HOW CAN SUCH BLATANT WHOLESOME RIGGING AND DISREGARD FOR THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE BE LEFT UNCHALLENGED? OGBORU SIMPLY CHOSE TO BE LAW ABIDING By Ochuko Udume

REJOINDER: UDUAGHAN‟S SPONSORED WRITERS ON RELENTLESS AND MINDLESS LITIGATIONS BY OGBORU
I will start by stating the obvious. Deltans are no fools. We all know that the votes Uduaghan claimed he won with do not exist. It is a common knowledge that Uduaghan was roundly rejected at the polls by Deltans, yet INEC declared him winner with fictitious results from the creeks. Who does not know, or from where do you have more votes from Delta creeks and hamlets of Koko, Ugborode, Abigborodo, Escravos etc. than urban Delta areas of Asaba, Ughelli, Agbor, Ozoro, Abraka, Sapele, Effurun, Warri, etc? The Delta State April 26th 2011 Election Petition Tribunal by nullifying over 103,000 votes purported allocated to Uduaghan, has confirmed that the Governor is an election fraudster, rigger, result falsifier and result manipulator and have decisively nullified the election in the entire Bomadi and Burutu Local Government Areas and some other constituencies for non-compliance with the electoral act, “as ballot papers, ballot boxes and other materials were not made available by the INEC.”
Did the court of Appeal in Benin not give a judgment declaring 3½ years of Uduaghan‟s occupation of office illegal? This is the obvious scenario in Delta State, but what has been the remedy? Did Uduaghan and INEC not know that there was a pending suit from the re-run elections before they forced the April 2011 elections? What can Ogboru do about this? This monumental injustice has continued to inflict excruciating hardship and pain on Deltans; but should Ogboru for fear of being criticized resort to loss of faith in the constitution and the laws of our country? Should we follow the path of self help? Should such blatant disregard for a people choice be left unchallenged? Ogboru simply chose to be law abiding and not warrior, “Boko Haramists” or some forms of guerrilla, radical, extremist, fanatic, kidnapper, saboteur or militant in the quest to recover his stolen people‟s mandate. He chose to respect the constitution of our dear country, he chose to trust our judiciary and he owe no apology to those shameless wholesome election racketeers, riggers, hijackers of election materials, ballot snatchers and ballot box stuffers, impostors, charlatans and swindlers who wishes to stereotype him as unrelenting and mindless litigants. He chose to be lawful and not lawless in his quest for justice and he is acting within the remits of our laws. The grounds for petition in an election are clearly spelt out in the 2010 Electoral Act as amended. Section 138 of the Act stipulates “An election may be questioned on any of the following grounds, that is to say:
(a) that a person whose election is questioned was, at the time of the election, not qualified to contest the election;
(b) that the election was invalid by reason of corrupt practices or noncompliance with the provisions of this Act;
(c) that the respondent was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the election; or
(d) that the petitioner or its candidate was validly nominated but was unlawfully excluded from the election.
(2) An act or omission which may be contrary to an instruction or directive of the Commission or of an officer appointed for the purpose of the election but which is not contrary to the provisions of this Act shall not of itself be a ground for questioning the election.”
It is a common knowledge that Uduaghan has not provided meaning development, infrastructure, leadership and team spirit to Delta State and that he dislike Deltans for rejecting him at the polls. He says it himself during his frequent reckless talks “they should go and tell Ogboru who they voted for to go and tar their roads” it is a common knowledge that he does not govern Deltans; rather he uses the state resources to buy judgments. He uses billions of naira allocated for the state development to pay heavy bribes in both local and foreign currencies to compromise judges. The bribes are given to corrupt judges through value cards with their pin numbers to make it difficult for any anti draft agency to trace detail of such transactions. Once this is done, Uduaghan then promptly draft the judgment through his lawyers as he wants it and hand it over to the judges and the rest is contradictory and unreasonable contents of delivered judgments in his favour.
Dr. Uduaghan abused the judicial system by repeatedly engaging several delay tactics in the cases while he illegally continued in office as Governor collecting, claiming and coveting the state funds and other resources illegally. Uduaghan used all kinds of delayed tactics including frivolous motions upon motions, dubious technicalities, to mention a few to truncate the trials and created all the time lost that made 2007 elections to dovetail into the 2011 elections. He abandoned the elections petition tribunal after 4 years and ran to procure Justice Buba‟s judgment at the Federal High Court that neither the Tribunal nor the Court of Appeal took cognizance of. In all the litigations involving Uduaghan and Ogboru, the courts never indicted, abused or accused him of abuse of court process, unlike Uduaghan who was regularly cautioned for abusing court processes. “Gaming” – this is Uduaghan‟s longstanding practice that he has used, he is never ready for trial but always ready to shop for politicians to help him to decode judges for ultimate compromise and settlement. He is the one delaying the wheel of progress by ensuring that judgment is delayed so as to spend as much illegal time as possible. Is it not obvious enough that Ogboru went to court because he is interested in securing early justice in court so as to provide qualitative and good governance to Deltans? Was it in the interest of Ogboru to have delayed legal outcome? Absolutely no! How can Ogboru‟s obedience to the Nigerian constitution and laid down procedures amount to unending litigation? It is appalling how egregious government have today utterly exposed itself as the disorganizer and polluter of the Nigeria judiciary and consequently the arranger, organizer, harbinger, conveyor and executor of injustice across the nation.
What should be asked is why does the government swear in people whose elections are being questioned into office? Is it not clear that people with cases to answer who are in office are the cause of endless litigations? They have access to using and stealing state resources not only to cause prolong delays but to influence judicial outcomes in their favour, a situation the judiciary must now resist by setting the rules, ensuring their financial independence and asserting it leadership through firm interpretation of the extant rules. Once these steps are taken, and I encourage our Jurists to so do to curb nefarious situations that answer questions such as why we have a missing James Onanefe Ibori in Nigeria who was allegedly an ex convict at large only for this one known James Onanefe Ibori to be languishing in U.K prison with his wife, concubine, sister, lawyer etc after looting, coveting and swindling the state of billions of naira while serving as Governor of Delta State for 8 years? Is that not the same strategy that has led to Uduaghan‟s endless defense/instigator of litigations? Is it a case of what our government polluted and prevented our judiciary from doing has now been done by nemesis in oyinbo land? Some trust in chariot, some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
There is a potent national cynicism about our judiciary as a result of the reckless and misguided eco-political interference and infiltration of the judiciary by the government which has financed the cash and carry and compromised judgments syndrome in some of our courts. This high level eco-political inducement has exacerbated lack of fundamental fairness necessary in a democratic society and has tilted the measure of justice in favour of the most powerful and the highest bidder against law abiding Nigerians and it is this lack of fundamental fairness that is an essential component of justice that has dwindled hope in the law as a potential cornerstone of restitution in Nigeria. Unfortunately these corrupt practices have become mechanical, systemic, institutionalized and are now an integral component in the legal and judicial system.
However, Chief Great Ogboru has continued to place absolute faith and confidence in our law courts. He continues to trust in the effectiveness, distributiveness and procedural fairness of our judiciary, his respect and regard for our judges and judiciary remain obstinate. Ogboru is a responsible and a gentleman Nigerian who sees himself completely obligated to obey the law and our courts; obligated to be morally aligned with the law and not lawlessness because he has always been democratic by nature and principled in practice. Although government has not been able to demonstrate firmness and that the law is effective for securing justice and in fighting electoral con and fraud and that rule breakers will be caught and punished, he continues to urge Deltans and Nigerians to remain calm and to understand the local structure of our criminal justice system which is both dynamic and resilient, he believes that – no culprit, no felon will escape the fury of the law and the wrath of God.
If the king is righteous, how could anyone dare to be crooked? A king leads by his moral power. If he cannot set a moral example, he forfeits the loyalty of his followers and the trust of the people – the case of Delta State. The ultimate asset of the state is the trust of the people in their rulers: If that trust is lost, the state is doomed. Our politicians ought to offer leadership worthy of emuliation by the citizenry especially as we grapple with our developmental challenges occassioned by anti social vices which immoral leadership is foisting on the people. This is not about Ogboru, it‟s about the people and future of Delta State whose commonwealth Dr. Uduaghan is squandering to buy judgments and throwing into his private pockets.
In clear electoral fraud matters, election petition tribunal judges must not give in to corruption and greed. They should hold up the sanctity of the rule of law and not compromise through bribery and political interference to tilt the measure of justice by swinging judgment in favor of the highest bidder, for political expedience or due to government interference thereby eroding judicial confidence- the pillar of democratic societies and prolonging the suffering of the ordinary people. It is extremely shameful how the government chose to undermine the independence, integrity and authority of the judiciary the way it has so done rudderlessly, which created the crisis of confidence rocking the Nigeria judiciary. This clearly reflects the general decay that unfortunately permeates the entire governance of our dear country. The judiciary as the last hope of the nation liquefies, when corruption and politics overwhelm the very core of law interpretation and enforcement. This development poses more danger for our nascent democracy because the judiciary ought to be the leader, guider and citadel of decency and the defender of law and order.
Ogboru cannot be distracted by Uduaghan efforts to label him as an unrelenting and mindless litigant. His focus and what he care about is what the people of Delta State say, he care about their legitimate aspirations to move away from darkness unto light, from poverty to prosperity, from adultery with their subordinate‟s and neighbor‟s wives to respect for their subordinate‟s and neighbor‟s spouses, from kidnapping to rekindling lives and from chronic wickedness, evil and hatred to kindness, compassion and love. Ogboru is a dependable, conscientious, trustworthy, reliable, sensible and a matured citizen who does not believe in lawlessness. He has a firm, passionate and committed trust in the law because according to him, “the Nigerian judiciary remain blessed with some of the nation‟s rarest breeds whose eminence transcend the shores of Nigeria; Jurists who are illustrious, celebrated and our brightest national icons; dead, retired and serving, distinguished judges whose life epitomize courage, conviction and most importantly, the incorruptibility of the judiciary system that serves as the last hope of the ordinary man: they have been mostly exemplary honorable men and judges who never allowed the end to justify the means because they believe in justice for the common man and placed themselves in the vanguard of ensuring that the judiciary remains dignified and a strong fortress for justice devoid of controversy but honest defender and leader of democracy”. So it is a fallacy of thought and short sightedness for any Judge to allow the end to justify the means by permitting himself or herself to accept bribe from discredited, corrupt, mediocre politician or anybody for that matter so that such „respectable‟ judge or judges can compromise judgment in favour of that hollow politician. The deepening disillusionment, poverty, underdevelopment and judicial guillotine imposed on the civil populace by this eternally regrettable mistake by any Lordship of the law are not fathomable.
Uduaghan must take the responsibility for the endless litigations because his hope that his injustice, inequity, unfairness, discrimination and bias against the good people of Delta State who did not vote for him will evaporate by prolonging the cases, using delayed tactics and using the commonwealth of Delta State to buy judgments is a mere wishful thinking and pyrrhic victory. Enough is enough.
In this era of pessimism, Ogboru‟s high opinion, deference, esteem regard, reverence and respect for the nation judiciary remains unimaginably too high, he believe that the excellence of our judiciary has been unmatched. Most Nigerians know the problems in the nation judiciary are artificial and foisted. Government interference, manipulation, inducement and threat have pressured our judiciary like never before. But the convictions and assurances Ogboru and most Nigerians have, springs from the core value, impact, effort, contribution and patriotism of the numerous untainted former and serving distinguished judges whose contribution and credibility tower greater, and with their continued commitment to rebuild and reinvent trust, the Nigeria judiciary as a dynamic institution will restore itself worth, dignity, honor and respectability to guard and lead our hard won democracy.

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