By Chekwas Okorie
CSP Ezekiel Rimasomte is a lawyer and a policeman. In any sane society, this is a man who should be someone we will point out to youths as one to emulate. Our children should aspire to be like him. Yet, for whatever reason, Rimasomte chooses to be an embarrassment to the two professions he belongs to.
In his obsession to humiliate and embarrass an innocent Edozie Njoku, a man whose only crime is that he insists on having what is rightfully his; justice, Rimasomte has ridden very high on the audacity of impropriety. He is now facing professional disgrace.
CSP Rimasomte was reassigned from investigating Victor Oye’s bogus petition against Edozie Njoku to the IGP on October 13th. Yet, eight days later, he filed 14 charges against Njoku and Chukwumeka Nwoga.
For more than one month, he refused to inform Njoku and Nwoga but briefed and handed the charge sheets to Victor Oye, who brandished it on national television before journalists.
This was before those to be arraigned heard about it. To cap his trek to the hall of infamy, CSP Rimasomte, in court and outside court, tried to tarnish the image of a respected jurist, a woman of impeccable character recognised for her judicial sagacity globally. Yes, Rimasomte threatened to dock Justice Mary Ukaego Peter-Odili and implored her to “fast and pray.” Alu!
Hajo Sarki Bello is the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court. She is a very senior lawyer who ordinarily should be celebrated by Nigerians for the height she has attained in a male-dominated field. This Barrister Bello, through a secret letter to the Police and INEC, without recourse to Justices of the Supreme Court, vacated actions and judgment of a panel of five justices on the APGA leadership crisis.
She went further to direct Dr Festus Akande to issue a statement to the public that the Justices did not do what they did. What caused her to trample on the customs and traditions of a sacred institution that holds the soul of a nation, an entity that gives hope and succour to the powerless and powerful in equal measure?
Prof. Yakubu Mahmood is the erudite chairman of INEC. He, I’m told, never fails to remind his audience, be it one or many, that he is an Oxford University graduate.
He is a teacher who has shaped the minds, even the lives, of many youngsters. I can imagine how his young students would look at him in awe as he regurgitates history and information about the world. None, not one of those children could have imagined that this teacher they admired so much would, with impunity, disregard judgments of courts and talk more of the Supreme Court.
Jigawa High Court suspended Edozie Njoku as chairman of APGA and replaced him with Jude Okeke. In less than 72 hours, Yakubu Mahmood’s INEC recognised him. On October 14th, 2021, the Supreme Court erroneously inserted Oye’s name as the one who was removed by the Jigawa Court and whose removal was deemed not justiceable. Again, less than 48 hours later, INEC and Prof Yakubu Mahmood recognised Victor Oye and gave him the code to upload Prof. Chukwuma Soludo as the APGA governorship candidate for the Anambra state governorship election.
Since May 9th, when the Supreme Court corrected its judgment and replaced Oye’s name with Edozie Njoku, INEC has refused to comply. INEC, a party to the suits, was served by the Supreme Court bailiffs. On July 15th, Justice Kekere-Ekun signed an enrolled order. This was served on INEC by an executive bailiff of the Supreme Court. INEC and Prof Yakubu Mahmood ignored it.
It is now seven months since Justice Odili led five-man panel corrected its judgment of October 14th, 2021. INEC is yet to comply.
Edozie Njoku led APGA, has written ten letters to INEC and its chairman. Not one, zero, of the letters has received a reply from INEC and Prof Yakubu Mahmood. How could an institution set up by law to work with political parties ignore letters from a major stakeholder?
Some well-meaning and highly placed individuals have interfaced with the Oxford-educated professor on this crisis.
Some he has lied to, claiming he is unaware of the correction of the Supreme Court judgement. To others, he had promised immediate action to correct the criminal negligence of a Supreme Court judgement. Still, to some others, he had promised to ‘set up a panel to advise him. I must state that the so-called panel he sets are usually made up of people he has used to foist this illegality. The same man who claimed ignorance of a Supreme Court judgement was gleefully sharing a press release made on a plain sheet of paper regarding the judgment. Tell me about a compromised public official, and I will show you a picture!
I have often asked Prof. Yakubu Mahmood’s friends to ask him the basis for which he relates with Victor Oye as chairman of APGA.
From the state High Court to the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, all have recognised that the Owerri convention is where the APGA leadership was elected. Even Akande’s statement he was distributing states the same. Victor Oye, by his admission as sworn to in two affidavits, was not at the Owerri convention. Why is Prof. Yakubu Mahmood holding on to Oye as if his life depends on the former APGA chairman?
Prof Yakubu Mahmood, from very reliable sources, has been warned by highly respected individuals about the dangers of his intransigence. He has been told by senior lawyers, friends and even INEC staff that he is plunging Nigeria into chaos by ignoring the Supreme Court correction of the APGA ruling. He has stubbornly refused to budge.
IGP Alkali was handed three months in jail by a High Court for ignoring a court order. Nigeria’s top cop claims he was unaware of the court order. Maybe he didn’t know.
When it comes to Prof. Yakubu Mahmood’s turn to pay for willful disobedience of a Supreme Court judgement he will not claim ignorance of the order. There are multiple pieces of evidence to show he has always been aware of the Supreme Court judgement.
Most importantly, his conscience would stand up in evidence against him, but that is doubtful as he is feeding fat on the audacity of impropriety.