts made from that point onwards are false.
Any evidence that would seem credible is now unreliable. so without prejudice, Nsima Ekere has jeopardized his chances and it is a clear evidence that he knows that election was won by PDP and he is in Court simply for academic exercise.
A contradictory statement made in court signifies that the person making such statement has been untruthful at some point during their account.
Before now, Nsima Ekere’s legal team have amended their petition over three times, the Legal rules make it clear that If amendments are required to correct ambiguity, duplicity or other defects, the court is authorized to do so by section 250 [now section 201] of the Criminal Procedure Code.
But when it is done incessantly it has become abuse of court process, and Abuse of process refers to the improper use of a civil or criminal legal procedure for an unintended, malicious, or perverse reason. It is the malicious and deliberate misuse of regularly issued civil or criminal court process that is not justified by the underlying legal action.
Abuse of process includes litigation actions in bad faith that is meant to delay the delivery of justice. Examples include serving legal papers on someone which have not actually been filed with the intent to intimidate, or filing a lawsuit without a genuine legal basis in order to obtain information, force payment through fear of legal entanglement or gain an unfair or illegal advantage and lastly continuous amendment of petition in cases of tribunal and amendment of charges.
And this will affect the ruling negatively, the court has discretion to allow amendment or alteration or addition, as long it has not entered judgment, therefore at any stage court may permit the prosecution to amend charges or plea. However all the witness must be given time to come back and testify again. But in Nsima’s case, the witness did not return to the Court.
It is also significant to make the point that, pursuant to the provision of section 219 of the ACJA, where a Charge is amended, as it is sought to be done in the instant case, both the prosecution and the Defendant shall be permitted to re-summon witnesses already called, for further examination/cross-examination as the case may be. This is to further underscore the point that
the law protects the Defendant from being prejudiced in any event, where a Charge is amended, altered or completely substituted. See again the authority of Princent Vs. The State (supra).
Let me not preempt the Court, but both the legal team of Nsima Ekere and himself have since destroyed their chances of getting any favourable Judgement from the tribunal.
Independent National Electoral Commission witnesses had also confirmed to the Court that election in the State was generally peaceful and PDP won in all Wards and the international observers also confirmed to the tribunal that Governor Udom Emmanuel won in all polling Units that were announced.
The observers also informed the Court that where there were electoral frauds, they were carried out in Nsima Ekere’s clan in Ikot Abasi and in Essien Udim and the mass rigging was carried out by agents of APC.
All the witnesses of Governor Udom Emmanuel and Agents of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including witnesses of APC all attested to the fact that there was free and fair election throughout Akwa Ibom State.
My question is, now that Nsima Ekere wants all the election to be cancelled, what happens to election result sheets brought before the tribunal as evidence that APC won in 26 Local Government Areas?
Failure is like a roaring Lion and it is face to face with the failed APC Candidate, Obong Nsima Ekere.
Nsima’s suit against Governor Udom Emmanuel is celebrated on the mass media, but lacks substantial evidence to prove before the Tribunal that election was not won by Governor Udom Emmanuel in Akwa Ibom State. Therefore, pray Nsima Ekere’s petition at Election Tribunal rest in perfect peace.