OCCUPY THE SUPREME COURT – ELECTORAL JUSTICE FOR THE PEOPLE OF DELTA STATE
Liberate – Delta People's Movement, a group representing more than 13,000 citizens of Delta State have today called on all its members, civil society organisations, the Occupy Nigeria Movement and all the citizens of Delta State and Nigeria to march on mass on the Supreme Court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to Occupy the Supreme Court in solidarity with the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the judges of the Supreme Court; to give them all the encouragement and support they need and to ensure that justice is done in the matter of the contested Gubernatorial Election in the State. Occupy the Supreme Court will begin on 15th February 2012 at Midday. The group is seeking to arouse the conscience of the president and of the Supreme Court Judges so that finally Deltans can have justice and begin the process of rebuilding the State afresh
The group asserts that Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan was not duly elected as the governor of the State, that he conspired with the then INEC REC, Dr. Gabriel Ada to deny the people of their legitimate mandate through widespread rigging which has been proven by forensic reports. The group mounted the 'Uduaghan Must Go!' campaign, consistently calling for Uduaghan to resign and for the Courts of the land to restore the mandate of the people. Sadly, the corruption that has pervaded our Federation seems also to have taken hold in our justice systems, with judges acting without due regard neither for evidence nor for the Constitution of the Federation. The last straw was the conduct of the Court of Appeal Benin, in respect of the Appeals against the judgment of the Governorship Election Tribunal Asaba Delta State, they overruled the preliminary objections of the Democratic People's Party Candidate, dismissed their Appeal but allowed the Cross-Appeals put forward by INEC and Uduaghan. The court barely sat for 15 minutes, gave no reason for its decision within the 60 days provided by the Constitution or even the 14 days limited for the Appellants to give Notice of Appeal to the Supreme Court. The issue at hand does not just pertain to the candidates themselves but more so to the people and their rights under the constitution to exercise their democratic choice at the ballot box. Liberate believes strongly that that the behaviour of the Judges is a slap to the citizens of Delta State and Nigerians as a whole and it is to be condemned and challenged.
Since 1999 Delta State has been plagued with bad leadership starting with James Onanefe Ibori who is reputed for looting billions of Naira from the State and is now on trial for laundering some of his looted funds in the United Kingdom. It was Ibori who enthroned Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, forcing him on the people of Delta State in what is reputed to be the worst rigged election in the country. This was later thrown out by the Appeal Court in Benin only for the re-run election to have been marred by violence and rigging yet again, and witnessed by the INEC chairman, Professor Jega. For the 5 years Uduaghan has fraudulently occupied the seat of office, he has failed to account properly for the over N850 Billion Naira federal allocations that has come to the State. 5 years hence, Delta State has seen decay in all aspects and is littered with Uduaghan's multi-billion ill-conceived, poorly executed, incomplete and abandoned projects such as Ughelli – Asaba Road Dualisation; Warri Industrial Park; Independent Power Project, Ogharafe; ICT Park Asaba and Asaba Central Hospital; to name but a few. He has further taken the State into debt, mortgaging it to the bond market to the tune of more than N100 Billion. The group believes that his practice has amounted to running the State as a private enterprise, with top jobs and contracts going to members of his family and his friends; with the largest portions of State funds going to private interest. This has means arrested development for the State with ordinary Deltans not able to enjoy the socio-economic benefits of being an oil-producing State.
Uduaghan has also overseen the worst time in terms of security in the State with armed robbery, kidnapping, political intimidation and killings all on the increase. The recent months have also seen greater electoral violence and killings, culminating in the extra-judicial arbitrary killing of a former governorship candidate, Chief Ogbe Onokpite; whose murder is considered to be politically motivated. Uduaghan has proved himself an incompetent leader unable to deliver any infrastructure project for the State and meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people.
Liberate wishes to make clear their full commitment to democracy and the rule of law; and that their protest will be non-violent and peaceful. They have called on the authorities in Abuja to respect and defend their rights of protest and have also called on all citizens who are able to, to join them in Occupying the Supreme Court, to do so in the interest of people empowerment, people-led democracy and an end to corruption as a corrosive and destructive force that has impeded our national development.
The spokesman for the Group, Mr. Cadre Drake said that '
-'Uduaghan is a problem for the entire nation, because individuals like him are corrosive to our democracy; that is why we are calling on all Nigerians to march in solidarity with us to re-affirm the supremacy of the rule of law in our country. We believe in the New Nigeria, people like Uduaghan who have operated with such impunity continuing to hold public office is anathema to the New Nigeria project. Injustice for one is injustice for all, and all steps to remove all forms of injustice and restore power to the people are equally essential and the duty of all Nigerians to pursue.'
Liberate is also calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to support the call for electoral justice in Delta State and to work with the people of Delta State in the task of re-building their State and promoting good governance, accountability, transparency and progress for all.
LIBERATE was established in 2011 with the following declaration,
“The people of Delta State hereby proclaim their right to freedom, security, justice and good governance. We proclaim our opposition to corruption, nepotism and autocracy. We have suffered enough. Delta must be FREE. We make a solemn commitment to prosperity for all - one Delta, one People, one Future. Arise!” The group now has more than 13,000 members.
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