**Condemns Relocation of Tribunal to Abuja
Leaders in Akwa Ibom State under the aegis of ‘Concerned Akwa Ibom Elders’ say the people of the state will resist any attempt by the State opposition party, All Progressive Congress, APC, to subvert their collective wish by acts capable of straining the judicial process in the governorship election petition tribunal which, according to them, was unjustifiably moved to Abuja.
They have called on the judiciary to resist predatory instincts of political manipulators that are hell bent on exploiting the system to achieve their ‘sinister plot of subverting’ the wish of Akwa Ibom people.
Addressing a press conference in Uyo, the elders whose petition was read by Senator Anietie Okon questioned the relocation of Akwa Ibom Election Petition Tribunal which was hitherto sitting in Uyo to Abuja, and wondered why Election Petition Tribunals in the South West were not being moved to Abuja.”
They maintained that the Constitution in Section 285 Sub section (2) stated that, “There shall be established in each state of the Federation one or more Election Tribunals, which shall to the exclusion of any court or tribunal, have original jurisdiction to hear and determine petitions as to whether any person has been validly elected to the office of Governor or Deputy Governor or as a member of any legislative House.”
“Without any convincing, honest and tenable reason to warrant such movement, the Akwa Ibom leaders maintained that they are convinced that, “those behind the relocation of the tribunal to Abuja were hiding under the pretext of nonexistent security concerns to justify their barely concealed intentions.”
According to them, “it was shocking that an otherwise peaceful and hospitable state like Akwa Ibom could be falsely labeled with insecurity.”
“Let it be stated that whereas, Akwa Ibom state has remained a haven of peace and a good example of a secure state as compared to other states in the federation, before during and after the General Elections, the spurious, baseless and false advance, of so-called security concern by the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) who lost the election in the state, and subsequent glee with which her sympathizer have celebrated the movement of the tribunal betrays the hidden agenda of the petitioners”.
Senator Okon alleged suspicion of a high level connivance and conspiracy by the APC against key Niger Delta states which “they have vowed must be conquered and forced under the control of their party.”
“As leaders, we hereby warn that, the patience of our people should not be taken for granted and urge all concerned to desist from actions that may make a mockery of our determined efforts to deepen the ethos of our democracy or cause the relative peace that currently prevails in the region to give way to a return to a phase we thought had successfully been managed.”
Others who signed the press release include, Senator Effiong Bob, Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, Chief Nduese Essien, Engr. Larry Esin and Prince Uwem Ita Etuk.