Reply of Itsekiri Interest Group to the open letter of the Urhobos of Warri to Governor Okowa

In the doctrine of equity "equity Aids The Vigilant, Not Those Who Slumber


By: | on | 3832 views
Topic: Advertorial


Reply of Itsekiri Interest Group to the open letter of the Urhobos of Warri to Governor Okowa


 

In the doctrine of equity "equity Aids The Vigilant, Not Those Who Slumber On Their Rights." This principle recognizes that an adversary can lose evidence, witnesses, and a fair chance to defend himself or herself after the passage of time from the date that the wrong was committed. In this case Itsekiri was vigilant enough

by an originating motion under the then applicable rules, Dr. Joseph Otumara, as Chairman of WSLGC, and 8 others, challenged the illegal delineation of the existing 10 wards into 12 wards as per motion dated 26th day of March, 2003, and filed on the 27th day of March, 2003. See the document marked 1 which is the decision of the court in that case declaring the said delineation as illegal, null, void and unconstitutional. 

 In order to deny the itsekiris the fruit of the said judgment the Defendants filed a Notice and grounds of appeal before the court of Appeal. INEC, instead of obeying the judgments, continued conducting elections with the illegal ward structure in contempt of court.

15 years later, the said appeal was struck out for want of diligent prosecution which in effect amounts to a dismissal.

In  the INECIn the meantime, part of the processes filed in the fresh case by INEC was a counter-affidavit stating that they had obeyed the judgment; which was a perjury because they had not. See the document attached and marked 3 which is a Counter-Affidavit filed by INEC; see paragraph 7 thereat.

It is worthy of note that the National Headquarters of INEC, on two occasions, instructed the Delta State INEC to obey the judgment. 

AFTER 15 years of rigmarole and meandering designed primarily to short-change the Itsekiri nation with the creation of wards in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State by the defunct National Electoral Commission, NECON, justice appears to be on the way of the oppressed people.

 

To be precise, after the creation of Warri South and North LGAs in 1991 from the old Warri LGA, Warri South had 10 wards divided into two constituencies. Constituency one comprises Okere, Esisi, Bowen, and Pessu wards while Constituency two consists of Ode-Itsekiri, Obodo, Ubeji, Ekurede, Avenue and Igbudu wards respectively.

The wards were used to conduct elections into the House of Assembly in 1991 and 1999. In 1998, however, NECON purportedly carried out a re-delineation exercise, expanding the 10 wards in constituency one by increasing them to 12 wards.

 

The action created unwarranted opportunities for some groups to the detriment of others. This action sparked off protest and litigation by the then chairman and councillors of Warri South in Suit No. FHC/B/109/97: Mr. Joseph Otumara & 8 others Vs NECON & 4 others.

For the purpose of clarity, INEC increased the number of wards without a reasonable sense of judgement. For instance, Obodo Ward now consists of both the original Obodo and Ubeji wards. Okumagba 1 Ward consists of the original Esisi and Avenue wards. Okumagba 11 is now part of the original Avenue Ward. Ogunu/Ekurede Urhobo Ward now consists of the other half of the original Ekurede Ward. G.R.A Ward now has original Esisi Ward and Edjeba Ward.

It is worthy of note that Justice D. D. Abutu had granted this order on April 14, 1997, earlier. INEC appealed the judgement on October 28, 2003 and has been conducting elections on the basis of 12 wards.

 

Following a motion on notice filed in appeal number CA/B/482m/2018 by Jolone Ikomi Esq. with supporting affidavits on September 20, 2018 seeking an order to strike out the notice and ground of appeal filed by INEC and others since October 28, 2003, before Justice H.M. Ogunwumiju, the court ordered as prayed, saying “it is apparent that the respondents are unwilling and unable to prosecute this appeal.

Notice of Appeal is struck out for want of prosecution and Motion number is struck out of the cause list.”

 

It is pertinent to point out at this juncture that in pursuance of the matter, the leadership of the apex Itsekiri youth body, the Itsekiri National Youth Congress, INYC, led by Comrade Weyinmi Agbateyiniro, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, INEC, Asaba, Dr. Cyril Omoregbe, Security Agency, and Jolone Ikomi Esq, entered into a signed Memorandum of Understanding, M.o.U dated February 15, 2019, with reference no: INEC/DT/AD38.24/556 wherein INEC agreed to do the needful.

 

Since the end of election, nothing has changed. Regrettably, when the matter came up for hearing at the Federal High Court, Benin City, Edo State, before Justice Mukta Garba, INEC failed to show up to tell the court why it continues to defy the order.

 

This prompted the court to summon the Delta State Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Dr. Cyril Omoregbe to appear before it on February 4, 2020, to explain why INEC should not be charged for contempt for disobeying a ruling of the Court of Appeal that directed it to reverse the current ward delineation in Warri South LGA  from 12 to 10 wards.

 

Interestingly, INEC deposed to an affidavit claiming that they are complying with the decision. The truth is that INEC is complying with the court order only in the breach.

The Urhobos in Warri should understand that there was never a time that 12 wards structure was legal in Warri south and in 2018 the court of appeal in Benin struck out the appeal from high court that 12 wards should be operated in Warri south.

These are the legal wards and any election in Warri South that is conducted outside this structure is null and void.

As for the popular voice note that the IYC are making reference to as well as the most recent reference by the Urhobos of Warri, The Olu of Warri owes no one any apology and the Olu remains the only paramount ruler within Warri federal constituency as far as the law is concerned. The fact that Itsekiris didn't challenge the award of staff office to kings within warri was as a result of peace and nothing else.

 

Finally there is no exclusive local government in Delta State but there are strong holds for every tribe which other tribes do not rotate for reasons best known to them. The Urhobos should be aware that the political opportunity they are given by Itsekiris in Warri south doesn't compliment the opportunities the following Itsekiri communities in Delta Central enjoy.

 

As for the IYC, they should understand that Itsekiris have been very fair to the Ijaws in Warri South West and Warri North even tho we have majority of the wards in these local governments but it is painful to see the comments of IYC that have refused to question the role of their people in the rotation of the Senatorial seat in Delta South with other tribes.

 

Signed

 

Gbubemi Awala

Chairman of Itsekiri Interest Group

 

Weyinmi Yalaju

Secretary of Itsekiri Interest Group

 


Copyright: Fresh Angle International (www.freshangleng.com)
ISSN 2354 - 4104


Sponsored Ad




Sponsored
Sponsored Ads