The Senator representing Bayelsa Central in the National Assembly, Senator Moses Cleopas, has described as needless and unnecessary the legal battles he has been figthing since he declared his interest for the senatorial seat in 2020.
He said several attempts were made by his main opponent in the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Abel Ebifemowei to subvert the will of the people of the senatorial zone but it failed, because his mandate was a divine arrangement.
According to him, he extended an olive branch to Ebifemowei after the tribunal gave its judgement in favour of him but was shocked to find out that the APC strong man proceeded to the Appeal Court, in search of an elusive victory.
He said: “The first case was a pre-election matter on which judgement was delivered on the 4th of December at the Federal High Court, Yenagoa. Men of the underworld struck on the day before, which was slated for adoption of final written addresses from parties. On that day, unknown armed thugs invaded the court room with dangerous weapons, including guns. Members of my legal team, some of my staff and staff of the court were viciously attacked with the aim of intimidating them. Due to the mercies of God, no one died nor sustained serious injuries.
“The judgement on the petition filed against me was in my favour. As a result, I went into that election and came back with an overwhelming victory of over 121,000 votes against the 19,000 votes of my closest rival of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Abel Ebifemowei.
“And I thought that from that moment, haven been sworn-in into the Senate on the 15th of Dec 2020, all was over and was settling down to serve my people but that overwhelming victory was challenged in the Election Petition Tribunal by seven political parties, out of which six withdrew their petitions except the APC whose candidate I defeated even in his own ward.
“And it became a tortoise race; causing confusion, unnecessary distraction and wastage of resources that lasted close to six months in the Tribunal. At the end of the day, the Tribunal gave judgement in my favour and threw out all their petitions.
“On that day, I declared: “No Victor. No Vanquished” and made it clear in my press release that Chief Abel Ebifemowei is my leader; someone whom I have served politically and have learnt so many political lessons from. I also noted on that same day that if we continue on this fight for too long, we shall be called many names because it’s a contest between a boy and his master and therefore sent emissaries to my leader for an end to litigations, considering the fact that the tenure was less than two years. But to my rude shock, I was told that there was an appeal against the judgement of the Tribunal, sparking off another round of needless distractions.
“Curiously, the first thing my opponent did was to petition the Judiciary that all the Justices at the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division, sitting on the matter were not trustworthy enough to sit over the case. As a result, the President of the Court of Appeal had to reconstitute a fresh panel that was comprised of Justices from three different Geo-Political Zones of this country who sat over the matter, but despite the many detours that we were taken through, the competent Justices of the Appeal Court upheld the judgement of the Lower Court (Tribunal) and thereby, authenticating my victory, and my legitimate privilege and authority to represent my people in the senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, he added.
Senator Cleopas commended all the Justices that sat on the matter and did due diligence to the cases and also thanked Governor Douye Diri, his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo and Senator Henry Seriake Dickson for their support and encouragement throughout the period.