Mr. Mike Igini, the Akwa Ibom State, Resident Electoral Commissioner, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is insisting to make David Imuse, the Edo State chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), to pay with all his life savings for the N5billion libelous suit instituted against him.
Igini, the former resident electoral commissioner conducted the Governorship Election in Edo State in 2015.
He sent the threat shortly after court proceedings, while speaking to journalists shortly after testifying on oath at a Benin High Court on Thursday, July 14, 2022.
He said that he instituted the case against the APC chieftain to clear his name and that of his family against the defamatory allegations made against him at a press conference at the eve of the 2020 Edo State Governorship election.
“In the eve of governorship election in Edo State in 2020, Col. David Imuse addressed a press conference, and made some damaging remarks on me to the world. He will come to this court to prove those allegations. I sued him for N5billion. He will pay for what he has done with all he has acquired in life.
“This is 2022, and this case was filed since September 2020. The only strategy of Col. David Imuse (rtd) and his lawyer is essentially to delay trying to take advantage of the rules of the court that are flexible believing that he can delay the matter for centuries. All I know is that the will of justice will normally drive so slowly, but surely it will be delivered.
“But for those of us who are committed, who have embraced due process for the rule of law, we do not bother about delay. If it takes 20 years, we are determined to bring Col. Imuse to this court to come and prove those damaging allegations he made against me in 2020.
“He shouldn’t try someone like me because when I go to work every day I have a name and I have a family name, which I must protect. I must protect my family name, I must protect the reputation of the institution that I represent, which is the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and of course, the greater glory of Nigerians.
“These have been the overriding values that guide my works. That is why I have maintained absolute neutrality in all my actions and inactions in things I do or failed to do to ensure that democracy in this country should be periodic, credible, fair and free. That credible, fair and free election remains the bedrock of our democracy in Nigeria. That is what I stood for and belong for. ” He said.
Earlier, the presiding judge, Justice Vestee Eboreime, dismissed the application moved by the state chairman of the APC, praying it to stay proceeding on the libel suit against him.
Eboreime, dismissed the application orally moved by Austin Osarenkhoe, counsel to the Edo State APC chairman.
In her ruling, she said an appeal before a Federal Court of Appeal does not translate that a lower court should stay proceeding on a case before it.
Osarenkhoe had in his oral application urged the court to stay proceeding on the case pending the determination of the appeal before Court of Appeal, Benin City.
He averred that with the appeal, the lower court has no jurisdiction to entertain the case pending on when the higher court discharges its duties.
On his part, Clement Onwuenwu, counsel to the resident electoral commissione, who objected to the application opined that mere filing of an appeal in the Appeal Court does not translate to filling of stay of the execution of proceeding.
He urged the court to dismiss the application for lack of merit.
The court also dismissed the objection of the APC chieftain against the admissibility of video evidence sought to tender by the plaintiff.
The court, which admitted the video evidence, said it was germane and cogent for the plaintiff’s case.
The case, however, commenced properly with the claimant (Igini), testifying on statement on Oath while the court admitted the photo copied of the published Sun Newspaper on the press briefing tendered by the plaintiff.
The court, however, adjourned the case to August 3-4, 2022 for hearing.
It urged the plaintiff to put the second and third defendants on notice of the adjournment as the defendant was not in the court.
Trouble started when in 2019, the defendant, at a press briefing, accused Ogini, amongst other things, of collecting “huge sums of money” from Governor Godwin Obaseki, prior to his re-election.
David Imuse had alleged that: “Around 3AM, Mr. Mike Igini was seen driving into the private residence of Governor Godwin Obaseki in the company of two other known allies of the Governor, one of whom was identified as Mr. Anselm Ojezua.
“At the meeting, Mr Mike tgini, Governor Godwin Obaseki, and other top PDP allies designed and examined ways and strategies to rig the outcome of the September 19 Governorship election with an exclusive focus on the production of fake ballots and the inducement of recruited INEC ad-hoc staff to aid the success of the rigging plans.
“Mr. Mike Igini, and the other associates of the Governor, left the meeting held in the Governor’s private residence with sacks of money which, undoubtedly, was illegally sourced from the state’s treasury as bribes for their cooperation and participation in the criminal attempt and plans to subvert the election and undermine the will of the people.” Part of the statement claimed.