Supreme Court rules on 2011 presidential election today

The Supreme Court will  today decide whether to strike out the appeals filed by President Goodluck Jonathan, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against a ruling delivered by the presidential election petitions tribunal on July 14, which held that the petition filed on a Sunday by the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), seeking to upturn President Jonathan’s election, is competent and proper in law.

President Jonathan and the PDP had last week expressed divergent views on whether the appeal filed against hearing of the petition of the CPC should be heard or not.

While the PDP, which filed the appeal  stood its grounds that the case  was still alive, the president said that it was dead and should not be heard, having been filed outside the mandatory 60 days provided by the constitution.

The appeal arose from the July 14 ruling by the suspended president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, to the effect that the CPC petition was in order, even though it was filed on a Sunday, a non-official working day.

The PDP had asked that the petition be thrown out by the tribunal on the grounds that it was filed on a non-official working day but the tribunal ruled against the party.

However, with its appeal coming after the stipulated 60 days, the PDP  is asking  the apex court to hear the appeal by removing the vacation period and the public holidays from the  statutory 60 days.

A panel of the apex court headed by Justice Walter Onnoghen had, on October 20, consolidated the three appeals, paving the way for the ruling slated for today.

The chairman of the panel said the relevant question is, “is this appeal alive which has stayed more than 60 days contrary to Section 285 (7) of the 1999 Constitution as amended. If it is dead, there is no need to adjourn for further hearing.

Court determines Kogi PDP gov candidate today •Bayelsa: Protesters storm PDP national secretariat •As Sylva, others appear before appeal panel

An Abuja High Court will this morning determine  the authentic standard-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi State between Jibrin Isah and Idris Wada, as it delivers judgment in the suit filed by Isah, praying it to uphold the January primary election, where he emerged as the winner.

When the matter came up on Friday, counsel for Isah, Paul Erokoro, SAN, argued that the plaintiff was nominated as the PDP’s standard-bearer in January 2011 and his name was submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which was published by the PDP as a fulfilment of legal requirement.

He further argued that the January primary election was valid, adding that the Electoral Act provided that the primary election should be conducted not later than 60 days before the election and that it could not be more than 60 days as long as it is not below 60 days.

He said that the party did not fulfil the conditions for substitution, as it did not inform the plaintiff that his name would be substituted.

He, therefore, urged the court to uphold the January primary election.

Opposing the application, counsel for the PDP, Chief Olusola Oke, submitted that a Federal High Court had earlier nullified the January election which saw Isah emerge as the winner, adding that in the eyes of the law, there was no valid election.

He said that the plaintiff participated in the primary election because he went through nomination and screening and, therefore, could not challenge the primary.

He also argued that INEC had released another election timetable which is different from the one used in January.

He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the application.

Counsel for the second defendant, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), argued that the application constituted an abuse of court process, as another issue by the plaintiff is pending at the Federal High Court.

He added that governorship election in Kogi State was not postponed, rather it was aborted and a new date fixed, which means that the April election had no validity in the eyes of the law.

Earlier, the defendants had brought a preliminary objection challenging the territorial jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter.

They argued that the primary election was held in Kogi and, as such, any litigation should also be heard in Kogi.

Meanwhile, scores of protesters from the Bayelsa State chapter of the PDP, on Sunday stormed the national secretariat of the party in Abuja, armed with various placards, protesting the outcome of the screening of the governorship aspirants in the next election in the state.

While some of the placards commended the clearance of the state governor, Timipre Sylva, for the race and expressed their total support for his candidature, others condemned the clearance with severe allegations against him, lamenting that it would be another four years of slavery for the people of the state under Governor Sylva.

This is coming just as Governor Sylva, along with two other aspirants earlier disqualified from the race by the screening panel, Mr Timi Alaibe and Mr Boluobo Oruba, appeared before the party’s appeal panel, headed by former deputy governor of Ekiti State, Chief (Mrs) Abiodun Olujimi, behind closed doors, for several hours.

Emerging from the panel, Governor Sylva, who had earlier been cleared by the screening panel, told newsmen that he was at the national secretariat of the party “on the invitation of the party.”

According to him, “as a loyal and responsible party man, I’ll always obey the call of my party.”

On whether his invitation was based on grave petitions against him, Governor Sylva said that he was not aware of any petition and that he answered all the questions put to him by the panel.

He expressed optimism that he would not only win the party’s ticket, he would also win the governorship race based on the support of the generality of the people of the state.

However, both Alaibe and Oruba declined comments when approached by newsmen just as the panel was still sitting at  press time.

Scores of officers and men of the mobile police force and men of the anti-bomb disposal squad of the Nigeria police were drafted to the party’s national secretariat to avert crisis.

In another development, the arrowhead of the plan by elders of Bayelsa State PDP to replace Governor Timipre Sylva in Government House, Honourable Henry Seriake Dickson, said in Abuja, on Sunday, that the plan would go full swing from November 5.

In a statement by the Director-General of his campaign, Honourable Fred Agbedi, “Restoration Campaign” is aimed at redressing the stream of failures in the governance of the state.

The statement read in part: “As you all know, the expectations of the people of the state have been completely shattered, owing to the woeful and dismal performance of the present administration.

“Several families have lost young and dear ones, their businesses and means of sustainable livelihood destroyed, the educational dreams of our young ones truncated our common wealth squandered, our collective psyche truncated and our future mortgaged. There has been consistent and reckless abuse of power without corresponding sense of honour, responsibility and compassion in the present administration.

 

“Bayelsans need someone who has a unique understanding of the issues and priorities of the people; one who will rally support for the development and restore the honour and dignity of the state and the Ijaw nation…(read more)

Fresh panel for ACN candidate’s appeal – Court orders

The Court of Appeal sitting in Makurdi, weekend, rejected the ruling of the Benue State Legislative Houses’ Election Petitions Tribunal which upheld the election of Mr. Hassan Saleh of PDP, representing Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, directing that a new  panel be set up to hear the case afresh on its merit.

The election of Saleh was challenged by Mr.  Daniel Onjeh of Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, on the grounds that the lawmaker was not duly nominated by his party and, therefore, not sponsored by PDP for the election.

Onjeh had also questioned the propriety of the substitution of the name of another  PDP candidate in the election few minutes to the polls with that of Saleh, arguing that the lawmaker was not a candidate at the election as he was not qualified to contest or benefit therefrom.

Ruling on the matter, the Court of Appeal, presided over by Justice Uchechukwu Onyemenam, dismissed the judgment of the tribunal delivered on September 6, 2011, quering the rationale for dismissing the petition by the ACN candidate for want of jurisdiction.

Justice Onyemenam held that after a full overview of the issues raised by the parties and the judgement of the tribunal, the court was left with no other option than to set aside the judgement.

She then remitted the matter back to the tribunal for it to be heard on its merit.

“This matter should be heard on its merit, it is therefore reverted back to the tribunal for retrial by a panel to be constituted for that purpose”, she said.

Reacting to the judgement, the ACN candidate and former West African Students’ Association President, Comrade Onjeh expressed confidence that the judiciary would revert the injustice he suffered at the last election…(read more)

ACN members sue IG for N15b over arrest

Twenty-three members and leaders of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) have sued the Inspector-General of Police, Hafiz Ringim at the Federal High Court, Lokoja, for N15 billion for allegedly preventing them from entering the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

They said the restriction of their freedom of movement on September 21 and on October 25 and 26 this year is unconstitutional, illegal, and null and void.

According to them, it is a violation of their rights as guaranteed by Section 41 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Article 12 (1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

They filed two suits through their counsel, Kunle Adegoke of M. A. Banire & Associates. Ringim is the respondent in both. 

The first has the following applicants: Hon. Rasaq Oyesegun Folami, Omotosho Oluwaseyi, Olanrewaju Savage, Kolapo Olatunji, Theophilus Femi Kolawole, Olawale Aina and Hakeem Subair.

Others are Babajide Alli-Balogun, Yakub Akilagun and Lukman Subair, Omoniyi Olayemi, Hon. Babatunde Abodunrin, Hon. Ayo Adesanya, Segun Desalu, Hon. Babatunde Lawson, Azuka Igbue and Lawal Yusuf.

They are asking for a N10 billion compensation from Ringim.

The second suit has Prince Benson Adekunle, Jimoh Olatunde Olayemi, Prince Akin Omolaoye, Ayo Laloye, Oyedeji Abayomi and Rabiu Yekeen as applicants. 

They prayed for N5billion compensation from the respondent

The applicants sought a declaration that the act of police, led by Ringim in holding them hostage for hours under harsh weather conditions without any lawful or justified basis is unconstitutional, and, therefore, illegal.

They asked the court to hold that police officers restricting their freedom of movement and preventing them from entering the FCT on account of their membership of the ACN is in gross violation of their right to freedom from discrimination.

The applicants prayed the court for an order restraining Ringim, whether by himself, servants, agents and/or persons acting for or on his behalf from further tampering with, violating or otherwise infringing their rights.

The N10 billion compensation, they said, is for the alleged gross violation of their rights to freedom of movement, right to dignity of human persons and right to freedom from discrimination.

Besides, they argue that there is no provision in the Constitution or any law enacted by the National Assembly restricting their rights to enter or exit the FCT, Abuja or any other part of the federation.

The first group was turned back on their way to Abuja to witness the Code of Conduct Bureau arraignment proceedings of their leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, while the second group was on their way to attend a meeting at the party’s national secretariat, Abuja.

In an affidavit in support of the fundamental rights enforcement application, Kolawole said the police officers who stopped them claimed that Ringim gave the order.

 “As we displayed the ACN banner on our buses, the officials of the respondent were able to identify us and frustrate all efforts to proceed further on our journey and/or enter the FCT.

“All the applicants, numerous ACN members and I were kept by the officials of the respondent under harsh weather conditions, mosquito bites and constant threat of being shot at throughout the night until the following morning.”At about 7.00 am on Wednesday, the 21st day of September, 2011, the policemen ordered us back onto the road, commanded us to enter our various vehicles and with an escort in front and another at the back of our convoy, we were led out of Lokoja back to Okene in Kogi State and told to go back to Lagos and never to attempt to return to Abuja again.”…(read more)

Why was Apkanudoedehe Invited by SSS – ACN

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) at the weekend expressed worry over the invitation of its governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom State in the April election, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, by the State Security Service (SSS), saying the timing of the invitation was highly suspicious.

The party, in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the decision by the SSS to invite Akpanudoedehe, about the same time the Appeal Court sitting in Calabar, had ordered a retrial of the election petition filed by the party’s candidate for the Uyo Senatorial District, raised a very serious concern.

“The SSS has not said why it is inviting Senator Akpanudoedehe. But coming at this time, we are concerned that it may be part of efforts to sabotage ACN’s preparations for the retrial at the Tribunal. We say this because of the increasingly worrisome role of the security agents in intimidating the opposition.

“The SSS or the police can invite anyone they wish to interrogate, but they must not be seen to be working in tandem with the PDP to frustrate the opposition. Sadly, that has been the case in recent times, hence our concern,” it said.

Meanwhile, the ACN also expressed concern over the continued detention of its Chairman in Jigawa State, Dr. Abubakar Fulata, by the state government.

The party decried the leadership traits of the state governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, who, it alleged, was becoming undemocratic.  

“Dr. Fulata’s offence is that he said the governor lacked the necessary qualifications for the post. Dr. Fulata should know because he once served as a special assistant to Lamido when he was Foreign Affairs minister. Instead of refuting the accusation with facts, ‘Emperor’ Lamido took Dr. Fulata to a Sharia Court, where he has been detained since them,” it said.

The ACN, therefore, called for the immediate release of Fulata, claiming that even if the court must try him, he should not be held in detention indefinitely when he had not been found guilty of any offence.

”This is a violation of Dr. Fulata’s fundamental rights, and a negation of the public stand of the PDP-run Federal Government on the rule of law. A government that shows no respect for its country’s laws, disregards the judiciary and stifles the media cannot get and does not deserve respect in the comity of nations,” the party said.

ACN recalled its earlier statement that there seemed to be a coordinated effort on the part of the PDP and its governments, whether at state or federal levels, to use the security agencies to stifle the opposition.

”When the SSS’ invitation of Senator Akpanudoedehe is taken along with the treatment being meted out to Dr. Fulata in Jigawa, the unlawful arrest and detention of The Nation’s staff and the harassment and intimidation of ACN supporters by the police, especially in Kogi where they have twice been stopped from travelling to Abuja for no reason, one begins to wonder whether the PDP has decided to abridge the Constitutionally-guaranteed rights of all opposition party members and supporters,” ACN said.

”But we will like to warn that such attempts are sure to fail, if history is a guide,” the party said.

Kebbi CPC flays Dakingari over appointments

The Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in Kebbi State has condemned Governor Saidu Dakingari for appointing 57 special advisers.

The party’s Director of Media and Publicity, Alhaji Abubakar Kalgo  said the appointment is outrageous.

“Many of the appointees have nothing to offer, they are bereft of ideas and cannot contribute to the development of the state. Some of them have outlived their usefulness while the rest are political jobbers, who cannot fit into the modern system of democratic governance.

With the way things are going in Kebbi State, coupled with the refusal of the governor to pay the approved minimum wage to workers, I wonder how and where he intends to source funds to pay the newly appointed special advisers,” he said.

Reacting, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Argungu said Kebbi has the lowest number of special advisers in the North, and that those appointed are qualified for the jobs for which they were appointed.

Fashola swears-in 57 council chairmen today

As protests continued to trail October 22, 2011 council polls in Lagos, Gov Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state will today preside at the swearing-in ceremony for the newly elected chairmen of the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas, LCDA, a signpost for the formal take off of administration at the grassroots.

However, the chairman of Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission, LASIEC, Justice Abdul-Fatai Adeyinka (rtd) at the commission’s secretariat in Yaba, issued certificates of return to the newly elected 57 Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN chairmen, vice chairmen and 376 councillors that won in the last Saturday council elections.

Fashola who will conduct the swearing-in at the Blue roof of LTV ground Agidingbi, Ikeja, will have in attendance chieftains of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and members of the state executive council. He had earlier directed that in order to have a hitch free swearing-in, the movement of persons and vehicles should not be restricted as it coincides with the monthly environmental sanitation exercise in the state.

Adeyinka, at the presentation of certificates of return to the newly elected officers said that LASIEC had been transparent in all her duties by carrying along all stakeholders’ in her activities and events that took place throughout the preparation for the state council polls.

The LASIEC boss who had earlier challenged those dissatisfied with the outcome of the elections to seek redress in election tribunal already set up for the purpose, said: “We do not say that we are perfect , but to the very best of our ability, we provided a level-playing field for all and sundry.

Presidential election: Supreme court decides Jonathan, others’ appeal Monday

The Supreme Court will, on Monday, decide whether to strike out the appeal filed by President Goodluck Jonathan, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over a ruling delivered by the presidential election petition tribunal on July 14, which held that the petition filed on a Sunday by Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) seeking to upturn President Goodluck Jonathan’s election is competent and proper in law.

A panel of the apex court headed by Justice Walter Onnoghen had,  on October 20, consolidated the three appeals paving way for the ruling slated for Monday.

Before the date was fixed, the chairman of the panel said the relevant question is “is this appeal alive which has stayed more than 60 days contrary to Section 285 (7) of the 1999 constitution as amended. If it is dead, there is no need to adjourn for further hearing.

“We have drawn your attention to section 285 (7) that mandated this appeal to be determined within 60 days,” he said.

Addressing the court on whether the appeal is still alive, counsel for the PDP, Chief Joe- Kyari Gadzama (SAN), submitted that the 60 days should exclude the vacation period and all the Saturdays and Sundays and by his calculation, this would amount to allowing the appeal to remain alive till December 10, 2011.

Counsel for President Jonathan and Vice-President Namadi Sambo, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), told the court to treat the appeal as a constitutional matter adding that in interpreting constitutional matters, the court should find out why it was put in place.

“Section 1 (3) states that any law which runs contrary to the provisions of the constitution shall give way for the constitution. This is a constitutional imperative and we have to be dispassionate about it because our brief was filed within time and we have not been negligent,” Olanipekun said.

On the other hand, Counsel for CPC, Oladipo Okpeseyi (SAN), said all that were cited by Gadzama “are Acts of National Assembly and not constitutional provisions and may not be too helpful in this appeal.”

He said further,“section 285 (7) is a specific provision and in all situation will prevail. When community reading is given to sections 1 (1), 1 (3) and 6 (6), shall not help now because section 285 (7) is a specific provision and therefore I thank Olanipekun for giving up. These appeals are incompetent; they are dead and better taken off the list of the Supreme Court.”

At this point, the panel adjourned for ruling on October 31, 2011.

ACN, ANPP, 28 others to miss Jigawa LG polls

Over 30 political parties, including  the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), will not participate in the local government election in Jigawa State slated for January next year.

This was disclosed by the chairman, Jigawa State Independent Electoral Commission (JISIEC), Alhaji Muhammed Sani Ahmed, while addressing newsmen in his office in Dutse, on Thursday, adding that the said number of political parties did not purchase nomination forms from the commission.

Alhaji Ahmed said the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and 25 other political parties were able to purchase the nomination forms from the commission before the closure the sales of the forms two weeks ago.

He said the reasons the ACN and ANPP did not meet the deadline date for the purchase of the forms remained unknown to him.

The chairman debunked the speculation that his commission denied some political parties the nomination forms, adding that “the form is not with the chairman, secretary or any commissioner, it is not free. Whoever pays his money most be given the forms.”

He stated further that “some political parties are insisting on logistics from the commission, adding that “even if there will be a logistics, it is meant for the participatory political parties.”

It will be recalled that in the meeting between the officials of the commission, chairmen and secretaries of all the registered political parties, most of the parties insisted that the commission must give the form free of charge, including logistics for all the parties.

Speaking at the meeting, the state chairman of the CPC, Alhaji Dan’azumi Gwagwarmaya, threatened to boycott the election if the JISIEC did not extend the period of the sale of the nomination forms.

The CPC chairman told the meeting that his party needed enough time for its lawyers to go through and critically study the Electoral Act provided by the commission.

Also, the state vice chair-man of the ANPP, Habibu Sani Sara, said parties were given logistics in the previous council elections in the state, adding that “I do not see any reason this will stop this time.”

Most of the parties called on the JISIEC to cancel the unrefundable fees of N100,0000 and N50,000 for chairmanship and councillorship for nomination forms.

Asaba: Tribunal Upholds Ewherido’s Election

The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba, Delta State, has upheld the election of Senator Akpor Pius Ewherido, the senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District.

The candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Ighoyota Amori, had challenged the declaration of Senator Ewherido of the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) as winner of the election, claiming that the election was inconclusive.

Delivering its judgment, the tribunal said Amori was unable to prove his case on the balance of probability.

The tribunal further said that the senatorial election in Delta Central Senatorial District was conducted in substantial compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, contrary to the petitioner’s assertion.

Meanwhile, former Governor of Plateau State, Chief Joshua Chibi Dariye, who had earlier defeated Dr. Dauda Gowon, to claim the Plateau Central Senatorial seat in the April general elections, Wednesday floored him again when the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Jos, re-affirmed his election.

Chairman of the tribunal, Mr. Justice Suleiman Ambursa, who delivered the judgement, said all the allegations levelled against Dariye by Gowon remained unproved. He expressed regret that the petitioner had not been able to convince the tribunal stressing that he had failed to prove a prima facie case against the respondent (Dariye)

(source)

Sylva, Alaibe, Bruce to Face Screening Panel Today

Determined to go through re-election process, Bayelsa State Governor, Timipre Sylva, his challengers – former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Timi Alaibe, former Director General of Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Mr. Ben Bruce, and others – will Thursday, in Abuja, go for screening, preparatory for the gubernatorial primary scheduled for November 19.

When checks at the state Government House, Creek Havens, revealed that Sylva and his supporters are leaving Yenagoa this morning for Port Harcourt to face the screening panel.

But, sources have indicated that the screening venue will now be in Abuja, and not Port Harcourt, as earlier scheduled.

Although no reason was given for the relocation of the screening venue, but it might not be unconnected with the lack of security assurances in Port Harcourt.

Sounding confident about his chances last night, Alaibe who spoken to on phone said he was the candidate to beat in the race, dispelling insinuations that his application for waiver from the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would not be granted.

He explained that he had applied for the waiver, adding that "I am optimistic that my application will be considered favourably".

He further said: “I’m going for screening tomorrow (today). I’m the candidate to beat. Waiver was granted to former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, why not me?”

The waiver granted the former Vice-President earlier this year qualified him to run for the presidential primaries.

It was revealed that some party faithful in the state have pointed out that Bruce registered as a PDP member in Lagos State and not Bayelsa State, expressing concern that "even if he gets the ticket, he will not be able to vote for himself".

Efforts by Sylva to regain the PDP ticket at the primary election may have suffered some setbacks following the eventual sack of the acting state chairman of the party, Chief Darius Obieme.

A new chairman, Chief James Dogu from Bayelsa Central Senatorial District, has been named.

And perhaps unsure of what fate awaits him at the primary election, Sylva has gone to court seeking an injunction to stop its conduct.

The National Working Committee (NWC) of PDP in a letter dated October 21, 2011, signed by its Acting National Secretary, Dr. Musa Babayo, titled: “Appointment of Bayelsa State Party Chairman” announced the appointment of Dugo as the substantive state chairman.

The letter reads in part: “We refer to your letter dated October 17 2011, on the above captioned. The NWC after careful deliberations and extensive consultations with stakeholders from Bayelsa State and the relevant zone, as par the provision of Article 14.5 of our party constitution, hereby convey its approval for the appointment of Mr. Dugo James as substantive state party chairman with immediate effect.”

Confirming the sack of Obieme as the state chairman, the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Prof. Ahmed Alkali, said the NWC of the party in an emergency meeting on October 25, 2011, “after careful deliberations and consultations with stakeholders from Bayelsa State, and in line with Article 14.5 of our constitution, the NWC approved the immediate appointment of Mr. Dugo James as the substantive chairman of the PDP in Bayelsa State”.

The NWC directed Obieme to revert to his former position of vice-chairman of party in the state.

Although, Sylva has picked and submitted his nomination form, competent sources within the party said he might be screened out over allegations of security breaches and utterances. The appointment of a new chairman, it was gathered, is part of the plot to stop Sylva.

He filed a restraining order in a Bayelsa High Court in Yenagoa seeking to stop the conduct of the fresh primary election.

The suit, YHC/07/2011, filed by an aide to the state Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Mr. Mienyobofa Stephen-Gow, has the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and PDP as defendants.
Stephen-Gow in the suit dated July 7, which next hearing has been fixed for November 7, wanted the court to determine if INEC could lawfully direct the PDP to initiate a process of conducting a fresh primary election to nominate a governorship candidate of the party for the 2012 governorship election in the state.

He sought to know whether the court’s decision that prolonged the tenure of the governor “is not merely that the general election into the office of the governor is postponed and not that the political parties such as the PDP which had held their primary elections should hold another primary election”.

He also sought to know if the PDP could conduct another primary election having conducted a similar one for the same office in January 12.

Fundamentally, he wanted the court to determine whether Sylva who had emerged as the candidate of the party for the April general election that was postponed by the judgment of the Court of Appeal was not eligible to retain his candidacy for the February election.

He also wanted the court to declare “that the incumbent governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva, having emerged victorious in the primary election which was conducted in January is the rightful and lawful candidate of PDP for the purpose of the election”.

Not surprisingly, some governorship aspirants in the party have kicked against the move to stop the primary election.
Already, one of the top contenders, Mr. Seriake Dickson, has filed an application seeking to be joined in the suit.
Dickson in the affidavit which was filed by his lawyer, Mr. Damabide Stanley, argued that he deserved to be joined in the matter as a delegate of the party and aspirant for the governorship primary…(read more)

Makurdi: Tribunal upholds PDP rep’s election

National and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, Benue State has upheld the election of Ezekiel Adaji of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Otukpo/Ohimini Federal Constituency seat.

Delivering judgment in the petition filed by Nelson Alapa of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) against the election of Adaji, the presiding judge, Justice Anslem Nwiwgwe dismissed the suit for lack of merit and incompetence.

Nwigwe stated that since the petitioner did not seek leave of the tribunal before applying for pre–trial conference, other processes following the application for pre-trial conference dated 5th July, 2011 had been set aside.

The panel also ruled that other allegations of election malpractice by the petitioner against the election of Adaji, which are criminal in nature could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt and were treated as mere hearsay and imagination of the petitioner.