The buildup to the 2023 General elections in Akwa Ibom State has switched from intriguing to a state of confusion with the purported conviction notice to the Governorship candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party – PDP, Pastor Umo Eno.
As first reported by THE CABLE, a Magistrate court sitting in Wuse zone 6, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), had found Pst. Eno guilty of charges related to cheating and dishonesty and so ordered his arrest on December 23.
In his ruling, is said to have issued the warrant after convicting the governorship candidate on charges bordering on “cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property”.
The conviction, by Emmanuel Iyanna, a senior magistrate, according to the report, followed the defendant’s failure to attend proceedings hence the trial was conducted in his absence, leading to his conviction.
Immediately the after news broke in the state, Pst. Eno and his campaign organization denied knowledge of the existence of the said case or even notice of the conviction warrant days after the said ruling.
The case has taken a new turn with reports that a warrant of arrest has been served on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) who is now expected to effect the arrest.
The complainant in the suit marked CR/94/2022 is one Edet Godwin Etim whose identity remained masked as at the time of this report.
The warrant is said to have been served on the IGP via the Commissioner of Police (Legal).
The purported conviction, if proven true will throw the race to the Hiltop mansion in 2023 into further confusion as the main opposition candidate, Senator Bassey Albert of the Young Progressives Party – YPP in December 2022 bagged a 42-years sentence for corruption related charges.
At the time of this report, the PDP Governorship Candidate is unperturbed by news of his conviction and has continued his campaign tour, Eastern Obolo Local Government Area being the latest to host the Umo Eno/Akon Eyakenyi campaign organization in Akwa Ibom State.
On the legal implication of the purported conviction, a legal practitioner, Barr. Emmanuel Joe explained that the PDP and its candidate cannot afford to wave away news of the conviction and warrant of arrest notice as it could lead to Eno’s disqualification from the race.
“If you play with stories like this in the thick of the election season then you’re waiting for painful drama,” Barr. Emmanuel said.
Pst. Umo Eno must through his legal team seek clarification concerning the case “to understand the next step of action to take. If it’s true that he is convicted, then an appeal should be filed like in the case of Sen. Bassey Albert of the YPP who secured bail at the Appeal Court and is qualified to contest the 2023 Governorship election, ” he concluded.