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The many battles of Yari

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The many battles of Yari

Abdulaziz Yari, the immediate past governor of Zamfara State has continued to occupy the media space since he left office on May 29, unfortunately, not for good. ONYEKACHI EZE examines the genesis of the ex-governor’s problem

 

Former Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari, is fighting the political battle of his life. Unlike some of his former colleagues like Umaru Al-makura (Nasarawa) and Kashim Shettima (Imo), who have retired quietly to the National Assembly as senators, Yari has hordes of officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) trailing his movement.
Though he won a seat in the Senate, Yari lost it as a result of the Supreme Court judgement that nullified the primary elections that produced him and other candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State on the ground that it ran foul of the Electoral Act.
Consequently, all Yari and other APC candidates, who swept all electoral offices in Zamfara State at the last elections, were painfully made to yield their positions to the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who were the runners up in the polls. Since then, the former governor has known no peace.
The forces against him seem to be multiplying. Apart from the EFCC, his own party, the APC appears to have risen against him for the role he played in the loss of Zamfara State to the rival PDP.
On August 4 this year, EFCC operatives raided the Talata-Mafara residence of the former governor in Zamfara State, over what the agency claimed as allegations of economic and financial crimes against Yari.
Tony Orilade, acting spokesman of the commission, said the raid was in connection with ongoing investigation. “What we fight is economic and financial crimes. Whatever allegations we have should be centred around economic and financial crimes,” he explained.
There was also alleged plot by the EFCC and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to seize his assets and freeze his accounts by invoking Executive Order 6. Already, his property in Maitama area of Abuja has been marked and sealed by the anti-graft agency. However, Yari has gone to court to stop the commission.
His lawyer, Mamud Magaji (SAN), has asked Justice Evelyn Maha of Abuja Federal High Court to invoke the powers of the court to direct the EFCC to remove the red inscription pasted in Yari’s house. “We urge your lordship to direct parties to maintain status quo pending the determination of the suit,” Magaji further pleaded.
But the AGF, in a counter affidavit, urged the court to reject the order, because granting it would amount to encouraging corruption. “If this court grants the relief of the applicant, the doors of corruption will thrive and consequently put the corporate existence of Nigeria in jeopardy,” he argued.
The case is still pending before the court, but Justice Maha has directed parties to the case to exercise restraint and refrain from taking steps that would impede the administration of justice as it relates to the suit.
Yari, no doubt, has stepped on some powerful toes and those concerned are determined to even scores.
As Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), a bipartisan umbrella body of the 36 Nigerian state governors, the former Zamfara State governor did not enjoy a cozy relationship with the EFCC.
During the four-year period he ran the affairs of the body, Yari negotiated a number of bailouts from the Federal Government for his colleagues, including the $86.5 million London-Paris Club loan refunds to the governors.
The utilisation of these funds by the governors brought them into confrontation with the anti-corruption agency.
But, Yari, then defended them. According to him, project cost differs from state to state because of their different geographical terrain.
His words: “A project that is done in Rivers for N2 million, in Zamfara, it will be about N150, 000. You cannot say the price of things in Rivers should be the same in Zamfara or somewhere else. The terrain is entirely different, so is the cost and risk, which should be taken into consideration. I believe EFCC does not have its own engineers to quantify to know what is exactly on ground.”
Despite Yari’s explanation, the commission is more concerned by the $3 million, which it alleged, the former governor diverted from the London-Paris Club loan refund to build a 100-room hotel in Lekki area of Lagos State. This hotel, the EFCC stated, has already been marked as “proceed of corruption.”
The anti-corruption agency had in 2017, accused Yari of illegally diverting N19 billion of the loan meant for “consultants” from the London-Paris Club refund. According to an EFCC source, “the cash was paid into the forum’s domiciliary account with a new generation bank.”
The source added: “This development has justified the earlier peg of our investigation that the part of the London-Paris Club loan refunds was paid into two accounts of the NGF. Operatives are tracking how the $86.5m was used and for what purpose. We want to know whether the affected financial and legal consultants exist or not.”
The anti-corruption agency further alleged that the former Zamfara governor diverted N500 million from the N19 billion meant for payment of “consultants” to pay for the loan he obtained from a mortgage bank. Yari was also said to had borrowed N800 million from a mortgage bank in 2013 to purchase properties, and was able to renegotiate down his debt from N800 million to N500 million.
But, Yari has not only absolved himself of the allegations, he accused the EFCC of witch-hunt and pursuing personal vendetta in the fight against corruption. The former governor told journalists that the EFCC, most times, act on petitions sent to it without conducting proper investigation.
His words: “You can’t just because somebody wrote a petition, then, you say you are working on it without doing your own due diligent investigation,” he said.
In a statement by Abulrazaque Barkindo, Head of Media and Public Affairs at the NGF Secretariat, Yari said he does not own a plot of land in Lagos and could not have built a hotel as alleged by the EFCC.
The statement read in part: “Governor Abdulaziz Yari is not building any hotel in Lagos nor were any monies stolen or embezzled from the Paris-London Club refunds to states or from any other source.
“The Nigeria Governors’ Forum is alarmed that the EFCC continues to feed the media fibs at the expense of its hard-earned reputation as the anti- graft agency that Nigerians used to respect.
“This is perhaps why the EFCC has lost most of the high-profile corruption cases at the law courts after it had unfairly stage-managed media trials and caused their victims personal pain and public umbrage.
“This report, typical of most of the exclusive leaks that are becoming characteristic of the sources that court some sections of the media, lacks detail and compelling evidence to be fit to print.
“The sources were courageous enough to mention a hotel in Lekki area of Lagos, but gave neither a street name nor any specific information on the property to give credibility to the allegations. This does no service to any investigation nor does it help the development of our country.
“Instead, EFCC should channel its energies to comprehensive, thorough and credible investigation that can stand the scrutiny of legal examination in court.
“There can be no claim to any semblance of due process when individuals are convicted on the pages of newspapers before they are arraigned only to be declared innocent at the end, all at the expense of their reputation and that of their immediate family, through such media hype.”
Perhaps, Yari’s ordeal is the first time a member of the ruling APC would be on the same page with his main opposition party (PDP) counterparts on issues concerning the EFCC.
APC’s loss of Zamfara State was an unforgivable offence and Yari was held responsible for that. His path had crossed with that of the party’s National Chairman, Adams Oshimohole, over the conduct of the party’s primaries in Zamfara State in 2018.
The APC primaries in the state was factionalised due the disagreement between the former governor and a group of aspirants locally known as the G8 and led by a former governor of the state, Aliyu Shinkafi; Senator Kabiru Marafa and then Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali. As a result of this, the party’s National Secretariat cancelled the primaries that produced Yari and other members of his faction as its candidates for the 2019 general elections.
In reaction, Yari called for a peaceful protest of APC members over the cancelled primaries, and accused the party’s National Chairman of dictatorship. The standoff that ensued continued until the period given by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the conduct of party primaries elapsed.
The commission in a letter to Oshiomhole then, said APC would not be fielding candidates for the governorship, National Assembly and state Assembly elections in Zamfara state for the 2019 for the general elections.
The commission stemmed its action on the provisions of Section 87 and 31 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
APC, however, challenged this position up to the Supreme Court, but lost out. As expected, Yari was blamed for the loss over his insistence that Muktar Idris, his then commissioner for Finance must succeed him.

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Xenophobia: Obasanjo blasts South Africa

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Xenophobia: Obasanjo blasts South Africa

…asks Nigeria, others to petition AU

 

 

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has asked countries affected by xenophobic attacks to drag South Africa before the African Union (AU) and seek appropriate redress.

Obasanjo, who stated this in his reply to a letter by the President Emeritus of Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Mangosuthu Buthelezi, accused South African authorities of complicity in the ongoing xenophobia in the country.

The IFP, founded in 1975, is one of the political parties in South Africa led by Buthelezi until this year.

The former president specifically berated the South African police of standing aloof to watch miscreants and criminals commit crimes against fellow human beings.

He argued that even if citizens of other countries commit any crime, South Africa ought to have treated them like they would treat their citizens.

The former Nigerian leader urged affected African nations to consider other measures against South Africa if the situation is allowed to continue unabated.

“If South Africa fails to initiate appropriate and satisfactory steps to deal with the issues to pacify affected victims and work for reconciliation with the countries concerned to put an end to xenophobia, the concerned countries of the victims should come together to table appropriate motions at the AU level first and consider other measures if the situation is allowed to continue,” he said.

Obasanjo recalled his liberation role in different parts of Africa, including getting rid of apartheid in South Africa.

He said it was unfortunate that the Southern African country allowed attacks against fellow citizens and practically did nothing to stop it.

In what appears to be his first reaction on the xenophobic attacks, Obasanjo submitted that it was a great disservice to the continent and the black race, for any African country to encourage or allow or not seriously sanction xenophobia against Africans.

Responding to Buthelezi’s letter dated September 11, which was made available to reporters in Abeokuta yesterday through his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, the ex-president stated that Africans living in any other part of Africa must be treated as brothers and friends.

He said there was need for “fence-mending, reconciliation and wound-binding” between South Africa and the countries whose citizens have been victims of xenophobia.

Apparently commenting on the response of Nigerian authorities, Obasanjo pointed out that repatriation of Nigerians from South Africa is obviously not a permanent solution but merely palliative.

He also said xenophobia will not give jobs to South Africans as being touted but would rather make investment in the country difficult.

He, however, advised Nigeria and South Africa to stand together to champion African cause and jointly shepherd development, unity, cooperation and progress.

Obasanjo also urged African nations to learn from the ongoing xenophobic attacks and ensure programmes that will provide livelihoods for their teeming youth population to discourage them from embarking on hazardous journeys.

His letter partly read: “The xenophobia or afrophobia going on in South Africa is an unfortunate issue for South Africa and for the whole of Africa. It is unfortunate in many respects.

“There are only two countries in Africa that have ‘Africa’ as part of their names: Central Africa Republic and Republic of South Africa.

“For any of these two countries and, I dare say, for any African country to encourage or allow or not seriously sanction xenophobia against Africans in their country, it is a great disservice not only to the country where xenophobia takes place and the countries of the victims concerned, but also a great disservice to the whole of Africa and black race.

“We, in Nigeria, if I may speak particularly for Nigeria, did all that we did for liberation in different parts of Africa, particularly in Southern Africa, including getting rid of apartheid in South Africa because we believed it was our obligatory duty to do so as Africans.

“We, as black people, believed and still believe that we would be second-class citizens in the world if we allowed any black people anywhere in the world, not to talk of Africa, to be treated as second-class citizens because of the colour of their skin without fighting against it.

“It is because of our belief in human dignity generally and especially afro dignity. We were motivated and goaded by principle and not by possession, position or praises. We were not doing it to get any reward or material benefit as such.

“We were doing it because we were convinced that it was our duty, our responsibility and our obligation to humanity and to the black race. That is why we, in Nigeria, in spite of our distance from the frontline of the struggle against colonialism in Southern Africa and apartheid in South Africa, we became, in terms of our participation, contribution, commitment and sacrifice, members of the frontline States.

“Whether that is recognised and appreciated or not, we really don’t mind as we believe we have done our duty as we ought to have done, and if occasion occurs in future where we need to open our doors, out of our humanity and Africanity, for people in similar situation of need as happened to people in Southern Africa and South Africa, we will do it again as we did in the past. 

“However, we believe that Africans living in any other part of Africa must be treated as brothers and friends. If they commit any crime, they should be treated like citizens of that country will be treated when they commit crime which will mean applying judicial process.

“Moreover, the South African police and other law enforcement agencies must uphold the letter and spirit of the Constitution of South Africa, which stipulate that, ‘The South African Police Service has a responsibility to prevent, combat and investigate crime, maintain public order, protect and secure the inhabitants of the Republic and their property, uphold and enforce the law, create a safe and secure environment for all people in South Africa, prevent anything that may threaten the safety or security of any community, investigate any crimes that threaten the safety or security of any community, ensure criminals are brought to justice and participate in efforts to address the causes of crime.’

“Where the Police would stand aloof watching miscreants and criminals committing crimes against fellow human beings is condemnable and not acceptable in any civilised society. This was experienced in South Africa in recent times and it shows either incompetence or collusion on the part of the Police.

“The best way to fight crime is to achieve close to full employment in a society and not through xenophobia. Anybody who can deny xenophobia in South Africa of today can deny that my mother is a woman. It should not be a game of denial but rather a game of accepting reality and working at it, together with the rest of Africa where necessary. 

“Countries in Africa are not just transit for drugs from sources in Latin America and Asia to consuming populations in North America and Europe, but these countries in Southern Africa and West Africa are also falling victims as consumers and producers.

“It requires collaboration of producing regions and countries working with transit regions and countries and consuming regions and countries to deal effectively with the menace of drugs as established by West Africa Commission on Drugs (WACD). 

“As it is being touted that xenophobia will give South Africans jobs, I dare say, it is fallacy. Xenophobia will make investment in South Africa a little bit more difficult which will lead to lack of job creation and loss of existing jobs.

“It should also be realised that most migrants did not migrate out of their country to other countries with total emptiness. Some have education, skills, experience, expertise, entrepreneurship and sheer guts which they can bring to bear on the economy of the country they have migrated to.

“What has helped most developed countries in the world is openness and receiving migrants with open hands and open minds. In any case, all of us in the world are migrants, no matter where we live, depending only on how far back you want to go.”

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I’m not an underdog in Bayelsa guber race –Diri

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I’m not an underdog in Bayelsa guber race –Diri

The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the forthcoming governorship election in Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, in this interview with Onwuka Nzeshi, speaks on his vision for the state   

 

What are you doing to reconcile all those who contested for the PDP governorship ticket with you to ensure there is no rancour within the party as you go into the election in November?

We’re trying our best. Even now, the process is still ongoing. We are calling them and moving to make peace with everyone. We’re also talking to their friends and brothers to ensure that we all come back together as a party.  But, you’ll agree with me that party politics in Nigeria has not been the way it is in other climes. That is why you see people crossing over to other parties with ease. We’re not there yet, but I believe that we need to consolidate on what our party has achieved in our state. We’ve gone beyond the issue of getting control of governance.

A political party has other functions, which it owes its members and these include educating members of the party and building cohesion among them. Here, we see the party as just an avenue to grab political power and that’s why it’s really difficult when you come into a contest like this, somebody is already moving to a rival party just because he lost the ticket at the primary election. You see an aggrieved person moving into not just any other party, but the main rival party that will actually give you the fight of your life.

So, to answer your question directly, we are trying our best; we’re calling them and talking to them. I’ve had discussions with a number of them and they have agreed that they are not going to any other party. They said they will sit back and work with the party to be sure that the PDP wins the governorship election in Bayelsa State. If I win the election, I’m not winning as Douye Diri, but as a member of the PDP, the party that nominated me. So, it is the PDP that is actually winning at the election.

How are you going to manage the Timi Alaibe factor, knowing that he is apparently aggrieved about the outcome of the primary and given the fact that he is a formidable force?

I just told you that I was with him for about 10 years. I also want to let you know that Alaibe and I are from the same local government, so he is my brother. That’s why I’m saying that we are not home and dry yet. We’re still talking to ourselves. We’re still approaching every contestant including him for us to see reason to come together. You know, politics is like marrying a wife or going to look for a wife to marry. Maybe it’s very easy these days, but in our own time, it could take you a whole year to woo a woman. So, we’re still in that process.

I still see him as a brother and I believe he too will see me as a brother. I don’t believe that there is any one of us, including myself, that is indispensable. But I agree with you that Alaibe is a factor. He came into the race and did very well like every other contestant. Everyone of us was in that race to win. I don’t think that anybody will like to throw away N21 million. If somebody comes in with N21 million and doesn’t win the ticket, then be rest assured that maybe the odds were not in his or her favour.

Some people believe that even if Alaibe is pacified and doesn’t defect, you also have the All Progressives Congress (APC) hurdle to scale…

I want to correct an impression. Yes, we have a fight in front of us, but I don’t see the other people as being so strong on the ground to fight the PDP. If we have a free, fair and transparent election, the APC cannot win a councillorship election in Bayelsa State. That’s the truth. It’s all these hypes about federal might, using security agencies to intimidate people or using the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to write results.

What was the level of your consultations with key stakeholders like former President Goodluck Jonathan before you started this race?

The former president was my governor and I worked under him as a commissioner. So, that tells you the relationship that I have with him. I have a very cordial relationship with the former president and he was one of the key persons I consulted. I went to him in his house and he received me and took me to his wife because she was our mother at the time he was governor. So in a nutshell, I consulted him and he gave me his blessings. I also consulted very many other leaders before I finally joined the race.

There have been insinuations that Jonathan is more comfortable with Alaibe. What’s your view on that?

You see, politics is a game of interests. Until the man voted, you will not know who he is comfortable with among the contestants. Those speculations are part of the intrigues you find in political contests. The sitting governor said he had no candidate, but I saw in a post that if the governor had only one candidate to be adopted, it would be me. So, anybody can claim that the former president was with him, but it is only at the point of voting that you would know whether the former president is with you or not.

Given your closeness to the incumbent governor, how can you convince the electorate that you are a man of your own and not a stooge drafted to cover up the outgoing regime?

My track record shows who I am; what I stand for and why I even accepted to work with the current governor. Timipre Sylva was in power for five years and I didn’t get into Bayelsa State throughout that period. It shows you that I’m a man of principle. I choose my friends and those I want to work with and I chose to work with Governor Seriake Dickson and I am satisfied, working with him.  Do you ask me why? There was a bill that was introduced to the State House of Assembly. It was called the Transparency Bill, which prescribed monthly transparency briefing, where you tell the people what comes into Bayelsa State and what is expended.

Now, because of my privileged position in the engine room of government, every month, when the federal allocation comes and the internal revenue comes to the table, Governor Dickson and I sit together in a committee to allocate what came into the state to the various Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government. The committee also includes the deputy governor, commissioner for Finance and all other finance-related officials. At that point, I knew that Governor Dickson was not taking anything out from what was coming into the state.

So, when people say I will be a stooge to cover up, I don’t know what I want to cover up, having known that there has been a transparent process of resource allocation in the state. There is a lot of envy in Bayelsa politics and of course in Nigerian politics. But with what I saw and participated in, I don’t think that there is anything for me to cover up. I just believe that it is out of my humility, honesty and principles that he recognised and felt that this candidate would be someone who will serve our people well.

What would be the policy thrust of your administration if elected as governor of Bayelsa State?

When we took over in 2012, the policy thrust was on education. There was a lacuna in our educational sector and the governor declared a state of emergency on education. I think that to a large extent, he has ameliorated the situation by filling most of the gaps that we discovered when we came into office. For instance, Bayelsa State ranked below 30 in all national examinations, when we came in, but today, we are among the top 10 states in those examinations. So that dream has been achieved to a level, but I will continue with it and ensure that we go higher. If we are among the first 10, I am thinking we should be among the top five. I know that is a very tall order when you have Imo, Lagos and other states, but we will try to improve on our current position.

Next will be the economy. For those of us who are from that place and grew up in the old Rivers State before the creation of Bayelsa State, you know that our local economy is neither here nor there. The sitting governor has tried to revive agriculture and focus on our areas of comparative advantage in the sector. I want to build a local economy in which our people will be directly involved.

I will also focus on security because no government can thrive without security of lives and property of the citizenry. We are seeing bits of it at the federal level. When the level of insecurity is so high, it is difficult for social development and real economic growth to take place.

One of your compatriots, Timi Frank recently said that your emergence as candidate of the PDP will pave way for the APC to grab the governorship seat. Is it true that you’re not on ground in Bayelsa State?

I like when people underestimate me. I’m very happy with it because it is out of that underestimation that I will spring surprises. When people say that my emergence will make the other party to win, they have not taken into cognizance that this is the same man who won two consecutive elections recently. I won election into the House of Representatives and subsequently to the Senate, yet you say that man is an underdog. Good, I’m an underdog; I want to be an underdog.

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Lagos: Sanwo-Olu gives account of stewardship after 100 days

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Lagos: Sanwo-Olu gives account of stewardship after 100 days

Muritala Ayinla reports that Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, seized the opportunity of an event  organised to mark his first 100 days in office to reassure Lagosians of his plan to re-activate governance in the state through his six-pillar agenda known as T.H.E.M.E.S

 

 

 

When Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu came up with the mantra of “Igbega Ipinle Eko” during the build up to the 2019 general election, he did so with the pledge to run an all-inclusive government that will leave nobody behind regardless of what had transpired in the past.

So, he assumed office with unblemished mindset of carrying everyone along irrespective of tribe, religion and ethnic differences. For the 15th governor of the Centre of Excellence “as long as you are ready to join hands with him in taking Lagos to a greater height, you are warmly welcome.”

That has been Sanwo-Olu’s anthem and body language in Alausa, the Lagos seat of power, since he assumed office on May 29, 2019. He appears to be ready for work and he relates well with anyone who shares his vision to take Lagos to the next level. That some individuals benefitted from the immediate past administration will certainly not deter him from working with them as what seems to concern him more is keying into to his T.H.E.M.E.S’s agenda.

But, prior to his assumption of office, many had doubted his capacity to move Lagos forward given the metropolitan nature of the state. They had argued that Sanwo-Olu might likely be elitist in his governance style all in a bid to woo more investors into the state. They added that he might likely focus more on already developed areas.

But his last 100 days has proven that he is ready to put Lagos firmly back on the track of rapid development as well as to address the numerous challenges confronting the state. His words and actions have shown that he is determined to actualize a cleaner Lagos and revive the Lagos Water Corporation, among other abandoned projects.

Speaking while rendering account of his stewardship in the last 100 days in office at a colourful event held at the at De Blue Roof of Lagos Television in Agidingbi, Ikeja, Sanwo-Olu said he is committed to taking Lagos to a greater height despite inheriting so many challenges, ranging from dilapidated roads to poor state of health and education facilities.

The event was also an avenue for him to brief Lagosians on efforts being made to fix the bad portions of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, pot holes across the metropolis and other security and health interventions.

At the colourful event were dignitaries, who  included the First Lady of Lagos State, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu; the Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, who was represented by his wife, Oluremi; Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Sherifat Folasade Jaji; Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa; Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu I; APC Vice Chairman (Lagos East Senatorial District), Ashipa Kaoli Olusanya and the Chief Judge of the state, Hon. Justice Kazeem Alogba, among other dignitaries.

Other personalities were former military administrators; traders led by the president of Market Men and Women Association, Mrs. Folashade Tinubu-Ojo, members of the business community, politicians religious leaders as well as other categories of residents.

Addressing the gathering, Sanwo-Olu disclosed that plans had been concluded to employ 15,000 teachers to boost the standard of education in the state. He stressed that the employment was decided to ensure adequate and efficient learning and teaching in schools. He assured people with disabilities that have teaching skills will also be employed.

He added that the growing number of pupils in schools in the state made it imperative for employment of more teachers to ensure Lagos pupils have the best of education and provide the state with the right human resources in the future.

His words: “We have discovered that the number of pupils in our schools has increased. And it is important that we also increase the number of teachers that will impact the learning on the pupils. Aside that, we will also be providing increasing the number of equipment we have in our schools to ensure that the manpower and equipment are commensurate.

“Also, we will be introducing new curriculum in our schools to ensure the knowledge that will be impacted on them meet 21st century demands. I can assure you that all these will be done very soon.”

Harping on development in the transportation sector, the governor said that new policies that will regulate the operations of commercial motorcycles also known as Okada in the state are underway.

According to him, “it has become imperative for us as a government to map out new policies that would guide how okada riders operate in Lagos State. This would further stem the tide of accidents and indiscriminate use of okada on Lagos roads. When these are eventually put in place, we expect strict compliance from all concerned in our quest to achieving a greater Lagos for all, in line with our ‘THEMES’ policy trust.”

Speaking further on his achievements, Governor Sanwo-Olu said: “After taking oath of office, our resolve towards achieving a greater Lagos was made known through our six policy areas. We remain committed to a Lagos, where there would be Traffic Management and Transportation; Health and Environment; Education and Technology; a Lagos of 21st Century economy; entertainment and tourism as well as security and governance and I urge all to contribute their quota to make this a reality.”

“Within 24 hours in office, I signed my First Executive Order on Sanitation and Traffic Management, LASTMA now operates two daily shifts to ease the free flow of traffic in the State. I have also visited the Apapa corridor four times in the last 100 days. As a government, we are not one for excuses.”

To address power challenge in the state, Governor Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the state government and an Egyptian electricity firm, Elsewedy, are working on producing over 20,000 prepaid meters for households in the state. He added that discussions are on with the discos and a power firm on how to increase power supply through embedded power.

Sanwo-Olu said that his government would be leveraging on private sector partnership and funding to execute programmes and projects, stating that partnership with the private sector is critical as it controls about 80 per cent of Lagos Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

As part of strategies to sustain the achievements recorded in waste management, the governor said over 20 million units of waste bags had been produced for distribution, so that residents can bag and sort their waste appropriately. He promised that 40 million units of waste bags would be produced in the coming weeks.

To address transportation challenges in some parts of the state, the governor promised that the Oshodi-Abule Egba BRT lane would be completed before the end of the year.

He said that the Lekki-Ikoyi toll plaza would soon be cashless to reduce the gridlock generated by the tolling. “The Lekki-Ikoyi Toll Bridge would become cashless in the next couple of weeks to ease traffic on that corridor and have less human contact as possible.

Sanwo-Olu also enumerated other giant strides such as the commissioning of the Dr. Abayomi Finnih Recreational Park in Oregun, commissioning of 120 patrol vehicles and 35 patrol motorcycles and prompt payment of pensions to retirees by the Lagos State Pension Commission.

Other accomplishments, according to the governor are rehabilitation of roads across the state, including the Lagos-Badagry Expressway; commencement of work on the abandoned Pen Cinema Bridge and Isawo Road in Ikorodu and launch of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) W-Initiative in collaboration with Access Bank to empower women entrepreneurs and business start-ups.

To boost provision of internet facilities in the state, the governor revealed plans to establish a Lagos Metropolitan Fibre Optics Station, just as he hopes to work assiduously to make Lagos State School feeding programme a reality.

Earlier in his welcome address, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, stated that in just 100 days, Lagosians can attest to the fact that the combination of Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu and his deputy remains a formidable one hence their ability to lead the people to the Lagos of their dream is clearly not in doubt.

He said: “In the last 100 days, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has commissioned various projects for the well-being of Lagosians such as the Maternal and Child Care Centre in Eti-Osa and the launch of the Lagos Blue Bus programme just mention a few.

With the inauguration of the state executive council and the efforts made so far by the governor to make Lagos work again, Lagosians are watching if Governor Sanwo-Olu would be able to live up to expectations of the estimated 22 million  residents of the state.

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Court order forces Rivers APC to cancel congresses

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Court order forces Rivers APC to cancel congresses

A court order has forced the Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to cancel the ward, local government and state congresses slated for September 17, 21 and 28 respectively.
The State Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Chirs Finebone, said the congresses were put on hold as a result of the court order that restrained the party from holding the exercise.
Last Thursday a Rivers State High Court had ordered the party to refrain from conducting its ward, local and state congresses, pending the hearing and determination of a suit marked PHC/3098/19 filed by Ibrahim Umah and 22 others.
The interim injunction also ordered the state chapter of the APC (defendant in the suit) and the claimants (Ibrahim Umah and 22 others) to maintain the status quo pending the determination of the matter before the court.
Finebone explained that the congresses would not hold because the APC would not defy the court order.

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Akinlade, APM to challenge Abiodun’s election at Appeal Court

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Akinlade, APM to challenge Abiodun’s election at Appeal Court

The Allied People’s Movement (APM) in Ogun State, on Monday, moved to appeal the judgement of the governorship Election Petitions Tribunal which affirmed the election of Governor Dapo Abiodun.
The party said, already, its team of lawyers have applied for the Certified True Copy of the tribunal judgement delivered on Saturday to enable them to review it and take the next step in the judicial process.
The APM governorship candidate in the 2019 election, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade, who confirmed the move of the party, told reporters in Abeokuta that the nation’s constitution allows aggrieved persons to seek redress in court.
Addressing scores of APM members at the party secretariat in Leme area of Abeokuta, Akinlade said he was determined to get justice in accordance with the laws of the land.
He explained that when he decided to run for governorship, his decision was not for self-aggrandisement but for the collective interest and development of the state.
Akinlade urged his party members not to consider the tribunal judgement as a setback but should remain resolute and unwavering in the pursuit of justice.
He said: “The constitution is very clear that where you disagree with any position, you seek redress in the court of law. There are still grounds open to us.
“The crafters of our constitution know that the tribunal is still the first step. We thank our forebears who crafted the constitution to enable one seek redress where one disagrees with one judgement. And that’s what we hope to do.
“We know very clearly that in our petition, no where in the petition did we talk about the academic qualification of the second respondent. It was purely on the fact that he lied to provide false information. If the judgement is based on the academic qualification, then we believe something needs to be done when our lawyers review it.”

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Election tribunals’ blues

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Election tribunals’ blues

 

 

 

  • Election tribunals: Mixed    fortunes for politicians, parties

 

Felix Nwaneri reports that it has been a season of judgements as the various election petitions tribunals wind down their activities with verdicts on the various cases before them

 

I

t has been a torrent of judgements from the various election petition tribunals that have in the last 180 days, heard suits, challenging some outcomes of the 2019 general election.

 

 

While the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sat in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the Governorship Election Petition Tribunals and the State and National Assembly Election Petition Tribunals, sat in the states.

 

The judgements from these tribunals have either affirmed or upturned some of the results of the respective electoral positions that were contested for during the February 23 presidential and National Assembly elections and the March 9 governorship and states Assembly polls. In some cases, the tribunals ordered for rerun elections.   

 

 

Presidency: Buhari trounces Atiku

 

The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja last Wednesday held that the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has no case in the petition he jointly filed alongside his party to challenge the February 23 election that produced President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

 

The five-man panel headed by Justice Mohammed Garba, in a unanimous judgement that lasted for almost nine hours, also held that Buhari is not only qualified, but eminently qualified to contest the said election based on his academic qualification.

 

 

The tribunal had hinged its judgement on the ground that the petitioners failed to prove all their allegations beyond reasonable doubt.

 

Buhari was declared the winner of the election after scoring 15,191,847 votes as against Atiku’s 11,262,978 votes.

 

The tribunal distilled five issues as raised by the petitioners in their final written addresses. The petitioners prayed the tribunal to decide whether Buhari was qualified to contest the election.

 

 

They also asked the panel to decide whether the alleged false information by the president on his educational qualification amounted to perjury.

 

They further prayed the tribunal to decide whether the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not transmit the results of the election electronically via its central server.

 

 

The petitioners further asked the court to decide whether the respondents did not benefit from widespread rigging, over-voting, violence intimidation perpetrated by their agents and security forces deployed to oversee the conduct of the election.

Lastly, the petitioners had urged the tribunal to hold that the president did not secure majority lawful votes.

 

Other members of the tribunal, Justices Abdul Aboki, Joseph Ikegh, Peter Ige and Samuel Oseji equally agreed with the lead judgement.

 

For President Buhari, the ruling was victory for Nigerians, who elected him for a second term in office.

 

“Good conscience fears no evil report,” Buhari said in a statement by presidential spokesman Femi Adesina.

 

 

The President also said he was not disturbed during the entire period of the tribunal proceedings because he knew Nigerians gave him their mandate.

 

Apparently heeding to the call by some Nigerians for him to be magnanimous in victory, Buhari extended a hand of fellowship to the opposition as according to him, “the country needs to move forward as one cohesive body, putting behind us all bickering and potential distractions over an election in which Nigerians spoke clearly and resoundingly.”

 

However, the PDP and its candidate, Atiku, have resolved to challenge the judgement at the Supreme Court.

 

 

Kaduna guber: el-Rufai affirmed as governor

 

 

It was victory for Kaduna State governmor, Mallam Nasri el-Rufai as the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that sat in Kaduna affirmed him as the duly elected governor of the state.

 

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared el-Rufai, who contested the election own the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner in the March 9 election, but the his main challenger and the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Isa Ashiru, headed to the tribunal on the ground that the poll was characterised by irregularities.

 

 

But, delivering his judgement on Ashiru’s petition, chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Ibrahim Bako, said the petitioner was unable to prove his allegations of massive rigging and other electoral irregularities. Consequently, the tribunal struck out the petition for lack of substantial evidence.

 

 

The petitioner, had in his final written address on August 19, asked the tribunal to cancel 515,951 votes, which he alleged were unlawfully added to the total votes cast during the election.

 

 

He called 135 witnesses out of the 685 he mentioned in the petition to prove alleged massive rigging, ballot stuffing and other irregularities during the election.

 

But in his ruling, the chairman of the tribunal said the signatures of most of the 135 witnesses the petitioners presented in their written statements, as deposed before the tribunal did not match with the specimens taken while they testified in court.

 

 

He also said that some of the names of the witnesses did not match with the names on the voters’ card which they presented before the tribunal.

 

While el-Rufai welcomed the affirmation of his re-election and called on all residents of the state to join hands in progressive endeavours for peace and development of the state, Kaduna State chairman of the PDP, Hassan Hyat, said the party executive would meet with the counsel and take a decision on the next line of action.

 

 

According to him, the tribunal’s decision was the first stage of the petition as the party will soon come out with a position.

 

Ogun: Abiodun floors Akinlade

 

 

In Ogun State, Governor Dapo Abiodun, also had his election affirmed by the Governorship Election Petition sitting in Abeokuta.

 

The tribunal, which dismissed the suit by the governorship candidate of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), Adekunle Akinlade, said the petition was destined to fail.

 

 

“The petition is destined to fail, it failed and is hereby dismissed,” the chairman of the three-man tribunal, Justice Yusuf Halilu, stated.

 

 

Akinlade had prayed the tribunal to disqualify Abiodun on grounds of submitting false academic qualification, but Justice Halilu held that the suit was stuck out because the case had been laid to rest by the Court of Appeal.

 

 

Adding that petitioner would not be allowed to resurrect or open same matter at the tribunal since the appellate court had deemed it “statue barred,” the judge also noted that the petitioner filed the application = outside the window of time allowed.

Anambra South: Ifeanyi Ubah floors Uba brothers

 

 

It was another moment of triumph for business mogul, Ifeanyi Ubah, who defeated two brothers – Senator Andy Uba (APC) and Chief Chris Uba (PDP) – on the platform of Young Peoples Party (YPP) in the February 23 senatorial election for Anambra South senatorial seat.

 

 

INEC had declared Ubah winner of the election after he polled 87,081 votes ahead of Chris Uba and Andy Uba, who polled 52,462 and 13,245votes, respectively.

 

 

But, the Uba brothers alleged that the election was characterised by violence.

 

 

However, the tribunal, which sat in Awka, Anambra State capital, dismissed the consolidated petitions of the Uba brothers on the basis that it was lacking in merit.

 

Senator Ubah described the judgement as an attestation of both “the perfect will of God and the irrefutable choice of the good people of Anambra South at the February 23 polls.”

 

 

Anambra Central: Ekwunife defeats Umeh

 

 

In Anambra Central, it was victory for Senator Uche Ekwunife of the PDP. She defeated Chief Victor Umeh of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

 

Umeh had challenged the declaration of Ekwunife as winner of the election, stating that she was not properly nominated by her party.

 

But the tribunal ruled that the case was a pre-election matter and did not fall within its jurisdiction.

 

The tribunal also ruled that Umeh had no locus standi to question the candidacy of Ekwunife at the tribunal. According to it, the APGA candidate should have approached the Federal High Court on the matter.

 

 

Umeh, who unseated Ekwunife through the court after the 2015 elections, in his reaction asked his supporters to remain calm. “Thank you very much for your faith and indomitable spirit! We shall prayerfully approach the Court Of Appeal after reviewing the judegment! It was like this on 9th October 2015. Today is another 9th! Let us not despair,” he said.

 

 

Anambra North: Oduah beats Emeka

 

 

Another senator from Anamba State that had her election affirmed is Senator Stella Oduah, who represents Anambra North Senatorial District.

 

 

The former Minister of Aviation who was the candidate of the PDP, had her election challenged Dr Chinedu Emeka of APGA.

 

 

Emeka, a former governor of the state, claimed that Oduah was not qualified to contest the election because she did not possess the required academic qualifications.

 

 

He also claimed that Oduah was a member of APGA at the time the election was held. But, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Esther Haruna, affirmed that Oduah was validly elected.

 

 

Akwa Ibom North West: Ekpenyong defeats Akpabio

 

 

It was victory for a former deputy governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Chris Ekpenyong, who defeated ex-Governor Godswill Akpabio for the Akwa Ibom North West senatorial seat at the February 23 National Assembly elections.

 

The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Uyo, which upheld Ekpenyong’s victory, ruled that he was duly elected by majority votes cast during the poll.

 

 

The three-man panel in a judgement by its chairman, Justice W. O. Akanbi, through a majority decision dismissed the petition filed by Senator Akpabio who contested the election on the platform of the APC and was recently appointed Minister of Niger Delta.

 

 

Describing the petition as “lacking merit,” the panel noted that the petitioner failed to prove that he won the said election as well as failed to present convincing evidence of noncompliance to Electoral Act as raised in his petition.

 

One of the three judges, however, ruled contrary to his two colleagues in the panel and it is likely that Senator Akpabio will appeal the judgement.

 

 

Abia North: Tribunal orders supplementary poll

 

 

The case of Abia North Senatorial District won by a former governor of the state, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, was different as the National Assembly Election Tribunal sitting in Umuahia and headed by Justice Cornelius Akintayo ordered for supplementary election in some polling units across the district.

 

 

Kalu, who contested the election on the platform of the APC had polled 30,203 votes against his closest rival, Mao Ohaubunwa of the PDP, who garnered 20,801 votes.

 

 

But, Kalu, who is the Chief

 

Whip of the Senate, in his reaction, urged his constituents and the people of Abian state in general not to lose hope, stressing that his mandate would be reclaimed at the Court of Appeal.

 

The former governor noted that his victory in the 2019 general election was borne out of his popularity among the people, adding that justice would only be delayed but not denied.

 

 

He said: “Following the decision of the National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, I will appeal the decision of the tribunal at the Court of Appeal. “The PDP candidate, Ohaubunwa, is not popular among the people and as such, my victory in the National Assembly polls was a landslide. Any day, any time, the APC will defeat the PDP in Abia North Senatorial District. At the appropriate time, my mandate will be restored.”

 

 

Edo North: Tribunal upholds Alimikhena’s victory

 

Senator Francis Alemikhena (APC) representing Edo North senatorial district had his election upheld by the National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal. PDP’s Abubakar Momoh had approached the tribunal to declare him winner of the senatorial ballot on the grounds that Alimikhena was not qualified to contest the election, and, having contested, did not score majority of lawful votes.

 

 

But, the tribunal in its ruling held that the petitioner did not prove his petition beyond reasonable doubt and therefore dismissed it for lack of merit.

 

 

Lagos West: Adeola trounces Rhodes-Vivour

 

Another senator that had his election affirmed is Senator Solomon Adeola, who represents Lagos West Senatorial District.

 

The three-member tribunal led by Justice Kunaza Hamidu, held that the petition filed by Mr. Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the PDP, challenging the election of Adeola of the APC failed to establish any prima facie case against him. Rhodes-Vivour had dragged Adeola and INEC before the tribunal, challenging the result of the Lagos West Senatorial District election over alleged irregularities.

 

 

The PDP candidate in his petition claimed that Adeola was not entitled to be returned as the duly elected candidate as the election was marred by irregularities, malpractices and non-compliance with the Electoral Act. He also claimed that INEC wrongly declared Adeola winner of the poll with 328,817 votes, while he scored 243,516 votes, noting that INEC ought to have declared him winner of the election instead of Adeola. But, the tribunal declared that the election was held in accordance with the Electoral Act and other relevant laws.

 

 

Benue North West: Orker Jev defeats Akume

 

It was loss for ex-Governor George Akume, who was recently appointed Minister of Special Duties as the petition he filed against Senator Emmanuel Orker Jev, who defeated him in the February 23 election to take over the Benue North West Senatorial District seat, was dismissed by the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi. Chairman of the tribunal, Justice R.O. Odugu held that Akume, who contested the election on the platform of the APC failed to prove his claim that the election was marred by irregularities and was in noncompliance with the Electoral Act.

 

 

On Akume’s claim that Jev, who was the candidate of the PDP was not duly elected by lawful votes cast during the election, the tribunal held that the APC candidate failed to provide evidence to prove that noncompliance affected the result of the election.

 

Benue South: Moro’s election upheld

 

 

In Benue South, the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal also dismissed the petition by a former deputy governor of the state, Chief Steven Lawani and upheld the election of Senator Abba Moro. Lawani, who was the candidate of the APC, had prayed the tribunal to nullify the election of Morro, who contested the poll on the platform of the PDP on the ground that the election was characterized by gross irregularities.

 

 

The former deputy governor called 13 witnesses to testify that the election was not conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act, while Senator Moro did not call any witness. Delivering judgement on the matter, Chairman of the tribunal, Justice A. A. Adeleye said the petition was filed outside the pre-trial session. He also noted that the petitioners failed to proof that the election was not conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act.

 

 

Benue North East: Victory for Suswam

 

 

In Benue North East, it was disappointment for Mimi Orubibi of the APC as his petition against the election of Senator Gabriel Suswam (an ex-governor of the state) was dismissed.

 

 

Suswam of the PDP had polled 148,645 votes to defeat Orubibi, who had 81,603 votes and Senator Barnabas Gemade of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) who came a distant third with 32,534 votes.

 

Orubibi’s petition was based on claims that the election was marred by over voting, falsification of results and violence. She also alleged that vote inflation occurred during the transmission of results by INEC. But, the tribunal headed by Justice R. Odugu, in its judgement, said the petitioner did not prove the falsification of results to enable it resolve the issue in her favour.

 

“Over voting cannot be proven by card reader alone, but the use of voter register. How the result will swing in favour of the petitioners is still a mirage to the tribunal as margin of lead is enormous.

 

 

 

 

“The petition is not worth wasting judicial effort on. It is helpless and hopeless and is hereby, dismissed for lacking merit,” the judge maintained.

 

Enugu West: Ekweremadu triumphs

 

It was also victory for the immediate past Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu at the tribunal as his election was affirmed. In a unanimous judgement delivered, the tribunal dismissed the petition brought by Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu of the APC against Ekweremadu, who contested the poll on the platform of the APC as lacking in merit.

 

 

INEC had declared Ekweremadu winner of the election with 86,088 vote against 15,187 scored by Ibekaku-Nwagwu. Justice Haruna Kereng, who headed the tribunal, said the petitioner failed to prove her claims of substantial non-compliance to the Electoral Act, thuggery, falsification of figures beyond reasonable doubt. He noted that the few witnesses brought by the petitioner failed to demonstrate to the tribunal how the election figures were falsified.

 

According to the judge, the petitioner was only able to present 16 witnesses from the 824 polling units, 81 wards and five local government areas in the senatorial district.

 

Abia Central: Orji defeats Nwogu

 

It was victory for Senator Theodore Orji as the National and State House of Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia affirmed his election as the senator representing Abia Central Senatorial District. In a unanimous judgement, the Chairman of the threemember panel, Justice Adeyinka Adebirigbe, dismissed the petition brought before it by the candidate of the APC, Senator Nkechi Nwogu, on the ground that the petitioner failed to prove her allegations of electoral irregularities. Nwogu had alleged irregularities in 215 polling units in the district and urged the tribunal to order for a rerun.

 

 

However, the tribunal held that the petitioner only called one polling unit agent as witness out of the 215 polling units which, it said, was not enough to prove her case.

 

Delta North: Nwaoboshi floors Uboh

 

For Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, who has faced a running battle for Delta North Senatorial District seat, it was victory for him at the tribunal.

 

The APC candidate during the election, Doris Uboh, had challenged Nwaoboshi’s election on the ground that the poll was characterised by irregularities, but the tribunal headed by Justice E. I. Ngene, dismissed the petition on the ground that it lacked merit.

 

 

Oyo South: Ajimobi loses to Balogun

 

 

Former Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajiomobi, was again defeated by Kola Balogun as the latter’s election as senator for Oyo South Senatorial District in the February 23 National Assembly election was upheld by the tribunal. Ajimobi, who contested the election on the platform of the APC, had challenged the declaration of Balogun of PDP by INEC as the winner of the election.

 

 

Balogun had polled 105,720 votes to defeat Ajimobi who garnered 92,218 votes. Ruling on the petition by the former governor, the three-man panel chaired by Justice Anthony Akpovi, with Justice Sambo Daka and Justice Chinyere Ani as members, unanimously upheld Balogun’s victory. The lead judgment, read by Akpovi, said that most of the witnesses called by the petitioner to tender the results of polling units were ward collation agents and not the proper persons to tender the results.

 

 

He also said that the testimonies of the ward collation agents could not be accorded any probative value because they were not the makers of the documents tendered.

 

He added that the petitioner also based his testimonies on the card reader result without calling the maker to testify, while no witness was also called in regarding voters’ accreditation register.

 

Imo West: Relief for Okorocha

 

It was respite for the embattled immediate past governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha as the election petition tribunal dismissed petitions filed by the candidates of the PDP, Jones Onyeriri and that of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Osita Izunaso, challenging his victory in the February 23 National Assembly election for Imo West Senatorial District. Onyeriri and Izunaso had claimed that the election was marred by irregularities, intimidation and violence.

 

 

But, the tribunal however held that the petitioners were unable to prove the allegations.

 

Ekiti South: Adeyeye loses to Olujimi

 

It was turn in events for Senate spokesperson, Senator Dayo Adeyeye as the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Ado Ekiti nullified his election and declared former Minority Leader and the Senate and candidate of the PDP, Biodun Olujimi, winner of the poll.

 

 

 

INEC had declared Adeyeye, who was the candidate of the APC in the election, winner of the poll, but Olujimi challenged his victory on the ground that she scored the highest number of lawful votes cast during the election. She also claimed that the election was not conducted in substantial compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act and prayed the tribunal to annul votes in areas, where the election was marred by irregularities.

 

 

In its judgement, the threemember tribunal headed by D.D. Adeck, nullified elections in some polling units. A final computation of results showed that Olujimi polled 54,894 votes against Adeyeye’s 52,243.

 

 

Delta South: Uduaghan defeats Manager

 

Another lawmaker, who had his election nullified, is James Manager, the senator representing Delta South Senatorial district in the National Assembly.

 

 

This followed a petition filed by the immediate-past governor of the state and candidate of the APC, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, who claimed that the election was marred by massive rigging and other irregularities. Uduaghan had his prayer for the cancellation of the poll answered by the tribunal as it ordered for a fresh one within 90 days.

 

 

Kogi West: Melaye loses to Adeyemi

 

It was also nullification of victory for the senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye as the National Assembly Election Tribunal sitting in Lokoja, ordered a fresh election for the district. Melaye, who was the candidate of PDP was declared winner of the February 23 election, but Senator Smart Adeyemi of the APC cited irregularities, over voting and non-compliance with the Electoral Act as his reasons for challenging the election outcome. In a unanimous, the tribunal headed by Justice Anthony Chijioke, upheld Adeyemi’s grounds and ordered for a fresh election in the senatorial district. Melaye in his reaction to the judgement, said he will appeal the ruling.

 

According to him, the judgement was full of strange information alien to the case.

 

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Iwuanyanwu to Imo elites: Ihedioha needs your support, the damage was enormous  

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Iwuanyanwu to Imo elites: Ihedioha needs your support, the damage was enormous   

Elder statesman and member of the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu has called on political leaders in Imo State to unite with the new governor of the state, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, to recover the state from the brink.
This is also as he added that the emergence of Ihedioha was an act of God designed to save Imo from total collapse. And urged genuine stakeholders in the Imo project to throw their weights behind the governor.

 

Iwuanyanwu made the call weekend in Owerri during the flag off of free training programme for 5000 youths in Mobile Banking and Information Communication Technology (ICT) by the state Ministry of Technology Development in conjunction with the Iwuanyanwu Foundation.
He stressed that the people of the state must rally round Governor Ihedioha to recover the state if they want businesses to prosper and youths meaningfully empowered.

 

Iwuanyanwu, who commended Governor Ihedioha for starting his administration with quality appointments, also praised him for creating the Ministry of Technology Development, saying the new ministry was an indication of how ambitious the government was in youth development and empowerment.

 

According to him, the Ministry of Technology Development has the capability to turn around the fortunes of the state and its youths because, as he put it, technology is still an untapped sector.

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Ogun: Don’t appeal tribunal judgement, Kaka tells Akinlade

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Ogun: Don’t appeal tribunal judgement, Kaka tells Akinlade

Kunle Olayeni, Abeokuta

A former deputy governor of Ogun State, Senator Adegbenga Kaka, on Sunday, asked the Allied People’s Movement (APM) not to appeal the judgement of the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal affirming Governor Dapo Abiodun’s election.

He declared that “any further unpatriotic pursuit” was capable of holding the state down on growth and development.

Kaka, who formerly represented Ogun East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, gave the admonition in a statement issued and made available to reporters in Abeokuta.

In a six-hour judgement delivered on Saturday, the tribunal dismissed the petition of the APM governorship candidate, Adekunle Akinlade, challenging Abiodun’s victory in the March 9 gubernatorial election.

The three-man tribunal, led by Justice Yusuf Halilu, held that the petitioners failed to prove their allegations of over-voting and falsification of information against the governor and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Reacting to the court verdict, Kaka stated that the tribunal members did a thorough job of systematic demolition of the APM’s petition which, he described, as “lazy, frivolous, malicious, pedestrian and spurious.”

He noted that the petition had been a waste of precious judicial time, held down the state unnecessarily for four months and heated up the polity by causing distractions.

He urged the petitioners to team up with the Abiodun-led administration and not venture to approach the Appeal Court.

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Bayelsa polls: Group endorses Lyon/Degi APC ticket

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Bayelsa polls: Group endorses Lyon/Degi APC ticket

Pauline Onyibe, Yenagoa

Ahead of the Bayelsa State governorship election, a group, known as the Progressives Youths Mandate of Nigeria, Bayelsa State Chapter, has endorsed the All Progressives Congress (APC) flag-bearers David Lyon and Senator Biobarakumo Degi Eremieyo for the November 16 poll.

In a statement issued on Sunday in Yenagoa, and signed by their Deputy Coordinator, Owoupele Owous and Secretary, Ohiafi Miracle Victory Tarila, the group said the endorsement became necessary, having looked at the track record of philanthropy of the flag-bearers and their performances in private and public sectors for creating jobs opportunities for the teeming youths across the state.

The group said that the duo stand out as credible candidates and urged all Bayelsans to vote for them.

They also based the endorsement on its firm conviction that David Lyon had the requisite character, experience, exposure and wisdom to pilot the affairs of the State to greater height.

The group noted that their membership cuts across the 105 wards in the eight local government areas in the state, adding that they would mobilize, campaign, educate and sensitize the electorate for the APC candidates to win the governorship election.

The Progressives Youths Mandate also commended the leader of the party in the state, former governor and current Minister of Petroleum (State), Timipre Sylva for his magnanimity and dedication to the overall interest of the party in the state.

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Bayelsa polls :YIAGA Africa to deploy 500 observers

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Bayelsa polls :YIAGA Africa to deploy 500 observers

Pauline Onyibe, Yenagoa

Ahead of the Bayelsa State governorship election coming up on November 16, a non-governmental organisation, YIAGA Africa said it will deploy 500 polling unit observers to help in monitoring the conduct of the poll

Already, it said, 21 long-term observers for the pre-election activates were already on ground in the state.

The NGO also said it will randomly select some wards out of the 1804 wards in the state adding that it was going to use a method known as Parallel Voter Tabulation (PVT) which they believe will give them a reliable result.

Speaking to the media at the weekend in Yenagoa during a workshop organised for some select journalists, YIAGA Africa, advised them to ensure accurate and timely information on the electoral process in the governorship election.

Cynthia Mbamalu, the Project Director of the organisation, said the NGO was ready to partner and engage the media in the promotion of peaceful and credible elections in the state.

She noted that YIAGA Africa would deploy accredited observers to all the polling units in all the local government areas of the state to provide accurate and timely information on the electoral process.

“Without the media, the people will not be informed and the masses cannot hold public office holder accountable. We will ensure that the media will be informed whenever we observe any abnormalities among the political party and INEC,” she said.

The Chairperson of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) in Bayelsa, Marie Olodi Osuma in her speech stated that most of the observers were not always free to share information with them.

The NAWOJ Chairperson appealed to them to always be open with journalists by informing them on what they have observed during and after the process of voting.

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