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The Auction Of Justice At Abia Election Tribunals: Why Our Hearts Bleed

It is with great pain and heaviness of heart that we, the members of APGA YouthsVanguard, wish to register our displeasure at the whole sale auction of justice at the Abia State National And State Assembly Election Petition Tribunals Sitting in Umuahia.

The most outrageous aspect of this wholesale barter of the mandate of Abia people is that while we toed the path of civility to protest the blatant rigging and manipulation of the National and State Assembly elections at the tribunals, those who perpetrated these illegal acts used money to twist the wheel of justice.

We wonder what our elders are teaching us by their anti-social actions. The purchase of judgment in the election petition tribunals is mindboggling. And what the merchants of the people’s will did not realize is that as youths we have eyes and we see. We saw how a presiding Judge of the Court of Appeal; Justice Agbo, who has been on the payroll of former Governor of Abia State, Theodore Orji, used his wife, a lawyer and special adviser to Enugu State Governor, to reach out to a very highly placed Judge in Akwa Ibom State Judiciary. It was through this very highly placed Akwa Ibom Judge that penetrated the tribunal through a member of the tribunal from Akwa Ibom to bargain and procure favourable judgment for PDP in panel 1.

When a member of the second panel rejected the advances of these abductors of justice, a very highly placed Judge in Ebonyi State was consulted and through him, the panelists were made offers the member from Ebonyi State in that panel that they found hard to resist including latest model of Prado Jeep to be delivered in Lagos for all the judges both in panel 1 and 2.  For his efforts, the presiding judge in the Court of Apeal and his wife we rewarded with N200 million.

We wish to alert Nigerians that it was at the thick of the attempt to corruptly influence members of election tribunals that the Department of State Security, (DSS) carried out a sting operation at the Akwa Ibom Government House in Uyo. But because the intelligence was premature, the operatives struck. On account of this mess, the delivery of the millions of naira to the tribunal members took place at the Abia State Government House on Tuesday October 6, 2015.

We are compelled to cry out and alert Nigerians that PDP, which was rejected and cast away from the federal government has withdrawn to South East and using Abia State as headquarters for further impunity , intimidation and corruption; is perpetuating rigging and inducing judges to bend the expressed will of the masses. PDP’s manifesto for election is to rig themselves into offices and ask those who are deprived of victory to go to court knowing that they have amassed much money to buy the hearts of judges and abduct justice. They are already boasting of doing the same thing at the appeal court Owerri.

During the screening of ministerial nominees, Nigerians heard from the former Chief Judge of Taraba State, how lawyers compromise judges and corrupt the judiciary. What Mama Taraba was saying was the truth and we were appalled that senators some of who are in the senate through the corrupt process stopped her short. If not she would also have disclosed how State Chief Judges are used to influence members of the tribunal from their States and tribunal judgment and corrupt the process. It is well known that when constitution fails, confusion and confrontation take over. This is therefore a save our soul to Nigeria and the  judiciary to salvage the situation in Abia State. Already fresh bargains are being processed for Appeal Court Judges to “cooperate” so as to cover the injustice delivered as judgment in Abia Election Tribunals.

It is quite unfortunate if the Judiciary in this country which is described as the last hope of the common man goes the way of highway. Abia State have been in bondage for the past 16 years, which made our people to come out en masses to say No to the mess by giving their votes to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).  Now the same PDP government who took over the power fraudulently from APGA have used over N1 billion to buy up the Tribunal Judges and promised each person a brand new Prado to be delivered in Lagos. Some PDP members like Senator Emma Nwaka, the Attorney General and commissioner for justice of Abia State Barr. Ume Kalu who delivered the bribes in dollars  and Chief Charles Ogbonna just to mention a few, know what we are saying. They know also that the masses in Abia are dying of hunger; salaries are not paid as workers are owed over five (5) months’ unpaid salaries.

APGA Youths Vanguard reject these evil machinations in Abia State. We call on the President of the Court of Appeal and Chief Justice of the Federation and the National Judicial Council, NJC, to look into these festering corruption in Abia Sate, especially as the judgment of the tribunals go to on appeal. A repeat or perpetration of what happened in the lower court may inspire the masses with the notion of self-help. The NJC and DSS should beam their search light on tribunal judges especially Justice Adebayo Onibanjo and members of his panel.

We, the youth of Abia who voted in Abia know that the judgment of the tribunals in the following cases deserve a critical review: Chief Dr. David Ogba Onuoha-Bourdex vs Hon. M.A.O Ohuabunwa; Chief Nnamdi Iro Orji vs Uko Nkole;  Dr.  Ejike  Orji  vs.  Hon.  Nkeiruka  Onyejiocha;  Chief  Ahandi  Nwoke  vs. Chief T.A. Orji;  Chris Nkwonta vs. Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe; Chief Chuddy Patrick vs Sam Onuigbo, Chief Chinenye Ike vs Hon. Darlington Nwokocha, Chief Chijioke Okoro vs Luke Onyeani Ukara.

We urge President Muhammadu Buhari to remember that he was elected by Nigerians because of the evils of corruption and impunity. Therefore he should look into cases of electoral corruption and empower the anti-graft agencies to trace assets of highly placed individuals, especially judges. Most of them buy up estates and build mansion through proxies. Nothing stirs civil strife like rigging of election, stealing of votes and abduction of justice.