Posted by The Port Harcourt Telegraph on
For some desperate power seekers in Nigeria, no lesson seems to have been learnt from the Salisu Buhari episode.
For some desperate power seekers in Nigeria, no lesson seems to have been learnt from the Salisu Buhari episode. Buhari, won an election to represent Kano in the Federal House of Representatives, and by the grace of the ruling party's-- People's Democratic Party (PDP) zoning arrangement, emerged the Speaker of the lower chamber of the bicameral National Assembly. The youthful speaker did not last on his exalted position. Although he had since received state pardon, it was found out that the former speaker lied on oath and falsified his credentials.
Nigerian politicians seem to have benefited so little from the lesson learned from Buhari,. The monster of forgery and perjury seems to be fighting back with a vengeance. This time, the political theatre is Akwa Ibom State, where the ruling party, the opposition All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), the executive and the Judicial arms of the state government appeared to be in league to stand the anti-corruption war of the Olusegun Obasanjo administration on the head.
Some PDP supporters are currently wondering why the party should have a near 100 per cent tolerance level to the alleged ANPP fraud that took place in Uruan Local Government Area of the state during the 2004 council elections. Equally, some political watchers have been expressing concern why the Judiciary in the state should be notorious for alleged corrupt deals.
Why the state government is still reluctant to re-convene the Local Government Election Petitions Tribunal to retry the alleged brazen ANPP fraud in Uruan, is a mystery. Findings by this reporter in Uyo, the state capital, however, showed that the Local Government Election Petitions Appeal Tribunal in Appeal NO. HU/2EA/2004, by Justice John I. Okoro, ordered the state to re-convene the tribunal. The appeal tribunal's ruling was further re-affirmed by an Uyo High Court presided over by Justice Stephen E. Okon, in HU/7/2005.
The seeming reluctance of the state government to re-convene the election tribunal, tends to portray Akwa Ibom as a state that disregards the rule of law. And as the backstage battle for the 2007 presidency ranges in the South South geo-political zone, the hub of Nigeri's oil and gas industry, the moral burden before the Obong Victor Attah administration, seems to be whether it is proper for an ANPP councillor whose case of certificate forgery and perjury have been allegedly established by a tribunal to continue to be receiving pay from the tax payers money?
Although lobbyists are pressing the state House of Assembly to compel the executive arm of government to quickly resolve the potentially dangerous moral burden on the side of truth, but another worrisome allegation is that valuable financial resources are being expended to ensure that the Judiciary sustains the status quo through the instrumentality of injunctions stopping the reconvention of the election tribunal.
While the politics of the absurd is being played out in the state over the Uruan Affair, the Akwa Ibom Coalition for Justice and Democracy, has turned to the political sovereigns, mobilizing them to pressure the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to probe the Uruangate. Besides the salary the ANPP councillor has been drawing since 2004, the Uruan Local Government Council is suspected to have spent not less than N5.00 million to oil the continued stay of the councillor in office.
Efforts to get the ANPP state Chairman, Ekpenyong Ntekim, a lawyer, on telephone and text messages for comments did not pay off as all calls keep entering his voice mail. However, Chairman of the state assembly Committee on Public Petitions, Usenobong Akpabio, who confirmed that the House has a petition praying for the re-convention of the election tribunal, said," we are waiting for legal advice from the Attorney General on the matter".
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