Every political development in Rivers state works to confirm the notion that part of the appeal for conspiracies or rather mischief making in the state is that they are perversely reassuring and provide a false sense of importance or rather relevance even when every other person in the state feels otherwise.
The Supreme Court on 18th January, 2008 at Abuja explained why it directed that Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi be sworn in as the elected Governor of Rivers State on 25th October, 2007.
According to the apex court, the PDP erred to have attempted to undermine judicial authority by substituting the name of Rotimi Amaechi who has been cleared and presented as the PDP authentic flag bearer to INEC in the April’s general election with that of Sir Celestine Omehia who never participated in PDP primaries.
In the words of Justice George Oguntade : “Let me say for the avoidance of doubt that the expulsion of Amaechi from the PDP at a time when his appeal was pending before the court below was unlawful and amounts to a calculated attempt to undermine judicial authourity.”
The Supreme Court held that “the reliance on the plainly contemptuous conduct of the PDP as a basis by the appellate court to deny jurisdiction to hear Amaechi’s appeal was particularly alarming. The Appeal court should have punished the PDP for its contemptuous behaviour.”
In addition the apex court maintained that ‘without a political party, a candidate cannot contest election and that the primary method of contest for elective offices is therefore between parties as provided in Section 221, it is only a party that canvasses for votes, it follows that it is a party that wins an election’.
In other words with the declaration of PDP as the winner of the April gubernatorial election in Rivers State, it becomes imperative that the party’s authentic candidate who happens to be Amaechi ought to have been sworn in as the governor of the state and not somebody that did not participate in the party’s primaries. This was supposed to have put the issue of the candidacy of Amaechi to rest.
However, a string of embarrassing indiscretions involving a few cliques within the PDP (or rather AC) seem bent on remaining as distractions by making the state ungovernable.
These political elites led by the former minister of Transport Dr. Abiye Sekibo, has continued to maintain that Amaechi did not contest the governorship election of April 14, 2007, neither did he campaign for the office anywhere in the state.
Consequently, Sekibo, along with others, have filed a case praying for a declaration that the combined provisions of section 178(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, sections 58 and 70 of the Electoral Act 2006, the votes cast by the registered voters in Rivers State at the governorship election cannot be deemed to have been cast for Amaechi.
In an originating summons, Sekibo and others are also seeking a declaration that by the combined provisions of sections 178 and 179 of the constitution and sections 58, 70, 71, 72 and 103 of the Electoral Act 2006, Amaechi or any other person who was not a candidate at the 14 April, 2007 governorship election of Rivers State pursuant to sections 41, 45, 53, 54, 58, 70, 71, 72 and 76 of the Electoral Act 2006 cannot be deemed elected as governor of Rivers State of Nigeria, and cannot therefore under section 1(2) of the constitution govern or take control of the government of Rivers State of Nigeria.
They are seeking an order directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to carry out the provisions of Section 1, 14, 177, and 178 of the constitution as they relate to the office of the governor of Rivers State of Nigeria .
Although it is very difficult to understand the mindset of this group, obviously Sekibo and his group have other ideas.
The rumours of war being chanted by this clique may be a deliberate ploy to attract undue attention and then garner completely lost relevance by coercion.
Secondly the group may be hell bent on causing a total disorder to warrant implementation of an earlier mischievous call for a state of emergency. Otherwise it would have been very clear to them that the Supreme Court has finally decided the matter as the law prescribes it to be, not as it ought to be. The matter was decided as the Electoral Act dictates it. And if any person wants to change the system now, he has to amend the electoral act first.
Most importantly, Sekibo and his group’s bickering including the fleet of litigations seem a well calculated plot to sway Amaechi’s and the authentic PDP’s attention or rather focus on the happenings in the state especially the election tribunal where the group had perfected plans to frustrate the tribunal hearings and ultimately secure a cancellation of the governorship election in the state.
In a 33-paragraph affidavit, Sekibo said that he was the chief agent of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the presidential and governorship candidates in Rivers State for the April 14 and 21, 2007, election in Rivers State and, in that capacity, traversed the whole length and breath of Rivers State campaigning and canvassing for the votes in favour of Celestine Omehia and not Amaechi.
From the above declaration, the source of an earlier threat concerning the election can no longer be in doubt. Some faceless people had earlier threatened to go the election tribunal to prove with cogent evidence that the entire results in the state were written by only six people in a private apartment. It will be very interesting to watch and see this happen.
And if they don’t go to the tribunal to fulfill that threat, it all means they even lack the integrity to hold any elective position either in the state or at the national level. Because dem no get liver, Period!
A very surprising aspect is the locus on which the Sekibo’s group is standing to sue for the cancellation of the governorship election. It is very clear in law that you can only suffer injury in an election -related case if you were a candidate, and he was not a candidate in the election beyond his participation in the primaries.
If the law has an open-ended situation then we would have had a chaos in the country because of the millions or even billions of litigations that would have been instituted.
The last thing any Riversman wants now is violence or trouble of whatever category- political, ethnic, or even senseless blood shedding. Elections are conducted for one candidate to win. And to rule is not a do or die affair. If these people threatening fire and brimstone were that good and acceptable to their party and the people of state, they would have been selected even at the party primaries level.
It has become very embarrassing for to the people of the state to everyday see on the pages of newspapers statements that could be aptly described as calls for anarchy in the state by some self -centred, two and a half -man political leaders leading only themselves.
How can any person boast of making his own state ungovernable simply because he felt he is better than the man at the helm of affairs? Maybe, Rivers people should ask the government (both state and federal) to revisit the issue of inquest into the spate of violence that crippled the state for several months.
It is time Rivers people (not only Okirika this time) wake up to face some of the trouble makers eyeball to eyeball and place them in their proper position as vampires that take pleasure in sucking the blood of innocent citizens.
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