The 2019 general election in Akwa Ibom State is one election people won’t forget in a hurry. The election was marked with an intense fright due to series of mouthed threats of war by an unrepentant group of combatants.
While Sen. Akpabio who was the All Progressives Congress, APC candidate for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District promised to unleash the Warsaw experience of the Adolf Hitler invasion of Poland, his Party’s gubernatorial candidate, Mr. Nsima Ekere at the other end swore with his blood to employ the services of some highly decorated Niger Delta Militants to tumble the electioneering processes and destroy lives of non supporters. These terrorists he referred in a leaked tape as ” Investors”, who should not behave like “Contractors”.
Unknowingly for them, their asseveration for war would not only expose the mien of men they are to the world, but was also going to send many of their fans into hiding on the election day. None of them wanted to be a casualty of the invasion of APC’s combined force of Warsaw and Militants as promised by the duo.
Before they could realize the negative impacts their utterances and boasts had caused, the big fish, Sen. Godswill was mowed on his election day. If such calamity could befall the god of Ukana, APC supporters reasoned it was needless wasting their votes on Nsima whose fate had already been determined by Akpabio’s woeful lost. Most of them dumped the Broom party for PDP on the eve of the governorship election, making it totally uneasy for APC to pull the highest votes in even a Local Government Area. Mkpo ndok!
Being dissatisfied with his election’s outcome, the Akwa Ibom APC gubernatorial Candidate took a stroll to the Election Petition Tribunal to challenge the victory of his opponent, Mr. Udom Emmanuel who is the re-elected governor of the State. This was ONE mistake made, yet again by him.
Because he lost out in an election that was transparently conducted by someone whose integrity is proven and confirmed by all, including the International Community, Nsima Ekere while filling his petition failed to state a reasonable basis why the election should be annulled. He thought once he offers more money, everything would be changed for his favor. Uwafid ito!
Nsima Ekere who incessantly had bragged of pulling the highest votes in all the 31 Local Government Areas of the State, on reaching the Election Tribunal made himself an object of ridicule by divulging that election did not hold in any polling unit of the State. To be more explicit, Nsima’s petition was nothing but an encyclopedia of confusion.
Different paragraphs of it contained conflicting assertions. Some of the issues he raised were the issue of over-voting, non-compliance to electoral guidelines, malpractices, no election in any polling unit of the State, APC winning in the 31 LGA, 26 LGA and 2 LGAs respectively. But during cross-examination of witnesses, almost all his witnesses testified that election held and that it was peaceful and free. The incoherence nature of this particular petition was depressing. I wonder how his lawyers managed to cope.
Having seen how obvious his lies were, he made a move to financially induce the Tribunal Judges to rule in his favour but the move was later inflicted with leprosy. If he had succeeded, it would have been tantamount to a judicial funeral. How would one who asserted that election did not hold in all the polling unit of the State fail to present his party’s unit agents as witnesses? In the absence of the unit agents, who would prove Nsima’s claims to be true? Now we know the ground why the petition was dismissed.
Nsima Ekere on losing at the Election Tribunal went to town with the rumor that the Justices were financially induced by the State Government. After series of braggadocios, he concurrently moved to the Appeal Court soliciting for the Tribunal’s ruling to be reversed.
This equally entailed keeping aside the lower Court’s verdict, declaring him winner of the election or the annulment of the entire electioneering processe. From his amended petition, it was observed that Nsima was gambling with the case. He was strucked with a spirit of confusion, and was unable to ascertain which premise he should hold on.
From records, you can’t just think that a Court of competence would dwell in hasty and non-factual perceptions. The issue of non-compliance to stipulated election guidelines as complained by Mr. Ekere must be proven beyond every reasonable doubt. But Nsima didn’t find it worthy of proving his asseveration, this was why he blatantly refused filing his party’s unit agents as witnesses. On this basis of the Petitioner’s inability to prove his claim, the Appeal had no other option than to dismiss the case.
We all thought that was the end of road for the case, until we were informed that Obong Nsima Ekere had bowed to pressure by moving to the Supreme Court, Abuja to challenge both the INEC, Tribunal and Appellate’s decision to declare Mr. Udom Emmanuel winner of the March 9th gubernatorial election. He didn’t know he was going to Abuja to announce his chronic love for failure.
At the Supreme Court today, Nsima’s lead counsel, S. J. Okutepa SAN because of the pressure on him to put oxygen to the lifeless case created an antecedent that would not evade one’s memory in a hurry. During the adoption of briefs by lead counsel to PDP, Tayo Oyetibo SAN, Okutepa rose to object that Tayo was trying to introduce fresh arguments before the Supreme Court.
In reply, Tayo responded that Okutepa’s temperature was rising because his case was bad. Since then, everyone who faltered in subsequent proceedings was likened to Okutepa and accused of having a rise in temperature by the Supreme Court. What an uncommon antecedent!
Before today, there was merriment and celebration by Nsima Ekere and his band of harebrained supporters. People were made to believe that Nsima’s case at the Supreme Court has been settled by the powers above. Since the Court is in Abuja, people were made to believe that the Abuja connections which they were unable to employ at the Tribunal and Appeal because of distance would be made very possible now the distance is like that of the knee to the toe.
We also heard rumors how Nsima with some other people had convened a meeting at Abuja, disbursing a certain sum for the purpose of the Court’s verdict which was set aside for today. I had thought that the odds would change and that Nsima who according to APC members in Akwa Ibom is a great magician would perform one of his greatest magic today.
The Supreme Court dismissed the case in accordance to the Tribunal and Appellate’s decision. This is to say that Nsima Ekere’s ambition to be governor has finally been buried. Unless he would come out again by 2023.
I was forced to ask; why then were they jubilating on Social Media? They were celebrating Nsima Ekere’s last burial. Flesh and blood did not reveal this to me.
Umani Uwemedimo is a Public Affairs Analyst, writes from Ibadan