The Managing Director of Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority and the APC gubernatorial candidate at the 2015 election in Akwa Ibom has vindicated Justice Inyang Okoro after he made statements that confirmed the earlier position of the judge on the attempt by Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi to induce him (Okoro) to give favourable judgment to the APC in the Akwa Ibom governorship petition.
In a goodwill message to Rt. Hon. Amaechi who is the Minister of Transportation during his 52nd birthday symposium in Port Harcourt last Saturday, Obong Umana Okon Umana said he and other guber candidates in the Niger Delta region ran to him for support and direction.
“I bring special greetings from the APC family in Akwa Ibom State. We are proud that he has not let us down. As my friend and brother, Ortega pointed out, he was the man we all ran to. At the time those of us were candidates in the various states, we ran to him for support and direction, and he did not fail us.
“I know he has been doing all he can to bring us together so that this region can stand together, can stand strong in the best interest of our people and in the best interest of Nigeria”, Umana said.
Umana’s position was re-echoed by his defeated Delta State counterpart, Ortega Emeror. By implication, they told stunned audience that all the APC candidates relied on the financial benevolence of Amaechi to stay in the race.
It could be recalled that Justice John Inyang Okoro, whose house was invaded by the DSS last year had written to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, saying that his travail was not unconnected with the visit of the former governor of Rivers State and Transport Minister Rotimi Ameachi to his official residence.
He said that during the visit, Amaechi said that President Buhari and the APC mandated him (Amaechi ) to inform Justice Inyang that they
must win their election Appeals in respect of Rivers , Akwa Ibom and Abia States at all cost.
“For Akwa Ibom State, he ( Amaechi) alleged that he sponsored Mr. Umana O. Umana, of the APC for that election and that if he lost Akwa Ibom appeal, he would have lost a fortune. Mr. Amaechi also said that Mr. Umana would be paying me millions of Naira monthly if I co-operated with them. My response was that it does not lie within my power to grant his request and that I would do all within my power not to be in the panel for Akwa Ibom State.
“My Lord graciously left me out of the panel for Akwa Ibom State. That notwithstanding, the All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom State which lost the appeal at the Supreme Court believe that my presence in the Supreme Court made them to lose the appeal. Could I have resigned from the Supreme Court simply because people of Akwa Ibom State had a matter before it?
“My Lord will recall that I also requested that Mr. Umana Umana visited my residence before Ameachi’s visit. He also made the same request of assistance to win his appeal at the Supreme Court. Mr. Umana talked about “seeing” the Justices who would hear the appeal. Pastor (Dr) Ebebe Ukpong who led Mr. Umana Umana to my house intercepted and said that the issue of “seeing” the Justices was not part of their visit and that as a Pastor; he would not be part of such a discussion. Mr. Umana apologized. I advised them to go and pray about the matter and get a good lawyer. That was how they left my house”, Okoro had said in his letter to NJC.
Okoro who was suspended by the NJC was recently recalled to resume his duties as a Supreme Court judge.