Yesterday, the court-room was filled to capacity.
It came as a wild rumor that Arc. Nya-Etok Ezekiel had won his case at the Appeal Court; and secured a ruling that the Tribunal
should restart his matter afresh.
Reactions that greeted the ruling (including surprise, curiosity, disbelief, etc), issued from the impossible odds many perceived against his victory.
So, many of the throng in the courtroom came to see things for themselves; and witnessed Arc. Nya-Etok’s case being called up and the process re-started.
The victory at the Appeal Court did not come easy, and this was responsible for the widespread skepticism.
Following the dismissal of his case, Nya-Etok filed to the Appeal Court in Calabar for a redress of the action which he believed to be ‘wrongful’.
Expectedly, the case seemed to have died a natural death as it wasn’t heard of for over 40 days; and moreso, in view of the fact that Election Petition cases are time-barred.
In his case, it had to be decided in 60 days from the time of filing; and so it was considered almost impossible for him to have any victory after the delay for over 40 days.
Against all odds, Nya-Etok was able to move his case from Calabar, to the Appeal Court headquarters in Abuja. He went on to having it heard, and against more odds, winning.
These were feats many people (and not a few) believed were hoaxes; but which rattled the PDP into dejection, embarrassment, and actually appealing against the ruling, to the Supreme Court.
The strategy, it is believed was to ensure that Nya-Etok’s case was never heard, as the final judgement must be heard within the coming weeks.
At the hearing yesterday, the Tribunal Chairman gave Nya-Etok 5 days to wrap-up his matter in a case where others have not been able to wrap up theirs in the past three months.
One of Nya-Etok’s strongest points has been that of seeking to unearth his votes.
This desire seems to have been effectively truncated in the sense that he has about 24 hours to do what can’t be effectively undertaken in 6 weeks.
To unearth his votes, he will need to sort out the ballot boxes according to the LGA’s; then according to the Wards in each LGA; and finally according the Units in each Ward.
After this, he would count the ballots in each Unit (which is his ultimate desire).
Looking at how the materials are stacked, it will take a minimum of 2 weeks of full time engagement to sort out the ballot boxes according to the LGA’s, before thinking of the Wards and Units.
It was at this point that several of his friends and media people who had thronged the venue, saluted his efforts at getting his case to be successfully relisted and heard.
They applauded him for crossing hurdles including the initial request for the payment of N11 Million, on the basis of which default, his case was dismissed (and wrongfully too).
They not only cheered his courage, but his stout pursuit of his mission and ultimate agenda; and his surmounting of plots crafted in a more than determined effort to stop him.
This was not quite unexpected, knowing that getting his votes unearthed was only one part of it; the other being that the perpetrators would need to be brought to book.
Arc. Nya-Etok has estimated his votes to be in the region of about 60,000 (Sixty Thousand) or more, going by his popularity and the reach and messages he sends out in his radio programmes.
His radio programmes in particular, earned him ardent loyalists and admirers, who developed a somewhat cultic devotion to him; and so the figure is not in any way exaggerated.
The figures would even have surpassed what they are today, but for the fact that the sentiment of Zoning dictated to a large extent, the voting pattern.
Though Zoning was particularly strong, there were a lot of young people who were not moved by it, and so, here and there lay his strengths.
Another major factor that could justify that figure, and not much much more, was the issue of financial inducement.
Very many young people who had drifted towards Nya-Etok could not resist the temptation of getting some money for their pockets during the Elections.
With the current herculean task of achieving within 24 hours, what can’t be achieved within 6-8 weeks, most of his admirers and supporters not only subtly, but also actively advised Arc. Nya-Etok Etok against embarking on a journey which odds seemed to be deliberately stacked against him.
Though he didn’t decide on the thought, but appeared almost understandably adamant, his lawyers plea for a time-extension did not receive the blessings of the Tribunal Chairman who insisted that he needed time to write his judgement.
He was then granted a maximum time of 5 days to make his case, obtain responses from other Parties, call his witnesses and have them cross examined, before making his final submission.
This is what others have used a period of about 3 months to do.
How he could do that in effectively 3 days remains a mystery that only God can resolve.
All said, the whole environment was filled with praise for his tenacity and for doing what even Napoleon Bonaparte could not do.
Engr. Matthew Oboho
writes in from Abuja.