By William Jumbo
As earlier reiterated in my first epistle, its unethical to discuss matters pending in court or the tribunal in the media, but since iron sharpeneth iron and also to be lawful in a lawless society is lawlessness, and the need to properly bury these corpses of media trial of the Liberation Movement and Vijah Opuama’s petition, this second epistle has become necessary.
Another reason necessitating this second epistle is that, Chief Timipre Sylva, Chief Timi Alaibe, Otita-Force and other sponsors of Vijah Opuama are sitting on a dead horse without realizing that nobody rides a dead horse. In fact my impression of them is that they are not only attempting to seek the help of a consultant to teach them on how to ride dead horses, but are also consulting Marabouts and soothsayers to give them voodoo power to ride dead horses, which is impossible, unrealizable and unachievable. Hence, I have decided to advise them to come down the dead horse and face reality.
First, like I pointed out in the first epistle, the Liberation Movement and Vijah Opuama’s petition and to a large extent most other petitions of deregistered political parties are dead on arrival. Because their petitions have recently been delved another deadly blow by the judgement of Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court Abuja, delivered on the 18th of May, 2020, on the suit filed by the National Unity Party, challenging its deregistration by INEC in which the judge did not only uphold the deregistration of the parties, but also held that the power of INEC to deregister political parties as enshrined in section 225 A of the 1999 constitution as amended is undiluted. Therefore, the deregistration of the 74 political parties cannot be vitiated or diluted by mere invocation of Section 40 of the Constitution which confer freedom of association on citizens. The Right conferred under Section 40 is qualified and subject to other extant constitutional provisions and laws. This means both the Liberation Movement party and Vijah Opuama were not qualified and suffered the same disqualification as at the time the Bayelsa State Governorship election was conducted on November, 16, 2019. Meaning therefore that, their participation in the election was an illegality and a nullity. And having been so deregistered and declared an illegal body before the election, they have no legal right or status in law and even in equity to approach, file, argue or sustain a Petition in the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal. The import is that all the political parties who were deregistered but participated in the Bayelsa Governorship election have no case both at the regular court nor in the tribunal to challenge the victory of the People Democratic Party, the Miracle Governor, Senator Douye Diri and his Deputy, as it is a settled principle of law that illegality cannot give birth to legality, as they illegal to the extent of their deregistration by INEC and therefore are not legal to seek any remedy, both in regular court or the tribunal.
In view of the above, every reasonable man should know that the so called petition by Liberation Movement and Vijah Opuama that has made so much media sensation is an empty vessel and anybody wanting to ride on such a horse to unseat the Miracle Governor is riding a dead horse.
Equally, the sponsors of the Liberation Movement and Vijah Opuama are riding a dead horse, because the totality of their case was brought under section 138 (1) (e) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended unfortunately for them this Section of the Electoral Act has been struck down and declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in the case of Atiku Vs INEC and Buhari 2019. And this position was reiterated in the case of Jeremiah, Useni and Anor Vs INEC & Simon Lalong per Justice Paul Galumje JSC. Thus Section 138 (1) (e) is no longer part of the Electoral Act and can therefore not be a basis for any action or petition before a Court or Tribunal. It therefore smack of legal neophancy and ignorance to be creating this huge media sensation over a petition that is being originated by an illegal body base on non-existent law as the totality of the Liberation Movement & Vijah petition hinges on Section 138 (1) (e) of the Electoral Act.
Flowing from the above, those sponsoring and investing their money and giving Jeep or SUV to Vijah Opuama who was using Legedes-Benz and staying in a remote one room apartment at Elebele community before he filed this fictitious, frivolous and illegal petition should realize that they are riding a dead horse that will carry them to nowhere.
Furthermore, it is imperative to state that an enlightened and a rational mind compares Apples with Apples and not Apple with orange. But when a man decides to compare Apples with oranges, it is either the man is ignorant or he is unable to even make a clear distinction between the two object. Although they are all fruits. This is because, there has been another media hype that the current Deputy Governor of Bayelsa state, has similar issues of presentation of false information, certificate and names like the disqualified All Progressive Party Deputy Governorship candidate, Senator Degi. This is a clear case of comparing Apple with Orange; and a misrepresentation of the fact. Apart from the fact that the case of the Bayelsa Deputy Governor and APC Deputy Governorship candidate are not legally on all fours, they are also factually distinctive. Thus there is no way it can lead to the disqualification of the Deputy Governor and subsequently the disqualification of the PDP victory at the Supreme Court.
For the purpose of an elucide, concise and apt presentation I wish to set out the below table:
From the above tabulation, even the most undiscerning mind can determine that while the names claimed as names at birth by the APC Deputy Governorship candidate are not always constantly at variance and inconsistent with the names contained in each of the certificates he presented to INEC in his form CF001, but the names on each of the certificate presented are also always at variance and riotious to each other. For example, his Primary School Leaving Certificate bears the name DEGI BIOBARAGHA, which is not only inconsistent with his names at birth, BIOBARAKUMA DEGI WANGAGHA, but also at variance with the names contained in his WAEC Certificate, ADEGI BIOBAKUMO.
Conversely, a curious look at the names of the of Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State does not only show consistency of the names at birth with the names on the Certificates, there is also a consistency in the names in all the certificates he presented to INEC, but for the omission of “O” in his First School Certificate and the none full spelling of the “O” in his WAEC and his NYSC exemption Certificates, which were abbreviated by the issuing authorities. Furthermore, it will be apposite to at this point state that the Deputy Governorship candidate of the APC on his own volition sworn to an Affidavit of Regularization of Name, dated 18th September, 2018 wherein he sworn on oath that his name at birth is BIOBARAKUMA WANGAGHA DEGI. And that while he was registering for his WAEC the alphabet “A” was inadvertently added to his surname and that the Certificate obtained from WAEC bears the name BIOBARAKUMA WANAGAGHA ADEGI. But the name on the Certificate he presented to INEC is ADEGI BIOBAKUMO. Clearly, not only has the APC Deputy Governorship candidate lied on oath by stating names that are not on any certificate issue to him by WAEC which is different from the actual name on the Certificate he presented, but he also failed to take the appropriate legal process to correct the errors in his Certificates – which to is write to the issuing authorities requesting them to correct the errors. This cannot be compare with that of the Bayelsa Deputy Governor who took the appropriate legal steps of writing to NYSC to correct the errors in his NYSC exemption Certificate and deposed to an affidavit to correct errors in his earlier age declaration.
Therefore, to make a comparism and insinuate that the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State also presented false information in his form CF001 and should therefore be disqualified, is not only like comparing Apples with Oranges, but also like making the two cases to be on all fours, of which they are not. It is a settled principle of law and practice that once a person write to the issuing authority for the correction of any error in their Certificates or documents and the corrections have been effected by the issuing authorities such a Certificate which was validly and legally corrected by the issuing authority can not be said to be forged. It is only when an individual or person outside the issuing authority corrects his own Certificate that such a certificate can be said to be forged. As this is the case of the APC Deputy Governorship candidate who on his own deposed to an affidavit correcting his certificate and yet did not present a corrected version. Therefore, all the noise that the Bayelsa Deputy Governor forged an NYSC exemption Certificate is not only an exhibition of ignorance of the law but a calculated attempt to disparage, ridicule and defame the Deputy Governor. Because the exemption Certificate he presented in his form CF001 was validly and legally corrected by NYSC.
If I may even ask, of what value is an NYSC exemption Certificate to the Bayelsa state Deputy Governor who has three (3) Masters Degrees, two (2) First Degrees and several other Certificates. And who was already working before his graduation from the famous and prestigious Rivers State University of Science and Technology. Also NYSC exemption is not one of the qualification required to contest election.
It is also imperative to at this point draw the attention of the entire world to the deliberate attempt by Vijah Opuama and his sponsors to malign the Bayelsa State Government, the Governor, Senator Douye Diri and his Deputy, as well as set them on a collision cause with the Judiciary. It is rather unfortunate that Vijah Opuama and his sponsors are not only becoming very very desperate, but also becoming very diabolic in their bid to unseat the present Government. Otherwise the recent audios released by Vijah alleging that the State Government has been sending negotiators including the highly respected Chief of Staff, Government House Yenagoa, Chief Benson Agadaga to persuade him to withdraw his petition ought not to have be made. It is rather unfortunate that instead of exploring the law and abiding within the remits of the law to pursue their frivolous and incompetent petition, Vijah and his sponsors are rather resorting to blackmail, malicious, scandalous and libelous propaganda. Every discerning mind can know that all the audios alleging inducement are not only fake and orchestrated, but are also dramatized with the sole aim of creating the impression that the Liberation Movement and Vijah, its candidate has a very strong petition before the Bayelsa Governorship Election Petition Tribunal. For the avoidance of doubt, as I reiterated in my earlier epistle, both Liberation Movement and the Vijah petitions are dead on arrival.
There is no other time that the saying that an empty vessel makes the loudest noise can be more appropriate than now, because not only is the petition of Vijah and the Liberation Movement incompetent, self-defeated by virtue of the amendment sorted after the period for the amendment of petition has expired, illegal and nullity by virtue of the deregistration of the Liberation Movement party by INEC which has been upheld by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, and also illegal by virtue of having been brought under a non-existent provision in the Electoral Act, 2010 and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 respectively as amended.
A word they say is a enough for the wise. Let all reasonable men focus their attention on issues of urgent societal concern, the COVID-19, not those distractive, frivolous media propaganda and sensation being orchestrated by dead horse riders.
Again I am not a lawyer by training, I am only trying to make some legal common sense.
William Jumbo writes from Warri, Delta State.
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