John Ifere’s wild goose chase at the polling units in the Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency ended on Saturday, as the Labour Party candidate for the House of Representatives election suffered a comprehensive defeat. The court of appeal in Lagos ended his voyage, causing him to weep.
But he will not just go unpunished for wasting the time of the court-he is to pay half a million each to the PDP and its candidate for the election, Eko Atu, INEC, the APC and its candidate that was declared winner during the election, Dr Alex Egbona, making it a total of N2.5million in fine.
In February this year, Egbona had defeated Ifere, the LP candidate, who came a distant third, while Eko Atu of the PDP came second.
Whereas Atu congratulated Egbona whom he saw as a more popular candidate, Ifere chose to challenge the victory at the tribunal. In the course of the trial, he doctored Egbona’s Form EC9, to show that the lawmaker did not properly fill his form.
The forged document was presented at the tribunal through an INEC staff whose mission was shrouded in suspicion. But Egbona was to appear before the tribunal to present the complete form which he had earlier filled on oath and presented to INEC, before the election.
On judgement day, the tribunal indicted Ifere when the chairman who read the judgement made reference to the forged document which Ifere tendered through the INEC staff.
Not satisfied, Ifere proceeded to the court of appeal, through his two brothers-Eric and Uket- as counsel. But their brief of argument was so empty that the judge questioned why they would file a case before a court without prayers.
On Saturday, the appeal court affirmed the tribunal judgement and affirmed Egbona winner of the election, ending months of voyage by Ifere.
Reacting to the judgement, Egbona said “I have always known that the needless legal journey was going to end in my favour because I defeated John Ifere fair and square. It is a big relief, but it is painful that he distracted me and caused me to spend so much on a case that was not necessary.
“I have forgiven John Ifere, though. I will not hold it against him. At least he has satisfied himself and he now knows that we not mates. Abi/Yakurr people love me and gave me their votes. He wasted his time and resources. Now, he may wish to approach to Supreme Court or even the lawn tennis court, since he is looking for how to waste his money.”