EMORDI'S SUIT, UNNECESSARY
Chief Alphonsus Igbeke, alias Ubanese was recently declared the duly elected representative of Anambra North Senatorial Zone in the Senate by the Appeal Court in Enugu.
The Court which nullified the election of Senator Joy Emordi representing Anambra North Senatorial Zone held that the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) candidate was the winner of the election. The Court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue Chief Igbeke with the certificate of return and also ordered that he should be sworn in as a Senator before May 29th this year.
However, Senator Emordi is protesting the verdict of the Appeal Court which is the final arbiter in an election petition. She has been reported to have insisted on returning to the same court for an interpretation of its judgment. In this interview, Chief Igbeke described the recent utterances from Emordi as public deceit and advised her to go home and lick her wounds.
He further described Senator Emordi as one that bit the finger that fed her. His words: 'Today the law of karma has caught up with her. Even if she succeeds in delaying my swearing in, which I don't think she will succeed in, the most important thing is that you have killed a snake and that snake must die.'
What she is doing now is what I call public deceit; the Jessy Belonwu's suit is a different case all together; and my relief is different from the relief sought by her. Her own argument was that there was no election; there was no distribution of materials and the court weighed the evidence before them and said that the petitioner did not prove her case beyond reasonable doubts and went ahead to dismiss the petition accordingly.
The court did not delve into who scored the majority of lawful votes cast, which is a different ball game when it comes to my own case. My case Number is SE: 11, Hon. Jessy Belonwu's case is SE: 9; now the court did not in any way look into the issue of who scored the majority of lawful votes cast; but in my own case, my petition was that INEC abandoned collation and my agents got their polling booth results of which after calculation, I discovered that I won the election, based on what transpired at the polling booth level. I did not hesitate to write INEC asking them to avail me the documents upon which they made that declaration.
And indeed they acknowledged receipt of my application but refused to give me any document which amounted to withholding of evidence. Well we started from there. I don't want to go into the details of what transpired at the court. But the truth about the whole thing is that the relief I sought was that I won the election with the majority of lawful votes cast; and in determining the case against Senator Joy Emordi, the court weighed the evidence before them, because the court is not a spirit; it can only judge a case based on evidence before it. So they weighed the evidence and said no, this is the man who won this election with the majority of lawful votes cast.
In Jessy Belonwu's case there was no such pronouncement as to the person who scored the majority of lawful votes cast; so there is no contradiction at all; they are just trying to deceive the public. I have a certified true copy of the judgment between Senator Joy Emordi and Jessy Belonwu, and when you read it you see that nobody declared her the winner of the election.
All the court said was that the petition lacked merit, and that the petitioner did not prove her case beyond reasonable doubt and as a result dismissed the petition, and that was all. The same court gave the two judgments, and they are mindful of both judgments. There are no contradictions. All they are trying to do is to frustrate my swearing in. The order was very clear; INEC was directed to withdraw certificate of return and issue me with another one; and INEC has already complied.
They have issued me the certificate of return and what it implies is that the certificate issued to her has already been withdrawn. That is the only thing that gave her the locus to be in the Senate, and it is no longer with her. So all these efforts to get a black market order so that, maybe the clerk will say there is a pending issue before the court that is stopping the swearing in of Senator Igbeke, does not arise.
To start with, she has already lost that locus because that certificate has already been withdrawn in line with the order. So it's regrettable that she is making such moves to frustrate my swearing by deceiving the people. I lost at the Court of Appeal in 1999, and I went back home in the spirit of sportsmanship; and my own case was thrown out based on technicalities.
We must learn how to obey the rules; the court is there to right the wrongs, and when that is done we should learn to accept it. And in this case, we all know the position of the constitution when it comes to election petitions; the court of appeal remains the final arbiter. Once they rule on the issue of election petition, not pre-election, no other court including the Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to entertain such matters again. Once they have made that pronouncement, its over; all these hide ands seek game I don't understand it. But I know this government believes in the rule of law.
Interpretation of judgment
Interpret what? There is nothing to interpret; the court has ruled and that's final.
Certificate of return
Yes, I have submitted the certificate of return to the clerk of the Senate but incidentally they had closed for Easter holidays and resumed on the 13th of April. I am preparing myself for the swearing in; I am aware of these moves, but then, I am also aware of the position of the law. And I strongly believe that no court or judge will subject itself to this kind of ridicule.
Mission in the Senate
If you know me very well, you will know that I started touching the lives of people so many years back; let me say, about 15 years back. And when I started it, there was no intention to become a politician; I started it based on my commitment to serve humanity; because I put a lot of things into consideration. One is my background; how I grew up; what I passed through in life.
My parents were farmers; my village is the smallest; it was like Bethlehem where nobody believed that somebody like me will ever come from. But you see, in life the only time you will know that the grace of God has started working in your life is when you begin to conceive ideas that will only be known by you alone; then you will notice that the grace of God has come upon you. These ideas you conceive them, you don't borrow them from people; and that was exactly what happened in my life.
And that was what actually distinguished me from my mates; so I have been looking forward to maybe to seeing God even though I know He is a Spirit, at least to say thank you; but it's not possible. So as a result, I committed myself to humanitarian services and started giving scholarship, assisting people in different ways. And this got to a stage I started thinking of sustaining the crusade which I had started. And that crusade is on how to improve the lives of others; how to uplift the living standard of others; how to rescue people from bondage and poverty.
So when I started thinking of its sustainability, politics came into my mind; to use government mercenary to sustain this crusade so that we create that sense of belonging, create that very good atmosphere for ourselves, our children. The point I am trying to make is that things I will do to impact on the lives of the people have already been here before this position; so I will only use the position to sustain it.
Emordi failed as a Senator
She has not represented my people well in the Senate. She was only gallivanting, making noise and I don't believe in that. I don't believe in talking much and parading myself on the pages of newspapers; impact on the lives of the people and they will talk for you. My popularity in this zone is not questionable; it's based on what I have done to them; and that is why I can win anybody in this zone.
If you go through my petition, I challenged the then tribunal to allow my opponent to choose one of the local government areas; even her own local government; let them conduct an election there; if I don't win her, I will forget about the position. It's not all about cheap publicity. At my age today, if I don't work towards impacting on the lives of the people it makes no sense to me. I am too contented; I might not be rich but I am contented. So all I am working for is to improve on the lives of the people. And I know that once I take over my seat the difference would be clear.
Seek re-election in 2011?
Well, people will advise me. Someone usurped my position for the past three years, and I am just coming to spend only one year there; put yourself in my position and advise me.