Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo, has said the Delta state governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, is a disgrace to governance for playing “Ping-Pong” with the affairs of the state with ex-militant, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo.
Mr. Keyamo, in an open letter to the governor, alleged that Mr. Uduaghan interfered in the duties of the state electoral commission during the last local government chairmanship election by replacing the Warri South-West candidate with Mr. Tomopolo’s younger brother on the eve of the election.
The lawyer said the governor summoned one Weyinmi Omadeli to his private residence in Warri on Thursday, October 23, 2014- barely 48 hours to the election- and informed him that he had given orders to the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission, DSIEC, to replace his name with that of George Ekpemupolo, the younger brother of Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo.
“For you to summon Mr. Omadeli on the eve of an election and inform him that his name had been replaced smacks of high-level interference with the job of DSIEC. It clearly shows that DSIEC is only an appendage of the Delta State Government”.
The lawyer listed five reasons why the action by the governor was wrong and said that the governor’s decision “is capable of igniting a crisis that will affect all of us”.
“The decision was taken whimsically and it is unjust, unfair, illegal and ungodly. Consequently, it is unacceptable and will be challenged legally and politically,” Mr. Keyamo said in the letter.
“It also depicts the sorry and comatose state of DSIEC in the hands of the State Government (it is the same all over the country, anyway).
But, why did DSIEC not have the courtesy to write or summon him to break the news (assuming, but without conceding, that they have the powers to do so?) Sir, you are not the Chairman of DSIEC and you have no business replacing one candidate with another in an election,” the lawyer wrote.
He said it was wrong that Mr. Omadeli’s name was substituted without cogent reasons.
Mr. Keyamo said since the administration of James Ibori, a “truce was reached whereby it was agreed that the Ijaws and Itsekiris would be taking their turns in the governance of Warri South-West L.G.A”.
He went on to ask the governor why he chose an Ijaw man for the position.
“What then is your rationale for this decision? Whom amongst the stakeholders of these two great and illustrious tribes in Delta State did you call to a meeting before this ill-informed decision? What promise or arrangement did you extract from them before this decision?” Mr. Keyamo asked.
Alleging that the governor sacrificed Mr. Omadeli for his 2015 senatorial ambition, Mr. Keyamo said the governor returned George Ekpemupolo, an Ijaw by tribe, to pacify the Ijaws so they can support him.
“Your Excellency, I hate to say this – but say it, I must: there is a clear picture in the public domain that because you are Itsekiri by tribe and the member representing Warri South-West in the State House of Assembly is also an Itsekiri man, and because you also plan to go to the Senate by 2015, you had no choice but to sacrifice Mr. Omadeli to the Ijaws so that all three slots would not go to Itsekiri.
“You opted to sacrifice the slot of your Itsekiri tribe to the Ijaws to protect your personal interest. In other words, your Senatorial ambition has a big part to play in this whole mess,” Mr. Keyamo stated.
He called on the governor to quickly set up a truly independent Local Government Election Tribunal because he (Mr. Keyamo) will proceed to the tribunal on behalf of Mr. Omadeli.
He ended his letter by advising the governor to “do the needful by summoning all stakeholders to explain to them and to also extract commitments from them as to the way forward in the delicate power play between the Ijaws and Itsekiris before it leads to uncontrollable conflagration”.