Local Government Electoral Officers (EOs) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have confirmed that governorship election held in all the 23 local government areas of Rivers State.
Testifying at the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal, yesterday, five INEC Electoral Officers stated that the governorship election on March 9, 2019 was conducted in line with the Electoral Act and INEC Guidelines.
Speaking during a cross-examination by African Democratic Party’s lawyer, Dolapo Tella-Attoni, INEC Electoral Officer for Okrika, Okemanu Clems Okechukwu, stated that the election held in all the 12 wards of the LGA.
He noted that the result sheets from all the wards were signed by him and transmitted to the INEC office at the state level.
Also answering questions from 2nd Respondent, Governor Nyesom Wike’s lawyer, Okey Wali, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Okemanu Clems Okechukwu noted that “materials were received and results announced at various polling units. The results were properly signed by INEC and party agents present”.
Also testifying before the Justice J. A. Orjiako-led panel, Patrick Uzoka, Electoral Officer for Degema Local Government Area, stated that result sheets from the polling units of the wards in the LGA were signed and recorded by INEC officials on duty.
Reacting on question of violence in the area during the election, he said, “I did not get report from any party agents that the results announced were concocted, and I did not also receive any report of violence during the election.”
He noted that some units were cancelled, and added that he did not notice presence of an ADP agent at the collation centre.
The Election Officer for Omuma LGA, Ijeoma Obari, told the tribunal that no official or party agents made any lawful allegation against the governorship election as regards to Omuma.
He added, “We conducted ourselves in accordance with guidelines issued by INEC.”
The INEC Electoral Officer of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, David Edak stated that the Governorship Election in the area was conducted under a peaceful atmosphere, adding that the voting was devoid of violence.
The Electoral Officer for Ikwerre Local Government Area, Stephen Koko Bassey said that the Governorship Election held peacefully in the area.
Speaking with journalists outside the courtroom, Attorney for INEC, Dr Garba Tetengi (SAN), noted that five INEC witnesses testified in court.
He disclosed that the commission still has seven days to present more witnesses.
“We have called five witnesses today and we will continue tomorrow. We have seven days to conclude our own witness testimonies. By our reply we have listed 24 witnesses, but from the way the petition was presented, the evidence given will decide as to the number of witnesses we will call.
“The five witnesses are all Electoral Officers of INEC in Ikwerre, Omuma, Degema, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni and Okrika Local Government Areas.”
Meanwhile, the African Democratic Party (ADP) candidate in the March 9, 2019 gubernatorial election in Rivers State, Victor Fingesi has denied being an ex-convict, but admitted that he couldn’t complete his university education at the University of California in the United States of America.
Testifying during cross-examination by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Counsel, Godwin Obla, SAN, at the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, Fingesi said he scored 1,860 votes during the March 9 Governorship election.
He also admitted during cross-examination that he did not restrict himself at his voting unit during the election, and also visited other polling units in his Ward 9, Okrika Local Government Area.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Port Harcourt, had last Tuesday, stopped four witnesses from testifying for the Action Democratic Party (ADP), against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), PDP and Governor Nyesom Wike, because their statements didn’t align with the INEC press statements tendered in court as exhibits.
The Counsel to Governor Wike, Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, had reminded the court that all evidence by the witnesses must be in alignment with the press statements made by INEC on March 10 and 15, 2019.
Mass Protest Rocks S’ East Over S’Court’s Sack Of Ihedioha …As PDP Begins Nationwide Protest, Today …Says S’Court Destroying Nigeria’s Democracy
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members in Imo, Abia and Anambra states, yesterday, shut down Owerri, Umuahia and Awka, the states’ capitals, in protest over the removal of Emeka Ihedioha by the Supreme Court and the declaration of Senator Hope Uzodinma as the duly elected governor of the state.
This is even as security operatives, including policemen and army officers took over the nooks and crannies of the states to maintain law and order.
Adorned in black attires, the PDP members in Imo paraded the state capital, calling on the apex court as well as the jurists that presided on the Tuesday’s verdict which sacked Ihedioha, to revisit their judgment.
The dissatisfied party members said that the protest would persist if the apex court refused to revisit the matter.
A member of the House of Representatives, Hon Henry Nwawuba, who spoke to journalists, said the Supreme Court jurists had murdered democracy in the state with their judgment.
Nwawuba, who represents Mbaitoli/Ikedduru Federal Constituency of Imo State, said that the apex court had done grave injustice to the people of the state.
He said, “I am a Lawmaker and I believe that the Supreme Court must redeem the Judiciary. Since the judgment was delivered, the state has become a graveyard (and) this is unlike what was happening when PDP was holding sway”.
Nwawuba, who was first elected into the House of Representatives in 2015, said that the state had become a graveside since the Supreme Court delivered the judgment.
“How the Supreme Court justices gave victory to a candidate who came fourth in an election remains a mystery to many of us. We call on them to revisit the Imo case and do justice. “
Also, the PDP Women Leader in the state, Maria Mbakwe, who burst into tears while speaking to journalists, said that women in the state are devastated with the verdict.
She said, “I have never seen this kind of injustice since over 50 years I have been in Imo State. Imo women in the market and all over the state are crying. We are begging the Supreme Court justices to revisit the matter. We know that they are human beings and they can make a mistake.”
However, the Nigeria Police Force, Imo State Command said it barricaded Owerri, the state capital, to forestall possible clash between the members of the People Democratic Party and those of the All Progressives Congress, an action which caused traffic gridlock in the state.
The police spokesperson in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, told our correspondent that the police were being “proactive instead of being reactive.”
Ikeokwu said that the inasmuch as the PDP had the right to embark on a peaceful protest, the police did not want them to clash with APC members.
He said, “We barricaded the town because we don’t want protesting PDP members to clash with APC members or for hoodlums to hijack the protest. We are being proactive instead of being reactive. The police do not want any bloodshed.
“The PDP members have the right under the law to protest peacefully but we do not want anybody to hijack it or threaten the peace of the state,” adding that the situation could turn worse should APC members also take to the streets.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party in Imo State, yesterday, said that the Supreme Court was destroying the country’s democracy with its Tuesday judgment which sacked Emeka Ihedioha and declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress as the duly elected governor of the state.
The PDP Publicity Secretary in the state, Damian Opara, said that the justices of the apex court had “ ridiculed and annihilated democracy “ by sacking Ihedioha from office.
Describing the judgment as “ provocative “ and at variance with the tenets of the law, the PDP spokesperson said that the jurists arbitrarily awarded votes to Uzodinma, when the APC did not win a single seat at the state’s House of Assembly when the elections held the same day.
Describing the judgment as “infamous”, the main opposition party said that it did not agree with the verdict of the Supreme Court justice as it concerned the state’s governorship debacle.
It, therefore, urged its supporting members to remain law-abiding, saying that the apex court increased the valid votes in favour of the APC.
He said “ In the wake of the infamous judgment of the Supreme Court on the Imo State gubernatorial election petition, the State Executive Council of THE State’s chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party met and thoroughly examined the atrocious judgment that removed Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha as Governor and Hon. Gerrald Irona as Deputy Governor of Imo State.
“Arising from the meeting on Friday, January 17th, 2019, the party described as unbelievable, ridiculous and annihilation of democracy, the decision of the apex court to void the lawful election of its candidate, His Excellency Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, who polled 276,404 votes and awarded victory to Sen. Hope Uzodimma of the APC, with just 96,458 votes.
“The party in the state finds it difficult to understand how the Supreme Court arrived at its verdict, even to the point that the seven panellists who sat on the petition gave a unanimous judgment.
“The party noted that It is on record that the Total Accredited Votes as declared by INEC stood at 823,743, with Total Votes cast and Total Votes cancelled amounting to 739,485 and 25, 130 respectively, while Total Valid Votes remained 714,355.
“The Supreme Court increased the Total Valid Votes to 950,952 which accounts for 127, 209 votes in excess of Total Accredited Votes of 823,743.
“The apex court unilaterally manufactured votes from 388 units where INEC rightly did not turn in results for obvious reasons such as violence and electoral malpractice and awarded the same to Senator Hope Uzodinma/APC.
“It is shocking that the Supreme Court by its judgment said that all the votes from the alleged 388 polling units were for the APC alone, in an election that was contested by over 60 candidates.
“Even where the Supreme Court awarded all extra 127, 209 accredited votes it manufactured to Senator Hope Uzodinma/APC, it was not enough to make him the winner of the March 9 election. It will be 223,657 votes, still less than Ihedioha and PDP’s votes of 276,494, with a difference of 42,747 votes.
“The party further questioned the rationale of the Supreme Court in declaring Senator Uzodinma winner of a gubernatorial election that simultaneously held with that of the State Assembly [both having one accreditation] in which the APC did not win any of the 27 available seats in the Imo State House of Assembly whereas PDP won 13, AA won 8, and APGA won 6.
“The PDP Imo State Chapter, therefore, resolved that it does not agree with the judgment, as it is unfair, unjust and provocative.
“However, the Party advised her teeming supporters to remain law-abiding in the face of this adversity and extreme provocation.
“The Party in the state also urged its members to be united, resilient and be more committed to the party in this trying moment.”
Similarly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Abia State chapter, has asked the Supreme Court to reverse its January 14, 2020 judgment which sacked Emeka Ihedioha from office and declared Senator Hope Uzodinma, as the elected governor of Imo state.
The party described the Judgment as an attempt to destroy democracy, stressing that it believes that the Supreme Court can reverse the erroneous verdict for the sake of posterity.
The Chairman of Abia PDP, Chief Johnson Onuigbo, who stated this while addressing PDP faithful during a protest march over the judgment, in Umuahia, yesterday, explained that the PDP national office had mandated state chapters of the party to organise demonstrations to register their disgust at the pronouncement of the apex court.
The party faithful, who marched through Ikot Ekpene, School and Bende roads to the PDP secretariat at St. Finbarrs Road, also displayed placards which read; “We cherish democracy passionately, Judiciary, please don’t truncate it”. “Can a government that doesn’t obey the rule of law allow justice to thrive?”, “Judiciary, stop being cowed by Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, “President Buhari, leave judiciary alone”, amongst others.
Onuigbo told journalists that the Supreme Court appeared to have acted under pressure which was why they postponed the initial judgment from 13th to 14th January.
In the same vein, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State, yesterday, protested the judgment of the Supreme Court of January 14th, which sacked it’s candidate for the 2019 Imo Governorship election, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha for Senator Hope Uzodinma of All Progressives Congress (APC).
Members of the party in their thousands who thronged the Anambra State Judiciary complex, led by the state chairman, Mr Ndubuisi Nwobu, called President Muhammadu Buhari to quickly wade in, while also urging the judges of the Supreme Court to reverse themselves, describing the judgment as a travesty of Justice.
Nwobu, who addressed journalists at the complex said, “We request that the Judiciary should act as an independent arm of government.
“PDP in Anambra wish to state clearly their unreserved rejection of the Supreme Court Judgment delivered on January 14, 2020 with respect to the Governorship election of Imo State.
“They want to foist Hope Uzodinma on the people of Imo State. There is no way a panel of seven judges, no matter how erudite can sit and decide the fate of the entire Imo people, after the people have made their choice.
“There have been instances where the Supreme Court reversed itself, so we are calling to question that judgment and asking the judges to accept their mistakes and remedy it urgently. That is what we urge the Supreme Court to do and not to ever make such a mistake,” Nwobu said.
Also, the former governorship candidate of the party in the state in 2017, Mr Oseloka Obaze speaking on the court being the Apex court in the land said the judges are not infallible, and should be able to accept their mistakes.
“The only thing that is impossible is to live forever. The judges that passed this judgment are not infallible and the things (judgment) they did is not right and they must find the courage to reverse themselves.”
Members of the party who dressed in all black and numbering over 3,000 carried placards with different inscriptions against the Supreme Court to protest the recent judgment.
Meanwhile, the National Secretariat of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has directed its chapters across the country to begin a nationwide protest, today, against the judgment of the Supreme Court in the specific case between Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha and Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
A notice by the party, last Friday, directed all stakeholders to commence the protest from 7am in all the states, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
In the same vein, the former governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha has said the Supreme Court judgment nullifying his election has placed the nation’s democracy on trial.
Ihedioha stated this, last Saturday, while playing host to the National Working Committee (NWC), of the Peoples Democratic Party, which paid him a solidarity visit in his Abuja residence.
Decked in light green attire with a trademark green cap to match, Ihedioha was full of life and betrayed no sign of anyone battling psychological pain.
Addressing newsmen, the former House of Representatives deputy speaker said the event of last week has thrown up more questions than answers, noting that in the fullness of time, truth would win.
He said: “I believe that that event will define obviously our democracy. I am certain that the judiciary and electoral system are well aware that they are on trial.
“We are as shocked as yourselves; it (judgment) was never anticipated. All legal pundits and democratic watchers never imagined and anticipated it, so for us, it remains a mystery. But we take solace in the Book of Ecclesiastics 3:1 that to everything, there is a season and time for every purpose under heaven.
“And what is fundamental about this is that the facts of the matter as relates to Imo State governorship election is that the foundation of our democratic processes, the elections in Imo were closely monitored, well advertised and everybody in Nigeria followed it through. The results were very clear, the electoral umpire still have the results, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has stated clearly that the results in question and the figures are not summing up.
“It is not about Emeka Ihedioha, it is not about Imo state. It is about the future of our country and democracy. It’s about what do we do tomorrow. Do you go into an electoral process without having an idea?
“It has to be resolved one way or the other. I am calm and we are calm, and that is why you see in Imo, there is calmness. The calmness is coming out of shock; it is coming out of belief. It is coming out of the fact that people are saying let us still see, can this be possible? We are waiting for answers and I believe there will be answers”.
And despite the loss of the plum seat, Ihedioha said his faith in God remains strong and unwavering.
“We are faithful believers in God and God does not sleep. This will make history in many ways and so this is a historical process, historical action, and I am sure there will be historical answers at the end of the day”, he added.
He chided those who have rolled out the drums in celebration, saying, “this is not the time to celebrate, I pity anyone who is celebrating that sad event. If anyone is celebrating, that person is not a student of democracy.”
Earlier in his remarks, PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, charged eminent Nigerians to speak up on the Imo Supreme Court judgement, saying what happened was too dangerous for silence.
“Very eminent people are not speaking out. Today, it is at the door of Imo, tomorrow it will be at the door of another person. So, people must speak out. The truth is what we are seeking,” Secondus added.
We Must Keep Praying For Nigeria -Jonathan, Wike …Celebrate Dr John Kennedy Opara At 50
The former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan and Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, urged citizens to keep praying for the country despite the challenges of the present time.
Both leaders, who spoke at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Umuopara, Nguru in the Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State, during a service marking the 50th birthday anniversary of a former Chairman of Nigeria Pilgrims Commission, Dr John Kennedy Opara, urged the citizens to keep praying for Nigeria.
Jonathan specifically described the celebrant as his friend, who believes in the indivisibility of the country.
The former president said that Opara had devoted his life working for the advancement of Nigeria.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan, his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan and Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike had joined other prominent Nigerians to celebrate Dr John Kennedy Opara as he celebrated his 50th Birthday.
The former executive secretary of Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission and his wife also dedicated their twins as part of the celebration.
The 50th Birthday/Child Dedication of the former Executive Secretary, National Christian Pilgrims Commission, Dr. John Kennedy Opara, took place at St Mary’s Catholic Parish, Umuopara Obetiti Nguru, Aboh Mbaise LGA Imo State, yesterday.
Speaking further, Jonathan said that John Kennedy Opara was an asset to the country, adding that the former Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission executive secretary was a dependable ally, with immense capacity for public relations.
He said that Opara has cultivated friendship across all the strata of the society to the extent that even those who hate him are not his enemies.
Jonathan said that John Kennedy Opara played a key role in the formal establishment of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission, explaining that it was on the premise that he nominated Opara to Yar’Adua for appointment as executive secretary.
Also speaking, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike described the celebrant as a man of character.
Represented by his Chief of Staff, Engr Chukwuemeka Woke, Wike said: “John Kennedy Opara is a dependable person and a man of character. During the last elections, so many people deserted the state due to Federal Might, but John Kennedy Opara stood by us.
“At our very darkest moments, he was there. He is a man you can call a friend. That is why the Rivers State governor is represented here. He is very loyal, sociable and all a man of character.”
Also, the Anglican Primate of Nigeria, Bishop Nicolas Okoh, said that the clergy had a duty of praying for the country.
In a remark, former Executive Secretary of Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission, Dr John Kennedy Opara thanked God for his blessing and protection, saying that his friendship with Wike will continue to blossom, noting that the governor is a great man.
The Birthday/Child Dedication attracted prominent Nigerians from all walks of life.
Bestiality Of Power: The Moorish Tragedy (3)
The Moors, also called Moricos, were a race of Arab origin who lived in North-West Africa, with some of them invading and settling in Spain between the 8th century AD and 1492, the peak of their tragedy. Those of them who remained in Spain were subjected to stiff persecution and conditions such as being forced to be Christians, forbidden to speak or write Arabic, own any book written in Arabic and non-observance of their traditional ceremonies or festivals. Like the Jews, the Moors suffered severe tragedies and persecutions, but strangely they always grew prosperous through hard work, wherever they settled.
The issue of the travails and tragedies of the Moors over many centuries was raised at an International Conference, with a suggestion that the “Arab spring” and global terrorism associated with Islamic militancy have something to do with centuries-old root-causes. No doubt, the Moslem World has sad stories to tell about global oppression and persecution especially during the Dark Ages. The Christian World had actually referred to the founder of Islam as a false prophet, with available historical records of horrors and tragedies arising from persecution. The Punic Wars, destruction of Carthage and the Crusades serve as examples of hostilities.
No matter the origin and places of settlement of the Moors, they were resilient, hardworking and a shrewd race, capable of turning abilities into assets. They were people who could suffer severe pains, tortures and agonies in silence. They were Moslems and the Spanish Inquisition was their source of torment but the rich ones among them paid bribes to officials of the Inquisition to escape from the tortures which heretics were subjected to, so that they would recant and accept the Christian faith.
Historical records tell us that in 1563, Guerrero, Archbishop of Granada “had visited Pope Pius IV whom he told that his flock in Granada called themselves Christians but were such in name only. “The King of Spain Philip was begged to “Children between the ages of three and fifteen being taken from their parents to be brought up in the Christian Faith.” The Moors prepared to fight for their freedom and on 23rd December 1568, there was a revolt which was crushed in a bestial manner.
The King of Spain sent his half-half-brother Don John to command the army which dealt most cruelly with the Moors. History records say “men were massacred by the thousands, and the women and children captured that they might be sold as slaves”. The battle of Galera was bestial, bloody and callous, with Don John ordering that “not a living soul in Galera should be spared”. We are told that “for this gallant exploit, the Pope hailed Don John as the Champion of Christendom!”
The suffering of the Moors who could not be massacred became too much for the conscience of Don John to bear, that arrangements were made to relocate them in different places, with families forcefully separated. Like the Jews, the Moors who were allowed to settle here and there soon began to prosper, to the envy of their tormentors. Obviously, the hatred of the Moors was based more on their prosperity and resilience than on differences in their religions.
Like the Waldenese in France, the Moors, despite flogging and tortures, held on to their convictions but merely pretended to accept Christianity. In the various new settlements, complaints brought against them were that they never went to war, pretended to be Christians but were devoted solely to their work. The persistent persecution and plight of the Moors were such that some of them became bandits and mercenaries. An example of such mercenary was Shakespeare’s Othello, the Moor of Venice. Similarly, the role of his personal assistant lago (his Ancient) depicts the degree of contempt the Moors were held in Europe.
There was a time when Spain was dominated by great Islamic scholars until about 1608 when Philip III put forward some schemes for ridding Spain of the troublesome Moors and create an all-Catholic Spain. Despite their travails, tortures and the anguish of splitting families, the Moors did not become heartbroken, even though many left Spain as destitutes. Expulsion of the Moors was a state policy which lasted for centuries, with attendant acts of bestiality. When Philip III introduced alcabala, a tax levied on sales and purchase like modern day Value-Added-Tax (VAT), the prime targets were the Jews and the Moors.
The Archbishop of Ribera was eager that the Moors should be expelled from Spain, since it was impossible to kill them all. Those who were clamouring for the extinction of the Moors did what they could in their own private ways to cook up complaints and bear false witnesses against the Moors, including charges of conversing in Arabic in their privacies.
Apart from the battle of Galera where the most atrocious bestiality and destructions were committed, other centres of butchery and massacre of the Moors included Granada and Valencia. In the district of Aragon, some of the Moors were allowed to continue with their industrious lives because of the level of prosperity which they created for the Spaniards. Even though six percent of the Moors were allowed to remain, those sent to Balary for deportation to various places were given most callous and bestial treatment. Many died.
Any Nigerian reading this true historical summary of the fate of the Moors in Spain would wonder what the motive of bringing up this matter could be, and may even doubt the veracity of the facts stated here. Some international conferences where studies in the bestiality of power feature as themes use such opportunities as a mirror for understanding current global events. Would any reader dismiss the axiom that history repeats itself from era to era, and that those who cannot learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat historical calamities!
For example, global terrorism associated with Islamic militarism, including Boko Haran etc, may have more explanations than what is commonly known. Is it not believable that the “bread” we cast upon the sea can return to us after many forgotten seasons? Whether the proverbial bread returns in the form of cake or unpleasant plague, the truth is that majority of humans can be described as grossly myopic. The Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) has records that are quite scary.
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