Human rights lawyer, Barr. Joshua Alobo is Ogor Andrew Ida’s lawyer in the ongoing Local Government Election in Oju LGA of Benue State. He spoke to jamesibechi.com and igedenewsfeed.blogspot.com over his client and the result of the APC chairmanship primary election of which Idah is regarded as the presumed winner in Oju.
Your client Ogor Andrew Idah is the presumed winner of the April 20, 2017 APC primary election in Oju LGA, but he is not a candidate in the Election of today. What do you think is the legal implication of what is on right now?
First and foremost we must look at the impunity, which APC has bred. It is a monstrous and cancerous virus that is capable of engulfing the state and other federating unite as it were. And that was my position and postulation on Channels TV on Democracy Day. If the culture of impunity is not stamped out in APC, then we are not sure of 2019. The Governor said: “we’ve been pushed to take a decision on popular demand, yet a popular decision cannot be taken in a democratic setting. The essence of democracy is that everybody must kow-tow to the constitution and Section 7 guarantees the existence of LG. Local Government does not exist as an appendix of State Government. So whatever has happened is a rape on democracy. And when someone is raped you don’t need to use a gentleman approach in resolving it. We have been peaceful, even at the time of appeal, I asked my client to abide by the terms in order to help build our party, APC. But I discovered that the party itself wants to be ruined by some kangaroo persons that feel they are the Alpha and Omega, because they hold the apparatus of the party structure. It is not done. If they feel that they were on ground, why did Ochi Austine Okwoche not defeat an ‘unknown’ aspirant? My client was a force as a Tsunami and I keep saying that he is a symbol of revolution that is going to enrobe Igede, enrobe Benue and possibly Nigeria because we don’t know how far this revolution will go.
Your articulation and leaning, is it more on legal or Igede interest?
My position must be understood within the context of two conceptual frameworks. First and foremost, I started this battle by being a founder of Igede Interest. Ajoma Success Ode who is one of the chieftains of APC is aware that I came down during the primaries but limited myself to Obi LGA where election did not hold; where Idoma mafia imposed someone in the person of Peter Onche. All aspirants who contested against him were compelled to step down. Though that was not my problem because they termed it consensus, but unfortunately Sen. George Akume happened to nominate the Vice Chairman, because Igede has become a fertile ground where other tribes come to pick our leaders for us. We respect other tribes, but you do not expect somebody from Gboko or Ogbadibo to come and dictate to Oju people who becomes their chairman. People that do not even know the history of the location, they cannot come and impose any person on us. On the platform of Igede Interest, whatever that will advance the interest of Igede is my obligation. I was in a Court of Appeal, that was on the 24th of April, when my client called me thanking me of my work and he didn’t know me, and that was it. It was later on I discovered that he wanted to engage me in the appeal. But do you know that even in the appeal neither the party nor the aspirants were invited nor their lawyers and there were two sets of documents, one was declared at the venue which showed that the number of accredited voters was 590 against actual accredited votes of 379. So when they became aware of this, they illegally adjusted the figure to tally with the 379 and my submission was that they ought to subject this document to to forensic experts’ analysis, but which was not done. What they have done to the primary election result is a broad day light robbery, which must not be allowed to stand. If not, the essence of democracy is defeated. The worrisome aspect is that this young man who is a graduate of Benue State University (BSU) in English in 2013. God blessed his hustling and he spent over N20M. I don’t want to mention names; all sorts of demand were place on him; so why will you wreck a young man that has a business acumen if you don’t want him to get that position; like what one man called Andyson Iji Egbodo said that “even the position was already determined many months ago.” Andyson sent the text that I should look another side. I defended the cause of Boko Haram that I don’t know. Then as a human right activist, why will I not defend the cause for the best of my people and the other issue? I have been a victim of political manipulation in 2011.
Today, the LG Election holds and your candidate is not part of it as it stands, where are you going from this position now?
I have been in Benue since Wednesday hoping to see the list of the candidates because you cannot contemplate using an action when the list of candidates is not yet out, so many action will be premature. APC has cleverly engaged in unwholesome, undemocratic settings that days to election, you don’t know the aspirants. You cannot file an action for pre-election matter. In that circumstance it stands to reason that the decision that was announced at the election stands he remains the lawful candidate. We don’t need to go far because this is not a time of substitution of something; it is the time of determining the legality, or otherwise of the voting process if the 379 persons out of which he got 265. So there is no way 71 is higher than 265. He remains the candidate. The illegality, the fraud they did will not stand. We cannot allow any intruder to subjugate us in this 21st Century. We must be cautious of our history. If Ogbiloko could repel the expatriate from intruding and settling in Igede land it’s not now in my time as an intellectual that I will allow that rape to stand. So we are going to explore extra mean and that is what I believe.
In simple sentence kindly tell us how it will look like if Ogor eventually is not part of this contest and is not declared the winner of the election.
In as much as it is till date that we don’t know any aspirants yet, in the words of the supreme court that it is the party that wins election, whatever victory that comes to APC comes to Ogor irrespective of their manipulations and that is why we are making sure we go and talk to his people to vote massively for APC, we remain members of APC. Do you know that there is even unconstitutional provision in the APC that when you sue the party you stand suspended?
But in that case your client earlier said that you are not going to take a legal means, so how then will you go about it?
I am just trying to tell you the illegality in the APC constitution. You cannot put something upon nothing and expect it to stand. In this circumstance now, as far as the candidates list has not been released till date you can’t go to court. The court is not a magic place, they determine things according to rule of law.