Archive | March, 2012

Politics: Godswill Akpabio and his Legal Nightmares

7 Mar

Written by
Ikpafak Thompson Essien

Today (March 6, 2012), in an Abuja courtroom of Judge Karfarati,
Barrister Usoro Usoro, who is representing Godswill Akpabio, looked
like a small Billy-goat—the type which Akpabio himself often use for
sacrifice in one of those his many rituals.

As usual, Barrister Usoro Usoro appeared in court dazed and
unprepared. When the judge asked him if he is ready with his prepared
response to what the legal team of Frank Okon had presented, Barrister
Usoro said “No, Your Honor.” With this answer, according to eye
witnesses who were in the courtroom, Judge Karfarati almost
(literally) hit the roof in frustration.                                                                                                                     Godswill Akpabio

“Ok Counsel,” the Judge looked straight at Usoro Usoro and his legal
team, “we will meet for trial on March 19, 2012. Do you understand
that?” Barrister Usoro Usoro, whom, from the beginning, everyone knew
that he has no defense for Akpabio on the matter of Frank Okon versus
his client, looked down on the cement floor of the courtroom and
mumbled, “Yes, Your Honor.” On that note, the court adjourned until
March 19, 2012.

Reliable sources have confirmed that when the court sits on March 19,
all available evidence from both sides will be presented. Among the
evidence, which will be presented by the legal team of Frank Okon, is
a sworn affidavit by the former National Chairman of Peoples
Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Nwodo, in which he stated, under oath,
that he never signed a Certificate of Clearance for Godswill Akpabio
to contest the gubernatorial election, which took place on April 26,
2011. If the affidavit sworn by Nwodo is accepted by the court
(analysts say it will be), then Akpabio risks being ordered by the
court to vacate his claimed position as the Executive Governor of Akwa
Ibom State; something Akpabio is having nightmares about and is now
wishing it never came to this.

Mr. Frank Okon has been telling his supporters that if the decision
of the court forces Akpabio out of the Hilltop Mansion, he will then
be sworn in as the next Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State.
Experts, who are very knowledgeable in the politics of the State, are
arguing about this claim made by Frank Okon. For now, it is very clear
that no one really knows what will happen if Akpabio is forced out of
office.

The Case of Imo Udo

Perhaps, the only one who knows exactly what will happen is Godswill
Akpabio himself. People who are close to Akpabio say he has been
telling those close to him that he would rather die than let Senator
Akpan Udoedehe and Mr. Frank Okon succeed him. Why he feels this way
about the Senator is no longer a secret to the people of Akwa Ibom
State, but his abhorrence for Frank Okon is due to the frustration
induced by Frank’s rejection of all sorts of financial offers made by
Akpabio for him (Frank) to drop the pending case. To make sure that
Frank (or Udoedehe) does not end up becoming his successor, Akpabio
came up with another intriguing strategy by introducing Imo Udo to the
scene.

Let us recall that during second PDP Primary in the State on January
15, 2011 only Imo Udo and Godswill Akpabio were presented as the
candidates for PDP. When the result of the Primary was announced by
INEC, Mr. Imo Udo scored only a single (one) vote, while that of
Akpabio was nearly a million. Frank Okon was not allowed to
participate in the Primary because the Committee’s Report on the
matter of Science Park, which was set up by Akpabio to probe Frank
Okon’s involvement during the administration of Obong Victor Attah,
had indicted Frank of whatever crime it said he committed. Therefore,
as a convict (at least according to Akpabio) Frank was not eligible to
contest the election.

In the mind of Akpabio, since Frank’s name was not on the ballot for
the Primary, if he (Akpabio) is forced out of the office, then Senator
Akpan Udoedehe may end up in the Hilltop Mansion, instead of Frank
Okon. And this is a situation Akpabio sweats about each time he thinks
of the scenario. To save the nightmare of what he suspects Udoedehe
will do to him if he becomes a governor, Akpabio contacted Imo Udo,
who had at least one vote during the Primary, to join in the case of
Frank Okon. Akpabio is also of the opinion that if Imo Udo succeeds
him, he (Imo) will never probe Akpabio’s theft and other financial
irregularities he has committed against the people of Akwa Ibom State
since he became a governor in 2007.

True or not, there are speculations in Akwa Ibom State that in order
to convince Mr. Imo Udo to enter the case with Frank Okon, Akpabio had
to pay him $1 million United States dollars (others say 10 million
British pounds). Again this is speculative. The problem is those who
know the real story are not talking.

In any case, nearly one year after the case had been proceeding in
the court, Mr. Imo Udo filed a petition sometime in February 2012
before Judge Karfarati, with a request to enter the case both as a
defendant and as a plaintiff. I am not a lawyer, so, I will leave this
part for our legal minds to explain.

Mr. Frank Okon had filed a motion with the court to stop Mr. Imo Udo
from joining his case. Today (March 6, 2012), when the court sat in
Abuja, Judge Karfarati sided with Mr. Frank Okon and dismissed Mr. Imo
Udo’s request to join as a defendant in the case. The request to join
as a plaintiff will be decided when the court sits again in two weeks.

Senator Udoedehe Files an Appeal

As had been expected, the lawyers for Senator Akpan Udoedehe have
filed an appeal with the Appellate Court in Calabar. In ten days (from
today) Akpabio’s lawyers are expected to file a response. Then the
Senator’s lawyers will be given another three days to respond to the
response of Akpabio’s lawyers. After that, a date will be set for a
hearing. Analysts say it is very likely that the Appellate Court may
refuse to listen to the case because the matter may be outside its
jurisdiction, which can only be explained by the Supreme Court. The
lawyers for Senator Udoedehe are already making plans for the Supreme
Court. One of the lawyers said to this writer; “It’s not over until
it’s over.”

Written by
Ikpafak Thompson Essien
Oregon

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