A political pressure group in Delta State that styles itself as “Democracy Watch,” (DW) has raised alarm over an alleged plot by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Delta state and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to subvert the course justice by compromising the judges of the Court of Appeal holden at Benin.
Addressing Journalists after an emergency meeting on Friday, at Ekpan-Warri, the group alleged that the Delta state governor Senator Okowa, and the state PDP have allegedly penetrated the members of Court Appeal panel that are currently handling the appeals through Edo state SSG and Chief Judge.
The President of the group, Comrade Jonathan Ossia noted that petitions mostly affected by this move are those of the governorship, the petition involving the Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly and all National Assembly appeal petitions.
Comrade Ossia while calling on all anti-graft agencies in the country to closely monitor judges handling the appeal cases particularly from Delta state, alleged that the N5Billion recently emarked by the Delta State Government forthe dualization of Sapele road from Amukpe roundabout to Sapele main town and Effurun-NPA road in Warri have been allegedly diverted to compromise the Court of Appeal judges.
According to him, at a recent meeting of the PDP stakeholders held at Okproza, the country home of Prof. Sam Oyovbaire, a chieftain of the PDP, Delta State, and a former Minister of Information and Culture during Gen. Ibrahim B. Babangida’s regime, allegedly boasted that the all cases at the court of appeal in Benin will go the way of that of the tribunal in Delta.
He added that Oyovbaire who is the Chairman, Governing Council of Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka , told his guest at the meeting which includes many political appointee and elected members of Delta State House of Assembly from Delta Central that PDP have settled the panels of judges and therefore have nothing to fear.
“Prof Oyovbaire told his people at his home at Okproza on Tuesday, that the PDP will not loss at the appeal, because they have penetrated the appeal court judges through the Secretary to the Edo State Government and the Chief Judge and that the governor’s and speaker’s case are forgone conclusion.”
Comrade Ossia further alleged that, “Oyovbaire also told PDP stakeholders that most of the cases will not be heard on its merit and judgement delivered before the expiration of the 60days time frame allowed by the 2010 electoral Act, as a amended.”
He added that, “this is how the alleged N5billion bribe allegations of the tribunal judges in Delta was overlooked and today the Asaba airport upgrade is suffering because the money approved for the project was allegedly diverted to bribe tribunal judges.
He therefore called on Deltans to rise and speak up on consistent looting of the resources of the state to feather the political nest of few members of the PDP who are bent on holding the state down perpetually.
All attempts to reach Prof. Oyovbaire on his reactions to the allegation fail as at the time of filing this report, repeated calls to his mobile phone didn’t connect and text message to his phone was not reply.
However, a chieftain of PDP and a former Chairman Okpe local government who spoke to one of our correspondent but pleaded for anonymity because he was not authorized to speak confirmed that the meeting held but denied that Oyovbaire ever made such statement at the meeting.
According to him; “it is true that we met at Prof place at Okpraza, but am not aware that Prof during his remarked ever saying that the Court of Appeal judges have been settled, that issue never came up, so enjoy you to disregard such unfounded allegation which cannot be substantiated.”
“Prof Oyovbaire that I know does not talk carelessly, and let assume without conceding, such matters cannot be brought to public meetings, its only leaders that can be prevail to such issues.
“So, my friend this is one of the handwork of Prof. Oyovbaire detractors and I want to urge the public to disregard such baseless and unfounded allegations because in the realm of politic anything goes in order to score cheap political point,” he added.