Being text of ACN’s Press statement made by Action Congress of Nigeria, Anambra State chapter, in the aftermath of the final victory of Sen Chris Ngige in his senatorial bid and all the reactions.
On Monday, March 26, 2012 the Court of Appeal gave the final judgment on the Election Petition filed by the defeated Senatorial candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) Prof Mrs Dora Akunyili seeking to nullify the election of Senator Chris Ngige.
In a unanimous judgement, the appellate Court presided over by Hon Justice Shodipe agreed with the Election Tribunal sitting in Awka, which on February 21, 2012 struck out the petition on the grounds that the adjudication period has exceeded 180 days provided for litigation by the 1999 Constitution as amended in 2010.
This ruling of the tribunal is a double victory for our party- one instant, and the other retroactive. The instant victory lay in the fact that the senatorial cleanly won twice in the field by our party through our formidable candidate Chris Nwabueze Ngige was confirmed elected.
The retroactive victory was that the prime interlocutory appeal which Akunyili claimed to have won was confirmed upturned. On January 26, 2012, 60 days after the filing of an interlocutory appeal by Sen. Ngige in November 2011,praying the same Appeal Court in Enugu to strike out the same case on the same grounds, the five-man panel of headed by her lordship ,Hon Justice Justice Denton –West struck out the appeal ‘ for lack of merit’, Yet on February 17, 2012 the Supreme Court held that 180 days provided by the constitution for hearing and disposing of petitions ‘is like the Rock of Gibraltar or Mount Zion that cannot be moved’ .
In effect Ngige succeeded in reversing that temporary relief of Akunyili given her on January 26, 2012. Surprisingly, Mrs Akunyili, who may never accept defeat ,even if she loses 20 times still claims, as contained in her post-judgment press statement that she won all the interlocutory appeals when what she thought she won has led to her final loss? Should those who seek to lead play on the ignorance of some of the followers?
It is either that she was-to borrow the expression of the Appeal court ,‘in serious misapprehension of these issues’or she was not done with her ,pre-election,post-election,pre-litigation and ,intra-litigation duplicity, which has neither uplifted her image nor her political career.
Perhaps as time goes on, the Supreme Court may yet rule on the issue of initiating the petition with a mere letter, without paying statutory fees and ,leveling allegations against our party (ACN) and the Nigerian Police Force, without joining both corporate persons as party in the suit being the subject of two other appeals she made vain issue out of.
We therefore urge Mrs Akunyili to come down from her high horse and accept defeat ,rather than to keep insisting that her head has not touched the ground because she cannot rise above all of Nigeria’s democratic institutions- the electorate, INEC,Election Tribunal, Appeal Court, Supreme Court Media, Observers – put together. All have given victory to Senator Ngige individually and collectively. And most importantly in her privacy, she knows that Dr Ngige clearly and more convincingly than the official results even suggest.
She should not forget that backed by the government of Anambra State, she stole and awarded herself 22,500 toxic votes in Anaocha. Forensic evidence, and the finding of facts by the same Court of Appeal, Enugu has established –as graphically illustrated in the December 22 judgment in Ferdinand Dozie Nwankwo (ACN) vs. Uche Ekwunife, where the court found that only about 9,000 votes were cast in Anaocha local Government Area. This election was held simultaneously with Sen. Ngige/Dora Akunyili elections. The decision of our brilliant defence lawyers not to move to seek recovery of those votes was a matter of the strategy. But Anambra Central and Anambra State have not forgotten that broad daylight theft.
She should also not forget that she and her lawyers had to go into forgery of Form TRF 008 in Awka just to cover up a major lapse in the management of her petition, just before the discerning Election Petition Panel struck out the petition for the first time on October 20, 2011, after pronouncing the document –with contradictory dates-so submitted ‘a worthless document’
Mrs Akunyili raised a number of other issues in her press statement not worthy of attention or comment and we shall leave them to the superior judgment of the general public in Anambra Central Senatorial District, Anambra State, Nigeria and the world whose sense of judgment on issues Akunyili underrates. But we shall not ignore that fact that her latest sojourn in the appeal Court is an abuse of Court process, and she knew, because suddenly, she did not discuss the appeal in the media or in public as before.
Listen to the court on Monday last week: ‘The appellants are in serious misapprehension of the Supreme Court orders and the principle of Stare Decicis ( Decided cases)’ The appellants on record in this matter are Akunyili and APGA, which curiously was silent and subordinated to Akunyili in public view during the trial. This underscores that she was sure she was embarking on an abuse of court process and still elected to so do. And this is remarkable and important for assessing the rationale quotient and sense of conformity of those who aspire to higher leadership.
Tenacity, we insist cannot be confused with foolhardiness or desperation. If you want to know whether Akunyili understood the gamble she undertook, view her facebook page where she has been giving a daily update on her senatorial elections and post-election litigation, but not one word was written by her on facebook between Wednesday February 22, 2012 when the latest final ‘appeal’ was filed, and Monday March 26, 2012, when this resounding victory came for Sen.Ngige.
We shall leave the moral side of Akunyili’s action as well as those of her visible and invisible backers in Anambra State Government House to the tax-paying people of Anambra State and the decisive voting people of Anambra Central whose firm choice has always been Sen Ngige .
If Sen. Ngige was intent on time-wasting like Akunyili alleged, he could have appealed the January 26, 2012 ruling of the Appeal Court on 180 days-now upturned by the Supreme Court. We could only have been chastised for being in ‘serious misapprehension that the Appeal Court is the highest court on National Assembly elections’. Yet, not being new to the sacrifice of leadership and statecraft, he accepted that January 26, 2012 decision of the Appeal Court against the best part of his conscience and went for trial where AKUNYILI ‘S WOBBLY CASE WAS HEARD.
On the trial itself please recall that Mrs Akunyili went to court, in summary on these counts:
- · That Sen Chris Ngige was given 68 unmerited votes, which should be retrieved;
- · That she was denied 108 lawful votes, which should be added to her;
- · That there were substantial non-compliancce with the Electoral Act 2010 and INEC manual in conduct of elections in 15 wards to the extent of ‘over voting’ in 15 wards in Idemili North and South (Ngige’s home base )and the polls should be cancelled and deducted from the results
- · That there was ‘multiple thumb printing’ in one polling unit in Enugwu-Ukwu and therefore the results should be cancelled and deducted from the results
- · That there was incomplete no voting in one polling unit in Abba and one Polling unit in Ukpo,both in Njikoka local government Area and based on that the tribunal should order another election for these two polling units out of 1,560 in the constituency.
Yet in her principal prayer she asked to be declared the winner.
By February 8, 2012, as she admitted, she had called all her witnesses and closed her case and Ngige was to open his on February 17 (later deferred to February 21, 2012).
Under cross examination Akunyili admitted the discovery of defence lawyers (Counsels to Ngige and INEC) that actually 308 votes were wrongfully awarded to her, wiping out mathematically the first two planks.
Punching a calculator in court, she was also made to disprove herself by proving that total valid votes did not exceed number of accredited voters as she alleged. She went ahead to read out at the instance of the cross-examining lawyers what the Electoral Act 2010 defines as over-voting- WHEN VOTES SCORED EXCEEDS THE NUMBER OF REGISTERED VOTERS, shortly before admitting that she did not tender the voters register in evidence before the court.
Akunyili called two police ‘ forensic experts ‘ who live and work in Lagos, but swore to have deposed their affidavits in Awka on Monday January 9, 2012, a day Nigerian Labour Congress and The Trade Union Congress (TUC) shut down the nation and its courts , to press the reversal of pump price of gasoline to N65 per litre. One police witness later ran way.The remaining Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Elias Uzoemeka told the court that he did not take the serial number of ballot papers into consideration in his ballot scan, nor did he know the intensity of light required for carrying out forensic scanning operations. Yet he produced a result that showed PDP as committing multiple voting on one (1) ballot paper.
Besides, the name of the Police expert witness appeared in the certified true copy of attendance list in a meeting conducted by INEC in June 2011 for candidates and their team under the team of Dora Akunyili. That was long before he knew that he would be drafted to compose a document to pervert justice. Little wonder, the witness, who introduced himself with a scanned subpoena virtually disappeared behind sweat beads when he was confronted with the attendance list.
Even then, DSP Uzoemeka was there only to get one polling booth cancelled, the same ward where Akunyili’s female personal assistant, who claimed she was an agent in the rerun elections of April 26, 2011, could not locate her name in the INEC-certified true copy of APGA agents and could not produce a letter of appointment as an agent. Besides, the identification tag she tendered to the court, which understandably did not bear her name was dated April 9, 2011, when she was testifying on the April 26 rerun elections.
Again unfortunately for Akunyili and APGA, INEC adduced evidence to show that the elections had been completed in the single units at Abba and Ukpo, before violence threatened, and the electoral officials and the materials were promptly evacuated to safety by the security agents. The tribunal ordered that the ballots should be counted and Dr Chris Ngige won, further increasing the margin.
Given this trajectory in her own case Akunyili cannot in all honesty lay claim to any outcome that would have altered the status quo, but by virtue of not having a formal judgment, all has been left in the realm of conjecture for an obviously elated Akunyili to carry on with a disguised celebration, having been snatched from the jaws of political suicide.
YET, THE POLITICAL ANAEMIA OF RE-BRANDING VOTE RIGGING MAY NOT GO AWAY IN A HURRY.
With these details, it is clear even to ardent Akunyili supporters and APGA faithfuls that she lost technically and substantially, but if she insists it is technical, so be it. Victory is victory. If FIFA grants Cameroun a walk-over against Ghana in a football match, the implication for the league table is that Cameroun will score three full points and two goals on aggregate. No one asks the name of the goal scorers. By some reversal of logic, if the tribunal had, by any magic under the sun, cancelled 15 wards of Idemili as she prayed and announced her winner, we would not remember that Ngige won about 85 percent of the votes there, which would have failed to count.
The primary place to win elections is on the ballot papers in the field, anything thereafter is TECHNICAL. So Akunyili came to win technically, and lost technically. If sore-losing would not let her congratulate the winner, she should purchase golden silence.
We therefore hold that Akunyili is celebrating the supreme Courts intervention to save her from herself. The major loser is Governor Peter Obi whose pervasive expenditure of Anambra state funds could not guarantee Anambra Central Senatorial seat, or any senate seat for that matter. The money spent in courts to get what Obi and Akunyili did not get in the ballot boxes can give every community in Anambra State potable drinking water, construct the road from Amansea through Oba Ofe Mmili to Uzo Uwani, Enugu state and still could have saved the lives of about 50 AIDS patients who died because they had no access to drugs from public hospitals, owing to doctors and health workers strikes ,the former lasting 13 months and making mothers take days-old children for BCG injections in Delta, Imo and Enugu neighbouring States.
If the sun ever rises again, Ndi Anambra will certainly not, forget what they had to go through and how long it took them to successfully reject evil for good; Untruth for truth and duplicity for forthrightness.
For: ACTION CONRESS OF NIGERIA, ANAMBRA CHAPTER
State Publicity Secretary