A group based in Abuja, De-Bongos Media Projects, has accused Justice W.O Akambi-led State and National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Akwa Ibom of bias in the case brought before it by Senator Godswill Akpabio and Hon. Nse Ntuen.
In a statement signed by the Managing Director (MD) of the group, Leo Ekpenyong (Esq), the group said it was a case of Justice for sale in Akwa Ibom, where the highest bider carry the day, without any regard for justice and due legal process.
According to the MD, “recent events have shown that despite the widespread record of proceedings indicating that Senator Godswill Akpabio, now Minister for Niger Delta Affairs overwhelmingly won the 2019 elections, the tribunal Chairman, Justice W.O. Akanbi, who many thought was a righteous judge may have allegedly received a whooping sum from some highly-placed persons and has recruited another member of the tribunal from Bayelsa to join in the judgment for sale scam.”
He alleged that Akanbi has ordered a brand new Toyota Highlander SUV from proceeds of this alleged bribe money all in a bid to deny Senator Akpabio his victory despite glaringly proving his case by the preponderance of unassailable evidence adduced in the tribunal.
The statement which reads in part also said, “Akanbi has clearly jettisoned justice in preference for sordid money and greek gift, since according to him he has just two years before retirement.
“Essien Udim State Constituency where Hon. Nse Ntuen conspicuously won the election and was declared elected by Prof Ignatius Iru of University of Uyo, the returning officer appointed by INEC, is another case of Justice Akanbi’s fraudulent propensity.
“In this case, Justice Akanbi deliberately delayed the delivery of judgment, allowing for the exhaustion of the mandatory 180 days to elapse, all in a bid to rob the respondent, Hon. Nse Ntuen of his victory as declared by INEC.
“It will be recalled that INEC via its depositions had implored the tribunal to dismiss the petitioner (Ese Umoh) and the PDP’s case for lacking in merit, but surprisingly Justice Akanbi has maintained that the certificate qualification of the respondent which is clearly a pre-election matter outside the realm of elections petitions already subsisting at the Federal High Court, must be determined first before delivering his judgment, therefore denying Essien Udim Local Government Area representation in the State Assembly.
“This is without doubt a clear case of abuse of judicial process. Justice Akanbi by his action has subjected a pre-election matter to his adjudication to determine the conduct of elections which is not the basis for which the elections tribunal was set-up ab initio and clearly outside to purview of the tribunal.
“Again, Justice Akanbi throughout the duration of the tribunal sitting in Uyo has developed the culture of habitually parking his vehicle in the residence of a former attorney-general of the State and Commissioner for Justice who is a Chieftain of the PDP and whose son is currently serving as a member of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
“The filthy lucre, greek gifts of $1.5m each to Justice Akanbi and his cohorts to twist justice and rob Senator Godwill Akpabio, Hon Nse Ntuen of Essien Udim State Constituency and APC petitioners of their victories is ostensibly a validation of Mike Igini’s (Akwa Ibom State, Resident Electoral Commissioner) electoral heist.
“While monitoring the despicable activities of Justice Akanbi in Akwa Ibom State, lawyers are putting finishing touches to file a petition with NJC while activating the instrumentality of the EFCC to swing into action and rid the nation of judicial corruption before it is too late.
“Akanbi’s venal and evil determination is geared towards reducing the votes of President Muhammandu Buhari who won by majority lawful vote in Akwa Ibom State by denying the APC, lawful victory in the State.
“It is therefore disheartening that despite proving lawful votes cast from unit, ward to chapter level by Senator Akpabio, Akanbi J. is bent on using fictitious violence excuses to perpetrate judicial fraud even when the Secretary to Akwa Ibom State Government in a widely publicised press release, attested to the peaceful conduct of the election.
“It is even more shocking that Akanbi J. feigns ignorance of the unlawful cancellation of Senator Akpabio’s lawful votes, giving him victory in favour of the respondent and Governor Udom Emmanuel’s PDP to justify the $3m bribe. Unknown to Justice Akanbi, Security operatives who have been monitoring proceedings throughout the duration of the tribunal’s sitting, have records of the State Attorney-General, Barr. Uwemedimo Nwoko’s Sinister and unholy interactions with the tribunal judges.
“It should be noted however that substantial evidence abound to substantiate these claims of manifest judicial graft perpetrated by Justice Akanbi and his co-travellers to justify the $3m bribe money by Governor Udom Emmanuel and his agents. No degree of covert machinations and financial inducement by PDP in Akwa Ibom State should be allowed to thwart the yearnings and mandate of Akwa Ibom people freely given but hijacked by Mike Igini’s (REC) agent of darkness.
“Akanbi has turned a blind eye to police report corroborating the position of Akwa Ibom state government that the elections were free, fair and credible and about the best since 1960.
“Senator Godswill Akpabio scored 61,329 votes in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District but in a dramatic twist, the collation officer was whisked away to Uyo on the instructions of Mike Igini to enable him falsify the results after over 48 hours of collation of the elections results.
“These fact were testified to by Dr Olasunde Williams, INEC’s collation agent for Essien Udim and was widely reported in all sections of the media as being against the spirit and letters of our electrical laws. These anomalies have been deliberately ignored and jettisoned by Akandi in clear violation of the provisions of the electoral act which provides that elections results must be announced in the local government headquarters of the senatorial district.
“The financial inducement has without doubt beclouded Akandi’s sense of fair judgment. Worthy of note is the fact that Governor Emmanuel’s personal interactions with the Judges have all been captured to show how terribly desperate the Akanbi led-tribunal is working to truncate the mandate of Akwa Ibom people crying for justice.
“Relying on the case of Gunduri V. Nyako whose facts are not applicable to the present case, is tantamount to occasioning grave miscarriage of justice in exchange of filthy lucre and must be resisted to save the soul of the nation’s judiciary and rekindled the hope of the electorates who defied all odds of electoral impediments orchestrated by Igini led – INEC, to cast their votes. This is a task that must be done.”