Chiemeka ADINDU, Calabar
Even when the highest court in the land has thrown away his appeal and ruled that the decision of the appeal court which removed him as senator was in order, Dr. Steven Odey is not ready to surrender.
Odey says he still remains the senator representing Cross River North. He said the Supreme Court does not have the jurisdiction to sack him, stating that the matter is at the election petition tribunal.
In an interview with TNN over the telephone, Odey said the Supreme Court never gave any pronouncement that he should vacate the seat for Jarigbe. He said what the Supreme Court said was different from what was being reported by newsmen.
He even faulted TNN for not getting a clarification from him before going ahead to make an initial publication that he has been sacked by the apex court.
“How will you get clarification when you have already published that the Supreme Court sacked me? Why will you people post that kind of thing? Were you in court? You people want to do stories that will sell your papers. I’m ashamed; did the Supreme Court make any pronouncement about my seat? They raised an issue of preliminary objection on improper service. No where the Supreme Court said, vacate your seat or your seat has been invalidated. You will be surprised to see me sitting on Tuesday and you will drop your publication.
“How can TNN, I’ve been in a relationship with TNN from the time I was in SUBEB. You will always want to write the wrong story to mislead the public, why will you do that kind of thing? Did the Supreme Court make any pronouncement about my seat? I’m a lawyer, what does this flashy news do for you people? You write a wrong story, tomorrow when the truth comes out you bury your head in shame. I appealed to the Supreme Court that look, that I am the sitting senator.
“They did a matter in FCT high court and court of appeal without joining me and they granted me an order to appeal as an interested party. I only appealed as an interested party because I am the sitting senator. Alaga and John that went to court did not join me and the PDP; have you ever seen where somebody says he ran election without the party nominating you? And you people just write story based on sentiment or whatever they give to you, you go and publish, it’s a shame.
“The implication of what happened yesterday is that they only ruled on preliminary objection, they didn’t go into the merit of the appeal. They did not say Dr. Odey should be removed and Jarigbe should be sworn in. The Supreme Court has not taken any decision like that.
“ I still sit as a senator. You know after the election the only court that can remove me is the election petition tribunal if they say I did not win the election. That was why they cleverly didn’t go to that side; that was why they refused to listen to Joe Agi’s case because Joe Agi was not a party; he’s not a member of the PDP.
“The case is still on-going at the tribunal, me and Joe Agi and those of us that ran election; did Jarigbe fill the nomination form for election? Did Jarigbe campaign? Was Jarigbe declared the winner by INEC? These things are common sense; even if you don’t have the documents you ask questions, I can give you.
“ I was declared the winner by INEC and people are saying I’ve been removed, how? By section 125, sub section 13 of the constitution, if you don’t run election, if you don’t campaign, if you don’t stand for election can they declare you the winner; that is why the Supreme Court did not make any statement because they don’t even have the jurisdiction to talk about that thing because it is a pre-election matter.
“Okay assuming without conceding, if the Supreme Court says okay Jarigbe you’re the candidate of the party, if you are a candidate of a party and you did not stand for the election and contested and followed the procedure to the end can you say you are a winner of the election? I’m talking to you as a lawyer, the Supreme Court never said Dr. Odey you’ve been sacked.
“Why I went to the Supreme Court is that I said look, I am the senator that has won election and have been sworn in by the senate president. People are fighting for my seat and I’m not joined, that is why I went to court.
“I didn’t go to challenge Jarigbe, I am the candidate he’s not, that’s not why I went to court. I said these two people that are fighting here over my seat why am I not a party to the suit; that was the reason why I went to Supreme Court and they didn’t look at the matter, and they said okay this your case you did not serve them well; that is the only thing they said yesterday so we will not hear your appeal. And that does not invalidate my seat because they did not make any order to say your seat has been invalidated. I’m not doing propaganda like Jarigbe does; I’m too refined for that.”