New Telegraph

November 29, 2023

PDP Accuses Umahi Of Plots To Influence Ebonyi Election Tribunal

…You’re dying party, Gov replies PDP

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Ebonyi State Chapter has accused Governor Dave Umahi of plots to influence the relocation of the state election petitions tribunal currently sitting in Abuja back to Abakaliki.

The PDP in a statement issued on Thursday in Abakaliki alleged that Umahi had been boasting that he had lobbied powerful judicial officers in Abuja to ensure that the Ebonyi State Elections Petitions Tribunal is relocated back to Abakaliki.

The party added that Umahi publicly boasted about this on 13th May, 2023, at a burial ceremony in Amangwu Edda in Edda Local Government Area of the State, where he was quoted to have allegedly said that nothing on earth can stop the Election Petition Tribunal from being relocated back to Ebonyi state.

It urged the election petition authorities, especially the President of the Court of Appeal, Honourable Justice, Monica Dongban-Mensen to ignore Umahi’s antics in the interest of peace, justice, fairness, and equity.

“Based on this development, the PDP in Ebonyi State hereby wishes to alert the Election Petition Authorities, especially the President of the Court of Appeal on the need to ignore Gov. Umahi’s antics. We urge the Judicial Authorities to remain steadfast and sustain the Relocation of the Tribunal from Abakaliki to Abuja.

“We are convinced as an interested party that the sustenance of the Tribunal at Abuja would guarantee justice, Peace, equity, and fairness. We are equally convinced that the decision to relocate the Tribunal to Abuja was welcome as it provides a level-playing ground for all the parties involved in the cases before the Tribunal. The decision was hailed and celebrated by all the parties and the politically conscious citizens of Ebonyi State and beyond,” the party noted.

The party further alleged that Ebonyi State Government is notorious for masterminding violence and terror-related acts, insisting that allowing the elections petitions tribunal to be relocated back to Abakaliki as allegedly boasted by Governor Umahi would open a new window of opportunity for the reign of impunity and terror, adding that such an ugly scenario should not be allowed to play up in the State.

“On 14th of February, 2023, when the Federal High Court in Abakaliki delivered a very popular judgment disbanding the notorious Ebubeagu Militia for extrajudicial killings and harassment of political opponents in the State, APC Chairman was quick to mobilise hired thugs and miscreants to barricade the Federal High Courts and the State High Courts in Abakaliki.

“Artificial demonstrations were organized, made up of miscreants and bandits who carried placards and dangerous weapons to intimidate and threaten Judicial Officers about what awaits them if they ever give any judgement considered to be against the state government and at the same period, the Governor directed that his thugs should always move round the Court should any is giving judgement against his Government.

“Even as the situation is now, litigants, Petitioners, experts, and Witnesses to appear in respect of the cases involving opposition parties at the Tribunal can not feel safe to appear if the Tribunal were to sit in Abakaliki, as everyone in the state knows that these hardened elements cannot fail to mobilize the hoodlums to scare away the Witnesses and other interested parties.

“As we speak, the security agencies like Nigerian Police, Department of Security Services (DSS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), etc can attest to the rate of insecurity in Ebonyi State as there has been a continuous crisis in the State and any Judicial Officer who fail to adhere to their bid, will always have himself to blame.

“Ebonyi State is not the only state affected by the decision of the President of the Court of Appeal to relocate Election Petition Tribunal to Abuja, other states like Rivers State and Zamfara State are not complaining, even other petitioners in Ebonyi State are happy over the decision though we are aware of the plot by APC led Government to get some people who claim to be an opposition party to connive with them in their antics,” the PDP stated.

Reacting to the allegation, Governor David Umahi through his Special Assistant on Media and Strategy, Chooks Oko, described the allegation as unfortunate, noting that the Governor could not have said that, either privately or publicly, to anyone as such an action was not in his character

“It is unfortunate that this dying party would clutch at anything to make noise. Governor Umahi could not have said that either privately or publicly to anyone as such an action is not in his character.

As a firm believer in democracy and fair play and a committed child of God, he will never be involved in any sinister dealing moreso where the temple of justice is involved. This is surely the cry of a drowning man looking for excuses,” Oko said.

Recall that on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, the Secretary of Ebonyi State election petitions tribunal, Nyior Henry Sekulla, announced the directive of the Appeal Court President for the relocation of the Tribunal to Abuja, a development that has generated mixed reactions from political actors in the State.

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