Victor Ovie-Whiskey

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Victor Erereko Ovie-Whiskey was a Nigerian jurist who served as a Chief Judge of the Benin High Court in the late 1970s and later as the chairman of the Federal Electoral Commission from 1980-1983.

Life

Ovie-Whiskey was born in Ikiwewu Agbarho, Delta State. He was educated at Government School, Warri and King's College, Lagos, while at King's College, he was involved in leading a boarders strike at the school in 1944. (1) He later went to the School of Agriculture, Moor Plantation, Ibadan, the Yaba Higher College, and was one of the early students of the University College, Ibadan. He also studied at the University of London and was called to the bar in 1952 at Middle Temple, London.

In 1945, he worked as a clerk in the Marine Dept and briefly served as a teacher at Western Boys High School, Benin and Hussey College, Warri. After completing his law education in 1954, he was a practicing lawyer thereafter until 1960 when he became a magistrate in the Western region; with the creation of the Mid-West region in 1963, he was appointed the chief magistrate of the new state and later acted as commissioner of Customary Courts in 1965. He was later an High Court judge and served as the chief judge of the old Bendel State before his appointment as the chairman of the Federal Electoral Commission. It was his capacity as chairman of FEDECO that his name became nationally known and later infamously known as the umpire of the controversial elections of 1983. His appointment in 1980 made him the head of the electoral commission assigned to conduct with efficiency and minimal corruption a civilian led election in 1983 especially in a nation notable for political personalities flinging wild charges of electoral malpractices at various opponents sometimes resulting in intimidation and violence. However, the conduct of the 1983 election left little change in electoral conducts as opponents of the ruling National Party of Nigeria decried the 'moonslide' results for the NPN as rigged and during the course of the registration of voters, the commission was trailed with criticism of its lack of efficiency in conducting the voters registration and of bias in favoring the executive arm of the government. Ovie Whiskey later challenged the Nigerian politicians as the major cause of electoral malpractice and as such were always looking for a way to circumvent the electoral commission. Later in his defense, he alleged that there had been worse elections conducted in the country since the 1983 elections.



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