A renowned human right activist and foreign-trained lawyer, Mr. Manfred Ekpe, has asked Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Umo Eno, to come clean on the Presidential Election Tribunal judgement delivered on September 6, 2023.
This is just as he challenged the governor to openly congratulate President Bola Tinubu if he wants to redeem himself from the accusation.
But, in countering the allegation against his boss through a press release sighted, Tuesday, the Chief Press Secretary, Ekerete Udoh, tagged the accusation as malicious, falsehood and described the activist as a “serial blackmailer and agent provocateur” who sits at the comfort of his home abroad to foment trouble.
Last week Friday, a post went viral on social media, captioned— “Akwa Ibom Governor Umo Eno Rejects Presidential Tribunal judgement, Alleges Bias and Fraud Amidst His Educational Qualification Scandal,” and credited to Manfred Ekpe alleging that in a private meeting with some party stakeholders and religious leaders, Gov. Eno had condemned the Presidential Election Court judgment and described it as bias and travesty of justice.
The post reads in part, “The Governor has charged the tribunal with bias and fraudulent practices that, in his opinion, have undermined the electoral process’s fairness. He claimed that the ruling amounted to a betrayal of the democratic principles upon which Nigeria was founded.
“An anonymous source quoted him in a private meeting with PDP stakeholders and religious leaders in the State saying, ‘I cannot, in good conscience, accept a judgment that reeks of bias and fraud.
“Our democracy deserves better, and our people deserve better. I call on every well-meaning Nigerian to reject this injustice and stand up for the principles that our nation was founded upon.”‘
The post also claims that “Eno’s plea has found resonance among various societal sections. Prominent religious figures, including bishops and imams, have voiced their worries about purported irregularities in the electoral process and expressed solidarity with Eno’s position,” It added.
It was alleged that in the early hours of Saturday 9 September, the governor summoned an emergency stakeholders meeting at the Government House, Uyo, demanding to know how the information got leaked and who wrote the story on social media.
Information from dependable sources on condition of anonymity claim that the party stakeholders in the Saturday morning meeting expressed fear that should President Tinubu hear about the matter it would be very damaging to the governor especially as he has been seeking presidential approval.
However, reacting in a press release dated 10 Sept. 2023, Ekpe reaffirmed his position on his report that the governor renounced the tribunal judgement and that others may see it differently.
The activist challenged the governor to prove to the public that he didn’t make the statement by openly addressing the press to show acceptance of the outcome of the tribunal judgement “if he indeed believed in the fairness of the decision.”
Mr Ekpe added that “it is not sufficient to say that the governor believes in the judiciary as the last hope of the common man as claimed in the Chief Press Secretary’s press release without affirming nor renouncing the PEPT judgment.”