Commends Umana as A-Ibom APC goes to tribunal
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA —President-elect, General Mohammadu Buhari (retd), yesterday, reechoed that the high level of indiscipline and corruption in government and other social places were the main reasons why he has pledged to fight corruption, insecurity and unemployment head on when sworn in as President.
According to him, worse are the electoral fraud and judicial compromises which had characterized the courts.
Buhari spoke against the background of the manipulation of electoral process which he said played out in the last general elections.
Buhari, who was particular about Akwa Ibom State, was delighted when the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state, Mr Umana Umana, who led a delegation of Akwa Ibom people, including Senator Ita Enang, the Senate Committee Chairman on Business and Rules to pay him a congratulatory visit in Abuja informed him that he had gone to the Election Petition Tribunal to challenge the result of the governorship election in the state.
Recalling his experience at the courts, Buhari said he would strengthen the process to prevent subversion of the will of the people in future polls.
Buhari lauds Umana as A-Ibom APC goes to tribunal
He said: “I’m glad that you have gone to court too because you believe in the system as the right place to fight for your right and the right of the people you represent. I have appealed three times and arrived at the Supreme Court not because I believe the system had changed but this time around, in your own case, you were still denied even with the use of PVCs and the card readers.
“That means they will never stop lies because the essence of the system itself is to protect the interests of the parties, the candidates whether it is the local government elections, House of Assembly, governorship, House of Representatives, Senate etc.
“There is need to go to the constituency, educate them, beg for their support and understanding. Let them know the real essence according to law to choose who they want to choose otherwise we are wasting our time.
“I stand for that, that’s why I chose to go to court and ending up at the Supreme Court. I don’t go to court because I can afford it financially or physically but people who believe in stabilizing the system helped me along the line.
“Now the records are very clear. Anybody who wants to study the political development of Nigeria cannot do so without getting the Supreme’s Court judgement of those years —2003, 2007 and 2011. If you could recall in 2007, the Supreme Court was split into two. Six panel of justices were divided. Six justices led by Justice Oguntade, a Christian, a Yoruba man, Justice Aloma Mukthar, I think she’s a Muslin but a Yoruba woman and another Justice from Delta State said election of 2007 was null and void because it was not conducted according to law.
Nigeria’s problem is not ethnic or religious
“But the former Chief Justice, Mustapha, a Fulani man from Jigawa and another Chief Justice from Taraba, also a Fulani man said well, the election was not flawless but all the same PDP has won and then the Chief Justice, a Muslim from Nupe cancelled the votes with them. So it was four against three. So the point I want to make here is that the problem of Nigeria is not ethnic or religious, it is corruption.
“This is what we are fighting, that is why corruption is number three in my campaign. The first one is security. The north east, the Delta areas where people are kidnapped and ransom are being demanded which people cannot afford. The second one is unemployment. Sixty percent of Nigerians are youths, most of them, whether they went to school or not are unemployed and that is dangerous.
“So we have to get the issue of the economy right to make sure the jobs are made available and we should try to kill corruption before corruption kills Nigeria. Let us practice what we preach as well. Whoever wins as a governor too has a lot of work to do because corruption is fast becoming a culture and to try to caution people is not an easy task but it must be done.
“I know you all represent various constituencies, please pass our message and give them hope that we’ll do our best in the interest of all. I wish sincerely those that are going to tribunal the best of luck.”
Umana chronicles alleged massive rigging
Earlier in his speech, the governorship candidate, Umana, who chronicled the massive rigging that took place on April 11 informed the incoming president that he had approached the courts to challenge the results.
He said: “The people had hoped that there would be free and fair elections in Akwa Ibom State for them to vote and bring in APC government at the state and federal levels, so that the lot of the people of the state would change for the better.
“However, it is a matter for regret and a point of great frustration that our votes for you in Akwa Ibom State were not allowed to count during the Presidential election because of massive vote fraud and wanton violence.
“Your excellency, we would like to report that the governorship and House of Assembly elections held in the state on April 11, 2015 witnessed even worse degrees of electoral fraud and violence, leading to many deaths and injuries.
“We are a bit mollified that the incidents of widespread electoral malpractices and bloody violence that marred the purported elections in our state have been amply confirmed by independent local and international monitors, including the Civil Liberties Organisations, the Akwa Ibom State Caucus at the National Assembly, the African Union Election Monitoring Team, the European Union Election Monitoring Group, the US Government, represented by its embassy in Nigeria and many elders of the state, including former Governor Victor Attah and former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Atuekong Don Etiebet. Such reports go a long way to confirm our stand that there were no valid elections in Akwa Ibom State.
A-Ibom APC goes to tribunal
“We are pleased to inform you that we have challenged the outcome of the purported elections at the tribunals. It may interest you to know also that figures declared in the elections by the Akwa Ibom State INEC office were at variance significantly with figures captured by card readers and transmitted to INEC database in the commission office in Abuja.
“For instance, data obtained from INEC head office in Abuja show that the total number of accredited voters captured by card readers for the gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections in Akwa Ibom State was 437,128, but the figure declared by the state INEC office was 1,122,836. By INEC guidelines, use of the card reader was mandatory in the gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections.
“Your position on electoral reform is, therefore apt, and we wish to commend you on your determination to reform and reposition the electoral process to make elections more credible in Nigeria.
“With specific reference to the manifold cases of violence and bloodshed that rocked our state before and during the general elections, we demand justice for the families of those who were killed and maimed. We also hope that those who masterminded those crimes of electoral violence and fraud would not be allowed to escape justice.”
Umana also pledged the support of Akwa Ibom people to the incoming administration, saying: “We hereby pledge to wholly cooperate with and remain loyal to your government, while fully committing everything at our disposal, including the best of our talents, to the success of your administration.”