I love Nigeria my beloved country that opened its doors to me and my family so that we could walk into the greatness of its freedom and its founding values. Every time I look at our beautiful flag and place my hand over my heart for the pledge of allegiance and sing our National Anthem, i am reminded of my duty to join others to demand responsibility and accountability of the government to the people.
All it takes for evil to thrive in a society is for few good men to say nothing. I choose to ask with high voice, why Chief Luke Chukwu that did not win election into the Imo State House of Assembly is foisted on the people of Ohaji/Egbema as their representative in the State House of Assembly? I have asked myself this question several times and frankly, I don’t like what I see happening in the Imo State House of Assembly. The foisting of Chukwu on Ohaji/Egbema people is unacceptable. Ohaji/Egbema people never entrusted such position to him. Imposing him on Ohaji/Egbema people, who are highly educated, industrious and politically conscious, is insulting and should be resisted.
It is a parliamentary tradition all over Nigeria that all elected parliamentarians must before inauguration, present to the Clerk of the House evidence of victory in the election which is the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC Certificate of Return and evidence of assets declaration. Section 75 of the Electoral Act, 2010, states “a sealed Certificate of Return at an election in a prescribed form shall be issued within 7 days to every candidate who has won election under the Act. Where the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court being the final appellate court in any election petition as the case may be nullifies the Certificate of Return of any of the candidate, the commission shall within 48 hours after the receipt of the order of such court, issue the successful candidate a valid Certificate of Return”.
Chief Chukwu did not fulfill any of the mentioned conditions and is not qualified to be in the Imo House unless the Imo State government operates a different constitution from that of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is on record that a Certificate of Return was not issued to Chukwu on May 24, 2011, when INEC issued Certificate of Return to candidates that won election into the Imo State House of Assembly. Recall that the substantive Clerk of the Imo State House of Assembly Mr Ofomadu Obinna was illegally relieved of his duties for not yielding to external pressure that insist on swearing in Luke Chukwu against age long parliamentary tradition. Another person, Barr.Chris Duru was hurriedly made Clerk of the House so as to swear in Chukwu as a member of the Fifth House, Third Assembly.Is this not a parliamentary taboo? Is this not a conspiracy against the wish of the people of Ohaji/Egbema? Chief Chukwu remains a political impostor in the Imo State House of Assembly.
In the April 26th Imo State House of Assembly election Rt Hon Goodluck Nanah Opiah of the PDP was overwhelmingly elected to represent Ohaji/Egbema constituency in the Imo House .Opiah got over 40,000 votes against Chukwu of APGA who got 5000 votes. The most amusing is the notorious fact that Chukwu lost to Opiah in his own polling unit in Umuapu ward.It is also a fact that Rt Hon Goodluck Nanah Opiah was formally declared as the winner of the election by the Local government returning officer on April 26th 2011 with documentary evidence as shown in the several presented forms in line with the provision of the Electoral Act as amended
It would be pertinent to re assert that the decision of the State returning officer not to announce the result of the governorship election held in Ohaji/Egbema has nothing to do with the House of Assembly election in Ohaji/Egbema as Assembly results for the LGA are announced and declared at the LGA headquarters or at the state constituency collection centers as provided by the Electoral Act as amended.
INEC in exercise of administrative powers certified the declaration of results and declared Opiah winner.INEC has since not challenged the veracity of Opiah’s claims as the rightful House of Assembly winner for Ohaji/Egbema .The purported and disputed House of Assembly supplementary elections for Ohaji/Egbema on May 6th that Chukwu claims to be victorious is a ploy by powerful external force hell-bent on returning the people of the constituency back to pre independence era.It is a slap on the face of Ohaji/Egbema people Ohaji/Egbema was on May 6th 2011 overran with seven armored tanks and thousands of soldiers with predetermined results.Ohaji/Egbema people did not participate in the May 6th supplementary election as the said supplementary election runs contrary to the constitution.
I guess the worst disservice Ohaji/Egbema people will do to themselves is to swallow Chukwu’s imposition. We must vehemently protest against Chukwu’s illegal membership of the House. We must not flaccidly recoil and accepted the thwarting of our will. Ohaji/Egbema people love Chief Opiah and voted him to represent them and not Chukwu. Chukwu does not possess the integrity of a servant of the people. He has no honour and lacks electoral worth. A Mr Maduka, Special Adviser to SSG once described him in public as an ingrate, reminding him of how he was unconstitutionally foisted, albeit temporarily on his constituency. When Chukwu was a council chairman, he insulted the established political leadership headed then by his kinsman the respected Nze Hilary Ihueze. Chukwu till date has no sound political and social relationship with any of the celebrated politicians of his constituency. During his tenure as council chairman he was accused of looting council funds. It was to check his excesses that Hon Goddy Esom Obodo became his enemy today. That is why Chukwu fought seriously against the nomination of Obodo as Chairman of ISOPADEC and popped champaign when the appointment of Obodo as ISOPADEC chairman was cancelled. In a courtesy visit to the deputy governor of the state in November 21st,Chukwu hired street urchins and paraded them as leaders of Ohaji district .
During his tenure as council boss, Chukwu was also accused of sponsoring strife and crises in his Umuapu Community making the people of his community to be avoiding him till date. Chukwu is reported to be so corrupt that he was arrested and detained by EFCC for looting council funds. Chukwu cannot fight his political benefactors who are resolved to punish Ohaji/Egbema with denials, underdevelopment and pain. Chukwu has not condemned in any way, oral or written the incessant violations of the laws establishing ISOPADEC by the state government (law no 13 as amended).Chukwu also joined the government in the illegal sale of Adapalm PLC that is situated in Ohaji/Egbema.
The hope of the people of Ohaji /Egbema is now on the Judiciary. The people believe that the Judiciary will restore their improved political standing through the victory of Rt Hon Goodluck Nanah Opiah.. Opiah via his council Dr Livy Uzoukwu SAN went to the Federal High Court Owerri for the interpretation of the constitution as amended and the electoral act as amended and that he be declared winner and issued a Certificate of Return in view of the result of the April 26 2011.The suit has been adjoined since October for judgment.
Kenneth Uwadi, Mmahu-Egbema, Imo State,Nigeria
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