By Ifeoma Ofurum
Chief Mike Ahamba, the lead counsel of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate in Imo State in the 2015 general elections, is confident that his client would occupy the Government House in Owerri, despite their loss of the case at the tribunal on technical grounds.
Ahamba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) who spoke to Christian Voice, recently wondered why his petition, which he said had gone so far, could be tagged abandoned and struck off on those grounds.
According to him, the petition was filed within time and motions from the two parties were responded to and argued.
“My mission is to have Ihedioha delivered. I intend to do that, God helping me, and we are not yet out”, he declared.
Hon. Ihedioha, former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, who is challenging the victory of Owelle Rochas Okorocha in the polls, had his petition struck off at the tribunal.
Chief Ahamba, who indicated that he would be settled in the court of appeal, explained that in election petition matters, after the parties have filed their matters, what follows is a pre-hearing section which is ignited by a letter or a motion from the petitioner.
He added that the petitioner, according to Supreme Court directives, could do it orally.
The legal luminary maintained that the petition was filed within time but pointed out that they got information that money should be paid, which they paid at the tribunal.
“It was this payment that they said we did not do within time,” he said, adding: “Anyway, we will be going to the court of appeal any moment from now and we will ask them how a case in which the pre-hearing section had been concluded and adjourned for report was abandoned and hence struck out”.
He said that his party had called for and received the certified copies of all the documents needed for the case before the petition was filed.
These documents, he said, were the same documents used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare Okorocha winner, adding that the documents were his evidence and, “it was this move that delayed our going to the tribunal”.
INEC, he said, knew it and could not file any defense but rather looked for technicalities to prevent hearing.
“I believe in the case and I intend to pursue it and I won’t give up until the court has told me that Ihedioha has no case. Of course, nobody can tell me that, because my evidence is overwhelming,” he said.
Ahamba restated his allegation that Gov. Okorocha threatened his life, first at the burial of Hon. Justice Mary Odili’s mother on June 13, 2015 and again when he had a meeting with traditional rulers in Mbaise.
He threatened to sue Gov. Okorocha’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, who, he said, insulted him while reacting to his allegations on behalf of the governor.
Chief Ahamba, popularly known to be the lone voice of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in the second Republic Imo State House of Assembly, advised the PDP to choose their “first eleven” in their coming congress if they must bounce back to power.
This, he said, will not happen if money becomes the deciding factor.
On the present administration in the state, Ahamba regretted its reckless spending, noting that he had warned in 2012 that if that continued, government would find it difficult to pay salaries at a point, which has now happened.
“I told Imo people that they don’t Rochas, they did not believe me. I pray it stops at salaries. By the grace of God, Ihedioha will take over Government House. Owelle should be fair and return all money he took away,” he said.