The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ebonyi State chapter, has accused the Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr David Umahi, of sinister plots to influence the relocation of the Ebonyi State election petitions tribunal currently sitting in Abuja back to Abakaliki.
The PDP in a statement issued on Thursday in Abakaliki alleged that Governor 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 Gov. 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.
But the party has, however, urged the election petitions authorities, especially the President of the Court of Appeal, Honourable Justice Monica Dongban-Mensen to ignore Governor 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 a welcome decision 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 scenerio should not be allowed to play up in the State.
“The Ebonyi State Government is notorious for being a mastermind of violence and terror-related acts. For instance, the State Chairman of APC, Mr. Stanley Okoro Emegha is also the Security Consultant of Ebubeagu Militia and at the same time doubles as the Chief Security Consultant to the State Government. All efforts made by forward-looking citizens of the State to get Gov. Umahi to see reason as to why he should seperate the office of the State Chairman of APC from the Ebubeagu Consultant/Security Consultant conundrum fell on deaf ears because of the role which the APC boss plays in the state as the mobilizer and deployer of militant youths and other harbingers of terrorism in the state.
“For instance, on 14th of February, 2023, when the Federal High Court in Abakaliki delivered a very popular judgement disbanding the notorious Ebubeagu Militia for extra judicial killings and harassment of political opponents in the State, APC Chairman was quick to mobilised 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 thesame 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 have been continues 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 President of Court of Appeal to relocate Election Petition Tribunal to Abuja, other state 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 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,Mr 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,” Mr Oko said.
Recall that on Wednesday, April, 26, 2023,the Secretary of Ebonyi State election petitions tribunal, Mr 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.