INEC Warns on Under-Age Voting

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned Plateau residents, especially the electorates against participation under-age voters in the forthcoming Plateau North Senatorial by-election.


The state Resident Electoral Commission (REC) of INEC, Mr. Habu Zarma, who was speaking yesterday at a stakeholders meeting with political parties and the civil societies in preparation for the October 6 election, lamented the commission had in the past, been faced with a lot of challenges from persons identified to be below the voting age participating in elections. He therefore called on parents and guardians to caution their wards to steer clear from voting centres on that day, adding any under-age caught would be prosecuted according to electoral laws

Ondo: Different Opinion Polls, One Election

James Sowole, in Akure, writes that the results of opinion polls conducted by two different organisations have generated controversy ahead of the election


The world over, one of the instruments used in measuring the popularity or acceptance of candidates before the electorate during an election is opinion poll conducted at intervals before the election. In most cases, the results of the polls, though they may not be 100 per cent accurate, tally closely with the real results.
In the past elections in Nigeria, some results of opinion surveys conducted by organisations had come to pass while some at the end of the elections turned out to be mere academic exercises that could not stand the test of time.


Conflicting Opinion Polls
As the October 20 governorship election in Ondo State draws nearer, two different opinion poll agencies have released results of polls conducted separately on the election, where three main candidates are battling for the seat of government.
The three main candidates are Mr Rotimi Akredolu of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Chief Olusola Oke of the Peoples Democratic Party, and the incumbent governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko of Labour Party. Apart from the three main contestants, there are 10 other political parties that have presented candidates for the election.

The two organisations that have released the different opinion poll results are POLLSTAR, an opinion poll and survey agency based in Abuja, and Gallop Poll Nigeria Limited.


According to the executive director in charge of special projects at POLLSTAR, Mr. Obi Benedict Ekene, the agency periodically conducts opinion polls on topical issues cutting across politics, policy, and economy, business while also offering consultancy services in the area of social impact assessment to clients in and outside Nigeria.
One unique feature of the results of the two organisations is that each separately rated the candidates of PDP and LP as leaders of their polls.


Releasing its second week result on the poll, POLLSTAR in the result signed by Ekene, indicated that the PDP candidate, Oke, was leading with 26 per cent while the LP candidate, Mimiko, followed with 20 per cent and the ACN candidate, Akeredolu, came third with 19 per cent.


The scores for other political parties, according to POLLSTAR, are: ANPP 9 per cent, CPC 6 per cent, NCP 5 per cent, PPA 5 per cent, ACPN 3 per cent, NSDP 3 per cent.


POLLSTAR stated that the result had an error margin of plus or minus 3.
Ekene, who also attached the results of the 2011 presidential election opinion poll conducted by POLLSTAR, said the agency exercised the highest level of objectivity in generating and analysing data leading to a factual result which reflects the reality on ground.
He said the PDP candidate could be considered a formidable contender in the race for Alagbaka Government House given the massive political machinery at his disposal coupled with his sagacity and ability to strike accord with the youths across the state.


Ekene added that the LP candidate also stood a chance in the race through his populist programmes and policies, which makes him to still maintain popularity among the electorate. He said the agency employed the use of straw approach, where respondents were interviewed by the company’s agents spread across the 18 local government areas of the state, without them (electorate) knowing the identity of the agents, before analysing the data collected.


Gallop Polls
However, barely one week after POLLSTAR rated the PDP candidate as leading others, a survey conducted by another body, Gallop Polls Nigeria Limited, revealed that the incumbent governor, Mimiko, was leading others with wide margin.


In the result, the company stated that no fewer than 77 per cent of the respondents who participated in a week-long opinion poll it conducted on the forthcoming governorship election preferred the LP candidate.


Principal consultant of the firm, Chief Anthony Chigbo, while briefing journalists on the result, said 11, 164 respondents, out of the 14, 500 that participated in the exercise, voted Mimiko, who is contesting for a second term in office.


Chigbo also said 1, 420 respondents, which is about 9.8 per cent, voted for the ACN candidate while 1, 230, representing about 8.5 per cent, voted for the PDP candidate.


According to Chigbo, 150 respondents, representing 1.0 per cent, voted for the candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, Mr. Soji Ehinlanwo, while 276 respondents, which is 1.9 per cent, had preferences for the other candidates.
Chigbo, who said “a plus minus one per cent margin of error was observed in the empirical exercise,” added that 260 entries, representing 1.8 per cent of the voters, were voided.


He said, “Entrance and exit polls is our next goal. Entrance polls shall be conducted via sms on Friday the 19th of October, 2012. Eligible registered voters are expected to vote for the candidate they made up their minds to vote for the following day.
“Respondents are expected to send Ondo AK to 31077 and vote for the Action Congress of Nigeria while those voting for Peoples Democratic Party should send Ondo OK to 31077. The electorate, who wish to vote for the Congress for Progressive Change, should send Ondo HE to 31077 while those wishing to vote for the Labour Party would send Ondo OM to 31077.


“Exit polls take place immediately after voting on October 20 when respondents are expected to use the same format to text the candidate they voted for to 31077. Voter participation in the next two polls is highly encouraged because it predicts without flaw, the expected result.”


Chigbo urged all registered voters in the state to participate in both the entrance and exit polls because it would be a weapon to defend their votes and make them count.


Two days after Gallop Polls released its result, POLLSTAR again released another result, which it said was the outcome of the third edition of its survey.
In the result, Ekene claimed, “In what can be considered a dramatic realignment of political forces, the gap had widened between the PDP candidate, Chief Olusola Oke,  and his closest rival by topping the chart consecutively for two weeks with a very big margin between him and his nearest rival, Olusegun Mimiko.”
Giving details of the latest opinion poll result, Ekene said Oke scored 29 per cent, Mimiko 22 per cent, ACN 18 per cent, ANPP 5 per cent and CPC 4 per cent. Others were NCP 3 per cent, PPA 1.5 per cent, ACPN and NSDP 1.3 per cent, while others representing about 5 per cent were undecided.


The POLLSTAR director said the PDP candidate maintained high popularity among prospective voters and had widened the gap at the top in the race, adding that the high performance in recent weeks may not be unconnected with the massive PDP political machinery at his disposal and his robust grassroots campaign.
Ekene blamed the LP situation on the fact that more people were disenchanted about the performance of the incumbent administration, particularly in projects execution and type of projects executed.
“The ACN candidate can also be counted as a serious contender given his impeccable career in the legal profession. Putting into consideration the short term and long term political calculation and permutations and given the prevailing political set up and current alignment of political forces, the swing votes will likely tilt more towards the PDP candidate and to some extent he ACN candidate,” he said.

Expectedly, the results of the opinion polls released by the two organisations have generated controversy among politicians and stakeholders in the state.
When POLLSTAR released its second week result, which favoured the PDP candidate, it was hailed by supporters of the party while the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Akinmade, described it as the outcome of a sponsored exercise that cannot stand the test of time because it did not reflect the reality on ground.


Reacting to the third week result, which revealed by the PDP was still leading by a wide gap, the Director of Publicity and Media Relations of Mimiko Campaign Organisation, Mr Kolawole Olabisi, said the organisation was unperturbed by the result.
According to Olabisi, “We are not worried by whatever opinion poll which must have, from all intents and purposes, been manipulated by one of the political parties to favour it. In the last three and a half years, several opinions polls by credible organisations have rated the government of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko as one of the best governors in the country.


“The countless accolades, even from members of the oppositions, and from renowned authorities such as the World Bank, World Health Organisation, the United Nations and others from far and wide have been given for the innovative giant strides of Dr Mimiko in Ondo State. These are indications that we have performed and the people themselves are happy with us.


“We have no iota of doubt that come October 20, the people will vote overwhelmingly for a performer in the person of Dr Olusegun Mimiko of the Labour Party. To us, one trillion opinion polls either counterfeit or genuine cannot hoodwink the people of Ondo State not to vote for the person who has touched their lives positively. So we are not worried and as you can all see, we are on the field from morning to evening selling our manifestoes to the people and also commissioning many projects which the people themselves chose.”


Reacting to the poll results that favoured the LP candidate, the deputy director of publicity and media of Olusola Oke Campaign Organisation, Mr Rotimi Ogunleye, described it as an outcome of a research conducted in secrecy.


“The gallop result did not say in clear term the class of the respondents, how they were selected. It also fails to tell the whole world how they administer questionnaire on their chosen population. It is a common knowledge that the economy of individuals, most especially common men, are in shambles. Asking them to send SMS will certainly limit a large number of the electorate whose votes are important than the men of the government who feed fat on the fund of the state,” Ogunleye alleged.


“How do you think the fishermen in Mahin, garri farmer in Ajowa and eriti, cocoa farmer at Igbatoro, Ala and Igbolodumare will participate in a skewed SMS opinion collation? It is all targeted at implementing the rigging agenda of the incumbent. It is a research conducted to pave way for Dr Mimiko to rig the election. Unfortunately for him, the people of Ondo State are wiser than dishing out a jaundiced research result that was prepared by the commissioned agents of the government.


“The governor is only popular among his research agents and those who still profit from the largesse that were stolen from OSOPADEC, the abandoned dome project, Arigidi Tomato project and other money draining projects that are still ongoing since the inception of his administration. The PDP exists today in the minds of the majority of the electorate and that is where our electoral strength lies, not on packaged paper strength.”


The executive director of POLLSTAR said the organisation expected the reactions. Ekene, said, “As an opinion poll and survey agency, we rely on our past records and credibility. Whenever, we release results to the public, we are always conscious of our image and credibility.”


In any case, the real opinion of the Ondo State electorate will be known on October 20.

Tinubu, Akeredolu, ACN governors storm Ondo for mega rally

All is now set for the gubernatorial rallies of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) ahead of next month’s governorship election.

Expected at the three –day rallies starting on Tuesday in Ikare- Akoko in the Ondo North senatorial district are the party’s chieftains such as the National Chair, Chief Bisi Akande, National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Chief Segun Osoba; Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Chief Lam Adesina and all the governors of the six ACN controlled states.

The campaign train will move to Ondo in the Central senatorial district on Wednesday and Ore, and move to the South senatorial district on Thursday.

The Redemption rallies, as they are called, will afford the leaders of the party to present the ACN candidate, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), to the people, and shed light on why the state should join the rest of the South West in the development train of regional integration.

Besides, they will speak on how Governor Olusegun Mimiko has wasted the N660 billion that has accrued to the state during his tenure.

The numerous abandoned projects include the Doom-dome, Ondo road dualisation, Owo road dualisation, Arakale road dualisation, Arigidi Tomato paste factory, Owena Multipurpose dam, Alpha D factory.

Bauchi: Opposition parties kick against new SIEC

Opposition parties in Bauchi state have kicked against the newly appointed members of the State Electoral Independent Commission (SIEC), claiming they are card-carrying members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The Bauchi chapters of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) last Friday unanimously rejected the reconstitution and composition of the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC).

Spokesman of the opposition, Alhaji Nasiru Darazo of the ACN told newsmen in Bauchi that the appointment of only card- carrying members of the PDP into the electoral body clearly exposes the intention of the government to rig and manipulate the forthcoming local government elections.

He said the recent approval of the reconstitution of the state SIEC by the Bauchi State House of Assembly (BAHA) as requested by the executive arm of government in the state was fraudulent.

The BAHA approved the appointment of Alhaji Abdulmumini Kundak as chairman of SIEC.

Other members include Alhaji Yerima Misau, Alhaji Shu’aibu Galadima, Alhaji Maikano Baraya, Mr. Idris Madaki, Alhaji Idris Zakarai, Alhaji Ahmed Mu’azu and Alhaji Danlami Iaa Siyi.

The opposition parties appealed to the state government to appoint neutral persons to the commission in the interest of fairness and fair play to create level- playing field for all.

Darazo said: “For now, we have lost confidence in the ability of the state government to be fair to all of us.

“We have no confidence in the present electoral body and we will soon meet to take a common position before the preparation for the election, but we lost confidence in the present SIEC in the state.”

Ondo: I will win without rigging – Oke

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Ondo State, Chief Olusola Oke, at the weekend reassured supporters of the party he would win the October 20 poll.

According to him, the party would win the election with the majority votes without rigging the poll. He spoke at Akure while addressing crowd of the National PDP Youth Vanguard Ondo State chapter and South West zone.

Oke said his experience as a public office holder and antecedents where of serving the people put him in a better position to win the election…(read more)

Buhari shuns CPC rally

Former Head of State and 2011 presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), yesterday shunned the mega rally organised by the party in Akure, to canvass vote for the party’s governorship candidate in the October 20, poll, Soji Ehinlanwo.

A statement by the Director General, Soji Ehinlanwo Campaign Organisation (SECO), Mr. Yomi Adetimehin, had at the weekend said that Buhari would be in Akure to present the party’s candidate and his running mate to the electorate.

Only few members of the party were mobilised to the venue of the event, and the rally did not start until 4.30pm which was against the official time scheduled for the rally.

It was learnt that there is now division among the party leaders over the choice of candidate to endorse for the coming election.


North’s quest for 2015 presidency on merit –ACF

The Arewa Consultative Forum, the apex socio-cultural group in the North, has dismissed the demand of leaders of the South-East geopolitical zone for the 2015 presidency based on zoning.

ACF stated that zoning has become history in the country, adding that the North is seeking the 2015 presidency on merit.

Reacting to the suggestion by some Igbo leaders that it’s their turn to produce the President in 2015, the National Publicity Secretary of the ACF, Anthony Sani, said the South-East should not draw the country backwards to the era of zoning.

In an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH, Sani said, “By voting a southerner in the 2011 presidential election, Nigerians overwhelmingly voted against zoning and rotational presidency. So, anybody bringing up the issue of zoning is trying to draw us backwards.”

He further said, “It was Alex Ekwueme and his delegates that recommended this principle of geopolitical zone during the 1994/1995 National Constitutional Conference. The suggestion was that the presidency should rotate from one zone to another. Then it was put to vote and it was agreed that it would rotate between the North and the South.

“The South started with Obasanjo. After Obasanjo, it was the turn of the North. They chose Yar’Adua, may be because they knew he was likely to die. When he died, they said Goodluck Jonathan must become the President, we agreed. Then in 2011, they said there was no more zoning; that it should now be on merit and that is how Jonathan got elected as President. So, why are southerners now bringing up the issue of zoning again? We in the North are ready to contest the presidency in 2015 based on merit.”

Sani was reacting to a statement by a Peoples Democratic Party leader in the South-East, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, advocating the inclusion of zoning of political offices in the constitution.

Iwuanyawu, who addressed a press conference in Owerri, Imo State, last Thursday, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the six zones should be given an equal opportunity to produce the president through a zoning arrangement.

He, however, dismissed the possibility of a president of Igbo extraction emerging in 2015.

Reacting to Iwuanyawu’s statement, the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex socio-cultural group in the South-East, Mr. Ralph Ndigwe, said the inclusion of the zoning arrangement in the constitution was in line with the group’s position.

Ndigwe, however, said the Igbo had resolved that it was their turn in 2015 to produce the president and there was no going back on that.

He added that since Ohanaeze was not a political organisation, it would only support any credible candidate of Igbo extraction that emerged on the platform of any of the leading political parties.

Also, the Third Republic governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, who is one of proponents of the Igbo agenda in 2015, said the South-East was certain of getting its chance.

“I don’t know what Iwuanyawu’s line of thought was when he said that, but I say Igbo presidency in 2015 is possible and we will get it,” Ezeife said.

Mimiko,Akeredolu lead Ondo opinion poll

Two separate opinion poll results released ahead of the October 20 governorship election in Ondo state have showed the candidates of the Labour Party, Dr Olusegun Mimiko and that of the Peoples Democratic Party Chief Olusola Oke are leading.

An opinion poll conducted by Gallop Polls over the next governorship election in the state showed that Dr Mimiko of the Labour Party (LP) scored 77 per cent, while Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) came second with 9.8 per cent and Olusola Oke of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had 8.5 per cent.

Releasing the result of the poll, the Principal Consultant, Anthony Chigbo,  on Monday, said that 14, 500 respondents participated in the Short Message Service (sms).

The organisation had opened the entry for the poll on September 10 and closed it on September 15 to allow people participate in the exercise.

He said out of the total respondents, 14, 500 representing 77 per cent preferred Mimiko and 1, 420 believed in Akeredolu, while 1, 230 which represents 8.5 per cent preferred Oke.

Chigbo added that the organisation would conduct entrance and exit polls for the election, saying this would be done on Friday October 19, when eligible voters would be expected to use the same format after making up their minds.

LP absent as running mates slug it out at debate

The second round of debates for Ondo State deputy governorship candidates was held yesterday in Akure, the state capital, ahead of the October 20 governorship election.

The event was organised by the Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG).

Six candidates were invited but five made it. Alhaji Ali Olanusi of the ruling Labour Party (LP) shunned the event.

In attendance were: Dr Paul Akintelure of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN); Saka Lawal, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Moses Losha, People for Democratic Change (PDC); Alonge Ahmed, Peoples Progressive Alliance (PPA); Babatunde Bidemi, Change Advocacy Party (CAP) and Cornelius Adefila, National Solidarity Democratic Party (NSDP).

Akintelure said the LP administration had abandoned the people, urging the electorate to deliver the state from such a “visionless” administration.

He promised residents of rural communities that they would benefit from an ACN administration because it is people-oriented.

The medical doctor promised that the people would reap real dividends of democracy under ACN, if voted to power next month.

The people, he said, would bid goodbye to poverty, which they have been experiencing under the LP since 2009.

Akintelure cited the ACN-controlled states of Osun, Ekiti, Oyo, Ogun, Lagos and Edo, where the people are enjoying prosperity.

Residents of the Sunshine State would start enjoying the benefits of a progressive government under ACN from February 13, 2013, he said.

Lawal said he would bring positive change to governance, adding that the PDP would bring economic prosperity to the state.

He said the PDP would provide jobs for youths, adding that all moribund industries would be reactivated.

On education, Lawal said rather than promote mega schools, through which the state’s resources were being siphoned, the PDP would improve on the infrastructure built by the former Olusegun Agagu administration between 2003 and 2009.

The PPA, PDC, and CAP candidates spoke on employment generation, security, education and infrastructural development.

The Akeredolu Campaign Organisation (ACO) described Olanusi’s absence at the debate as contempt for the people, adding that it was a sign that the LP has nothing to show for its three and a half years in power.

In a statement by its spokesman, Mr Idowu Ajanaku, ACO condemned Olanusi’s absence.

It hailed Akintelure for his articulation of ACN programmes for the Sunshine State.

The statement reads: “Indeed, Dr. Akintelure came tops. But with the absence of Olanusi, LP was robbed of the golden opportunity to roll out its achievements and convince the people of Ondo State on why they should vote for the party.

“This is clearly an admission of failure by the LP administration. Akintelure was able to expatiate on the programmes of the ACN on agriculture, which will utilise the various climatic conditions for fish farming, rice and cocoa cultivation. He said the ACN would create 30,000 jobs within its 100 days in office, if elected.

“This will be generated through Public Private Partnership (PPP) and various need-based agencies for waste management, traffic control, environmental sanitation and others; comprehensive health care to take care of father, mother and child and the people of Ondo State.

“He reiterated the fact that civil servants are not slaves, adding that their welfare would be paramount to the ACN administration. He was given a standing ovation by the audience and hailed across the state for his brilliant performance.

“Akintelure urged the residents to ensure an enduring change that would impact positively on the present and future generations. He advised the people to vote for ACN to replicate the glorious experience of the old Western Region through the present Southwest Regional Integration Agenda.

“Akintelure said: ‘We must do this for our children. Let’s keep our date with destiny on October 20.’

“For us at ACO, we want the Ondo State people to join hands with us to build an enduring legacy for the state. We must not be left behind. Ondo State residents, true to their nature, will exercise their will without succumbing to intimidation and the deception of the LP. They will vote Mimiko out on October 20.”


Sambo, Obasanjo, Mark storm Ondo for Oke October 2

Vice-President Namadi Sambo will on Tuesday lead top leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to Akure, the Ondo State capital, for a rally to garner support for the party’s governorship candidate, Chief Olusola Oke.

Others expected at the rally are former President Olusegun Obasanjo; PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur; Senate President Davis Mark; House of Reprsentatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal; as well as the Chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi.

Sambo, who is also the Presidential Campaign Committee Chairman for the election, is expected to rally support for Oke in the October 20 election.

Addressing reporters at Oke’s campaign office in Akure, the Director-General of the campaign organisation, Dare Bada, urged members of the party to welcome the party’s national leaders.

Bada said the rally would enable the PDP to show its seriousness and the commitment of its national secretariat as well as the Presidency for the PDP to win the poll.

He said: “It is important to mention that the theme of the Presidential Campaign Committee is ‘win your ward, win your local government’. This is to emphasise the fact that the party implores all members in the state, irrespective of status and class, to join hands in the task to succeed in every polling unit on the Election Day. I want to restate that this is a message that all party members in Ondo State have imbibed and is responsible for the success that continues to characterise our state-wide campaigns.

“It is also important to underscore the fact that puerile speculations, to the effect that a particular party is an appendage of the PDP and enjoys Abuja’s support, is all ruse. It is an unwise manner to hoodwink and confuse the good people of this state.”

Edo Tribunal:we can’t rule on pre-election matter

The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Edo State, headed by Justice Suleiman Ambursa, yesterday, struck out the paragraphs in the petition by governorship candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the July 14, 2012 governorship election in the state, Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (rtd), in which he had challenged the educational qualification of Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, to contest the election.

The tribunal, meanwhile, over-ruled Oshiomhole’s argument that it had no jurisdiction to entertain the petition, adding that it would go ahead to hear the complaints of electoral malpractices contained in the petition against Oshiomhole by Airhiavbere.

The tribunal held that the issue of Oshiomhole’s educational qualification  was a pre- election, matter which the petitioner (Airhiavbere) ought to have contested before a Federal High or a state high court prior to the governorship election.

Justice Ambursa said the tribunal decided to strike out paragraphs 4, 12, 13, 24 and 25 in the petition because they all had to do with whether Oshiomhole was qualified to contest the election or not, adding: “In my view, the facts pleaded by the petitioner in paragraph 4 of the petition challenging the qualification of the first respondent to contest the election, petitioner embarked on a wild goose chase because the issue is a pre-election matter.”

APGA Crisis: Umeh Drags Enugu CJ to NJC

National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, has petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC), against the Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Innocent Umezulike, urging the council to ensure that due process is adhered to in the handling of the case against him, which is presently before the state High Court.

The APGA chairman had on September 19, 2012 asked Justice Umezulike to hands off his (Umeh’s) pending case in his court, insisting that that he was not confident he would obtain justice from the Chief Justice court.

While accusing the Chief Judge of bias and compromise in the said matter instituted by one Jude Okuli, Umeh asked that the case be transferred and assigned to another judge, who would do justice to the case.

However, at the last sitting of the court, instead of heeding Umeh’s plea, the Chief Judge adjourned the case to October 8 for hearing.

Irked by the development, Umeh Thursday petitioned the NJC alleging that the Umezulike erred in his handling of the case, especially by refusing to rule on the preliminary objection which he (Umeh) brought before the court, and was duly argued by both counsels.

Umeh said the CJ extended the life span of the ex-parte order he made against him on July 25, 2012 by extra 48 days against the High Court Rule of Enugu State insisting that an ex-parte order cannot last beyond 14 days.

“By the action of the CJ, the ex-parte order which ought not to last more than 14 days was extended to 55 days without any request by any of the parties in the matter. By 31st July 2012, the CJ took full arguments on notice of preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the case.” The CJ adjourned the matter to September 17, 2012 for a rendition of the considered ruling of the court on the notice of preliminary objection.

“In adjourning the matter, the CJ stated that ‘if this court accedes to the contentions of the defendants/ applicants on any of the above issues, this suit shall legitimately come to an end …In the event, I shall adjourn the case for a considered ruling on the merits.

“In the circumstances, the interim order of this court shall endure against the parties and against the convention of any APGA Executive Committee Meetings as stated under the order until the court’s rendition of a ruling which I now fixed for the 20th day of September, 2012,” Umeh recalled.

However, on September 17, when the ruling ought to have been delivered by the CJ, Umeh said: “To the amazement of the people gathered in court, the CJ declared that he has remanded his ruling and would instead hear the main suit and deliver judgment on the preliminary objection and the main suit together.”

This, Umeh contended in his letter to NJC, “has exposed the CJ as being desperate to get into the main matter and deliver judgement against me, knowing that the notice of preliminary objection was strong enough to have legitimately terminated the suit, the suit being grossly incompetent, as APGA was not a party to the suit.”

The APGA chairman noted that in his letter of September 19, 2012 to the CJ, “I requested the Chief Judge to transfer/re-assign the case to another judge”, adding, “I informed the Chief Judge that I have no confidence in obtaining justice in his court as I am reasonably satisfied that the Chief Judge is biased, has been compromised and is intent on causing a mischief for our party, APGA.”

According to him, since “July 25, 2012 till date, activities in our party had been halted because of the exparte order. Our party is now paralysed.”

He urged the NJC Chairman to urgently intervene by calling Justice Innocent Umezuruike to order, and ensure that the due process is followed.

Umeh said: “In this era of rule of law, as an ardent believer in the ideals of democracy, I have no doubt that judicial impartiality is an important hallmark of due administration of justice . I will be grateful if the Chief Judge of Enugu State is made to understand that every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to justice and fair hearing.”