Joe Igbokwe apologises to Supreme Court over ‘compromised’ comments

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A leader of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), Joe Igbokwe, has apologised after saying that the Supreme Court was “compromised” in the 2015 Rivers state governorship election case.

Mr Igbokwe, who is the Lagos APC publicity secretary and chairman of the Lagos State Wharf Landing Fee Collecting Authority, made a post on Facebook, Monday, suggesting that the Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike, had bribed the justices of the apex court to secure legal victory against the APC over the 2015 Rivers state governorship election.

“Wike will not have the audacity and temerity to kill again in Rivers State and run to Supreme Court to buy justice. It will never happen again where Buhari is the President,” he said on the social media site.

The Rivers State government, in its response to the allegation, gave Mr Igbokwe seven days to name the Supreme Court justices that Governor Wike allegedly bribed or be ready to face the consequences.

Four days after, the APC chieftain retracted his statement and also apologised for it.

“Please let it be known and it is hereby made known that I have withdrawn the post I did few days ago on Facebook suggesting that The Apex Court compromised on matters concerning 2015 Rivers State Governorship elections.

“It was not a calculated attempt to cast aspersions, demean and disparage the entire Bar and the Bench which I hold to the highest esteem. I am too small and too insignificant to do this.

“It was a mistake and I take responsibility for my action. It was a personal opinion. This is to tender an unconditional and unreserved apology to all those felt offended by my post and a promise to avoid such drivel in future. To err is human!” Mr Igbokwe posted on Facebook, Friday morning.

When PREMIUM TIMES contacted him, Mr Igbokwe said he did not want to speak much on the issue. “To err is human,” he said.

The Rivers state government has, however, rejected Mr Igbokwe’s apology.

“He accused Governor Wike of committing a crime of murder and after doing that, he said, he would run to Supreme Court, so let him tender a proper apology. Once he tenders a proper apology, the Rivers state government will know what to do,” the Commissioner for Information in Rivers state, Emma Okah, told PREMIUM TIMES.

The 2015 Rivers governorship election was one of the most fiercely contested in Nigeria that year.

Apart from the election being tainted by violence and ballot-stealing, the election tribunal and the appeal court had ruled against Mr Wike’s election.

His challenger was Dakuku Peterside, the candidate of the APC.

Mr Wike later secured victory at the Supreme Court which ruled in January 2016 that he was the validly elected governor of the state.

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Samson Gbenga Salau [Editorial Board Adviser] Gbenga Samuel Salau is a professional journalist with over 17 years experience in journalism, he is a graduate of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan. On completion of his youth service, he joined The Guardian as a freelance journalist and was later absorbed as a staff. While in the University, he was a campus journalist reporting for the Independence Hall and Faculty of Arts Press Clubs. As a campus journalist, he won the following awards; Independence Hall Press Best News writer; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best News Reporter/Writer; First Runner-up, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism; Association of Faculty of Arts Students’ Press Best Reporter; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Political Writer; Winner, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism, and University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Interviewer. He served the Association of Communication and Language Arts Students, as the Public Relation Officer, the same year he was appointed the News Editor of the Association of Faculty of Arts Students Press. The following session, he was made the General Editor, and a member of the 13-man University of Ibadan Students’ Union Transition Committee. As a reporter in The Guardian, in 2014, he won the Promasidor Quill Award Best Report on Nutrition and DAME Business Reporting category. In the 2015 edition of the Promasidor Quill Award, he won the best Report on Nutrition and Brand Advocate Categories, while in 2016, he won the NMMA Print Journalist of the Year, first runner-up Golden Pen Reporter of the Year and SERAs CSR Awards. Gbenga Salau loves traveling, reading, and listening to songs with good lyrics no matter the genre.