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Warri Constituency Delineation: Delta leaders storm INEC, threaten fresh suit

Warri Constituency Delineation: Delta leaders storm INEC, threaten fresh suit

By Cletus Opukeme, Warri

Ijaw and Urhobo leaders in the Warri Federal Constituency of Delta state on Thursday staged a peaceful protest at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC in Abuja, demanding immediate implementation of a Supreme Court judgment which ordered fresh delineation of the constituency.

The group had met on Thursday in Abuja and recalled that sometime in 2011, the constituents had acknowledged the overwhelming fictitious units and ward structures in the Warri Federal Constituency which were been used to rig elections and subvert the will of the people.


Presenting a petition to the commission, the group said it does not have any dispute with any politician, but that INEC should go ahead and commence the delineation exercise as ordered by the Supreme Court.

“Accordingly, we will not hesitate to invoke further legal proceedings against officials of INEC at the Supreme Court in the event that INEC fails to comply with our demand”, the leaders demanded.
Having exhausted all available mechanisms to correct these fictitious structures, 10 people approached the Federal High Court and filed a suit against INEC seeking the Court to among other things order a “fresh delineation of all units and wards in the Warri Federal Constituency” for the purpose of future elections.

The suit was however dismissed at the lower court and at the Court of Appeal in Benin, Edo state.
However, dissatisfied with the judgment of the Court of Appeal, the Appellants further appealed to the Supreme Court.
“In a well-considered decision, with the lead judgment delivered by the Hon. Justice Uwani Musa Abba Aji, JSC, the Supreme Court on the 2nd of December, 2022 agreed with the appellants and ordered the INEC to carry out a fresh delineation of ‘all the units and wards in the Warri Federal Constituency for the purposes of future elections’.

“We know that if INEC is sincere and ready to tow the path of justice, it will not take INEC too many days to conclude the delineation process in the entire constituency. Therefore, to proceed to conduct elections without first carrying out the delineation exercise is clearly contempt of court which would be dealt with accordingly”, said Hon. Denbo-Denbofa Oweikpodor, one of the appellants who read the petition.
Other appellants in the case were Hon. George Timinimi, Chief David Pere, Barr. Ugha Kurumah, Arc. Sylvester Adowei, Comrade Julius Kenedabor, Hon. Lucky Oromoni, Midwest Kukuru Esq., Comrade Sheriff Mulade and Emmanuel Igetei.
Apart from the appellants, those who signed the petition were Comrade Moses Fiyebor, Chief Monday Keme, Larry C. Malemi, Comrade Markson J. Aboh, Chief Westham Adehor, Chief Isaac Emifoniye, Chief Victor Okumagba and Hon. Mark Ikpuri.
They contended that there is no ambiguity in the said judgment and all that was expected from INEC was to immediately carry out a fresh delineation of all the units and wards in the Warri Federal Constituency for the purpose of conducting the 2023 general elections.

According to Delta born human and development advocate, Comrade Mulade Sheriff says, the Supreme Court having totally dismantled all formerly existing fictitious and illegal units and ward structures, there was no need conducting elections in the constituency without first obeying the apex court. We are appealing to INEC to do the needful for our people to participate by exercise their rights at the forthcoming general elections because we don’t want to be disenfranchised, he added.

“We shall therefore use all available legal means to resist any attempt by INEC whether as a statutory body or in collaboration with third parties to stampede the judgment of the Supreme Court.
“For us, the orders of the Supreme Court must be enforced to the letters not minding whose ox is gored. The order is that delineation should be done for the purposes of future elections.
“We have it on good authority that in a meeting convened by the Delta State Resident Electoral Commissioner on 14 February 2023, at Asaba, where the Appellants in the said suit were not officially invited, a decision had already been reached that the elections would proceed without the delineation exercise as against the direct, unambiguous and clear statement of the Supreme Court that fresh delineation of units and wards should precede future elections. This illegal arrangement by the said REC is a violation of the decision of the apex court and could ignite fresh crisis in the Warri Federal Constituency.
“That the REC should in the present circumstance be an unbiased umpire, carryout his professional duties to the best of his abilities and engage all the relevant stakeholders in this matter whose interest may one way or the other be affected by the enforcement of this judgment before making any decision.
“That we wish to make it manifestly clear that our position is not against the conduct of elections, but rather that the delineation of the units and wards should precede the conduct of elections in the Warri Federal Constituency as against conducting elections on the already destroyed fictitious units and ward structures which would eventually amount to a nullity that cannot be salvaged by any political arrangement”, the leaders stated.

Receiving the protesters on behalf of the commission, INEC’s Director of Security, Ndu Lebari Samson said the electoral umpire would look into the matter and do the needful.
“I want to also assure you that INEC is a law abiding institution and that is why up till now, you can hear court judgements here and there. iNEC is accommodating all of them because we are not a law-breaking institution. INEC will look into your matter and do the needful. It is a promise


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