The learned Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria yesterday January 27, 2016 upheld the declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that Chief Ezenwo Nyesom Wike won the April 11, 2015 Governorship election in Rivers State.
The decision was a departure from the earlier findings of the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal which had both agreed with us that the conduct of the April 11, 2015 elections failed to comply substantially with the requirements of the Electoral Act.
This decision marks the culmination of a legal battle we instituted not merely because we want power for its sake; but against the virus of electoral violence that often thwarts the will of the people. My associates and I are grateful to God for directing us to pursue justice in the courts rather than resort to self-help. We magnify our God for giving us the will and the support of Rivers people to maintain the legal battle. As a people who believe in the law, we fought a good fight; we won some of the legal battles along the way. For this we thank our legal team for the diligence with which they conducted the case.
Nevertheless, the Supreme Court has differed from our position. Still, we thank God for giving us the stoicism to accept the verdict. Indeed, our God deserves praise for reminding us that as His children we should respect and honour even our earthly authorities. It is a further reminder that His will is best in all things for His glory and the greater good of humanity.
We thank Nigerians, especially Rivers people who have stood by us during this legal odyssey spanning approximately 10 months. We urge all our supporters to take a cue from us in accepting this verdict, without more. We invoke in you the spirit of stoicism and compassion. Even if you are taunted by people who do not understand the ways of God, keep calm and be motivated by the greater good in all your actions.
Our decision to serve Rivers State was borne out of a passion to uplift our people; to clothe them with dignity on the twin planks of social and economic prosperity. We anchored this promise on the platform of unity. Consequently, we never ceased to remind ourselves that we are GREATER TOGETHER.
A Supreme Court verdict that goes against our prayer is a veritable opportunity to demonstrate how dearly we hold the greater together creed. Consequently, we shall do our best to work for the peace and development of Rivers State and all who reside in it. We shall creatively offer our help to Governor Nyesom Wike. We will provide a virile opposition, serving as a mirror for the conscience of government, in the interest of Rivers people.
When encouragement is needed towards a just and proper course of dealings, we will offer our commendation to the government. Conversely, we will constructively express objection to policies and actions we consider inimical to the overall interest of Rivers people.
It is our hope that Governor Wike and his team will appreciate the suggestions and proposals that would be made in the interest of Rivers people. If we sometimes sound strident, he should pay heed to the message of passionate and zealous Rivers people rather than dismiss the messenger.
Although we have accepted the Supreme Court verdict, it would be remiss of me not to point out that this is also an opportunity for our people to engage in deep introspection on the electoral process. Beyond party affiliation, must we continue to allow the electoral process to be subject to the whims and caprices of anti-democratic elements, especially those who deploy personal militia to molest and even kill voters; those who hold the electoral umpire captive or compromised; and thus generally prevent electoral outcomes reflective of the will of the voters, as envisaged by law? It is understandable that an attitude of cynical expediency in some politicians may inevitably conclude that “the end justifies the means”.
However, those who are governed by such a cynical mentality need to be reminded that a huge moral burden would perpetually sour such temporary “victories”. Like the myth of Sisyphus, it is surely a backward slide in our political evolution. Let us think deeply please.
Finally, I thank everyone who has supported us during this long and arduous journey in the political evolution of Rivers State. May God satisfy you with blessings from the depth of His unfathomable love, so that you will eternally remain true to all that is noble and just. Remember, we are ultimately greater together!
God bless Rivers State; and God bless us all.