By Barr. Utum Eteng
The 14/5/22 petition written by one Barr. Bala I. Dakum against the foremost APC Governorship Aspirant, Senator Bassey Edet Otu, by the so called “The Concerned Members of the All Progressive Congress (APC), CRS is a clear demonstration of mischief, misinformation and blackmail which by itself portrays the misinterpretation and lack of understanding of the import of the unambiguous section 182 (e) of the 1999 constitution as amended.
It is instructive to note that by the APC constitution, it is mandatory for political pressure groups like the Concerned Members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) to be registered with the APC support which is not the case here.
It is so sad and utterly embarrassing that for such sensitive and serious allegation rasied against the person of Senator Bassey Edet Otu, and the intended wide circulation of petition, the authors did not bother to disclose any of the names of his clients to show proof of consultation and identity.
The fakers of the content of the petition in paragraph 4 stated that, “Senator Bassey Edet Otu is alleged to have being convicted for defrauding his former employers Mercantle Bank PLC in charge No. HC/1010C/87” and went further that “This is in breach of the provisions of section 182 (e) of the 1999 constitution which priohibits person like Senator Bassey Edet Otu from being elected as Governor”. Surprisingly the petition did not disclose the parties in charge No. HC/1010C/1987, it did not disclose the date of judgement, it did not disclose the number of years pronounced or whether there was an option of fine, how much and whether paid.
Granted without conceding that, Senator Bassey Edet Otu was convicted in the 1987 charged as alleged, the big question is, what has his conviction in 1987 got to do with his qualification to contest the CRS Governorship election in 2023?
One recalls that before Senator Bassey Edet Otu was elected a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he was elected for a 4-year term as a Member of the House of Representatives without any blemish, protest or challenge. Where were the now concerned members? Is it only in the APC that there are concerned members? Could it be that the concerned members were not in PDP where the bad, the good and the ugly are tolerated?
The ignorance and perhaps the lack of understanding/knowledge of the authors of the petition could be exposed when one examines the import of Section 182 (e) by matching the year of the charge 1987 with 2022, the year of the petition together to discover the complete ignorance and mischief of the petitioners.
Thus, for the avoidance of doubt, between 1987 when the charge was allegedly born and 14/5/22 when it was published, the time difference is 35 years, 25 years outside the constitutional 10 years allowed.
Section 182 (1) states that “No person shall be qualified for election to the office of Governor of a state if:
e) Within a period of less than 10 years before the date of the election to the election tot eh office of governor of a state he has been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty…”
WHO IS FOOLING WHO?
Chief Barr. Utum Eteng is a lawyer and Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress.