Kwara: PDP threatens to sack liaison officers, others

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State has threatened to sack liaison officers and youth empowerment coordinators in the 16 local governments for incompetence.

The party also said their involvement in activities in their constituencies, particularly regular attendance at ward meetings, would be a condition for retaining their jobs. 

The meeting, which was attended by the executive committee members, elders and stalwarts, agreed that political office holders must meet their constituencies continually. 

Senator Bukola Saraki, representing Kwara Central, said the party would not tolerate indolence and incompetence. 

He added that liaison officers and youth empowerment coordinators should interact with the people at the grass- roots to find out their needs and inform the governor and party. …(read more)

Ekiti: Appeal Court dismisses Oni’s suit against Fayemi

An Appeal Court panel sitting in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State capital yesterday dismissed the application brought before it by the ousted Governor of the State, Segun Oni, seeking the review of an Appeal Court judgment that sacked him in October 15, last year.

The court described the application as lacking in merit and it was dismissed accordingly.

Fayemi commended the judgement and described it as “victory for common sense and the rule of law.”

But Oni promised to appeal the judgment at the Supreme Court.

The five-member panel of Judges were unanimous in their judgment and upheld the decision of the Appeal Court sitting in Ilorin that declared the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate in the 2007 governorship election, Dr. Kayode Fayemi as the winner.

Justice Tijani Abdullahi chaired the panel yesterday. Other members of the panel included Justices Mrs Musa Abba-Aji, Mrs M.O. Kekere-Ekun, Ismaya Mohammed and  R.C. Agbo.

At yesterday’s session, Mr. Ladi Williams (SAN) represented the petitioner, Oni and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. John Olusola  Baiyeshea (SAN) stood-in for the first and second respondents, Fayemi and ACN .

The former governor in his application, filed  on March 14, this year at the Appeal Court in Ado Ekiti by his lawyer, Prof Ben Nwabueze  (SAN), sought for the following reliefs: An order setting aside the October 15,  2010 judgment  delivered by the Court of Appeal in Ilorin, Kwara State; an order compelling the President of the Court of Appeal to set up anew Appeal Court Panel to start  the case de novo; an order that the Speaker of the House of Assembly be allowed to Act in place of the Governor pending the determination of the case.

Delivering his ruling on the case yesterday at about 3.30 pm, Justice Abdullahi said the only issue for determination was whether the Court could set aside the judgment to order fresh trial or whether it had jurisdiction to entertain the case.

The Judge described the application as lacking in merit and it dismissed accordingly, saying: “If there is any case of bias, Oni and PDP ought to have raised objection against it before the trial Appeal Court in Ilorin”.

He said the Court could only reverse itself under the following circumstances: “One, if it is misled to deliver a ruling, if a judgment is given in the absence of jurisdiction, if the case is a nullity or obnoxious, or if the court is misled to accept certain facts or evidences.”

Fayemi in his reaction to the ruling by the Appeal Court Justices, described it as victory for common sense and the rule of law.

The governor said in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Yinka Oyebode, that he was happy that reason and common sense prevailed in the case that ordinarily ought not to have come before the Lord Justices in the first place.

But Oni in his reaction said: “Therefore, since we have the right of appeal, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we have resolved to appeal the judgment of today (yesterday) at the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land. Any moment from now, our Notice of Appeal will be filed.”

 

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Edo: ACN leaders adopt Odubu as Oshiomhole’s running mate

The crisis rocking  Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in Edo State over who becomes running mate to Governor Adams Oshiomhole, in the forthcoming July 14 governorship election in the state, was, weekend, put to rest, when the leadership of the party finally endorsed the incumbent Deputy Governor, Dr. Pius Odubu, as running mate.

It will be recalled that the issue polarized the party due to disagreement between loyalists of Dr. Odubu and those of the Vice–Chairman of the ACN in the South-South, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

However, at a meeting of the leadership of the party, weekend, in Benin City, Vanguard learnt that all the leaders agreed to work towards an Oshiomhole/Odubu ticket and ironed out the conflicting issues.

It was learnt that after the Deputy Governor apologised to the leaders in the interest of peace and good of the party, Ize-Iyamu moved the motion for the adoption of Odubu as running mate to Oshiomhole.

Nasarawa: S’Court rules Friday on suit against Al-Makura

The Supreme Court will on Friday decide whether or not Alhaji Umaru Tanko Al-Makura won the governorship election of Nasarawa State conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on April 26, 2011.                

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Dahiru Musdapher who presided over the five-man panel, fixed that date to announce its decision after counsel in the matter had adopted their written address on the appeal lodged by former Governor of the state and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Aliyu Akwe Doma.

In the notice of appeal prepared on Doma’s behalf by Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), he is praying the apex court to over-rule the decision of the Appeal Court in Makurdi, Benue State, which upheld the election of Al-Makura.             

On November 12, 2011, the Nasarawa State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, had in a split decision of 2 to 1, upheld the victory of Al-Makura of the Congress of Progressive Change (CPC) at the April 26, 2011 governorship election.      

 Dissatisfied, Doma approached the Appeal Court, seeking to upturn the tribunal’s decision but was turned down.

Doma and the PDP had petitioned the tribunal, alleging that Al-Makura in connivance with INEC rigged his way to victory.

 

 

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C’River: Monitors, LP disagree on gov poll

Election monitors under the aegis of Project Swift Count have said results of Saturday’s governorship poll in Cross River State were a true reflection of the wishes of the people.

The group said the figures released by the Independent National Electoral Commission were consistent with what its monitors observed during the exercise.

This was contained in a report presented by the first Co-Chair of the project, Dafe Akpedeye, at a media briefing in Abuja on Monday.

But the Labour Party candidate for the election, Mrs. Imah Nsa-Adegoke, and her counterpart in the Hope Democratic Party, Dr. Theo Onyuku, alleged manipulation of the poll’s results.

While the LP alleged that the results were manipulated in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party, the HDP claimed that there were proven cases of financial inducement and intimidation of voters to the advantage of the ruling party.

Both parties have separately rejected the results and vowed to seek legal redress in due course.

Akpedeye explained that although there were isolated incidents of ballot box snatching, intimidation of voters and late start of the exercise in some areas, the incidents were not significant enough to invalidate the final results.

He said, “The order and magnitude of the INEC results for each of these parties is the same as the Swift Count estimates.

“Because Project Swift Count was able to independently collect official results from polling units and arrive at the same results as INEC, political contestants and the public alike should have a high degree of confidence that the official results as announced by INEC reflect the votes cast in the Cross River gubernatorial election.”

According to him, Project Swift Count deployed 628 observers in all the 18 Local Government Areas of the states.

The LP, in a statement by its state Secretary in Calabar, Mr. Remi Agwuezie, claimed that the 1,922 votes it secured during the election were allocated to it in order to frustrate its candidate at the tribunal.

The LP said, “It is important to point out that two days before the election, our candidate was informed that it was the plan of the PDP to allocate to her the fourth position in the election so as to ensure she will not in any way come close to second in the event of a legal contest.”

In the same vein, the HDP candidate described the election as a sham, and blatant rape of democratic process, alleging that the process violated the provisions of the Electoral Act.

Onyuku said the HPD would drag INEC, the PDP, and the winner of the exercise, Senator Liyel Imoke, to the tribunal.

 

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Imo: PDP Wins Ahiazu/Ezinihitte Re-run

Chief Raphael Nnanna Igbokwe, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate, weekend, emerged winner in the re-run election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for Ahiazu/Ezinihitte Mbaise federal constituency.

Igbokwe scored 17,316 votes to beat his closest rival, Mr. Chidi Ibe, of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, who placed second with 13,514 votes.

It is recalled that the election petitions tribunal nullified Igbokwe’s election because of INEC’s omission of Labour Party logo on the ballot paper and ordered for a fresh election.

Cross River: Imoke wins polls

Senator Liyel Imoke has been returned to Cross River State Government House with a landslide margin in last Saturday’s governorship election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced Sunday.

Imoke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defeated 11 other candidates with 451,544 votes, according to the result declared by the returning officer, Professor James Epoke, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar, which showed poor performance by the opposition parties. Their votes, collectively, were less than 50,000.

Mr. Usani Uguru Usani of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) scored 31,026 votes; Mr. Patrick Okomiso of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) polled 2,235, while Mrs. Imah Nsa Adegoke of the Labour Party (LP) emerged fourth with 1,922 and Goddie Akpama of Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) fifth with 1,146.
Although the total number of registered voters in the state is 1,248,916, the apathy that attended the exercise saw a total number of votes cast of only 501,117. Out of this, the total number of valid votes cast was 489,939, while 11,178 votes were rejected.

Epoke said Imoke was the only candidate who scored 25 per cent votes in the 17 local government areas where elections held.

Only Bakassi Local Government Area did not participate in the exercise following a court injunction on the eve of the election…(read more)

Protest, Low Turnout Mar C’River Gov Poll

Low voter turnout and protest by the people of Bakassi Local Government Area, who were unable to vote due to dispute over their resettlement marred Saturday the governorship election in Cross River State.

Justice Adetukunbo Ademola of the Federal Court, Calabar, on Friday, had granted an injunction seeking to stop the Bakassi electorate from voting at the polling unit they registered

The court injunction barred the Independent National Electoral Commission from conducting election there.

While accreditation of voters began on schedule in some polling units in Calabar, in others, especially those in the hinterland, certification of voters began late following delay in arrival of officials and materials.

Non-sensitive materials got to the 18 local government areas of the state well ahead of the election day, while sensitive materials left Calabar early Saturday…(read more)

Edo PDP: Airhiavbere Wins Governorship Primary

Major General Charles Airhiavbere (rtd.) Saturday emerged winner of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary election in Edo State thus becoming the party’s flag bearer in the July 14 governorship election in the state.

The former army general who emerged as the governorship candidate for PDP will slug it out with incumbent governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

Airhiavbere emerged victorious at a special congress for governorship primary election that took place amidst water-tight security in the hard court of Samuel Ogbemudia stadium, Benin City.

The victorious Airhiavbere pulled a total of 403 votes to beat four other aspirants, namely, Barrister Kenneth Imansuangbon (178 votes); former governor, Prof. Oseriemen Osunbor (22 votes); Matthew Iduoriyekemwen (94 votes) and former Special Adviser on Project Monitoring to former President Obasanjo, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere who garnered 24 votes.

Declaring Airhiavbere as winner, Chairman of the Electoral Panel and Minister of State for Education, Mr. Eze Nyesom Wike, said “ by the powers conferred on me as the chairman of the Electoral Panel of the Edo State PDP Governorship Primary, I hereby declare Gen Charles Airhiavbere [rtd] as the candidate that will fly the flag of the party in the July 14 general election in Edo State.”

All went well without problem from the beginning of the election to the end as delegates, aspirants and their supporters conducted themselves with utmost decorum, except for a little dissension between aspirants’ agents that threatened to mar the well-organised primary election.

Cross River decides New Gov Today

The people of Cross River State will Saturday go to the poll to elect a governor that will run the state for the next four years. 12 candidates angling for the number one office, including former governor Liyel Imoke of the Peoples Democratic Party who is eyeing a second term.

The other 11 candidates and their parties include Mr. Usani Uguru Usani (CAN); Mr. Victor Udom (ALP); Chief Patrick Okomiso (ANPP); Mr. Odey Martin Ekunke (APS); Mr. Cletus Okomah Inyang (CDC); Mary Ogoba Ekpere (CPC); and Mr. James Ebri (DFPF).

Others are Dr. Theo Osim Onyuku (HDP); Mrs. Imah Nsa-Adegoke (LP); Mr. Goddie Archibong Akpama (PPA) and Dr. Ebiti Ndok (UNPD).

The Independent National Electoral Commission says every arrangement for successful conduct of the election has been put in place by.

Last week, INEC took delivery of non-sensitive materials and distributed them among the 18 local government areas of the state. Just last Thursday, the electoral body in the presence of security agencies and party agents received from the Central Bank of Nigeria at the Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar sensitive materials and gave them out Friday accordingly.

Security is expected to be tight as 9,000 security operatives have been deployed to each of the 2,383 polling units across the 196 wards of the state. Out of this number, 7,000 are policemen, so says the state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr. Samson Wudah.

He said the security operatives have been directed to deal decisively with any person or group of persons found to be fomenting trouble before, during and after the elections adding that movement will be restricted except those on essential duties and who must be duly accredited by INEC for that purpose.

Not less than 628 observers from Project Swift Count (PSC) have been accredited to monitor the election across the state with its chairman, Mr. Dafe Akpedeye (SAN) saying they were in the state to ensure that the election is free of malpractice and meets international standards.

Speaker Takes Over as S’Court Sacks Kebbi State Governor

Following the removal of Kebbi State governor, Saidu Usman Dakingari, by the Supreme Court, the Speaker of Kebbi State House of Assembly, Aminu Habib Jega, was inaugurated Friday night as acting governor.

The oath of office was administered on Jega around 9:30pm by the Chief Judge of the state, Ibrahim Umar.

The Supreme Court removed Dakingari from office and ordered a fresh election in the state.

The court upturned the judgment of the Court of Appeal which had earlier upheld Dakingari’s election and in its place re-instated the judgment of the Kebbi State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal which nullified the said election and ordered a fresh one.

Dakingari is of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The nullification of his election at the tribunal followed the petition filed by the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and its governorship candidate, Malam Abubakar Abubakar.

The tribunal had nullified Dakingari’s election on the ground that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not conduct the election in compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010.

Friday, Justice Walter Onnoghen who gave the lead judgment said the Court of Appeal did not give its judgment within the 60 days allowed by the constitution for determining election petition appeals.

Although, the Court of Appeal gave its judgment within the 60 days, the court gave the reason for the judgment about 71 days after the appeal was filed.

Justice Onnoghen said: “When Section 285 (7) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) talks of a decision of a court it means the decision and the reasons for that decision. It follows therefore that a decision without the reasons for same is in law, no decision at all.

“Therefore when Section 285 (7) of the said 1999 Constitution assigned 60 days within which an appeal must be heard and disposed of, it clearly means that both the decision/judgment of the court and the reasons for same must be given by the court concerned within the assigned 60 days or less but not more.”

However, the Supreme Court admitted that when the Court of Appeal sat as the final court, such as in an appeal arising from the decisions of election tribunals in relation to National Assembly and state Houses of Assembly, it could give its judgment and adjourn to a later date for the reasons for the decision.

Even then, the reasons for the decision, the court said must still be given within 6o days.

He said: “It is not in dispute that the judgment of the lower court (Court of Appeal) setting aside the decision of the tribunal delivered on 13th November, 2011 was rendered by the lower court on the 29th day of December, 2011 and that the reasons for the said decision of 29th December, 2011 was given by that court on 23rd day of January, 2012.

“From the above facts, it is clear that between the 13th day of November, 2011 and 23rd day of January, 2012 is about 71 days.”

Having so held, the court did not go into the substance of the petition to wit, whether INEC conducted the elections in compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.

The judgment thus visited the error of the Court of Appeal on the governor who was not responsible for the failure of the court to give its judgment and the reason thereof within the days constitutionally allowed for doing so.

Giving the rationale for the judgment, Justice Onnoghen said: “What subsection 8 of Section 285 of the Constitution as amended is saying in relation to the facts of this case is simply that an appeal, where the Court of Appeal is the final court of appeal, such as in appeals relating to National and State Houses of Assembly election petition matters, the Court of Appeal, like the Supreme Court, may adopt the practice of giving its decision but deferring the reasons for the said decision to a later date not exceeding the time constitutionally allotted the court to hear and dispose of the matter.

“The decision and the reasons for the decision both constitute the judgment of the court and must go hand in hand, and must come within the time allotted in the constitution for both to be valid and subsisting.”

He consequently held that the judgment of the court of appeal was a nullity.

Other justices namely Tanko Muhammad, Olufu-nlola Adekeye, Sylvester Ngwuta and Mary Peter-Odili agreed with the judgment.

The PDP said it received the Supreme Court verdict with ‘great shock’ but said its confidence in the judiciary remains unshaken.

In a statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Prof Ahmed Alkali, the party said, “though we express shock at the supreme court judgment,  our faith in the judiciary remains Unwavering , we are deeply concerned with the trend of judgments some of which breed unnecessary tension and instability.”

He further said: “The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Abubakar Kawu Baraje, on behalf of the National Working Committee (NWC) and the entire members of the PDP is deeply touched by this temporary setback but calls on all our teeming supporters in Kebbi State to remain calm, law abiding and continue to support the PDP, which remains the most formidable and purposeful political party in Nigeria.”

The party, however, commended the sacked governor for all his efforts in the courts and urged him and his team in the state to be steadfast, courageous, while the party prepares for a re-run election, stating “God willing, we shall win”.

Mr. Sam Karbo, counsel to the CPC candidate, said God had a hand in the verdict. He said the judgment came “in spite of all the challenges and obvious obstacles placed in the way of our petition and appeal. We are human and we did our job well but God always had His own ways of paying people back. We must say we felt we were not treated well at the Court of Appeal”.

Karbo said INEC now has the challenge to make the fresh election a free and fair contest and by so doing set a new standard in Prof. Attahiru Jega’s home state.

 

 

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You Can’t Stop C’River Election, INEC Tells Court

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Thursday told a Federal High Court, Abuja, that it had no power under the law to stop it from conducting tomorrow’s governorship election in Cross River State.

The commission’s Director of Legal Services, Ibrahim Bawa, made the submission at the resumed hearing of the motion ex-parte filed by the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and its governorship candidate in the state, Dr. Obol Patrick Okomiso, for an order restraining INEC from conducting Saturday’s governorship election in the state.                              
According to him, section 87 (11) of the Electoral Act states that the court has no power to stop INEC from conducting an election.                            

He said: “The plaintiffs are indirectly telling the court to ignore the rule by asking it to restrain INEC from going ahead with the Saturday’s election in Cross River State.”
Curiously, the trial judge did not make reference to the ex-parte order he granted stopping the election.  

Meanwhile, the court granted the application brought before it by former Governor Liyel Imoke and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to be joined in the matter.       

While adjourning further hearing on the matter till March 19, 2012, the trial judge, Justice Abdul Kafarati, directed that parties be put on notice and refused the plaintiffs’ application for status quo to be maintained. 

Counsel to the plaintiffs, Ajibola Oluyede, told the court that it would amount to wasting tax payers’ money for the court to allow the election to hold without compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.  

ANPP and its governorship candidate, Okomiso, had filed a motion ex-parte seeking an order stopping INEC from conducting the governorship election in the state tomorrow on the ground that the commission has no power to reschedule the election to less than 48 days to the initial date fixed for the said election.      

According to them, the election had earlier been scheduled by INEC to hold on the 14th of April, 2012 in view of the mandatory timetable set by the Electoral Act for submission of names and addresses of party candidates for that election.                     

They argued that, “Apart from the inconvenience to the parties of suddenly shortening the period they had already taken for granted as available for their preparations for the election, the abridgment of time is ultra vires, null and void and would be a ground for nullifying the election, if conducted.”             

They also asked the court for an order directing INEC to maintain the status quo, that is as at 15th of February, 2012, to refrain from taking further action or steps regarding the revised timetable for the conduct of the election into the office of governor of Cross River State of Nigeria pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed on February 15, 2012 in the proceedings.

In an affidavit attached to the application, ANPP said that INEC’s reason that it brought the election forward because of the judgment of the Supreme Court which removed five state governors from office was not tenable in law.

“That the Supreme Court judgment did not place any constraint on INEC to abridge or tamper with the timetable it had set on the 11th August 2011 for the governorship election in Cross River State nor has it created any situation which the 1999 Constitution cannot cope with, as the governor and his deputy duly vacated their position pursuant to the judgment and the Speaker of the House of Assembly has taken over as governor pursuant to Section 191(2) of the Constitution,” the affidavit added.       

They further explained that the Speaker under the constitution could act as governor for a period of 90 days until elections are held and a new governor sworn in and there was no need for INEC to conduct an election immediately.      

They said: “The applicants will be prejudiced if the election is brought forward to the 25th of February, 2012 as INEC now proposes, because the validity of the nomination of the 2nd plaintiff will be jeopardised by non-compliance with section 31(1) of the Electoral Act 2010.”