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Itsekiri Slams INEC On Warri Constituency Review, Accuses Electoral Umpire Of Unfair Treatment On Earlier Court Judgments



Itsekiri leaders have vehemently objected to the planned delineation and review of the Warri Federal Constituency by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), accusing INEC of selective justice, disrespect for earlier court judgments, marginalization, as well as discrimination, and oppression.

This was contained in a press conference statement held in Warri, Delta State, on April 19, which was made available to newsmen on Saturday.

The leaders including including Ojoye Oma Eyewuoma, Ojoye Johnson Amatserunleghe, Ojoye Gabriel Awala, Ojoye Anthony Onuwaje, Ojoye Brown Mene, and Ojoye Robinson Ariyo, had highlighted a 2022 Supreme Court judgment that ordered the review of Wards in the Warri Federal Constituency.

They contended that the judgment was based on constitutional provisions, which mandate INEC to review state constituencies every 10 years.


However, they criticized INEC for responding hastily and inadequately to the judgment, failing to comply with earlier court orders of which Itsekiris are judgement creditors.

They contended that despite multiple court orders and judgments, INEC has failed to obey and continues to conduct elections using the illegal ward structure, saying that the people of Itsekiri, who are the judgment creditors, have been patient in their pursuit of justice through legal means.

A major point of contention is the ward structure in Warri South Constituencies 1 & 2.


The leaders accused INEC of maintaining the illegal ward structure for over two decades, despite court rulings declaring it unconstitutional.

Specifically, they frown that INEC had not complied with previous court judgments ordering the removal of an illegal ward structure that had been in place for over two decades.

They referred to various legal proceedings and judgments dating back to 1997 that instructed INEC to adhere to the original 10-ward structure, but the commission has failed to do so.


The statement signed by Robinson Ariyo, Eqs., reads; “By virtue of the applicable statute, Decree No. 51, published in the Gazette, of 1992, a copy of which we humbly attach herewith and mark as Annexure “AR1”, the number and structure of the Wards that constitute the sphere now known as Warri South Constituencies 1 & 2 was, remained and should remain the 10 Wards of 1. Ode-Itsekiri, 2. Ubeji, 3. Obodo, 4. Okere, 5. Bowen, 6. Pessu, 7 Avenue, 8. Esisi, 9. Ekurede and 10. Igbudu electoral Wards.

“Sometime in 1996, a very malignant gerrymandering exercise was carried out by a section of the then electoral body resulting in the restructuring of the Warri South Constituencies 1 & 2 from 10 to 12 Wards in number with a politically obscure structure in violent breach of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. As we shall presently see, despite the fact that INEC has been ordered to jettison this illegal Ward structure and number in various court judgments and rulings, it has not done so even till today”.

They averred that there was no legal basis for the 12-ward structure used by INEC in Warri South Constituencies for the past 21 years adding that the Itsekiri people have exhausted various legal avenues, including election tribunal cases and pre-election cases, but INEC has consistently ignored court judgments and orders.


“It is true that the Supreme Court has ordered the re-delineation of Wards in Warri Federal Constituency. A careful perusal of the judgment would reveal that the Supreme Court essentially only gave effect to the provisions of Section 114 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended. In other words, it simply posed and answered 2 (two) questions;
What is the period of time within which INEC should review state constituencies?

Additionally, the leaders accused INEC of manipulating stakeholder meetings and disregarding their fundamental rights.

They pointed out discrepancies in meeting minutes and highlighted INEC’s failure to address long-standing legal issues.


Despite INEC’s repeated promises to comply with court orders, the leaders expressed disappointment in the commission’s lack of follow-through.

“Sadly, more than 20 years later INEC is yet to do the needful! Who knows why? We verily hope that as members of the fourth estate of the realm, you will assist us with engaging for the answer because notwithstanding the above judicial decisions and more we shall presently refer to, no stakeholders meeting has ever been called. This is the only time a stakeholders meeting has been called to execute a judgment. It is in our opinion not only discriminatory within the meaning and intents of Human Rights statutes but also very suspicious and confidence draining.

“The above situation is despite the fact that there has never been at any material time, a Stay of execution of that judgment at all not even an application for stay”.


The leaders also criticized INEC’s decision to single out Warri for review, ignoring the presence of Itsekiri people in other areas.

They argued that this approach was unjust and violated constitutional obligations for nationwide constituency delimitation.

However, the Itsekiri leaders called on INEC to dismantle the illegal ward structure and ensure a fair and transparent review process.


“It must be mentioned that “fresh” as used in the judgment is within the meaning of Section 114 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended. Hence, the Supreme Court did not nullify the structures that were existing before. Besides, there is no constitutional provision for such. The Supreme Court throughout the judgment alluded to that which INEC has the constitutional duty to perform and nothing more.

“In this regard therefore, we humbly urge INEC to first dismantle the illegal structure in order to begin the process of executing the modernised structure as Lord Denning in Macfoy V UAC puts it; “You cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stay there. It will collapse”

They warned that further legal action may be taken if INEC does not address their concerns adequately.


In response to INEC’s failure to comply, they hinted that they have initiated committal proceedings to hold senior INEC officials accountable, stressing the need for INEC to dismantle the illegal ward structure and begin the process of implementing a modernized and lawful structure.

BIGPEN NIGERIA (https;// reported that INEC had after an enlarged March 22, 2024, stakeholders meeting in Asaba, the state capital, attended the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Emomotimi Guwor as well as member of the House of Representative, Warri Federal Constituency, Hon. Thomas Ereyitomi, INEC representatives and officials such as the supervising Hon. National Commissioner for Akwa Ibom, Delta, and Edo States, Prof Rhoda Gumus as well as the Delta State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Sir Etekamba Udo Umoren, came out with a seven-point resolution in preparation for the implementation of the Supreme Court order on delineation of Warri Federal Constituency.

Resolutions reached at the meeting included; conducting the delineation exercise in accordance with the Supreme Court judgment, guidelines, Electoral Act 2022, and the 1999 Constitution (as amended).


The meeting had agreed that representatives of the different ethnic nationalities were also requested to submit written documents on their areas of settlement to INEC within one month.

Additionally, the traditional rulers of the three ethnic groups were tasked with sensitizing their subjects about the upcoming delineation exercise as well as gave assurance to guarantee the safety and wellbeing of INEC officials that would be deployed to their areas for ground trotting and delineation exercise.

The stakeholders had assured INEC of their support and cooperation during the fieldwork.


INEC had also promised to communicate the commencement date of the fieldwork and any other relevant developments through the designated contact person.

BIGPEN NIGERIA (https;// recalls that the Supreme Court had in December 2022, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh delineation of electoral wards and units in Warri South West, Warri South and Warri North LGAs of Delta State.

The development stemmed from an appeal filed by Hon. George Timinimi and nine others against INEC in the appeal marked SC/413/2016.


The appeal followed the judgement of the Federal High Court, Asaba on March 28, 2011 dismissing the suit brought by Timinimi against INEC for themselves and on behalf of the Ijaws of Warri Federal Constituency of Delta State.

The dismissal was upheld by the Court of Appeal in Benin, which forced Taminimi’s counsel, Eric Omare Esq, to approach the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court in the lead judgment delivered by Justice Uwani Musa Abba-Aji, relied on Section 22 of the Supreme Court Act to direct the fresh delineation, overturning the previous decisions of the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal.

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