Umo Eno’s mounting legal troubles in Abuja have not only exposed him as a dishonest fellow, but have also brought unexpected headaches to Gov. Udom Emmanuel, his major backer. The governor is so worried at the turn of events that he is weighing his options as elections loom.
Number One: The Court of Appeal will next week give judgement in the appeal filed by Akan Okon, challenging the judgment of the Federal High Court, Uyo. Umo Eno’s Team is deeply worried because the Appeal Court had declined to accept his lawyers’ briefs as they were filed out of time. That’s a major setback for the PDP candidate, so much so that his lawyers have rushed to the Supreme Court, requesting the apex court to dismiss the ruling of the Appeal Court not to accept the lawyers’ briefs.
But nobody knows when the Supreme Court will decide on that. For now, we are eagerly awaiting the judgement of the Appeal Court, presided over by its President, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, on whether the certificates Umo Eno presented to INEC were forged.
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Number Two: The conviction of Mr. Umo Eno by the Magistrate Court in Abuja on December 20, and the Warrant of Arrest issued by the Court to the Inspector General of Police against the PDP candidate on December 23, are more serious than what the PDP is willing to admit in public. The humiliation of Umo Eno by the Warrant of Arrest is so odious that his supporters had to issue a forged document purportedly indicating that the Warrant had been vacated. It has not. His supporters had also been mounting a serious campaign to discredit the Magistrate and the conviction. These do not amount to much unless the conviction is quashed by a superior court.
Umo Eno’s lawyers had filed for the vacation of the Warrant, but it has not yet been vacated. Second, as at this morning, his lawyers are battling to file an Appeal at the FCT High Court to upturn his conviction by the Magistrate Court. It will take months for the High Court to adjudicate on the Appeal, and this means that Umo Eno will go into this election as a convicted felon. Simple! The implication of that is well established by the Constitution.
And this is why Gov. Udom Emmanuel is so deeply worried that he is actually weighing his options, according to well-placed sources I spoke with. Number one, Udom Emmanuel is embarrassed that the person he once presented to Akwa Ibom people as God-sent is, in actual fact, a dubious person. Godwin Edet Etim’s case against Umo Eno at the Magistrate Court clearly spells out how dishonest and deceitful the PDP candidate is, and it is even more revealing since this Godwin Etim was once Eno’s worker. The governor is aware that a convict may stand an election, but would never be sworn into office. As I understand, Udom Emmanuel is only waiting for the judgment of the Court of Appeal next week before he makes his final move.
For now, Team Umo Eno’s strategy is to rubbish the judgment of the Magistrate Court and the Magistrate himself through syndicated news stories planted in newspapers and social media platforms. But one thing is clear. No matter how ‘’bad’’ a court judgement may appear to you, if it is not upturned by a superior Court, the judgement is binding on you. For now, Umo Eno is a convict!