By Norbert Chiazor
A befitting seat
Two momentous events have in the past weeks watered the political turf in Delta state,which went lull after the enchanting governorship elections in the volatile state.
The judgement of Abuja federal high court which declared Hon . Prince Ned Nwoko winner of the primary election for Delta North Senatorial district and last week presentation of Certificate of Return by Independent National Electoral Commission INEC to Nwoko as Senator -Elect.
Both occurrences stand as happy outcome of a suit by Ned Nwoko rooted in seven grounds with 20- paragraph affidavit evidence and five explicit exhibits, all deposed to strengthen his declaration that he scored 453 votes to defeat Nwaoboshi who got 405 while another aspirant Paul Oseji had 216 votes and then 19 void votes.
But in a twist of political manipulation and subterfuge, Nwoko it was generally believed was cheated of his clear victory compelling the internationally acclaimed lawyer to seek legal redress.
In the pre-election suit, Nwoko had alleged that Nwaoboshi ‘s name was illegally submitted by PDP leadership to INEC . He urged the court to determine, among other things, whether the electoral umpire which supervised the primary election and knew that he won the majority ballots, was not wrong to have accepted and published Nwaoboshi’s name as PDP candidate for the Senatorial election
Nwaoboshi according to the suit, deployed illegal delegates and thugs to cause stampede ,sensing imminent defeat . The court also heard that the result sheet for the primary election was sexed up by the organizers who fraudulently allotted Nwaoboshi 506 votes and gave Nwoko 453.
Sequel to this revelation, Nwoko secured an order of the court for all the ballot papers used in the primary election to be brought before the court and counted in presence of all parties.
Nwaoboshi opposed the order with all vehemence . How could a man who claimed to have won stage such ludicrous resistance? That remains the puzzle .What more could be better definition of infamy! “Dance of infamy” .
On Wednesday April 3rd , 2019, Hon. Justice Ahmed Mohammed ruled that from all available evidence before the court , Prince Ned Nwoko convincingly won the PDP Delta North senatorial primary held on October 2, 2018 at the Cenotaph Asaba.
In the judgement which lasted about one hour forty five minutes, the jurist held that Nwaoboshi was not validly nominated in the PDP primary election.
The court said it was satisfied that the primary poll was won by the Plaintiff, Prince Nwoko and ordered INEC to immediately recognize him as the authentic candidate of the PDP for Delta North. The court went further to order Senator Nwaoboshi who is currently on the saddle to stop parading himself as candidate of the PDP for Delta North Senatorial District.
On the powers of the Federal high court to determine the case,the judge held that the institution has competence and concluded that the matter is not status -barred, as it aligned with constitutional legality.
The judgement and certificate of return to Ned Nwoko as senator – elect had generated a gale of jubilation from all quarters.
The reason is simple.
Ned Nwoko has populist appeal especially in Delta North known in local parlance as Anioma peopled by the cultural quadrants of Aniocha, Oshimili , Ika and Ndokwa.
A matchless philanthropist, he had spent millions of Naira on road infrastructure and scholarships within Delta and far afield. Last February, he rehabilitated the Onicha Ugbo – Idumuje Ugboko road linking the South south and South east to Abuja at a cost of 100 million Naira.
In 2018, he awarded 120 million Naira scholarships to students in secondary and tertiary schools across Nigeria. This followed a tradition he initiated as member of House of Representatives for Aniocha / Oshimili federal constituency from 1999-2003.
Two weeks ago, Nwoko a British educated lawyer offered over 22 first class graduates of Federal university of petroleum resources FUPRE Effurun , a million Naira each ,after receiving a doctorate degree ( Honoris causa ) .
At his Idumuje Ugboko homeland, lies “Mount Ned”, a wondrous architectural resort, where people of all hues troop to seek succour from Nwoko, a prince enamoured with human goodwill and charity.
A man of the people, the entrance of his country home is ever streaming with hopeful callers, mostly in dire straits.
This home of Ned for all is like Mecca or Jerusalem except that the “pilgrims “ here are not looking for God but a simple good man .
This explains why Ned is popular – a fashion , a trend , a sensation , a movement….
In Ned, Anioma people feel a brother .
His victory may not stun his opponents or shock the public . Ned Nwoko’s street credibility is unassailable.
Like all mortals, Ned may have his flaws. He is not a saint but he has no pact with the devil.
Even with good breeding, polished by royal elan and best of western education, he does not carry himself like a peacock .
Ned has fans all over because he is a fan of humanity not religion, money and power .
He stole the people’s hearts but he did not steal their commonwealth. He is the prince of kindness . Not the principality of scam .
Ned reminds one of the cerebral treatise of Somalian post colonial intellectual – Nuruddin Farrah ( A Naked Needle .1976 ) which counter balances clear conscience against the unblinking crudity of moral burden.
With Ned ,INTEGRITY is everything.
For a man loved at home and far, public expectation is that divine favour not being a fake oracle would give Ned Nwoko a befitting seat as senator at the 9th senate come June.