Election Violence: Court Rules Against Okon Tom Osung
… as former chairman quietly defects to PDP
The State High Court sitting in Oron has ordered a former Chairman of Urueoffong/Oruko Local Government Council in Akwa Ibom State, Hon. Okon Tom Osung to submit himself to Police investigation over allegations of assault, violence and destruction of ballot papers made against him by Evang. Victor Effiong Udoboho who was the All Progressives Congress (APC) Agent at Village Hall, Eyoekpifie in Ward 7 during the gubernatorial and state house of assembly election held on March 9, 2019.
The Respondent, Evang. Victor Efiong Udoboho had lodged a complaint with the Nigerian Police, Oron Area Command against Hon. Osung, alleging that he (Okon Tom Osung) had ordered thugs working for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to molest him and tear off the votes cast in favour of the APC state house of assembly candidate, Omen Bassey, Esq.
According to the 1st Respondent (Victor Udoboho), he lost his Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC), ATM Cards and other valuables during the ensuing fracas. The Urue Offong/Oruko Police Area Command had arrested, detained and later released Hon. Osung on bail.
Our Reporter learnt that prior to his interview with the Area Commander, Osung had retained the services of Barr. E. D. Ukoh who approached the State High Court seeking the enforcement of his Fundamental Human Rights.
The application for injunction filed by his lawyer also sought a declaration that the threat of the 2nd and 3rd Respondents to arrest him was wrongful, illegal, unconstitutional, and amounts to illegal and excessive exercise of power.
It contained an order of injunction to restrain the Respondents by themselves, agents, servants or privies from arresting, threatening to arrest, harassing or molesting the Applicant (Osung) over the ‘unfounded’ claims of the 1st Respondent (Victor Udoboho).
While praying the Court to slam a fine of one million naira (#1,000,000.00) as damages against the 1st Respondent for harassment, molestation and threats directed at him (Osung), the application further appealed that the Court may issue such further orders or remedies that it deems necessary in furtherance of the security of the fundamental rights of the Applicant.
After listening to, and considering the arguments of Lawyers to both the Applicant and Respondents, the Court, presided over by Hon. Justice Theresa Obot, threw out the application and awarded a cost of ten thousand naira (#10,000.00) against the Applicant (Osung) for filing a frivolous and incompetent application.
Further findings reveal that Hon. Osung, a supposed Chieftain of the APC allegedly assaulted his party’s agent, tore his party’s votes and teamed up with a rival political party, against the interest of his party.
We learnt that Hon. Okon Tom Osung who contested and lost the State House of Assembly ticket to Barr. Omen Bassey, alongside his benefactor, Engr. Benedict Ukpong, openly supported Hon. Asuquo Archibong and Hon. Nse Ekpenyong both of the PDP for Urueoffong/Oruko State Constituency and Oron Federal Constituency seats, respectively.
Another source told our Reporter that Okon Tom Osung had on the date of the Presidential and National Assembly election, removed votes cast in favour of Hon. Victor Antai from the ballot box in his Unit and tore them to pieces.
The source added that a repeat of the act of tearing APC votes on March 9, 2019 and attempts by the APC agent, Evang. Victor Udoboho to resist him drew his ire as the former council chairman ordered thugs working for the PDP to unleash mayhem on him and other APC supporters at the Unit, while he used that opportunity to allocate votes as he deemed necessary.
A visit to his timeline on Facebook reveals that Osung had clearly worked for the election of President Muhammadu Buhari, Senator Nelson Effiong and Mr Nsima Ekere as Governor of Akwa Ibom State. It shows that he fought against the victory of both Mr Victor Antai and that of Omen Bassey.
Posts done by both Ulo Williamz and Gentility Edet on February 23 and 24 respectively explained how Osung in the presidential and national assembly election of Saturday, February 16, secured victory for the APC in the presidential and senatorial posts, while losing in the house of representatives election.
The scenario repeated in the election of March 9, where a Facebook post by Gentility Edet announced APC’s victory for the governorship post in Osung’s unit in variance to the victory of the PDP in the state house of assembly election, which was not attached on the post.
Meanwhile, some chieftains of the PDP were honest to informed our Reporter that after the last election, Hon. Okon Tom Osung quietly returned to the PDP with his supporters, many of whom were Chapter and Ward officials of the APC in Urueoffong/Oruko Local Government Area.
It could be recalled that Osung and his supporters were featured prominently during the swearing in of both Governor Udom Emmanuel and Hon. Asuquo Archibong.
A Source who is a member of the APC said the problem of APC in the area started when Chief Windy Isong in total disregard for an earlier agreement reached by stakeholders of the area, took undue advantage of the last congresses of the party to substitute loyal and long standing officials of the party with PDP members introduced by Okon Tom Osung.
He noted that this development caused serious disaffection within the party during the election as old members felt short changed.
According to him, the party lost out when the new set of Ward and Chapter officials joined their master, Hon. Okon Tom Osung to work against the APC in the last election.