Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Outrage over Akpabio’s plot to bribe tribunal judge

Outrage over Akpabio’s plot to bribe tribunal judge

...Acting IGP recruited to meet Justice Iguh with #10 billion
...Group to petition CJN, Buhari
There is outrage in Uyo following moves by Governor Godswill Akpabio, Chairman PDP Governors  Forum and Senator elect to bribe  Justice J. C. Iguh, one of the judges of the Akwa Ibom State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo with a view to  compromise the tribunal which is currently hearing a suit by Chief Inibehe Okori, the APC Senatorial candidate  who is challenging the declaration of Akpabio by INEC as the winner of the March 28th Senatorial  election for the  Akwa Ibom North West seat.

The plot as revealed by the Governor himself when he  met with some members of his kitchen cabinet on Saturday at the Government House in  Uyo will be spearheaded by the Acting Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase ,who Akpabio claims will be given the sum of #10 billion to compromise the tribunal members and help secure a favourable  verdict.

It was not immediately known if the   Acting IGP has accepted to do the job bearing in mind that the present administration has less than three weeks left to go and the tough stance against corruption Buhari is known for.

The Governor in the said meeting was alleged to have said  that following the uncompromising nature of the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Adedayo Oyebanji ,  he has recruited the assistance of the Acting IGP to help reach out to Justice J. C. Iguh , a move he believes will fetch him a favourable judgement.

According to a source privy to the meeting who pleaded anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the matter , the Governor is banking on the help of the Acting IGP to reach out to the tribunal through Justice Iguh. “The Governor confided in some principal aides that he has initiated moves to reach out to the tribunal with the help of the Acting IGP and the game plan is to reach out to Justice Iguh to help the Governor in his case. He (Akpabio), actually confirmed that he has met the Police Chief on the matter but what I can’t say is how Arase hopes to achieve that or the amount of money involved. I can tell you that there is panic in the Governor’s  camp since last Friday when the tribunal ordered that ballot papers used for the election be inspected but the IGP may be playing a fast one on the Governor by giving the false impression that he is in with the conspiracy only to buy time till May 29 when Akpabio vacates  office “, said the source.

Continuing, the source said, “The fear of the Governor is that should the Petitioner decide to deploy forensic experts in the inspection of the over  450000 ballot papers used in the election, there is no way the election can stand because of multiple thump printing but he sounded optimistic and confident that Justice Iguh who hails from either Delta or Enugu state will do his  bidding once approached by the Inspector General of Police “, the source said.
Justice Iguh is one of the 225 Judges and 27 Chief Magistrates serving in the 2015 Election Petition Tribunal across the states. He is one of the three Judges on the panel of the Akwa Ibom State Election Petition Tribunal in Uyo.
The plot to use the Police Chief to compromise the tribunal members is already generating outrage in the state with a Civil Society 

Group, the Reclaim Essien Udim Group threatening to petition Justice Iguh to both the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the National Judicial Council if he allows himself to be used as an instrument to compromise the tribunal.

In a statement in Uyo,  the group called on the Acting IGP not to allow Akpabio use him to subvert the tribunal as doing so will be inimical to his personal reputation and the integrity of the Police Force which the IGP is battling to revive.

The group reminded the IGP that the incoming administration has a zero tolerance for corruption and will not hesitate to bring whoever commits electoral fraud to justice no matter how highly placed.

The group also called on members of the  tribunal especially Justice Iguh to rise above board and display patriotism by shunning any attempt by the Governor or his associates to destroy their hard earned reputation and integrity but to uphold the ethics of the judiciary by resisting any attempt to be compromised by any party, reminding the tribunal that the whole world is watching what is going on at the tribunal.  

The tribunal had last Friday ordered that the over 450000 ballot papers used for the March 28th Senatorial  polls be inspected by the Petitioner within 10 days from May 8 in the presence of the respondent or their agents and men of the State 

Security Service.  The tribunal which currently has thirty five petitions before it on the 2015 general elections  had earlier ordered substituted service on Akpabio who had evaded being served the petition after two attempt to do so by the tribunal proved abortive.

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