By Uche Aguoru
I read the editorial of Thisday Newspapers of November 29th 2019 titled “The Expendable Abang” and I was shocked at how a supposed plausible media outfit will allow itself to be used for such an unprofessional stance, in my knowledge of the pen profession, an Editorial is defined as the Opinion of a media house on issues, if that is the correct definition of an editorial it then suggests that the position of Thisday newspapers condemning a judge of the federal high court and accusing him of corruption and bias in his judgments is a misrepresentation of professional ethics on the side of Thisday newspaper.
It is very disappointing and lacking in every sense of responsible journalism for such a media house that should be described as credible to adumbrate a judge who has never been indicted by the judicial regulatory body the NJC for any form of professional misconduct despite all manner of trumped up petitions against him by those who felt offended by his professional interpretation of the law and his courageous and precise dispensation of justice.
It is professionally deriding that Thisday newspapers will hinge their editorial on the tantrums of a politically frustrated character in the person of governor Ayodele Fayose who derives popularity through controversial but ridiculous outbursts on national issues especially as it relates to party politics, it is on record that Governor Fayose’s position on issues is always blinded from reality ,devoid of objectivity and lacking in reasonable truism.
While citing the case of lying under oath and presentation of false information filed against Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu as one of the reasons why Thisday Newspapers in its editorial is calling for the sack of Justice Abang by the NJC they would have done a better and more holistic overview of ‘s judgment rather than embarking on a hatchet job thereby reducing the media profession to cash and carry journalism.
The Editorial board of Thisday newspapers would have done better by highlighting the issues that led to the sack of Okezie Ikpeazu as governor by the commendable bravery and judicial wisdom of Justice Okon Abang, they would have been seen to have taken an unbiased stand if they had adduced the reasons that led to the sack of Ikpeazu which includes.
That INEC Form CF001 and some other documents he submitted to Independent National Electoral Commission contain false information which by virtue of Section 31(5 & 6) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, he is not qualified to contest the said primary election.
That by virtue of Section 31 (6) of Electoral Act that where the Court determines that any of the information contained in the Form CF001 or any document submitted by the 2nd Defendant is false. That the Court shall make an Order, disqualifying the candidate from contesting the said primary election.
That having not been qualified to contest the said primary election on 8th December, 2014 that the votes cast for the 2nd Defendant are wasted votes. That they are null and void and of no effect. That in the circumstances, that Ikpeazu did not win the People’s Democratic Party’s primary election.
The fourth false information given by the 2nd Defendant and submitted to Independent National Electoral Commission is that the amount paid as tax in the tax receipts in Exhibit A, B, and C is different from the amount paid as tax in the tax clearance certificate Exhibit D. put differently, the claim of payment of income tax for 2011, 2012 and 2013 is not true, it is false.
That citizen Okezie Victor Ikpeazu PhD signed Form CF001 himself, nobody signed for him. It is the document he submitted to INEC And has not pleaded non est factum – meaning not my deed. There is no evidence before the Court indicating that citizen Okezie Victor Ikpeazu was of unsound mind when he signed Form CF001.
Going by the the electoral act as amended, where then did Justice Okon Abang err in his judgment of July 27th 2016.
It is unfortunate that ThisDay Newspapers has lent it itself to be used to achieve a devilish end by attempting to catigate and impugn the character of an intelligent and hard-working judge.
For the fact that judges are not supposed to defend themselves before the public should not give impetus to Fayoses and ThisDay Newspapers of this world to go on a frolic of their own to destroy hard earned reputations of people like Justice Okon Abang.
Writes from Umuahia