Six INEC commissioners, 5 RECs for Kebbi guber

Ahead of today’s governorship rerun election, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in Kebbi state has disclosed that a total of six national commissioners and five Resident Electoral Commissioners would cover the governorship election in Kebbi.

Speaking with Saturday Vanguard in his office yesterday, Kebbi state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Alhaji Munkaila Abdullahi said that among the  Resident Commissioners are those of Zamfara, Kano and Jigawa.

He added that with all necessary arrangements having been put in place, students of tertiary institutions and  members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC would participate in today’s exercise.

Abdullahi said that  all relevant agencies, including the Police, State Security Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Agency, NSCDC and INEC were working towards a hitch-free election.

”The Commission is working hard in collaboration with all stakeholders, including security agencies to ensure a hitch-free election,” he said adding that the Commission would not condone the attitude of politicians and government officials who go around other polling units other than theirs in the name of supervision.

In a related development, the Kebbi state Chairman of the Conference of National Political Parties, CNPP, Alhaji Boyi Zaito Jega said that all the 15 political parties are ready for today’s election.

“The members of the CNPP who participated in the last election and who are now eligible to participate in this election, are ready. We commend INEC for the level of preparedness it has attained.”

Since INEC could not substitute candidates of the ACN and the CPC whose governorship candidates defected to the PDP, according to INEC, details of parties and their candidates would be used in the rerun election.

These parties include ACN, AD, ADC, ALP, ANPP, APGA, CPC, CPP, LP, NNPP, NSDP, NTP, PDP, PPA and PPP.



:culled from vanguard

S-South Speakers Pick Ochei As Chairmanship Candidate, Deploys Violence

The South-South Speakers Forum has endorsed the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Victor Ochei as its sole candidate for the chairmanship election of the Conference of Speakers holding April 12.

In a statement issued at the end of its meeting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, the forum said the endorsement is to allow for effective and quality representation of the yearnings and aspirations of the Conference of Speakers in the polity.

The summit, which was attended by the six speakers in the south-south zone, described the recent call by some northern leaders and organisation for the downward review or withdrawal of the thirteen percent derivation principle as provocative and unpatriotic.

It said the 13 percent accruable to oil producing states in the Niger Delta was not commensurate with the environmental hazards and degradation suffered by the people in the region and called for the upward review of the derivation principle to 50 per cent.

Adamawa: Tribunal Dismisses Nyako’s Application To Strike Out Petition

The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Yola, the Adamawa State capital  friday dismissed the application brought before it by Mr Kanu Agabi (SAN) counsel to the first respondent, Governor Murtala Nyako, to strike out the petition challenging the election of the governor.

In his ruling, Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Bitrus G. Sanga, ruled that the tribunal was bound by law to hear the case on its merit and that the application to strike out the petition was purely based on technicality.

He pointed out that if the application was accepted, the rule of fair hearing for all citizens guaranteed by the constitution of the country would be violated by the tribunal.

“It is the constitutional duty of court to give everybody fair hearing, so that the essence of the law would be maintained and people get justice,” he stated.

Justice Sanga maintained that since the court was yet to commence the trial of the substantive issues formulated in the petition, it was too early for the counsels to the respondents to ask for dismissal of the petition.

While relying on the four different affidavits submitted to the tribunal by Musa Audu, counsel to the plaintiffs, the lead counsel to the petitioner, Barrister Micah Musa, told the tribunal earlier that the objection to the petition by the counsels to the respondents has no constitutional value, but that it was a mere academic exercise that has no judicial relevance.

He urged the tribunal to strike out the application on grounds that it lacks legal substance to be entertained in the court of law.

While citing one of Audu’s affidavits, Musa told the court that it was premature and illegal for the counsels to the respondents to raise the application considering the fact that the same issue was contained in the reply of the defendant to the petition.

In his argument, Agabi told the court that the petition has no constitutional backing and that it violated the provisions of the Electoral Act.

Citing the case of the former governor of the defunct Gongola State, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, versus Sabia, in 1983, he argued that the petition did not meet the requirements of the provisions of the Electoral Act.




Belgore committee downplays single tenure

The Justice Alfa Belgore Committee on Constitution Review has avoided the contentious issue of single tenure for President and governors, investigations have shown, Punch reports.

It was learnt on Friday that the committee recommended increased allocations to states and local government councils.

A reliable source in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, told one of our correspondents in confidence, that the committee would round off its activities in April.

The source said, “I can tell you that the committee has started compiling its report and that the tenure issue is not even mentioned.

“But states and LGs are going to have at least five per cent increase in their allocations, if their recommendations are accepted.”

He explained that the committee avoided the single tenure issue because of the allegation that it was being used by President Goodluck Jonathan to pursue an alleged tenure elongation agenda.

“They (committee members) did not take any decision on tenure. But their action or inaction on the issue won’t affect the chances of Mr. President. Whether he can contest or not is a question of the interpretation of the constitution and the judiciary will do that.”

Jonathan had in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, on July 25, 2011, said he would send a bill on single tenure for the President and governors to the National Assembly.

The statement had explained that the bill was aimed at reducing the cost of conducting primaries and general elections every four years, which it said was harmful to the economy.

It added, “The proposed amendment will not have anything to do with him (the President) as a person; what he owes Nigerians is good governance, and he is singularly committed to this.

“Besides, it is trite law that the envisaged amendment cannot have a retroactive effect. This means that whatever single-term tenure that is enacted into law by the National Assembly will take effect from 2015.”

The President set up the 21-member constitution review committee in November 2011.

The committee is expected to review the outstanding issues arising from the 2006 Political Reform Conference under President Olusegun Obasanjo and the National Constitutional Conference held between 1994 and 1995 by the late military dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha.

Members of the committee include Senator Udoma Udo Udoma; former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana; ex-Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe; Prof. Anya O. Anya and Mr. Ledun Mitee.

But the Coalition of Northern Leaders had in a communiqué after a meeting in Abuja on March 15, alleged that the Presidency was using the committee to pursue Jonathan’s tenure elongation agenda.

The group had, in the communiqué signed by its convener, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, said, “The main effort by Belgore and other hirelings of the Villa has been to create a so-called new constitution that paves the way for Jonathan to again contest the presidential election in 2015 for a single term of seven years, that is, in addition to his current four years to the nearly two years he had served of the Yar’Adua Presidency.”

Abati, in an interview with journalists, denied the group’s allegation.

He explained that Jonathan was still in his first term in office.

He had said, “It also appears strange to me that a group of people, who would otherwise be described as distinguished Nigerians, would claim that the President is looking for a third term.

“Every intelligent man in this country knows that President Jonathan is in his first term in office, so how have they suddenly jumped from first term to third term? From the point of view of arithmetic, even their claim cannot stand, so that claim is weak, it is unacceptable.

“If their concern is about the seven-year term, President Jonathan has made it clear that his proposal is out of patriotic concern about the amount of wastefulness, greed, tension, conflict that go into the obsession for the search for second term.”

Our correspondents learnt that Abati’s statement that Jonathan is still in his first term fuelled speculation among the Peoples Democratic Party members that the President would contest the 2015 presidential poll.

The PDP governors had at the party’s meeting held on August 13, 2010, agreed to support Jonathan for a single term of four years.

Briefing journalists after the meeting, former National Publicity Secretary of the party, Prof. Rufai Alkali, said the President was to spend another four years in office to enable him to complete the joint ticket with the late President, Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua.

The source said, “The members are aware of the controversy over whether the President can contest in 2015. They don’t want to be dragged into that. …(read more)

Edo: 1,500 ACN members, others defect to PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party in Edo State, on Friday received about 1,500 defecting Action Congress of Nigeria members and others in Iguobazuwa, Ovia South-West Local Government Area of the state into its fold.

PDP leader in the area, Emma Ogbomo, called on party supporters to ensure that Iguobazuwa remained a PDP stronghold.

He said, “Last week here, Governor Adams Oshiomhole came, saying he was going to destroy our party (PDP), but he was disappointed, as nobody was on ground to receive him, only the people he had planted were there.

“Here, we have several canopies under which are seated some of our people that went to join the ACN before, and original members of the ACN, who are defecting to our party today; and they are over 1,500 in number.”

State chairman of the party, Chief Dan Orbih, described the occasion as a special one.

He said, “In the past two months, we have been receiving ACN members joining the PDP, but today, we have both ACN and former PDP members joining the PDP. We are very happy to receive you.”

Kwara Central District: Court affirms Saraki’s election

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday upheld the nomination and election of Bukola Saraki as the senator representing Kwara Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly under the umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party.

The court, presided over by Justice Ibrahim Auta, affirmed Saraki’s election while dismissing a petition brought by an aspirant for the PDP ticket in the Kwara Central Senatorial District, Alhaji Lasisi Kolawole Jimoh.

Jimoh had approached the court to challenge Saraki’s nomination and election.

Auta held that the suit brought by Jimoh was baseless and lacked merit as it failed to disclose any irregularity, fraud or malpractices in the process that produced Saraki as the PDP candidate.

The judge noted that there was a primary election conducted by the PDP on Jan 7, 2011, which was won by one Alhaji Isiaka Gold with 1,064 votes, with the plaintiff, Jimoh, finishing second with 12 votes.

Auta noted that, following Gold’s withdrawal as the PDP candidate, the party conducted a bye-election, which was won by Saraki, making him the PDP senatorial candidate for the zone.

Auta disagreed with the plaintiff’s claim that the bye-election was not conducted according to the provisions of the Electoral Act.

The judge held that from the evidence adduced by the plaintiff himself, he (Jimoh) did not establish any wrongdoing against the senator, the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission, who were joined in the suit.

“The law is clear, the plaintiff did not prove any mis-representation or misconception in respect of Section 26 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 on the nomination complied with by PDP,” he said.

Auta, thereby, dismissed Jimoh’s suit in its entirety and upheld Saraki’s nomination and election.

Jimoh had, in the suit, alleged that the bye-election that produced Saraki as the candidate of the PDP in the senatorial zone was not conducted in accordance with the law.

He had asked the court to declare him the PDP candidate, as he had emerged the runner-up in the first primary election.

Kebbi governorship election is a formality; we’ve won it – PDP Chairman

Mr Tukur said this in Birnin Kebbi, the Kebbi state capital during the campaign tour of the party in support of the re-election bid of Saidu Dakingari, former governor of Kebbi state.

“I have no doubt in my mind that this election is a formality as our Candidate has delivered so much in the last term, enough to make his victory very possible,” he said.

Mr Tukur said his administration in the PDP will spend more time pursuing his Reconciliation, Reformation and Rebirth agenda.

He said he will ensure that all the feuding parties in the PDP will be reconciled within the shortest possible time so as to move the party ahead.

“I am glad that this policy is already gaining ground in Kebbi state. The presence of the former governor Senator Adamu Aliero with all his supporters here today is an indication of greater things to come,” he said.

The PDP Chairman called on the party supporters in the state to close ranks to ensure that the former governor is re-elected come Saturday to continue the good works he has been doing in the state.

The former governor and the PDP’s governorship candidate for Saturday’s election, Mr Dakingari congratulated Mr Tukur on his new position as the party’s national chairman and wished that his visit to Kebbi state being the very first since he assumed office will bring the luck that will bring victory to the party.

Other party chieftain present at the campaign tour included former Sports Minister, Sumaila Sambawa, Defence Minister and former acting National Chairman of PDP, Bello Haliru Mohammed, acting governor of the state, Aminu Jega, all serving members of the National Assembly from the state as well as other top government functionaries.



CPC ask INEC to postpone Kebbi governorship poll

The Deputy National Chairman of the Party, Mustapha Saliu told journalists in Abuja that the party is requesting for the postponement because of the withdrawal of the party’s candidate for the election.

“We are asking for the postponement of the election so that we can be able to shop, nominate and sponsor a fresh candidate,” he said.

He further observed that the Independent National Electoral Commission had turned down the application on the premise that a 45 day notice was to be given according to the Electoral act as amended in 2010.

Mr Saliu said that should the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) proceed with this Saturday’s election the CPC will be heading for the court to seek redress.

“We have asked our people to boycott the election,” he said.

The National Secretary of the party, Buba Galadima said that “even though the Supreme Court gave them the latitude of 90 days, so that all legal processes ought to take place before the election,” INEC preferred to schedule the election 37 days after the Supreme Court judgement.

He said that the 37 days is not even close to the 45 days’ notice given by the electoral act for candidate substitution.

Ondo: Mimiko appoints 19 new perm secs

Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko on Wednessday approved the appointment of 19 new permanent secretaries.

The new permanent secretaries, according to a statement by the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Akinmade, include, Mr. Dare Aragbaiye, Mrs. F. B. Ogundipe, Mr. S. A. Agbotoba, Mr. E. O. Omotoso, Mr. A. A. Adeyemi, Mr. Olufemi Bosede, Mrs. O. O. Ajayi and Mrs. M. C. Akenroye.

Others are Mr. S.O. Awosika, Mr. Soji Gbadebo, Mr. A. H. Adeniyi, Mr. Marcus Aloba, Mr I. B. Ogunsuyi, Mrs. G. M. Ajayi, Mrs. F. E. Owoseni, Chief Gbenga Ale, Dr. E.T. Oni, Mrs. A. M. Eshofonie, Mr. E. G. Adelayi.

The statement added that the new permanent secretaries will be inaugurated in due course.

Cross River: Imoke swears in 15 commissioners

Fifteen Commissioners and 25 Special Advisers that make up the Cross River State Executive Council were, thursday, sworn-in, with Governor Liyel Imoke tasking them to be ready to work for the accelerated development of the state in the next three years, adding that the job was not meant for the ‘boys.’

The appointees also denounced being members of any secret cult, fraternity or secret societies, after taking their oath of office.

Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Mike Aniah, meanwhile explained that the oath taking was in line with sections 194 and 196 (4) of the 1999 constitution, adding that the denunciation of cultism had become a prerequisite for holding public offices in the state.

Commending the new appointees, Governor Imoke stressed that the tasks ahead required the commitment and cooperation of all the cabinet members.

Appeal court reinstates Anambra rep

Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu wednesday set aside judgment of the Election Petition Tribunal in Awka, Anambra State which earlier nullified the election of Victor Ogene, affirming that the lawmaker was duly elected to represent Ogbaru federal constituency in the House of Representatives.

The lower tribunal had nullified the election of Ogene of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, declaring the petitioner, Chukwuka Onyema, as the winner of the election.

But in its judgment, the appeal court held that the judgment of the tribunal was null and void, having been delivered outside the time stipulated in Section 285 (6) of the constitution.

Justice Adamu Jauro in the lead judgment,  maintained that the decision of the lower tribunal was a grave constitutional breach, citing Supreme Court decision that no court could go beyond the time limit provided by law.

The appellate court held that the mandatory 180 days elapsed before the judgment in the petition filed on May 24, 2011, was delivered on February 9, 2012, which was 255 days.

The court declared that the judgment of the tribunal was thus delivered without jurisdiction and allowed the petition.

Speaking to newsmen shortly after the judgment was delivered, Victor Ogene expressed gratitude to God for using the Justices of the Appeal court to ensure that justice was done. …(read more)

Why I didn’t renew my tenure, by Ex-PDP chairman Baraje

The immediate past National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, said   he did not seek renewal of his tenure because of his respect for the zoning policy of the party.

He however asked the new National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur to be firm in enforcing party discipline to succeed in office.

Baraje, who made the submission while fielding questions from some select journalists in Abuja , said he decided to lead by example instead of being a sit-tight leader.

He said: “Another tradition that has endured is that of adherence to the party’s constitution on term limit. A few pundits were thinking when the time comes, I was not going to leave or would be asked to carry on but I said that I’m not in that class.

“The constitution must be followed and Section 7.2 of our constitution emphasizes zoning and since I’m not from the zone which the chairman is to be selected, so why should I struggle for that?

“And I think that it’s a very good example for other members of PDP to follow. What we are trying to do is to ensure that we lead by example.”

The ex-PDP National Chairman said he did his best to keep the party together and resolve all cases in court.

He said: “When we came, we inherited about 109 court orders in 2008. By the time I was finishing my tenure as National Secretary, with the collaboration of our legal adviser and other members of NWC, we had drastically reduced these court orders to about 50. As at today, I think we have only 7 court orders that are genuine ones.

“So in the light of these, my experience as the National Chairman with the collaboration and support of members of PDP has been very fulfilling and I can describe my tenure as very peaceful.

“One of the major things I took from my predecessor, Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed, who is the present Minister of Defence, was that we had set out some vision to keep the party together. One was to ensure free, fair and credible elections and we had this together in the primary elections that brought President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan into power and with that, it led to the free and fair election of April 2011.

“So when I came in, I also insisted and carried on with the tradition and one major thing I did was to ensure transparency and a level playing field for all elections. I ensured that elections were not done under any “hush-hush” arrangement but under the visible eyes of the camera.” …(read more)