The Akwa Ibom chapter of the Young Progressives Party has become a dome of melodrama, where celebrations are faked to smack acceptability or popularity.
Senator Bassey Albert was convicted and sentenced to 42 years in prison, but granted bail pending his appeal, by the vacation Federal High Court, on health grounds.
So celebrating of bail when the conviction is still on is like celebrating the birth of a dead child .
Once a person is convicted, bail cannot be granted as a matter of course or as of right. It can only be granted on special and exceptional circumstance(s) as it was in this case. See Jamal v. State (1996)
This kind of bail is always established when ill-health afflicting the convict cannot be treated by the prison authority or if it is an infectious disease that may be hazardous to other inmates and/ or prison officials especially if there are no quarantine facilities within the prison with which the authorities can deploy to contain it, may also be considered as grounds for bail by the court.
Kindly note that a mere allegation of ill-health does not entitle an applicant to be granted bail, unless such ill-health is so compelling that a refusal of same may lead to death or be hazardous to others.
Before they approached the court sitting in Port Harcourt, we learnt that he was rushed to University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Uyo.
This was why the bail was granted, but he is still a convict and without any known legal right to be a candidate in any election in Nigeria.
So, what should be more important to the leaf party should be getting the conviction tag that is hanging on his neck like a dog medal removed, because without setting aside that conviction, Sen Bassey Albert is not eligible to be voted for.
The Nigerian 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, section 137, states that “No person shall be qualified for the elections as a President or Governor if within a period of less than ten years before the date of an election to the Governorship or Presidential election, he has been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty, or he has been found guilty of a contravention of the Code of Conduct law.
So taking a few miscreants that were not up to five thousand people across uyo city, molesting people on the streets, shattering windscreens of cars of people that they saw Pastor Umo Eno’s campaign stickers on , was one event that would have been avoided.
I was driving through Oron Road currently, when over four of the miscreants tried to removed a poster from the back of a Keke rider, and the occupant resisted them, they used the leaves in their hands to beat the keke rider.
If not for the intervention of some individuals still in their team who came to stop them , no one knows what would have happened there.
This is the major reason, a lot of Akwa Ibom people reject the candidature of Bassey Albert, the fear of the return of violent crimes to the State, like kidnapping, assassination and cult wars.
Sen Bassey Albert’s grandstanding with his hooligans across the streets of Uyo, is a clear violation of his bail terms and conditions, and the court may have to revoke her earlier decision if what they did is brought to the notice of the Vacation Appeal Court.
Post-conviction bail is defined as the temporary release of a convict or an appellant after the conclusion of a trial and pending the determination of an appeal. Because of the nature of this bail involving a convict who has been sentenced by a court of competent jurisdiction, the Court rarely grants post-conviction bail unless in the exceptional circumstances like life-threatening health condition, but strict rules are always attached.
The terms and conditions of post conviction bail on ill health grounds are:
(a) The convict should not be seen in public, being part of any straineous event.
(b) He or She should be seen more at the medical facility and/or his home.
So, Sen Bassey Albert conducting a rally on the day he was released violated his bail condition outrightly and the bail should be voided by a lawful court.
The worrisome trend projected by members of YPP, is celebrating the bail as if the conviction has been set aside. It is important at this stage to educate the very ignorant YPP members that the bail granted their convicted Principal does not invalidate his conviction and by the Nigeria 1999 constitution he would not be presented or allowed to be voted for.
I see a total loss of senses and the crumbling of moral values within the fabric of YPP as they came out to project fake celebrations in their bid to continue to mislead Akwa Ibom people that Sen Bassey Albert is still a Candidate in the forthcoming 2023 Akwa Ibom Gubernatorial elections.
Whereas his candidacy had been indirectly voided from the day he was convicted and sentenced, without that judgement being set aside, or he is acquitted by the Appeal Court of any wrongdoing , he cannot be part of that electioneering process.
In cases involving bail pending the determination of an appeal, bail is not granted to the applicant who has already been convicted and sentenced as a matter of course. The presumption of innocence no longer exists, and the applicant must show special or exceptional circumstances to be entitled to bail pending appeal.
A person who has not been found guilty of an offence is prima facie entitled to his liberty whereas once he is convicted by a competent court, he is prima facie deprived of the right to liberty.
So, in whatever fact(s) of his health crises that his legal counsels presented in court to get him bailed, he should respect the terms and conditions of the bail.
Bassey Albert should not use that opportunity to hire hooligans to walk the streets of Akwa Ibom State and molest innocent citizens
YPP should be organizing prayers, begging God to grant Bassey Albert leniency so that the years of conviction can be reduced or he is acquitted of any wrongdoing.
But as it stands today, Sen Bassey Albert is no more a candidate in the forthcoming election, pending the outcome of Appeal.
Nichols is a Politician and and an aspiring Lawmaker, writes from Uyo