By Macdonald Ebere
In this age of ecclesiastical explosion James Hadley Chase will readily pass for a prophet. Although in spiritual terms, the content of his novels may have been apocryphal, but not so with the titles. Take for instance the title of one of his books, “The Guilty Are Afraid”. You will readily agree that it is indeed spiritual with clear oracular message.
Truth is, every guilty conscience is always afraid. Now this appears to be playing out life in Imo State with respect to the tussle in the Governorship election petition tribunal. Recall that in the Governorship election of March this year, Emeka Ihedioha was declared winner. Some people were taken aback, because the logic of the victory was not as smooth as water in the mouth.
Tongues wagged. Eyebrows were raised. How did someone achieve victory with almost 60% of his vote coming from just 4 local governments, Aboh Mbaise, Ezinihite Mbaise, Ahiazu Mbaise and Ngor Okpala? Did he get the spread in two third of the 27 LGAs in Imo State as required by the constitution?
Yes, there were many questions than answers. The truth is that in the eyes of many, the 2019 governorship election in Imo State will readily pass as the most bizarre in the history of elections in the State. Yet as law abiding citizens, most of those who contested the election held their peace and refused to cast aspersions or even to call names. They decided to do the right and civilized thing, go to the tribunal and challenge the results.
That is the right thing to do. And those who did so deserve commendation. After all, it is only in the temple of justice that aggrieved parties can find binding solutions as dictated by the law. So why should anybody quarrel with an aggrieved party going to the tribunal, his last hope for justice, to seek redress? No right thinking mind will indeed quarrel with the right of an aggrieved to seek justice in the right place.
But the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) thinks otherwise. They appear to be an exception to this golden rule. In Recent Times, they have declared war against Sen. Hope Uzodimma of All Progressive Congress (APC) for going to the Imo State governorship election tribunal to seek redress on the Governorship election which he believes he won.
And what is Uzodimma’s offence? That he had the audacity to approach the tribunal and ask to be declared winner. That he had the audacity to present before the tribunal results from 388 polling units where he won, which he said was omitted by INEC in the final collation. That he had the effrontery to subpoena the police to come and tender the result from the 388 polling units which the police did and wherein the tribunal also admitted same as exhibits.
From thence, reports had it that the PDP has not been at ease. After several meetings, they resolved to use all within their means to ensure that they will frustrate the APC in the tribunal. (National newspapers reported this). In a full page advertorial in The Daily Sun of Monday August 12 2019 the PDP sponsored one Pascal Duruaku to pour all manner of insults on Sen. Hope Uzodimma for having the effrontery to present to the tribunal the omitted results from the 388 polling units.
Reading through the advertorial, one can easily decipher the pathetic desperation of a party that may have seen the hand writing on the wall. Apart from the convoluted logic in the write up where the PDP fought to probate and reprobate, it is obvious that it wants to take refuge in blackmail, subterfuge and self-help. First of all, it acknowledged that the tribunal cannot be swayed by the “boastings” of Uzodimma, then it turned around to claim that the said presidency officials could indeed force the tribunal to declare the senator a winner of the election.
Again, it agreed that only the judiciary has power to adjudicate in the matter before it, yet, it wants the security agencies to help the tribunal determine whether indeed the omitted results from the 388 booths are genuine or not. In other words, the imputation is that the tribunal is impotent as far as the questions of the omitted results are concerned.
Apparently aware of this Judicial heresy, PDP went and hid under a pseudonym to throw pot shots at the tribunal. In fact that rash and tackles attack on the tribunal, which PDP pretended to be targeted at Hope Uzodimma explains the boast of some of their chieftains that the exhibits will not see the light of the day.
Again it was reported that just hours before the infantile call for the sanction of Hope Uzodimma, PDP people led by a former Minister, and aided by a serving Governor from the North had activated the machinery to influence the tribunal to reverse the admissibility of the omitted results. They were known to have also concluded arrangements to approach the court of appeal to challenge the admission of the exhibits. All these are signs of chronic panic.
But truth be told, the PDP knows that courts or tribunals are not influenced by public comments or outbursts. If they can be, then APC would not have lost Rivers and Zamfara States. So what the PDP is doing actually amounts to admitting that they are suffering from the mortal fear of defeat that has driven them to the inglorious realm of propaganda, blackmail and crying wolf.
Now the chairman of the Imo APC Elders council, Dr. E.J.K Onyebuchi fired back and accused the PDP of undue panic, wondering why they could not make their case at the tribunal instead of blackmailing authorities and institutions on the pages of newspapers.
And that is the point. Why is the PDP in such a panic? Why resort to open name calling and blackmail when they are right before the tribunal to make their case. Indeed there are many questions but all seem to lead to one possible answer; that is,that PDP is behaving like the guilty, who are afraid.
Why do I think so? Well if we go back to time, we will realize as I said at the beginning, that the Imo Governorship Election result threw up a number of thorny issues and the beneficiaries of the declaration of that result are the PDP and Emeka Ihedioha. By the PDP becoming frantic and throwing caution overboard to resort to open blackmail and propaganda, just on the mare admission of results as exhibit at the tribunal, it looks almost certain that they feel guilty and are consequently afraid.
It is only he who is guilty and afraid that will not be at peace with his opponent who is only taking the necessary legal steps to seek redress in court.
Again he who can describe with certainty, that results tendered in court and accepted as exhibits are fake, must be the master of fakery to know a fake result at sight. Naturally this master of fakery will be rattled in a situation where results are being tendered because he will think that his little secret in fakery technology has been uncovered and stands to be exposed in the process. Remember the Igbo adage that he who kills by the machete does not allow a machete to pass behind him. Yes, the guilty are indeed afraid!.
- Ebere is a former mayor of owerri municipal council and APC candidate in the March election