The Court of Appeal sitting in ABUJA on Saturday, January 6th dismissed the appeal brought by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).In the Appeal, the PDP was challenging the declaration of Owelle Anayo Okorocha as the winner of the 2011 Governorship poll in IMO State. It will be recalled that Owelle Rochas Okorocha was declared the winner of the poll after he polled 336809 votes as against Chief Ikedi Ohakim’s 290496 votes. The total votes polled by each of the candidates represent the cumulative votes cast on the first poll which held on April 26 and the supplementary election of May 6, 2011.Immediately after the release of the result in the morning of May 7th 2011, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, the defeated PDP candidate and then governor, congratulated the Governor-Elect, Owelle Okorocha on his overwhelming victory; he also assured the electorate that he would not challenge the result in court. He was given a rapturous applause. However, Dissatisfied by this result, the PDP which fielded Chief Ohakim filed an Election Petition at the Imo State Governorship Election Tribunal headed by Hon Justice E.N. KPOJIME and Hon Justices M.I Sirajo and E.O. Osinuga as members. This is in spite of the fact that their candidate, Chief Ohakim, had earlier accepted the result and pledged not to challenge it in the Tribunal.
In the Governorship Election Tribunal, the main grounds of PDP’S petition were (1).That the PDP candidate scored the majority of the lawful votes cast at the election and (2)That the supplementary election held on the 6th of May,2011 was invalid being in breach of the provisions of both the Electoral ACT 2010 (as amended) and the 1999 Constitution( as amended).On Saturday,12th day of Novembver2011,the Tribunal delivered its judgement. The Tribunal held that “The Supplementary Election held on the 6th of May, 2011 was held in compliance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and Electoral Act 2010(as amended) and consequently held the petition, on this ground, is accordingly dismissed”. In the same vein, the Tribunal held that “from the analysis of the evidence as presented by the petitioner and by the respondents, we come to the irresistible conclusion that the petitioner has failed to prove that its candidate scored the majority of the lawful votes cast at the election; under the circumstance and in consequence therefore, the Tribunal, in its unanimous judgement holds that the petition lacks merit, and is accordingly dismissed in its entirety” .Since the conclusion of the governorship poll on May 6, 2011, Governor Okorocha has been declared the validly elected governor of IMO State on three different occasions. The first was on the morning of May 7, 2011(i.e. the morning after the supplementary election) when the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) announced the result of the election; the second time was on Saturday, 12th Day of November, 2011 when the Governorship Tribunal upheld his election as the validly elected governor of Imo State. Of course, the pronouncement of the COURT of Appeal makes it the third validation of Owelle Rochas Okorocha as the validly elected governor of IMO State.
Unlike in the past when the Court of Appeal was the final Court for Governorship Election Petitions, the 1999 Constitution (as amended) has placed the Supreme Court as the final arbiter on Governorship Election Petitions. As a result of this development, the PDP has since appealed to the Supreme Court. There is a need to put it to the desperadoes and demagogues in PDP that IMO State cannot grind to a halt for the simple reason that PDP lost an election. What took place on May 6th 2011 was a bloodless revolution and those who have been working to upturn the result of that election are busy chasing the wind. The ongoing effort by the PDP to rubbish the result of that election is a case of one who is so busy making efforts to square a circle. Throughout that election period, Imo State was perching on dynamite which needed only a spark to explode in the manner of the Otokoto saga of 1996.The situation became more dangerous and uncontrollable when The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the first governorship election which held on 26th April, inconclusive. This result was received with a mixed feeling of joy and sadness by a cross section of the APGA supporters who formed over 80% of the electorate at that point in time. Those who felt sad about the inconclusiveness of the election suspected foul play on the part of both INEC and PDP.They felt highly upset that Chief Ohakim who they felt was very unpopular managed to perform so well in some LGAs. As a result of a barrage of misguided and incendiary utterances from some of the bigwigs in PDP, the APGA members who were over 80% of the electorate had lost confidence on the INEC. Some of the provocative utterances include the one from Prince Nlemigbo who said that he would proceed on exile if Governor Ohakim lost the election. Furthermore, another PDP chieftain, Chief Lemmy Akakem, said that “one man, one vote has never happened before and it will never happen this time as PDP must win”. As a result of these misguided utterances from the bigwigs of PDP in IMO State, the APGA faithful concluded that the term “supplementary election” was a euphemism for election rigging, a last ditch effort by the INEC and the ASO ROCK to smuggle Chief Ohakim to Government House. The PDP concluded, albeit erroneously, that neither Owelle Okorocha, the APGA Governorship candidate, nor the APGA faithful in IMO State would accept to participate in any supplementary election. The PDP became highly fascinated with the idea of a supplementary election because it was the line of least resistance to actualize the victory of their candidate in the election, more so, since they concluded that the APGA would not accept to participate in any such election. All they needed do was to use federal might/incumbency power at both the federal and state levels to conduct a Kangaroo election and declare their candidate, Chief Ohakim, as the winner and then ask APGA to take their case to the Election Tribunal. Once the INEC announced Chief Ohakim as the winner, that would be the end of the game for Owelie Okorocha and his APGA. Recall that the greatest achievement of Chief Ohakim as governor was that he was said to have won over 20 election suits in the various courts, tribunals and even the Supreme Court during his 4-year stranglehold on power. In a country where justice was (or is?) for sale to the highest bidder, nobody has unravelled to Ndi Imo the opportunity cost of Ohakim’s many victories in the courts/tribunals. The idea of a supplementary election was hatched by the PDP when it became clear that the PDP would never win the governorship election through the ballot box. They hatched a two-prong approach to hijack the governorship victory. The approaches include the plan to conduct a supplementary election through which they could use their federal might to overwhelm the APGA and Owelle Rochas Okorocha by declaring Ohakim as winner; the second option was a dangerous plan to declare a state of emergency on IMO State, if the APGA faithful made it impossible for the supplementary election to be held. Under the State of Emergency, Chief Ohakim would be retained as the State Governor. In a document which was posted on the website of an online medium:www.pointblanknews.com and entitled :”State of Emergency as a last resort—President Jonathan “a few days to the supplementary election of 6th May,2011,President Goodluck said that the crises ravaging some States in the election period could be resolved by declaring a State of Emergency in those areas. Expressing his reluctance to do so, he added that his Attorney General and Minister of Justice had informed him that in a state of emergency, the state governor did not need to be sacked bur rather more money would be spent on maintaining security in such areas. Although he was silent on the state/states he had in mind, Imo State was the only State that had critical election challenges at the time the statement was made. So, by extrapolation, one can say that the threat was primarily targeted at IMO State. Yes; Imo was the only State which had the Damocles sword of a supplementary election dangling over its head. In summary, aside the supplementary election, the PDP option B was to declare a State of Emergency on IMO State and Governor Ohakim would still be retained as Governor. The plot to retain Governor Ohakim as Governor in the proposed State of Emergency government was a misnomer, an aberration from what was the case in States where emergency rule was imposed in the tenure of President Olusegun Obasanjo or even in the First Republic where emergency rule was placed in the Western Nigeria Government.
The APGA candidate, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, caused a stir when he put out a press release to the effect that he was ready to participate in the supplementary election. In the press release, the APGA candidate, Owelle Okorocha, said that he did not have any reasons to fear the supplementary election. Hear Okorocha:”I am ready to participate in whatever election they put in place. If participating in that supplementary election is the only way to teach Ohakim a lesson in political defeat, I will go for it. The majority of the voters in IMO State are behind me; the voters who voted for me in the other Local Government Areas of Imo State are the same voters in Ohaji/Egbema, Ngor-Okpala, Mbaitoli, Oguta and Orji. So, why should I fear? The people have taken a decision on what they want and they will vote for me and after the election the Egyptians you see today, tomorrow you shall see them no more. This idea of a supplementary election is a ploy to rig me out of my victory and I will not allow it to happen. I call on my supporters to troop out and cast your votes for me; defend your votes and I assure my supporters that I am capable of defending any votes cast for me in that election. Victory shall be ours”. Once this statement of finality was released by Owelle Rochas, the masses accepted it with equanimity and the youths who mobilized to shut down Imo State and create anarchy and mayhem deployed themselves to the affected local Government Areas in readiness for the supplementary election.
In order to create an enabling environment to rig the election, the then Governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, imposed a dusk to dawn curfew on the affected LGAs, even when there were no credible reasons to do so. However, the APGA fanatics surreptitiously took over the affected LGAs under cover of darkness. When the PDP rigging machines moved in the wee hours of the night to perfect their rigging agenda, they discovered that the APGA fanatics had sneaked into the communities through Apiam /village routes. These APGA militants battled the PDP group to a standstill thus frustrating their plans to rig the election. It was at this point that the PDP’s plot to rig the supplementary election collapsed irretrievably thus paving way for the phenomenal victory of Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
However, in a worse case scenario, the APGA faithful were willing to support a rescheduled election in the controversial four Local Government Areas and Orji provided the election would come after the end of the tenure of the then Governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim. In fact, the hostility of the masses against Chief Ohakim was such that they were earnestly praying for an opportunity to meet Chief Ohakim on the campaign trail as an ordinary citizen, divested of the paraphernalia and accoutrements of gubernatorial incumbency/power. They felt that such a situation would enable them to confront him (i.e. Chief Ohakim) one on one and to avenge the real or perceived injustices he was alleged to have meted out to them during his hegemonic and tyrannical regime. Since what was offered to APGA was a Hobson’s choice: accepting what was available or nothing at all, the masses rallied round OWELLE Okorocha in accepting to participate in the supplementary election. As stated above, they trooped out massively and overwhelmed the so-called incumbency advantage of a serving governor. When the result was released on MAY7th, 2011, the APGA Governorship candidate, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, was declared the duly elected governor in the poll. A breakdown of the result of the controversial supplementary election shows that in NGOR-OKPALA, Governor Okorocha scored 17,370 votes to beat Chief Ohakim who scored 9,237 votes. In Mbaitoli LGA, Owelle Okorocha scored 24,305 votes to beat Chief Ohakim who scored12, 278 votes. In Ohaji/Egbema LGA, APGA scored 15,234 votes to beat PDP which bagged 11,588 votes. There was still no election in Oguta LGA. APGA also defeated PDP in Orji. In summary, Owelle Okorocha of APGA scored a total of 356,859 votes to humiliate Chief Ikedi OHAKIM of PDP who came second with a total of 298,496 votes while Senator Ifeanyi Araraume of ACN scored a miserable total of 110,171 votes. Senator Araraume also scored 411 votes in Ngor Okpala, 60 votes in OHAJI/EGBEMA and 93 votes in Mbaitoli. On the strength of the above scores, the INEC Returning Officer declared Owelle Rochas Okorocha the validly elected governor of Imo State in the 2011 Governorship election. The proclamation of Owelle Rochas as the winner in the election sparked off a spontaneous celebration and indescribable joy in the nooks and crannies of IMO State and beyond. People emptied into the city centre and in the village squares in celebration of the phenomenal victory of Owelle Rochas in the poll. Overwhelmed by the spontaneous reaction of the masses on the victory of Owelle Okorocha, Chief Ikedi Ohakim conceded defeat and congratulated the Governor –Elect, Owelle Okorocha and thereafter pledged that he would not challenge the result of the election in court.
THE PDP GOES TO THE ELECTION TRIBUNAL: In spite of the overwhelming victory of Owelle Rochas Okorocha in the election coupled with the decision of Chief Ikedi Ohakim not to challenge the result of the election in the tribunal, the PDP, as a political party, eventually took out a legal suit to the Election Petitions Tribunal where she prayed the Tribunal to grant some reliefs:(1)That the PDP candidate,Chief Ikedi Ohakim, scored the majority of the lawful votes cast in the election; (2)That the supplementary election held on the 6th of May,2011 was invalid being a breach of the provisions of both the Electoral ACT 2010(as amended)and the 1999 Constitution(as amended).
I wish to seize this opportunity to make some comments on why the desperate effort of the PDP to secure a court victory on this case is a classic case of chasing after the wind. Although the Electoral Act 2010 allows either the political party or the candidate to challenge the result of an election before an Election Tribunal, it does not bode well for political stability in Imo State that the PDP which frittered away a huge chunk of the resources of State in executing a long list of election litigations in the last regime is again dragging Imo State through another round of political litigations, more so, when the governorship candidate of the party has already decided not to challenge the result of the election in court. Although one may argue, albeit reasonably, that Chief Ohakim’s decision not to challenge the result of the election in court is not binding on the party (PDP), it is also correct to state that a situation where the PDP is approaching the issue as a do or die affair is unbecoming as it is inimical to political harmony in the State. Perhaps, there is a need to make some literary appreciation of Chief Ohakim’s statement that he would not challenge the result of the election in court. That declaration by Chief Ohakim is a prima facie evidence that he was satisfied on the manner the governorship election was conducted; it’s a vote of confidence on the role of INEC and on the Governor-Elect,Owelle Okorocha. It is therefore dishonourable that the PDP in Imo State set aside the pronouncement of their party leader and proceeded to challenge the result of the election in court. Although the action of the PDP is not a breach of Statute but rather morally wrong, it is wrong for the PDP to think that no court will take judicial notice of their moral infraction. The objective truth is that in any society, there must exist some entrenched norms, mores, and level of morality below which no right thinking member of society should descend. It is the oversight responsibility of the courts to guard such belief systems in order to perpetuate harmony and amity among the various groups in the society. After all, the cultures, traditions and the like of any society constitute the sources of laws in a given society. It is only a mob that has no leader, neither mores nor norms. IMO State is not a mob. So, since PDP is a group supposedly composed of right thinking members of society, their deciusion to ignore the decision of Chief Ohakim (that he won’t challenge the election in court) is reprehensible and must be deprecated. It is pertinent to note that the Presidential Candidate of CPC, Muhammad Buhari, had said that he won’t challenge the result of the Presidential Election in court, even though he claimed that the election was rigged. In the case of Chief Ikedi Ohakim, his decision not to challenge the victory of Owelle Okorocha in court was based on the fact that he, Ikedi Ohakim, was convinced that the election complied substantially with rules and regulations as enshrined in the Electoral Act and the 1999 Constitution as amended. Perhaps, there is a need to state that the issue of whether the supplementary election is illegal or not is a pre-election matter which PDP would have taken to the Federal High Court before the actual poll. Issues that border on pre-election matters should not be brought into the Tribunals. It is undesirable that a political party which made no effort to challenge the supplementary election in a Federal High Court is now asking the Supreme Court to declare the election a nullity. Those who seek equity must do equity and equity is not for the indolent.
So, it is a base cause for the same Party to turn a blind eye to Chief Ohakim’s endorsement of the election as credible. The move by PDP flies against the maxim:”ex turpi causa non oritur” which means: “No action arises out of a base cause”.
Furthermore, there is a need to emphasize that the supplementary election was at the behest of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).While the APGA was demanding that her governorship candidate, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, should be declared the winner of the election on the basis of the results collated on the election of April 26th, 2011, Chief Ikedi Ohakim and the PDP bigwigs were vehemently demanding that a supplementary election should be held or they would make IMO State ungovernable. In one of the chats with the press after the April 26 election which was declared inconclusive, the PDP Zonal Chairman for South East, Barrister Olisa Metuh threatened:”I am challenging INEC CHAIRMAN, Mr. President, national and international observers to come and monitor election at NGOR-OKPALA and Ohaji/Egbema to test whether PDP will win or not. I am challenging that if INEC does not fix the election (i.e. supplementary election) today, the situation in IMO would be too odd that it’s never seen anywhere. In fact, there will be constitutional crisis in IMO”. He threatened that if the supplementary election was not held, “we will create a situation where the whole army, police, senators and even Mr. President cannot be able to quench”(The WHITE PAPER newspaper of Friday, April 29-May 1,2011 Page 1&2).I advise Governor Okorocha’s counsel to obtain this particular edition of the newspaper from the legal repositories for onward presentation to the Justices of the Apex Court. The Judges of the Supreme Court will lambast the chieftains of PDP for approbating and reprobating.
Afraid of the threats from the PDP, the Chairman of INEC, Professor JEGA, told the world on NTA 9 P.M prime time news that he had held a summit with some experts who advised him that it was in order to hold the supplementary election. The supplementary election was to appease and mollify Chief Ohakim and the PDP and give them another opportunity to overwhelm Owelle Okorocha. In spite of this one chance ticket, the PDP was still disgraced at the supplementary election. So, it is provocative and incongruous with due process for a party at whose behest the supplementary election was held to now ask the court to declare the exercise illegal. In the same vein, in a full page press release on page 30 of the Daily Sun newspaper of May 4,2011, entitled “Imo State Governorship Supplementary Election, “the National Organizing Secretary of PDP ,Prince Uche Secondus called on “the good people of Imo State to vote the PDP as you have done before”. It is distressing that in spite of the overwhelming evidence of their participation in the Supplementary Election, the PDP is claiming that the party did not take part in the Supplementary Election. This posture of PDP is very unconscionable, repulsive, and extremely reprehensible. It is a barefaced abuse of court process, more so, when one considers the legal maxim:”volenti non fit injuria” which means:”that to which a person consents cannot be considered an injury”. The fact that neither Chief Ohakim nor the PDP made any efforts to drag the INEC to court to stop the supplementary election attests that the supplementary election was held as a last ditch effort to give the drowning PDP’s TITANIC a political mileage. A litigant who sleeps over his rights should not wake up very late in the day to become a rampaging Bull in a China shop, more so, equity is not for the indolent and those who go to equity must go with clean hands.
Even when a section of the electorate sought the intervention of the court to grant an injunction to stop the supplementary election, it was this selfsame PDP that used their power of incumbency at both state and federal level to block the hearing. When it became glaring that the PDP was desperate to use its federal might to actualize the supplementary election, the APGA/OKOROCHA Group decided to accept the challenge. APGA did not have any other credible choice than to participate in the poll because if APGA failed to participate, INEC would have declared the PDP candidate, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, winner, and if APGA rioted(IMO State would have been completely razed down), President Jonathan was set to declare a State of Emergency in Imo State. So, APGA was faced with a Hobson’s choice (the choice of taking what is available or nothing else). On page 55 of the DAILY SUN newspaper of 4th May 2011, the APGA issued a full page press release in which she appealed to the electorate to vote massively for APGA in the supplementary election of May 6th, 2011.Yet; the PDP told the court that APGA went to court to stop the supplementary election. But even if the APGA had gone to court to stop the supplementary election of 6th May, 2011, does a litigant no longer have the right to withdraw his suit from the court, if he so wishes?
Furthermore, boycotting the election would have been very fatal to APGA. This is because a similar episode took place in Nigeria in December 1964 when Nigeria held her second general election. In the general election of that year, DR Nnamdi Azikiwe and his party refused to participate in the election while Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and his party did. The court ruled in favour of Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. I think that was, perhaps, the first time the expression “Supplementary Election” entered into the political lexicon of Nigeria. In March, 1965, a supplementary election was held in those constituencies that had boycotted the December 1964 election. So, with a benefit of hindsight, APGA would not have opted out of the election, more so, since judicial precedent was not favorable to boycotting the election. So, the supplementary election of MAY 6th, 2011, was NOT the first in Nigeria. Even recently, a supplementary election was held in EKITI State (on April 25, 2009?) after the 2007 elections in that State. That was the election in which the then 72-year old Resident Electoral Officer(REC), Mrs. Ayoka Adebayo, shocked the world when she gave a very weird definition of Christian conscience and went ahead to declare the PDP candidate ,Chief Oni, the winner of the supplementary election. She had earlier announced that her Christian conscience would not allow her to declare the PDP candidate as winner of the election. That supplementary election was held in some wards in 10 out of 16 LGAs in the State. So, it is erroneous to argue that the supplementary election of May 6th was the first in the political evolution of Nigeria. The incumbent governor of Ekiti State, Chief……….. is a beneficiary of a supplementary election in that State. So, the Counsel to Governor Okorocha should plead with the Justices of the Supreme Court to subpoena the National Chairman of INEC, Professor Jega, to confirm that supplementary elections were held in this country in March 1965 and April 25, 2009. So, there is no need for all the hue and cry over the supplementary election of May 6th, 2011.There is nothing sacrosanct or unique about it. The hullabaloo is caused by the fact that it was the first time since 1999 that an incumbent governor in the former Eastern Region was voted out of office through the ballot box. That victory was a victory for the masses and not even for APGA or Owelle Okorocha.It is inviolable, sacrosanct and irrevocable. Those who seek to truncate the silent revolution of May 6th 2011 are engaged in a wild goose chase. They should ask a question on the fall-out of the fabled OMOBORIOWO Governorship victory in Ondo State in 1983.It was that renowned philosopher, George Santayana, who once said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.
Since the supplementary election was held at the behest og the PDP, it should be accepted on the basis of the doctrine of necessity. It was an effort to stymie a breakdown of law and order in IMO State which the then governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, had threatened to visit on IMO State if the supplementary election was not held. Please read the story entitled: “IMO PDP Threatens, Poses for War as INEC Can’t Hold Election Again in Imo” which appeared in the WHITE PAPER newspaper of Friday, April 29-May 1st 2011, pages1-2.Whereas the PDP spearheaded the call for a supplementary election, whereas the same PDP issued various press releases in which she charged her members to participate and vote for PDP, it becomes a gross abuse of court processes for the same PDP to turn round to jettison the same election on the grounds that the party was woefully disgraced in the poll. For the umpteenth time,this approach is inconsistent with the legal maxim:”Volenti Non Fit Injuria” which means:”that to which a person consents cannot be considered an injury”.
As stated above, the supplementary election should be accepted as a child of necessity, more so, since the flag bearer of the PDP in that election and governor at the time, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, had promptly congratulated the APGA candidate, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, on his victory in that poll. It is beyond depravity that in spite of the overwhelming facts all over the place, the PDP Group had the temerity to state before the court and under oath that they did not participate in the supplementary election. Is this not a de facto case of perjury? If it is a case of perjury, then, the Supreme Court must be ruthless in upbraiding the purveyors of this naked propaganda in order to deter a reoccurrence and let in a whiff of fresh air into the asphyxiated political ambience of IMO State. The Justices of the Supreme Court are full aware that although decisions taken on the grounds of doctrine of necessity are not always in sync with the finesse of text-book stipulations, the courts are often favourably disposed to domesticating them because”Necessity creates the law; it supersedes rules and whatever is reasonable and just in such cases is likewise legal” per Sir W.Scott in “THE GRATITUDINE (1801)3 Rob.Adm.Rep.240. Please read Barrister ZIGGY AZIKE’S viewpoint entitled “The Doctrine of Necessity” (see Daily Independent of Thursday, November29, 2007,Law Page).
In the same vein, there is abundant evidence to prove that”justice is not always based on law”. It will be recalled that on February 18th 1977, the Kalakuta Republic of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti was burnt down by the so-called “Unknown Soldier”. The Ransome Kutis filed a law suit through their lawyer,Tunji Braithwaite, against the federal government claiming N25m being damages suffered by them when the soldiers maliciously set fire to Fela’s Kalakuta Republic. The Ransome Kutis lost entirely in the High Court and Court of Appeal. They finally lost the case in the Supreme Court on the grounds that their claim was founded on “tort simpliciter and nothing to demonstrate that their rights like any other citizen of Nigeria as guaranteed by the Constitution have been infringed and because the State cannot be held liable for actions in tort”. When asked to comment on why Fela lost the case, in spite of the glaring evidence that the Kalakuta Republic was burnt down by soldiers, the then Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Barrister Chike Ofodile,said:”The Ransome Kuti case showed me that justice is not always based on law… ” In the same vein, in the RT HON Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi Vs INEC Celestine Omehia and PDP,the Supreme Court declared the Appellant, Hon Chibuike Amaechi, the validly elected candidate in the governorship election of April 14th,2007, even though Hon Amaechi did not participate in the election. This is despite the fact that there is no place in the Electoral Act or the Constitution that says that a person who did not participate in an election can still be declared winner. The voters did not have HON Chibuike Amaechi in contemplation while they were voting on that day,14/4/2007.The unanimous judgment of the Seven Justices was read by Justice Aloysius Iyorgyer Katsina-Alu on THURSDAY, 25th October, 2007.This Supreme Court judgment validates the truism that justice is not always based on law. It also validates the fact that Justice is often on the side of the underdog and the weak. In that election, APGA was the dark horse, the under-dog; the incumbent governor, the President, the Attorney-General and even the INEC were off-shoots of the federal government. Above all both the PRESIDENT and the attorney- General assented to the supplementary election.
After four years of rudderless and inept/effete rule (2007-2011), the PDP group ought to be sober and introspective over the calamitous ruins that have trailed their failed regime. Rather than subjecting themselves to the humbling vilifications and tirades from the Supreme Court, they should show remorse and penitence on their poor performance which made Governor Ohakim the only governor in the South East to be voted out of Office since 1999.In my viewpoint entitled: “The Humiliation of Catholic Priest; A Critique, I wrote thus:”After an intensive and exhaustive analysis of this saga, I am of the opinion that Governor IKEDI OHAKIM should now drop the idea of running for the governorship of IMO State in the forthcoming election. In spite of the cacophony and Babel in the political domain, there is always an objective truth. The objective truth is that chasing the governorship title in the next election is akin to chasing the wind. Let him run for the Okigwe senatorial seat. Since blood is thicker than water, his brothers in Okigwe may oblige him the senate seat” (Nigerian Horn of SEPT 13-14, 2010:9).By the time I made this prediction in September 2010, nobody knew that Governor Okorocha would run for governorship. Governor Okorocha joined the governorship race about four months after that prophecy. In the same vein, I am asking the PDP to accept their defeat in the governorship election with equanimity and philosophical calmness or else they will be very highly embarrassed by the pronouncement of the Supreme Court JUSTICES. It is in their interest to retreat from the quicksand of a perilous idea.
The era when PDP members were serial winners in all election suits was yesterday. When Chief Martin Agbaso won the governorship election held on April 14, 2007, the Professor IWU-led INEC unilaterally cancelled the poll even though the INEC said that only 9 Local Government Areas were affected by the so-called fraudulent activities. So, why not release the result of the other 18LGAs.The only reason for this heinous cruelty is that Chief Agbaso does not hail from Mbano clan. For four years they made it impossible for Chief Agbaso to be given a hearing in the courts/Tribunals. The injustice they meted out to Chief Agbaso was not just a case of not being given a fair hearing; it was a case of not being given a hearing at all. But in the ongoing case, the PDP gas been given unhindered access to fair hearing and yet they are complaining. This scenario reminds one of the immortal words of Shakespeare:”When beggars die, there are no comets seen; the heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes”. The Supreme Court is not a court of evidence; it is a review court. Unless where permission is given by the Court, none of the parties can introduce new grounds of evidence different from the one pleaded in the Tribunal. PDP’s expedition to the Supreme Court is a veritable wild goose chase which will avail nothing as it cannot give them any political mileage. Election petitions are not won on the grounds that your party man is the President or that some Emirs pretend to be passionate about you or that the Attorney General of the Federation is your party man. It is germane to borrow the ageless and immortal words of the legal luminary, TOBI, J.S.C:”Litigation is not a game of chess where the players outsmart themselves by dexterity of purpose and traps. On the contrary, litigation is a contest by judicial process where the parties place on the table of Justice their different positions, clearly, plainly and without tricks”. I am full aware that the Supreme Court will deploy a literary sledge hammer on the PDP while delivering its judgement which will come within a period not exceeding 60 days from the date of the Court of Appeal judgement. That is the LAW as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended).The ongoing threat from the PDP that Governor Okorocha must comply with certain conditions in order to enable PDP withdraw the appeal to the Supreme COURT must be resisted. It is a poisoned chalice and Governor Rochas should not drink from it. The revolution of May 6TH 2011 was the verdict of Providence through the masses and no shady deals should be cut to compromise or besmirch the sanctity of that Divine intervention. The relevance of the maxim: Vox Populi Vox DEI meaning:”The voice of the people is the voice of GOD” cannot be overstressed at this point in time. .
JOHN I MGBE