Post Top Ad

Your Ad Spot

Saturday, December 14, 2019

APC's Vote Inheritance Request: Is Akpabio Dead?

Sen. Akpabio

The recent request by the defeated APC candidate for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, Sen. Godswill Akpabio for an illegal substitution in the ordered rerun is Essien Udim buttresses the level of impunity in the country and the disdain to which due process and respect to our laws.

Shortly after Sen. Chris Ekpenyong was declared winner of the election, after convincingly leading Akpabio in nine out of ten Local Government Areas of the senatorial district, Akpabio in his usual arrogance bragged on national television that it was not possible for him to loose election because he thinks that he owns the people of Akwa lbom. He immediately filed a suit in a federal high court to compel lnec to issue him a certificate of Return despite his woeful loss at the poll. Even as a lawyer he ought to have known that after election only a tribunal could entertain any question on return made . Shamefully, he withdrew the suit and moved to the Election Petition Tribunal.

Expectedly Akpabio could not prove case at the tribunal and it was struck out for lack of merit. Again, his excessive arrogance and pride could not let him accept the verdict, he appealed the case, insisting that he won Sen. Chris Ekpenyong and that his 61,339 votes he generated by himself were not added for him. It should be noted that these bogus figures were manufactured from only 4 wards, out of the 11 wards in Essien Udim LGA.

How could such  figures be true and genuine when his opponent Sen. Chris Ekpenyong’s  38,000 votes margin of lead came from 9 Local Government Areas out of the 10 that make up the senatorial district ? By what magic did Akpabio secured 61,339 votes from only 4 wards? It  defies any mystical explanation. That was why lnec collation and returning officer refused to accept and collate the bogus fake votes that were not outcome of accreditation and voting.

Appeal Court in Calabar agreed with lnec rejection of those fake votes having regard to what the court described as “pervasive hooliganism, unparalleled violence, torture, intimidation of INEC officials”  that were orchestrated by Akpabio in Essien Udim, and thus ordered for a rerun in Essien Udim alone. Which is Akpabio LGA. Why was the rerun only in Essien Udim and not the other 9 LGAs that results have been upheld and preserved ? The court rejected Akpabio false allegations against INEC and ordered a rerun.

At the appeal court, Akpabio argued thus: "The election in Essien Udim was very free and no violence was recorded, therefore declare me the winner".

But  the Appeal court responded thus:  "This appeal on the whole, is allowed on the account of massive acts of irregularities, unwanted destruction of election materials, and other acts of hooliganism that pervaded the entire Essien Udim LGA on 23/2/2019".

"However, Considering the large scale malpractices in the conduct of election at Essien Udim LGA as attested by RW 17 (INEC OFFICIALs ) and other witnesses called by the respondents which the trial tribunal agrees with by reason of unsubstantiated claims of the Appellant (Akpabio) and thus corroborating this position, of acts of unparallel  thuggery, intimidation, ballot box snatching, abduction etc in Essien Udim LGA on the day of election, I'm inclined to order the nullification of election held in that Local Government, I so order". This was the judgement. But shamefully Akpabio in his characteristic manner tried  to fool the public by going to social media to celebrate the case he lost woefully. It would have been a victory if the 61,339 fake votes were added to his votes by the Appeal court in which case he would have won. But that was not the case, he lost yet celebrating !

Few weeks after, the noise of jubilation  has now given way to soliloquy of sorrow. It has dawn on Akpabio that he is heading to irrecoverable defeat, a monumental shame and tragic end to his political career.

To avoid this unavoidable defeat facing him, Akpabio wrote to the National Chairman of his party, Adams Oshiomhole to fill in another candidate. In other words, Akpabio as serpentine as he is, decided to give the shame to another person, while he stands as a political “almighty”. But already, the mighty has fallen.

The question everyone should ask is:  Why go to INEC for illegal substitution and request for vote inheritance? Do Akpabio and his cohorts think that what happened in Kogi when Abubakar Audu died, and Yahaya Bello came is applicable in the extant case when he is alive ? Is Akpabio dead?

To back up his illegal request to be substituted,  Akpabio quoted Section 35 of the electoral Act as which is meant for a fresh election. Substitution closed since 7th October last year. He failed to understand that there is provision for substitution in a court ordered rerun election.

The only exception granted by the Act is Death in Section 36, that permits a replacement where the candidate dies like in the case of Abubakar Audu of Kogi State. Is Akpabio ready to die for Hon. Ekpo so that his party, the APC substitutes him ? If indeed he is so passionate about his party to the extent that he would want to make such huge sacrifice, then the party can substitute him. Anything less than this, is illegal.

For goodness sake, what happened in Kogi is different from what is happening in Essien Udim. Akpabio was the one who went to court. He pushed ahead despite the verdict of the people re-affirmed by the Election Petition Tribunal up to the final Appeal court. Now, why is Akpabio running away from what he bargained for? No, he should not run away. If he runs away, it means he only wanted to waste the precious time of the Judges. He should be penalised for that.

Before the election, Akpabio was lobbying for the redeployment of the Resident Electoral Commission, Mike Igini. Intead for him to campaign for the votes of the electorate to vote for him, he was busy moving around the country campaigning for Igini's redeployment. He failed woefully. He knew he could not bribe Igini to allow him write election results as his tradition, he called for Igini's removal but God rejected the evil call.

To put the record straight, Akpabio can never win election in Akwa Ibom in a fair contest. His stock in trade is to write election results. We know that Uyo LGA has the highest number of voters. But Akpabio all this while had an over bloated register of electorates in Essien Udim which stood at 105,555. This is what he has been using all these years. In the just concluded election where fairness was the order of the day, the total accredited voters in Essien Udim as recorded in the card reader stood at 19,445. Where did Akpabio get the 61,339 votes for himself from? It is preposterous. He needs to provide an answer to this question.

The truth of the matter is, Akpabio is afraid of the rerun because all his lies against INEC will be brought to limelight. His claimed victory will be defeated in the open. Things that were hidden will be unveiled.

I challenge Akpabio to participate in the rerun he jubilated about when the Appeal Court gave the judgement. The moment  of unmasking Akpabio is near, he should not run away under flimsy excuse, he can never win a free and fair election devoid of thuggery and results writing. This indeed should be a lesson to all those who feel they are the alpha and omega. There is only one God, let everyone fear him.

Benedict Samuel is a Public Affairs analyst and writes in from Cross Rivers

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post Top Ad

Your Ad Spot