Posted by News Express | 20 August 2015 | 4,213 times
The joint ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Umana O. Umana, and his Deputy, Mr. Benedict Effiong Ukpong, is legally and constitutionally invalid and raises a number of moral and ethical issues.
Mr. Ukpong Benedict Effiong also committed perjury when, under oath, he told the world, that he had fully resigned his employment with FCDA- a federal agency, which facts have now revealed, was not the case.
This was a bold lie on the part of Mr. Ukpong as documents exclusively received by Akwa Ibom Consolidated Political Action Committee (AIPAC) show Mr. Ukpong has been collecting his monthly salary and allowances from September 2014 to June 2015 as a staff of the federal agency and drawing same from his First Bank account (Please see the attached pay slips)
According to the expressed provision of the 1999 Constitution Section 182 (1) g) “No person shall be qualified for election to the office of Governor of a State if… being a person employed in the public service of the Federation or any State, he has not resigned, withdrawn or retired from the employment at least thirty days to the date of the election…”
Section 187 (1) of the 1999 Constitution provides that “in any election to which the foregoing provisions of this Part of this Chapter relate, candidate for the office of Governor of a State shall not be deemed to have been validly nominated for such office unless he nominates another candidate as his associate for his running for the office of Governor, who is to occupy the office of Deputy Governor…”
Section 187 (2) of the 1999 Constitution further stipulates that “The provisions of this Part of this Chapter relating to qualification for election, tenure of the office, disqualifications, declaration of assets and liabilities and the Oath of Governor shall apply in relation to the office of Deputy Governor as if references to Governor were references to Deputy Governor.”
The APC Gubernatorial Candidate in Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Umana Okon Umana fully aware of the above provisions, nominated Mr. Benedict Effiong Ukpong as his running mate for the April 11, 2015 gubernatorial election in Akwa Ibom State.
Mr. Ukpong also was fully aware of the above constitutional provisions, and did not, prior to the election of April 11, 2014, and even as at June 2015- more than two months after the Election resign his appointment with the FCTA contrary to the expressed provisions of Section 182 (1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution. Mr. Ukpong was at all times, being paid and was collecting his salaries and allowances as an employee of the FCTA (please see the attached FCTA pay slips and First Bank particulars.)
In a 2007 case: Attorney General of the Federation v Abubakar (2007) 10 NWLR (pt.1041)
1 at 174-175 paragraphs G-C, Aderemi JSC, the position of the law is clearly stated and reiterated to wit that “a Governor and his Deputy Governor shall swim and or sink together for the purposes of an election so that whatever fate befalls the Governor automatically applies to the Deputy Governor.
As a result of the foregoing, the failure of Umana Okon Umana’s running mate, Mr. Benedict Effiong Ukpong, to fulfill the mandatory provision of Section 182 (1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution makes his nomination invalid for the purpose of the April 11, 2015 gubernatorial election and also invalidates the purported nomination of Mr. Umana Okon Umana as the candidate of the April 11, 2015 gubernatorial election in Akwa Ibom State.
MORAL AND ETHICAL ISSUES
It is ethically and morally shocking that a man who had aspired to the exalted office of a Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State could lie to the world, swear to an oath that he had formally disengaged from the services of a federal agency that had employed him, yet he knew all along that he was lying to himself and his conscience. This is perjury pure and simple. What happened to CHARACTER and DECENCY? What happened to PROBITY, TRANSPARENCY and HONESTY? These are the key ingredients demanded of a public servant of the stature of a deputy governor.
President Buhari whose admired stance on corruption helped in no small measure to his election as the President and Commander in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria on the March 28, 2015 Presidential elections should be manifestly and thoroughly embarrassed by this character flaw and lack of judgment on the part of his party’s ticket in Akwa Ibom State.
The APC as a party should be equally embarrassed by this development and should advise its candidate, Mr. Umana O. Umana to clear this moral and legal dilemma it has brought upon itself and the party and stop parading himself as the APC Gubernatorial Candidate for the last Governorship election on April 11, 2015 in Akwa Ibom State. The position of the law as articulated above is clear: Mr. Umana Okon Umana of the APC based on the clear violation of the provision of the constitution Section 182 (1) (g) by his running mate, Mr. Benedict Effiong Ukpong, did not hold a valid ticket as at the time of the gubernatorial elections in Akwa Ibom State on April 11, 2015, and thus has a moral burden to explain to Nigerians why they lied to us, all along.
•Udeme Bassey writes from Uyo. Photo shows Umana Umana.
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