Mr. Emmanuel Bello, former Information Commissioner in Taraba State, handled very difficult assignments as media manager. One of such was to convince indigenes of that state and indeed Nigerians that his principal, Governor Danbaba Suntai, had recovered from the injuries he sustained during a plane crash in October, 2012 and was fit to once again pilot the affairs of the state.
Try as much as he did he couldn’t deliver on that. The circumstances were beyond his control.
His other assignment which he set out to accomplish on Tuesday, 18th August, 2015, on the back page of Daily Sun newspaper was to deliver the Governorship of Benue State to his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. He sought to perform the task in his article, Benue: can Buhari save Ortom from Tarzoor?
I doubt whether he was able to deliver this time. But even if he did, the donation would still remain on the back page of the newspaper. It can certainly not happen as a reality in Benue State where his patrons did not win the popular ballot and cannot sneak in through the back door.
Mr. Bello received biased briefing from his party members in Benue State and without cross checking his facts went to town celebrating with an essay riddled with muddled facts on which he based his unrealistic hope.
“The People’s Democratic Party, PDP, that lost in the last governorship election on the field is about to win at the tribunal,” he shouted.
What was the basis of this conclusion?
That the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, disclosed at the Governorship Election Tribunal that the All Progressives Congress, APC, did not conduct a congress to elect a governorship candidate and that Governor Ortom had confirmed in an interview with Channels Television which was tendered in evidence.
If Mr. Bello had cross checked he would have found out that this could not be cheering news.
Barrister Bala Dala, chairman of the APC panel that conducted the primaries of the party in Benue State, in his evidence before the tribunal, stated that Governor Ortom emerged as the consensus candidate of the party in accordance with the APC constitution and guidelines ratified by over 3000 delegates in compliance with the Electoral Act. The summary of his submission was that the party’s governorship candidate fulfilled all legal requirements to emerge candidate of the party.
The former commissioner’s quarrel was that Governor Ortom had lost the governorship primaries in the PDP and as such could not have emerged the candidate of another party.
But if he had received adequate briefing about what transpired at the tribunal Barrister Dala had also addressed that issue.
The APC witness stated that the party amended its constitution in October last year to accommodate new members who wished to contest election on its platform and that such members could do that within 24 hours of their entry into the party, provided they obtained a waiver from the National Working Committee or National Executive Committee.
He disclosed that Governor Ortom joined the party on the 9th December, 2015, got the required waiver and contested the primaries emerging as a consensus candidate.
Mr. Bello, a PDP supporter who is an interested party, is also concerned that President Muhammadu Buhari intervened in settling the nomination crisis in the Benue APC family.
“By staying neutral, Buhari would have given a new translation of his ‘I’m for all and for none,’ mantra.” He stated in his presentation.
I think the former commissioner should have advised the President to renounce his party membership since he had become President of the entire country.
That he is still an APC member and indeed leader of that party hoists on him the responsibility of ensuring reconciliation within the party.
Mr. Bello, in his desperation to deliver on his mission proceeded to quote from a letter purported to have emanated from Dr. Muiz Banire, APC’s National Legal Adviser who denied that letter and its contents. His rebuttal was published on page 11 of The Nation newspaper of Sunday, 5th July, 2015.
One wonders why the withdrawal of the nomination case by Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Jime and Senator Joseph Kennedy Nyikwagh Waku at the instance of President Buhari has generated so much interest to PDP members.
Perhaps it is necessary to inform Mr. Bello that six aspirants contested the recent APC governorship primaries.
They were Chiefs Akange Audu and Mike Iordye, Professor Steve Ugbah, Senator JKN Waku, Rt. Hon Emmanuel Jime and Samuel Ortom.
Chief Audu never went to court while Chief Iordye and Professor Ugbah withdrew from the case following their personal conviction and intervention of party leaders.
One of the contestants, Professor Ugbah successfully prosecuted Ortom’s governorship campaign as Director General.
The reconciliation of Jime, Waku and Ortom was therefore the culmination of efforts that started long before President Buhari won election.
No one needs to worry about anyone’s efforts to save Governor Ortom’s job except an interested party which has become conscious of imminent loss at the tribunal, hence the need to claim victory in the media.
The major objective of the current media campaign by PDP apologists includes the setting of the stage for a blame game that will surely ensure as the PDP’s defeat at the Benue State Governorship Election Tribunal is as inevitable as it is irrevocable.
Before President Buhari’s intervention Governor Ortom had prepared a rock-solid defence through his lawyers who were also equal to the task to prove that he was validly nominated having met all the requirements of his party and the Electoral Act.
It was also strange that he had not been joined as a party in the nomination case and it was only after his swearing in that an application was made to join him. This gave rise to a contentious Constitutional matter about immunity which the court was yet to resolve before the matter was withdrawn.
With renewed attempts to seek justice on the pages of newspapers and other media platforms it is also apparent that PDP apologists like Mr. Bello have come to the realization that the Benue PDP Governorship candidate’s case would collapse like a pack of cards at the tribunal because he lacks locus standi.
President Buhari as a man of honor, for which he gained wide acceptability, has no need to seek to influence the Benue State Governorship Election Tribunal.
Numerous judgments of the Supreme Court on nomination of candidates have already sounded the death knell for the Prince Terhemen Tarzoor’s case at the tribunal.
It may be recalled, which I am sure Mr. Bello did not know and was not briefed about, that the PDP had taken the APC governorship candidate before the Makurdi Federal High Court challenging his eligibility to contest the election as governorship candidate. That matter was dismissed with N500, 000 costs against the PDP.
That is the same matter before the tribunal.
Therefore, where lies the cause of Mr. Emmanuel Bello’s optimism?
Those calling Governor Ortom temporary Governor are deluded PDP members who will eventually realize their folly, just like Mr. Bello did in his optimism that Governor Suntai was fit to resume his duties after the plane crash.
Media and ICT.
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