Leave APGA, party chieftain tells Umeh

One of the founding fathers of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Sylva Nwobu-Alor, has accused the party’s National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, of being the greatest problem to APGA’s growth.

In a statement at the weekend, Nwobu-Alor said instead of accounting for the N20 million he gets monthly to manage the party, Umeh is blaming Governor Peter Obi for APGA’s failings.

He said people like him, who do not like the way Umeh is running APGA and called for a restructuring, have become objects of daily attacks from him.  Nwobu-Alor said: “Today, Umeh is not in good terms with the governor because he wants Obi to conduct the local government elections the Nigerian way and get those he handpicked into positions for his selfish ends, even if it amounts to offending the law.

“He has gone ahead at public forums to castigate the governor and those in charge of the award of contracts, because of their insistence that merit must guide every process, rather than people bringing names of incompetent, rate-paying contractors.”

He debunked Umeh’s “claim that he made Obi governor”, pointing out that the APGA chairman never wanted Obi to become governor. 

Nwobu Alor alleged that Umeh was part of the failed plot to impeach Obi.

He said: “Part of Nigeria’s problem today is the overwhelming presence of opportunists, like Umeh.”

Decrying Umeh’s “lack of respect for the governor”, Nwobu Alor said: “Obi is busy attracting investors to the state, but some greedy ingrates are after their pockets.”

On the clash between members of the Government Task Force on Parks and Markets at Nnewi and transport operators, he said: “The government has no outfit known as Ndimpiawa Azu. The Task Force on Parks and Markets has helped the government immensely in the revenue generation effort and should be praised and not condemned. Above all, its members do not carry guns, machetes or weapons.  

“Members of the task force, who were in Nnewi to recover government revenue, were shot by armed hoodlums, probably sponsored by interest groups.

“Sincerely it is the wish of 85 per cent of our party members that Umeh leaves the party now to allow APGA grow.


:The Nation

Benue 2015: Suswam bans campaigns

Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State has banned electioneering campaigns by politicians aspiring for positions in 2015. Speaking in Katsina Ala during a reception in honour of lawmakers from Sankera area of the state in the national and state assemblies, he said governance should take precedence over politicking as elections are now over.

He said the next general election, which will hold in 2015, is still far away, adding that the tempo of electioneering campaign for the next poll is capable of distracting his administration from the set goals.

The governor called on those honoured to fulfil their campaign promises so that the electorate would have confidence in them.

Emmanuel Udende and Jika Dwem Tor, who spoke on behalf of the lawmakers, assured the people of Sankera that they would work hard to bring democracy dividends to the area.

Those honoured included the federal lawmaker representing Ukum, Logo and Katsina Ala constituency, Emmanuel Udende, Benue State House of Assembly member representing Logo Constituency, Godwin Akaan and Paul Biam of Ukum constituency.  

Umeh, Obi’s aide trade words as APGA’s crisis deepens

The crisis rocking All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) deepened at the weekend as the Special Adviser to Governor Peter Obi on Parks and Markets, Chief Sylva Nwobu-Alor, alleged that the political grouping’s national chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, was its greatest problem.

Nwobu-Alor urged Umeh to account for all monies given to him to run the party.

In a statement, Nwobu-Alor said: “Rather than tell the whole world how he manages the N20 million made available to him every month for the management of the party, he was busy, going around, telling people that Obi did not empower the party and blaming the governor for the party’s failings.”

According to him, Umeh is fighting those who do not like the way he is running APGA, and called for restructuring of the party.

He went on: “Today, he is not in good terms with the governor because he, Umeh, wanted him to conduct the local government elections the Nigerian way, and get all those he had handpicked into positions for his selfish ends, even if it amounts to offending the law. …(read more)

Oyo ACN slams PDP over attacks on Southwest governors

A group in the Oyo State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Asiwaju Leadership Forum (ALF), has decried the media war against Southwest governors by ousted Governors Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun), Segun Oni (Ekiti) and Senator Iyiola Omisore of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In a statement by its Publicity Director, Sikiru Akinola Oranmiyan, the group accused the PDP of planning to cause mayhem in the state through the publication of false information during the first anniversary celebration of the Governor Abiola Ajimobi administration.

It urged security agents to on the alert, alleging that PDP has a plan to disrupt the celebration, using ACN souvenirs and T-shirts.

ALF said PDP is intimidated by the performance of the ACN, which “has relegated PDP to the dustbin of political history”.

It said: “We have uncovered plans by the PDP to cause mayhem in the region to pave the way for a state of emergency. One of their plans, which failed, was the connivance of the PDP leaders with some security agencies and the allegation that Governor Rauf Aregbesola is planning to secede and Islamise Osun. …(read more)

Abia: Orji recalls suspended 8 commissioners, political appointees

Governor Theodore Orji, yesterday, recalled the eight suspended commissioners and 17 local government transition committee chairmen.

The governor also recalled some other political appointees he suspended two months ago for security lapses during the lying-in-state of late Dim Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu in Aba, the commercial capital of the state.

Governor Orji announced the lifting the suspension on the affected officials, at a meeting he separately held with them at Government House, Umuahia.

However, feelers from the government indicate that some of the commissioner and the two newly nominees may swap ministries.

Meanwhile, the governor has appointed a new Chief of Staff. He is Dr. Cosmos Ndukwe, who until the appointment was the General Manager of the state environmental agency, ASEPA. He was replaced at the agency by Mr. Ikechukwu Apugo.

Orji was quoted as admonishing returning commissioners and council chairmen to brace up and work hard as he was in a hurry to see that infrastructural changes gets to all parts of the state.

Adamawa: ACN counsel petition INEC

Counsel to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and two others, Charles Edosomwan, SAN, & Co. in the Adamawa State Governorship Election Petition,  have petitioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the alleged plan by its staff in Yola to scuttle for the second time the inspection of election materials as ordered  by the tribunal.

The petition, sent to the INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru and the Chief Justice of Nigeria, was signed by Kunle Adegoke on behalf of  Charles Edosomwan, SAN, & Co.

The petition alleged that the INEC staff in Yola had conspired with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to frustrate the inspection.

“ It is utterly disgusting to note that officers of the Independent National Electoral Commission, who are supposed to be unbiased umpires in electoral disputes, have connived with the representatives of the Peoples Democratic Party, one of the respondents in our petition, to ensure that ballot papers inspection ordered by the tribunal  is  truncated”.

The counsel stated that they were shocked that INEC took orders from PDP leaders in a petition against the same party  on how  the inspection ordered by the tribunal should  be carried out by the petitioners.

Defection: Ondo Rep knows fate June 19

A Federal High Court sitting in Akure will, on June 19,  determine whether Mr. Ifedayo Abegunde  a.k.a Abena, representing Akure North/Akure South at the House of  Representatives, will vacate or retain his seat in the House over his defection from the Labour Party.

Presiding Justice Grace Okeke fixed the date for the judgment after the adoption of briefs by counsel to all parties in a suit filed by Abegunde against the Labour Party (LP) and others.

He had approached the court to prevent his recall from the House after decamping to Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) from LP under which he was elected on the grounds of serious intra-party crisis in Akure North Local Government Area.  LP counsel, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), leading the Director of Civil Litigation, Mr. Rotimi Olamide, prayed the court to dismiss the suit following the plaintiff’s failure to meet the constitutional provisions for decamping.

Citing Sec.68 of the 1999 Constitution, the Ondo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice submitted that unless there is a division in the party’s national body which can lead to two different headquarters, struggle or agitation for power at ward, local government and state levels cannot provide comfort for the plaintiff.



S’West PDP to Appeal Court Ruling

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the Southwest has said it will appeal against the Lagos High Court ruling, nulifying the party’s Zonal Congress held in Oshogbo, Osun State on March 21.

Reacting to the court ruling, the PDP said in a statement signed by its legal adviser, Barrister Sola Oludipe, that it was neither served any court processes nor put on notice of an impending legal matter relating to the Congress or any other issue.

The statement read; "Our attention has been drawn to newspaper reports on a Court ruling, purportedly nullifying the Southwest Zonal Congress of our party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) held in Osogbo, Osun State on March 21, 2012.

“As stated earlier, we were not aware of any suit on the Congress.  We however understand that the ruling was part of a court process that has been on before the Zonal Congress. No formal notification was given to join the present Zonal Executive of the PDP to be joined in the suit. However, we will obtain a copy of the judgement and study it.

“Thereafter, we will exercise our rights to appeal by filing an appeal against the ruling. We also wish to state further that as a party that respects the rule of law, we will not flout any court order. Rather, as said earlier, we will exercise our rights under the law by appealing against the ruling."

Opposition Parties Move to Withdraw Petitions Against Imoke

Opposition parties in Cross River State under the aegis of Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) have resolved not to challenge the February election of Governor Liyel Imoke at the tribunal, saying doing so will be diversionary, especially now that the state needs peace to stay the course of its development.

But the mainstream faction of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the state is not a party to this decision as its candidate in the election, Mr. Usani Uguru Usani, is already in court challenging the elec- tion of Imoke and asking the tribunal to annul the exercise.
In a letter to Imoke entitled, Cross River State: The Way Forward , CNPP said it viewed the decision by some of its members to challenge Imoke’s election as a distrac- tion which could affect the peace, progress and develop- ment of the state and revealed it was negotiating with such members to withdraw such petitions from the tribunal.

Signed by the state chair- man of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) and executive secretary of CNPP in the state, Mr. Sunday
Michael, the letter to the gover- nor called on all members of the opposition to show under- standing, noting that Cross River State was greater than any one of them and needs to move forward to be in the league of developed states in the country.

The letter read: “It is with great interest in the political, economic and social stability of our dear state that we in the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) in Cross River State write to inti- mate you about the need to collaborate with your adminis- tration to move our dear state forward.

tion of electoral matters in court by some of our members as a distraction to the develop- ment, progress, wellbeing and prosperity of our citizenry and decided to support governance by negotiating with our mem- bers in court to withdraw all electoral cases and join hands with your administration to take our dear state to its apogee.

“We are of the opinion that Cross River State is bigger than any individual or political party and the need to cooper- ate and contribute our quota towards the promotion of good governance cannot be politicized for personal aggran- dizement hence our decision to dialogue with our members to bring lasting solutions to our political brouhaha, a commit- tee has been initiated for this purpose.

“CNPP has done clinical analysis of the state of affairs of our dear state and we are of the opinion that there are qualified and competent members of this body that can make quali- ty and commendable contribu- tions of great value to good governance.

“Sir, it’s imperative to liars with your administration to curb emerging tendencies that presently characterize the polit- ical life of our state.
It is CNPP’s humble desire to see the state move to the zenith of its power. “Accept the assurance of our collective cooperation and goodwill.”



Adamawa ACN Accuses INEC Officials Of Frustrating Inspection Of Ballot Papers

The legal battle between Governor Murtala Nyako,of Adamawa state and Engineer Markus Gundiri of he Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) who is challenging the declaration of Nyako as the winner of the February 4, 2012 governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has taken another dimension as the counsel to ACN, Charles Edosomwan (SAN), petitioned the Chief Judge of Nigeria and INEC Chairman, accusing the commission’s officers in Adamawa of frustrating  the inspection exercise as directed by the election petitions tribunal.

In a four-page petition, Edosomwan accused INEC of conniving with the representatives of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), one the the defendants in the case to ensure that the ballot paper inspection exercise ordered by the tribunal was truncated.

The petition reads in part: “This is to petition your exalted offices about the conspiratorial activities of the officers of INEC in Adamawa to deliberately frustrate the inspection exercise ordered at the instance of the petitioners by the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Yola, Adamawa state.

“It is utterly disgusting to note that officers of the Independent  National Electoral Commission who are supposed to be unbiased umpires in electoral disputes have deliberately connived with the representatives of the Peoples Democratic Party, one of the respondents in our petition, to ensure that ballot paper inspection exercise ordered by the Tribunal would be truncated. One Y.D Dangana, an INEC external counsel, in league with the INEC legal officer, one Amina M. Bappa, has been calling the shots on the manner the inspection exercise should take while taking direct instructions from PDP elements around.”

The petition noted that this was the second time,INEC officers in Adamawa will be frustrating the inspection exercise.

“It must be placed on record that the same set of officers were the ones who frustrated the exercise the previous weeks by refusing to issue ballot papers to our team of inspectors to scan and inspect in order to cover up all the atrocities perpetrated by PDP during the 4th February, 2012 governorship election.

“While the inspection order was granted by the Tribunal on the 30th March, 2012, these officers did not allow the inspection to start until the 11th day of April, 2012 and on the 14th April, 2012, they announced that the inspection order granted by the Tribunal had lapsed as computation of time must start from the 1st day of April, 2012 when they were the ones who deliberately prevented the exercise from commencing until the 11th day of April 2012”.



Appeal Court permits EFCC to prosecute Orji Kalu

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has ruled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) can prosecute the former governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor-Kalu, ruling that the anti-graft agency has established prime-facie cases against the defendant.

The former state governor had approached the appellate court to set aside the ruling of the Federal High Court that the former governor had a case to answer. Some of issues raised for determination by Kalu’s counsel, Awa Kalu (SAN) included the declaration by the Appeal court that the appellants were arraigned on non-existent law and that the proof of evidence did not disclose a prima facie case against the appellants.

He also argued that since the Abia State High Court had issued an ex-parte motion on the matter, the Federal High Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case. He also sought the leave of the appellate court to enforce his fundamental human rights by declaring his arrest, detention, and arraignment a nullity.

The former governor’s company, Slok Nigeria Ltd sought similar leave as he also asked the court to determine whether the EFCC and the federal government were competent to prosecute a case involving the revenue of a state.

In a unanimous ruling read by Justice Eko on behalf of Justices Kayode Bada and Regina Nwodo, the appellate court resolved all the grounds of appeal in favour of the respondent and dismissed the appeal for lack of merit.

Justice Eko noted that the proof of evidence attached to the 97 count charge preferred against the appellants by the EFCC disclosed a prima facie case against the former governor and others.

He further said that as far as there is a link which prima facie is all about, the appellants had an obligation to stand trial to defend themselves.

He ruled that the ex-parte order of May 31, 2007 by Abia State High Court, asking the Federal High Court to stay all proceedings against Orji was a racquet suit aimed at frustrating his arrest and subsequent prosecution.

Describing the ex-parte motion as an abuse of court process, the judge stated that the order was “an order at large, personal rather than definite. It was an order made as an ex-parte and not at the course of trial.”

On whether EFCC had the competence to charge the appellants, the court maintained that both the EFCC Establishment Act and the Money laundering and Prohibition Act, had given the commission power to prosecute offenders.  “

In his reaction to the ruling, prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs expressed satisfaction with the judgment, noting that the Appeal Court ruling had vindicated his position that the Abia High Court Order was intended to protect Kalu from prosecution and exposed the hollowness of the position of the former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Michael Andoakaa that the order must be obeyed.

The EFCC had on July 27, 2007 arraigned former Abia State Governor Orji Uzor Kalu before an Abuja High court on a 107 count charge of money laundering, official corruption and criminal diversion of public funds totalling over five billion.



Sokoto tribunal orders ANPP to pay N2m to inspect guber electoral materials

The Sokoto State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Sokoto has asked the All Nigeria People’s Party,  ANPP to pay N2 million before the party could inspect election materials used during the last governorship election in the state.

The court, presided over by Justice Ibrahim Bako, gave this ruling while granting INEC’s request on the matter.
Counsel to the ANPP governorship candidate, Yushau Ahmed, Chief Ladi Williams, had requested the tribunal to order INEC to issue his client the certified true copy of election materials but INEC’s counsel, Prisca Ozailesike, informed the tribunal that the  commission has never denied ANPP the right to access the election materials, but, that as a rule, the N2 million must be paid.

In his ruling, Justice Bako ordered INEC to issue ANPP with the certified copy of the election materials used in the  election after paying fees stipulated by INEC.

Bako also ruled that the inspection must be done in the presence of all the parties involved, and adjourned the case to May 2,  for continuation of hearing.