Akpan Etukudoh Asare
A group known as Cross River State Conference for Good Governance and Justice (CGGJ) has alleged that a governor in one of the South-South states and a senior lawyer were working in concert to compromise some members of the Election Petition Tribunals sitting in Calabar, the state capital in order for them to swerve judgment in their favour.
Chairman of the group, Chief Etta Ujong Bassey said in a statement alleged that a senior lawyer who is counsel to some respondents in the Cross River State National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal has been working with funds and instructions from the governor to subvert justice by desperately attempting to bribe the Tribunal with financial inducements.
He claimed that reliable insiders close to the senior lawyer who is counsel to some respondents for the cases challenging the outcomes of the Senatorial, and House of Representative elections of February 23, 2019 and March 9, 2019 House of Assembly elections, claimed that they have concluded plans to give each of the Panel members N50 million for the senatorial matters so as to secure judgment in their favour.
Reacting, state chairman of Conference of National Political Parties (CNPP), Sunday Michael described the allegations as baseless and false, advising that it was not good at this time when the tribunal has taken all submissions and addresses to want to heat up the polity.
He advised them to be patient and wait for the outcome of the tribunal’s verdict and if not satisfied they can proceed to the Supreme Court.
“They are attempting to say that the judiciary has been bought over which is not true. Their allegations are false and baseless. They should be patient with the tribunal and if not satisfied with the ruling of the tribunal they can proceed to the apex court. Let not heat up the polity.”
According to Bassey, the senior lawyer and the Governor are earmarking N20 million each for each panel member in respect of the petition involving the House of Representatives.
“As the saying goes, in every rumour, there is an iota of truth, hence this privileged information now at our disposal must not be taken lightly and cannot be waved aside, especially given the recently published antecedents of this Lawyer and some senior lawyers in securing judgments in their favour through extra- judicial means,” Chief Bassey said.
The group advised the Governor and senior lawyer to retrace their steps, because the searchlight has been focused on their activities with regards to petitions before the election Tribunal.
“The Senior lawyer and his team should know that in this era of telecommunications technology, before long this illicit affairs in the temple of justice would be laid bare, and they would be put to permanent shame, if the refuses to retrace their steps.
They called on the EFCC pick up this information in order to avert this plot by the governor and the said lawyer and expressed hope that members of the tribunal will not be influenced by any external forces in the discharge of their duties.