Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the April 2015 Bayelsa State House of Assembly election, Mr. Ebifaghe Orunimighe yesterday asked the speaker, Hon. Friday Kombowei Benson to respect the judgment of the Court of Appeal.
The appellate court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, had on December 9, 2015, nullified the April 2015 election that returned Benson and ordered a fresh election within 90 days from the date of the judgment.
Orunimighe, who contested the Southern Ijaw Constituency 4 seat with the speaker, warned Benson to stop parading himself as speaker or risk going to prison.
Orunimighe at a news conference at the APC secretariat in Yenagoa, the state capital, on Monday, entitled ‘Contemptuous Conduct of Kombowei Benson – former Speaker,’ noted that his lawyers had begun a contempt process against Benson.
He said, “Our attention has been drawn to recent reports credited to Kombowei Benson where he unequivocally stated that he still remained the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly because the judgement declared by the Court of Appeal in open court on December 9, 2015 affirmed his victory.
“Ordinarily, we should not have reacted to such fallacious publications, but our reticence may mislead the unseeming minds from discerning between reality and fiction.
“It is based on this realisation that we are indeed compelled to react. It is unfortunate that Kombowei Benson is accentuated by greed and desperation to disseminate such deliberate falsehood to mislead members of the society including his pastors and church members.
“Elementary intelligence, logic and commonsense suggests that a person who claims to win a case should produce the judgement of the court confirming his victory. Where is the judgement delivered on December 9, 2015, where Konbowei claimed victory?
“For the avoidance of doubt, let it be established right away that the unanimous judgement of the court of appeal delivered by Justice Ejembi Eko, JCA on December 9, 2015 declared the election of Benson as the purported winner of the House of Assembly seat for southern Ijaw Constituency 4, held on the 11th April, 2015 as null and void.
“Therefore, the Appeal Court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct elections within 90 days from the date of judgement.”
He said the Court of Appeal did not give two conflicting judgements as falsely claimed by Benson, noting that the judgement which sacked Benson was the only subsisting judgement and that Benson, including his team of lawyers, had copies of the judgement.
He stated that in utter defiance to the judgement of the court, Benson presided over the 2016 budget presented on the floor of the House by Governor Seriake Dickson on January 15, 2016.
Orunimighe added: “It is worrisome that the conduct of Benson borders on contempt of court and wanton disregard for the rule of law.
“As you are aware, the illegality perpetrated by the ex-speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly and members of the PDP-led government is an absolute display of lawlessness reminiscence of the Hobberisan state of nature.”
He, therefore, urged members of the public to disregard the innuendoes of the speaker, advising the embattled speaker to stop engaging in acts that were tantamount to disobeying the lawful and valid judgement of the Court of Appeal.
Meanwhile, Benson had last Thursday at a press conference in Abuja refuted reports that he stepped down as the speaker following a court judgment.
He described as “untrue and lies in the highest order,” the report that the Appeal Court in Port Harcourt nullified his election in the state Assembly.
The speaker had said he had sufficient proofs that the judgment for that day was delivered in his favour.
He argued that there was no enrolment order from the court asking him to vacate his seat, adding that “INEC has not informed me of any notice of enrolment or whatever they have received; there is nothing. The falsehood being circulated in both the social, electronic and print media by members of the APC should be disregarded as it represents the desperate ambition and interest of only the peddlers of this falsehood.
“What transpired in the open court was that the case was dismissed for lack of merit by the presiding judge of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ejembi Eko, represented by Justice Muhammed Lawal Garba.”

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