Chief Inibehe Okori is a chieftain of the All Progressives
Congress, APC and the party’s senatorial candidate
for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District. In
this interview with reporters in Uyo, he maintained
that his opponent in the last elections did not apply to
contest for his senatorial district but was still declared
the winner. Okori has since gone to the tribunal to
challenge the election result. EMEKA SAMUEL was
there for Nigerian Pilot Sunday. Excerpts:

We understand you are heading to
the election petition tribunal. What
are your prayers before the tribunal?
Basically, am not asking for much.
Am asking for what are my rights which
principally border on the fraudulent
elections that were conducted. There
was no election as you are all aware.
If there were no elections, what is
expected is that you should prove that
there were no elections. We have put
before the tribunal sufficient evidence
to show that there were no elections
in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District
from the result sheets which we have
gotten all the Certified True Copies, to
electronic videos and footages of what
transpired in homes of PDP members
across the ten local government
areas in the senatorial district and to
pictorials of events that took place on
election day. The agents’ testimonies
are also included. So basically, we
are asking that the election should
be nullified. I am calling for a fresh
election that is number one. Number
two, we are saying that by virtue of
non-compliance with the Electoral
Act by the PDP, who had no candidate
for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial
District, I did not do that, it was the
PDP that did that; Godswill Akpabio
was never a candidate for the election.
Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial
District according to the Nigerian Atlas
of constituencies which section 71 subsection
2 of the constitution has stated
very clear that INEC will delineate
constituencies in this country and give
it a name has been attach to our petition
showing clearly that Akpabio was not
nominated for Akwa Ibom North West
Senatorial District. It is unfortunate if
the petition goes through, he won’t be
a candidate to compete with me.
I wish Akpabio was a candidate
because I really wanted real voting
for him to see that if we conduct real
elections between him and me, he
won’t score 20 % of the votes in Ikot
Ekpene Senatorial realistically, because
votes are not manufactured, they are products of the wish of the
people. I am going to be the
next Senator for Akwa Ibom
North West Senatorial District
because I know the tribunal
will dispense justice based
on what I have laid before
them. We have presented
before them the Certified True
Copies of all the results; we
have followed the Electoral
Act with regards to filing of
petition and the constitution.
It is our hope that the justices
of the tribunal will see reasons
with us and grant our prayers.
The stolen mandate will be
retrieved.
Are you not scared or
skeptical of previous
experiences where the
government in power
influenced the tribunal?
I am not scared. I don’t
have such fears at all. Rather,
I have absolute confidence in
the tribunal to deliver justice.
The tribunal works according
to the case you lay before
them. The foundation of your
case is what the tribunal will
look at. The tribunal will not
go and invent what you did
not bring before it. So in some
instance, we must be fair to
the tribunal that it is what
is before the judge that he or
she is going to adjudicate on.
He is not going to adjudicate
on things that are not before
him. That is why in this case
we have brought the tribunal
all the facts of the matter. It is
left to them to decide but for
me, I have absolute confidence
in the tribunal that justice will
be done.
The issue of the incumbent
government influencing the
tribunal does not come in.
You would have noticed
that the Constitutional
Amendments made it possible
for the judiciary to have direct
funding through First Line
Charge. Why administrative
staff of the judiciary went
on strike was because they
wanted direct funding and
that has been effected in most
of the states so the judiciary
henceforth, is going to be
absolutely independent. And
when you are also talking
about government of the day
influencing the judiciary, you
must realise there is a change
in the country. From May
29th, we are going to have an
APC government under the
leadership of Gen. Buhari and
for those of you who knows
what he represents, even
from the day he was declared
President elect, you have
started seeing changes in the
country automatically even
without being sworn in yet. So
expect that these changes will
follow through because it is the
leader that affects the led. The
whole country is looking up
to the leadership, frankness,
straightforwardness, and
uprightness of Buhari and
Buhari being the head of the
executive arm of government
that directs the day-to-day
running of government, the
legislative and judiciary will
follow suit.
What is your perception of
money being a factor at the
tribunal?
The judiciary is made up of
men of integrity. You could
recall that a lot of judiciary
officers have lost their job in
the last one year and I want
to believe that everybody and
every judiciary officer will be
very careful. But the bulk still
stops at the table of the press
because this democracy we
are enjoying today would not
have been there without the
press that fought for it to come
to pass in 1999.If the media
do the same work that I know
the media to be excellent at,
we should be able to police
what the tribunal members
are doing. But let us not cast
aspersion on their persons
before they even arrive to start
their work. The press should
do their work and allow the
tribunal do theirs accordingly.
But I don’t see why a tribunal
member will want to come
and live in a hotel of a
Governor’s wife or that of a
witness because there are rules
and the President of the Court
of Appeal has read out stern
warning to the Justices and
mind you the government that
is coming from May 29 is a very
serious and strict government.
Nigeria will not be the same
from May 29th. No tribunal
member will be willing to take
bribe because they know the
world is watching.
What is your take on
allegations of partisan
disposition of the REC in
Akwa Ibom State?
The laws governing the
conduct of REC’s are very
clear. INEC Chairman has
said that if anybody is found
guilty of abusing INEC laws
and guidelines, the person will
be punished for it. Jega even
announced that somebody
is already being tried for
electoral fraud. So where facts
are available to the media, it is
your job to bring it to limelight
to help correct the system. Jeja
has also said no matter how
highly placed a person is, if
he/she commits an electoral
offence, the person would
face the full wrath of the law.
The REC in Akwa Ibom is not
above the law and at the right
time issues will come up.
For instance, from the Card
Reading Analysis, about 600,
000 were accredited and you
went and declared a result of
more than a million. This is
enough for you to prosecute
the man who conducted the
election. Any evil done to
man by man will be addressed
in this world. No evil will
go unpunished. I don’t see
anybody who participated in
the fraud of March 28th and
April 11th in Akwa Ibom State
that with go unpunished.
There are allegations that
APC is turning Nigeria into a
one party state. How do you
react to this?
Unfortunately, I don’t know
why some people are saying
Nigeria is going towards a
one party state. Have you
looked at the analysis of the
election? You don’t need to
have half of the Governors or
National Assembly to have
a good opposition. How
many were we in the APC?
Lai Mohammed, is just an
individual and you have
seen what he has done. The
PDP is just crying fowl over
nothing. They were the ones
who wanted to make this
country a one party state until
alignment of progressives
brought about APC. Their
arrogance has caused them
their lose of power so they
should quickly agree that
APC is very well organized.
APC have no intention to run
a one party state and check
out the people in APC, you
will see they are democrats
and very consistent. Will you
force someone to come over to
your party? For what value?
A party that has already won
the country and from May 29
Buhari will be sworn in and
the centre controls everything.
But having said that, the
government in Akwa Ibom is
not elected by the people. It is
a government installed for us
by one man and INEC and I
am very sure the tribunal will
annul that election and we will
go for fresh election and Akwa
Ibom people will elect the
kind of governor they want
for the state that will listen to
the yearnings and cry of the
people.
What areas would want
the Buhari administration to
focus on?
Recall that when Buhari was
doing his campaign across
the country, he talked straight
on corruption, insecurity
and building of institutions.
Since he is coming to build
institutions all other things
will be set in place. Like I
have always say, a leader
provides the leadership that
the country needs. Once you
have a forthright leader as we
are going to have from May
29 in Gen. Buhari, every other
thing will fall in place. Buhari
is not an accidental president
that was created by Obasanjo
or created by anybody.
Buhari has consistently asked
Nigerians to support him,
coming out with his manifesto
and his agenda for the country.
He is the only leader that has
sat down, plan on how he
wants to govern this country
and you will see that happen
from May30 if not from the
night of May 29. We will now
know that there is a leader in
this country because Buhari
is coming to provide the
leadership the country needs.
That is why he has said he is
not coming to rule but to lead.
What Buhari said is very
clear; mainly the issue of
corruption, insecurity and
strengthening the institutions.
Even if he achieves that in four
years that is enough to move
the country forward because
that is what you need to
change the country and APC
as a party has a manifesto.
APC is the only party that has
a clean clear manifesto for this
country and if you look at the
APC states from the South
West to the South East to the
North West, North Central
where APC ruled, you will
see that their development
agenda were almost the same.
Sometimes, when I hear people
say Buhari has no programme
for the country I laugh. Buhari
is not an accidental leader. He
has always asked Nigerians to
vote for him and he has reasons
for wanting to be president
and am very convinced
knowing who Gen. Buhari is
that he is going to implement
all the lofty programmes for
Nigerians to benefit but we
have to give him time because
Rome was not built in a day.
When you lay an egg, it takes
a process for it to fertilise. We
need to also be patient.


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