Smarting from his victory at the election petition tribunal which on Friday struck out the petition filed against his election by Mr John Gaul, Dr Alex Egbona who represents the Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives says he has forgiven all those who stood against his people’s mandate as freely expressed on January 25, this year.
Gaul, the immediate past speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly had dragged Egbona to the tribunal, after he was defeated for the second time, in a re-run that held in two wards of Ekureku, Abi Local Government of the state.
But after some months of dilly-dialling, he decided to withdraw his petition. And, on Friday, the tribunal which was headed by Mr Justice T.T. Asua struck out the case, marking an end to years of legal and electoral battle between Egbona(APC) and Gaul(PDP).
In a statement shortly after the judgement, Egbona said he had forgiven all those who stood on his way to victory. According to him, the judgment meant victory for his constituency and to all the poor masses in the constituency.
The statement reads: “On January 25, 2020, the people of Ekureku(Wards 1and 2), in the Abi Local Government Area of Cross River State came out en masse for the court of appeal ordered re-run election to vote for me. The crowd that tuned out for that election was intimidating; very much so that everybody knew that Ekureku people were serious about making sure that I was retained in the House of Representatives as their representative for the Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency.
“Let’s do some flashback. Before the January 25 re-run, I had won fair and square, during the March 2019 general election and was consequently inaugurated as a member of the lower chamber of the National Assembly.
“But I was subjected to a legal tussle that took my money, time, energy and distracted me from focusing on my duties of giving the needed representation to my people. But even in the midst of the distraction, I still did quite a lot for my people, while also facing the legal battle brought upon me by John Gaul.
“That phase of legal tussle led to the re-run and I still emerged victorious. I was elated. But my people were happier. We had hoped that a new chapter had begun and I could begin to face the task of attracting the good things of life to my constituency. We were wrong. John Gaul was not done. He had dragged me to a fresh election tribunal. It was a sad experience because I knew that the Abi/Yakurr people would continue to be at the receiving end of the fresh battle.
“I had wondered why there would be no end to litigation. I was worried that we would be wasting an entire term of four years fighting in the court. It gave me some concern. I was the more disturbed because I knew that our leader, Senator Liyel Imoke had made a public statement , advising John Gaul and others who were involved in that election to give peace a chance so that development could come to our respective constituencies.
“I am aware that Senator Imoke did not stop at just the public statement wherein he also congratulated me after I was announced winner of the re-run election by INEC. He went some steps further to try to talk John Gaul into allowing our constituency to breathe some fresh air. Even though it appeared that John Gaul was still bent on going ahead with his petition, I was convinced that at the end of the day, the Abi/Yakurr people would come out victorious. I knew that everything would end in praise.
“It was therefore gratifying when I was told that my younger brother, John Gaul had finally filed a motion before the tribunal to withdraw the petition. That is what has resulted in today’s dismissal of the petition. So, in the end, our people have won. Yes, it is my victory, but I see it more as victory for the poor masses who have been longing for development all these years.
“I see this court verdict as a resounding victory for John Gaul and his supporters also. On my honour, I promise to be at my very best in the days ahead, as member of the House of Representatives. I therefore thank all those who stood by me till today that the battle has ended. It is now time to concentrate on service delivery. Watch me, I won’t disappoint. I will serve the people of Abi. I will serve the people of Yakurr. I will do my very best to make life a lot better for everyone. All I need is your prayers. Please pray for me always.
“At the appropriate time, I will download the very little I have been able to do for the constituency, even with all the distractions for about a year now. I will tell you about all those who have gained employments through my recommendations and efforts. I will tell you about the various federal government projects that have been attracted to our constituency.
“As we get ready for work without further distractions, please join me to sing songs of praise to our God….’Now that the battle is over, we are more than conquerors.’
“Let me end by saying that I owe no grudge against my younger brother, John Gaul. I bear no grudge against all those who stood against me before, during and after the election. I win, they win, we win. As they say in local parlance, last last, Abi/Yakurr is the ultimate winner.”