June 21, 2009

Youths protest delay of Obot’s certificate of return

Uyo—Hundreds of youths weekend stormed the streets of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, for the second time in one week,  protesting  the continued delay in the release of Certificate of Return to the acclaimed winner of 2007 House of Representatives elections for Uyo/Ibesikpo Asutan/Nsit Atai/Uruan Federal Constituency, Mr. Emmanuel Obot.

The placard-carrying youths who took the people by surprise marched through Abak and Ikot Ekpene roads on Saturday in a peaceful protest, urging the Independent National Electoral Commission to give Obot his certificate of return, having won all the cases, from the tribunal to the Supreme Court.

It would be recalled that Obot who claimed to have won the PDP primary election for the federal constituency, but was not declared the winner, had headed for the court to secure his mandate which he believed he was robbed of due to the political manouvering of his political contender who at the time was a serving member of the hallowed chambers.

His opponent, Mr. Bassey Etim, who is currently in the House of Representatives, was given a certificate of return, a development that prompted the aggrieved Obot to sue for redress at the tribunal.

The leader of the protesting group, who identified himself as Ebong Ita, called on INEC to respect the Supreme Court verdict and give their true representative his certificate of return.

“We know from the beginning that Mr. Obot won the primary. The tribunal, Appeal and Supreme Courts have confirmed this. INEC must respect their verdict and issue the winner a certificate of return,” he said.

The youths carried placards with inscriptions: ‘INEC, respect the rule of law’, ‘Give Obot his certificate of return’, and ‘Bassey Etim, stop harassing our leader and vacate the House of Reps without further delay’.

Earlier, the youths had marched to the Government House in Uyo, threatening to fight the perceived injustice if INEC continues to delay in the release of Obot’s certificate of return.

The angry youths urged President Umaru Yar’Adua, the leadership of the National Assembly and the State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio to wade into the matter and ensure that the verdict of the Supreme Court prevailed.

However reacting in a telephone interviewMr Bassey Etim told Vanguard that it was not the responsibility of protesting youths to enforce judgement of a law court by taking to streets but the duty of the law enforcement agents, stating that the court only struck out one of the three motions he had earlier filed and that no ruling had been passed.