Enugu Election: Stop Lobbying Us For Judgment With Hard Currencies, Gifts, Judges Warn Edeoga

Enugu Election: Stop Lobbying Us For Judgment With Hard Currencies, Gifts, Judges Warn Edeoga

…two billion naira already delivered to buy judgment – sources

By Agbo Izuchukwu

Some judges of the recently constituted Enugu State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and justices of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court have reacted disappointedly to the secret moves by the Labour Party governorship candidate in Enugu State, Mr. Chijioke Edeoga, to lobby them to give judgment in his favour on the March 18 gubernatorial election which he lost to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mainstream Media has authoritatively gathered.

Even though sources disclosed clearly that over two billion naira parceled in US dollars and British pounds sterling had been delivered and shared by some few corrupt judges, others vehemently rejected taking part in the slush funds bonanza from Mr. Edeoga through influential third parties doing underground job to influence the decision of the court in favour of the Enugu Labour Party gubernatorial candidate.

Some of the judges had been complaining that influential persons close to the embattled governorship candidate had been throwing money and gifts on them through third parties and family members, which were mainly in forms of hard currencies, gifts of exotic cars and promises of properties in Maitama, Asokoro, Wuse 2 and other choice highbrow areas in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, Lagos and River states, if judgment favourable to them could be procured.

The judges who have expressed worries over the intense pressure and splash of gifts from “very influential politicians and senior lawyers close to the Labour Party candidate” said they feared the consequences of Mr. Edeoga taking extra-judicial steps that could end their careers and expose them to public ridicule, warning that politicians should desist from interfering in their job as impartial arbiters.

Reliable sources privy to the nocturnal meetings of those engaged to draw up and execute the plans of how to procure judgment at the election tribunal through high profile connection, influence, lobby, subversive pressure and bribery, and follow up the matter in case of appeals from the ruling PDP in the state, said they had penciled down the name of Chief Nnia Nwodo, a brother in-law and arrowhead behind Mr. Edeoga’s gubernatorial ambition, whose late wife, Justice Regina Nwodo, was, until her death in a London hospital in 2013, a Justice of the Court of Appeal, Chief Epiphany Azinge, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, serving as a Judge at the Commonwealth Arbitral Tribunal in London, where he represents Nigeria and Africa, Professor Barth Nnaji, former Minister of Power under the administration of Goodluck Jonathan, and a number of others assigned with different responsibilities.

While it was reliably gathered that Chief Nnia Nwodo would head the cabalistic, sneaky and highly clandestine team of forum shopping using the contacts of his late wife, Epiphany Azinge SAN, who is an in-law to Nwodo’s family, would use his position in the selection and appointment of the judges and justices that would sit over the matter from the tribunal to the Supreme Court.

Another source who had closely monitored the moves since Mr. Edeoga and Chief Nwodo vowed that they would be challenging the outcome of the election at the court, said Professor Barth Nnaji, a one time leader and spokesperson for the Nkanu East Leaders’ Consultative Forum who led the delegation of the forum to lobby stakeholders across the state to consider a candidate from the Nkanu East council area as the next governor because of its underdevelopment status but eventually fell out with his people when his ambition to be elected candidate of the PDP hit the rocks at the party primary election, would be the primary financier and benefactor of the source of money, running into billions of naira, through slush funds coming from banks advanced to his power plant company in Aba, Geometric Power Limited, as loans.

The loans would be diverted to the prosecution of the court case on the understanding that, once the party buys judgment and takes over power, 60 percent of the total contracts within the next 4 to 8 years of the new administration would be contracted to Prof. Nnaji through his different secret companies and subsidiaries to avoid any suspicion from members of the public and the anti-graft agencies.

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The repayment mode, classified documents obtained by this investigative media outfit reveals, would take a direct form of conversion of 7 percent of total monthly federal allocations to the state into dollars and would be in cash for the period under review while the interest equity will be 3 percent total federal allocations and internally generated revenues in the state. The signatories to the documents included Mr. Chijioke Edeoga as the borrower, Chief Nnia Nwodo and Mr Eugene Edeoga as guarantors, and Prof. Nnaji as the lender. This would also include the state investing some amounts of money into the company through issuances of private shares in the name of third parties as payback effort of those that procure the judgment.

Our top sources, who lamented that it was not in the habit of judges and justices of courts to disclose to the public the challenges before them especially when some desperate politicians who knew they failed elections but wanted to impose themselves on the people by all means using, “a friendly Justice of the Supreme Court” that would help facilitate and prevail on his brother judges to give judgment in a certain direction, added that some top politicians both in the state and federal governments from Enugu North Senatorial Zone had also been pushing and mounting pressure on the court through the said justice to help them with the governorship to complete the remaining 8 years for the old Nsukka Zone.

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A judge who had been threatening to go public against some of the judicial officers that had already been compromised even before the commencement of proceedings queried why those who alleged that they were robbed of victory by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would be investing huge sums of money to buy judgment if they were sure that they won the election.

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However, speaking to our team of correspondents, Hon. Eugene Odo, one of the intermediaries between the court and Labour Party in the state, while insisting nothing was wrong with “lobbying your way out in the court if you have the money, connection and influence”, said they would take Enugu State in a matter of time because “we have the Judges, Justices, the money and the connection. Imo State did the same thing under the current administration of Senator Hope Uzodimma. So, Enugu people could only talk for days and it ends there. We will not allow the old Enugu Zone to do 24 years while the old Nsukka Zone would only do just 8 years. We are reaching out to the right people and we will exhaust all options available. Don’t forget this thing is politics and court decision is politics too”.

A visit to Mr. Edeoga’s different social media pages revealed the Labour Party candidate has been making videos and speeches indicating the likely outcome of the petition lying before the court. He appeared to be sure of some special relationship with the courts through his outburst that the court had no option than to declare him winner and forcefully vacate the seat for those elected by the people.

It is not clear whether the judges would still mention the names of those mounting pressure on them or would cower to the influence of these third parties forum shopping for judgment at all costs.

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