The Next Level
Mature heads to Court of Appeal…
The good people of Ikom/Boki, as you all know in the past six months we have been at the Election Petition Tribunal, challenging the outcome of 2019 National Assembly Elections in our Federal Constituency.
On Wednesday, 4 September 2019 the Tribunal sitting in Calabar struck-out our petition on the ground that the issues raised by us were mainly preelection matters which it lacks jurisdiction to entertain.
According to the tribunal, the decision of the Court of Appeal, Calabar Division, on the 20 February 2019 could be interpreted to mean a reversal to status quo. This, the tribunal states, implies that the decision of the Bwari High Court on the 11 February 2019 which affirm the candidature of Usani Usani as APC gubernatorial candidate in Cross River State, and Godwin Etim John as state party chairman invalidated that of the Court of Appeal, Calabar Division’s ruling of 20 February 2019. We disagree.
It is difficult to understand how the Tribunal arrived at this conclusion especially its interpretation of the ruling of the Court of Appeal, Calabar Division.
In any case, even if the tribunal had given an interpretation of the Court of Appeal, Calabar Division’s ruling based on its understanding, it is also the duty of the tribunal to interpret the Court of Appeal Abuja Division’s ruling of 15 February 2019, which (uniquely), affirmed the petitioner, Victor Bisong Abang as the rightful candidate of APC in Ikom/Boki Federal House seat. This the tribunal didn’t do. Infact, this wasn’t even mentioned in its ruling.
In addition to this, the tribunal held that the factionalization in Cross River State APC was a major cause of the party’s inability to file candidates in the elections. This, to us appears more like a Father Christmas decision. This is because, even the first, second and third respondents, in their defence positions, either in written or oral presentation struggles to prove the participation of APC in the elections. So, for the tribunal to unilaterally arrived at the decision that APC has no candidate in the election is more or less the action of Father Christmas.
My fellow constituents, after a careful study of the ruling, we are convinced that the tribunal erred in its ruling. As democrats, we submit to the tenets of the rule of law and sanctity of the court. Our lawyers have reviewed the judgement and advice that we should appeal. After due consultation with the leadership of our party and other political leaders in the federal constituency we have mandated our lawyers to appeal the judgement at the next level. Let’s have faith in the the Court of Appeal. Hopefully, our reprieve will come from there.
Our decision to appeal the judgement is not only seeking for justice but also to strengthen and promote the transparency of the electoral processes. For me, in a Democracy, the transparency of the process is more important than the outcome. The transparency of the process should be as much as possible like the transparency involved in the use of penalty kicks to determine the outcome of a stalmated football match.
Finally, the good people of Ikom/ Boki, friends and associate, we have come a long way. The journey toward building an egalitarian society is, in most cases torturous and stealthy. The almighty God who has brought us together, on this part, will see us through. To us, “The love of justice is, in most men, nothing more than the fear of suffering injustice.” We will seek justice and will attain it in the end. “If we do not maintain justice, justice will not maintain us”. In the words of Pastor Mathins Demola, “They came for the Socialist and I did not talk because I wasn’t a Socialist.
They came for the Trade Unionist and I did not talk because I wasn’t a trade Unionist. They came for the Jews and I did not talk because I wasn’t a Jewish. They came for me and there was no on to speak for me.
” Let’s begin to speak for our country, Nigeria; Our State, Cross River; Our Federal Constituency, Ikom/Boki. Let’s foster Peace, Unity and Justice in our homeland. Certainly, posterity will be our witness.