PDP gives conditions for Kalu’s re-admission

A soft landing may have been offered the former Governor of Abia State Orji Uzor Kalu in his reported bid to return to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The state PDP chairman, Senator Emma Nwaka told reporters Thursday in Umuahia that the party’s stance on the matter was  that Kalu’s re-admission should be in accordance with the relevant provisions of the party’s conditions which he must fulfill including showing remorse for his alleged misdeeds.

He said that the party had progressed without Kalu all these years, adding “ there has been calm in the state party because of the general acceptance of the leadership which has been working to reposition the party towards winning elections”.

Asked why the PDP seems to be jittery of Kalu’s return, Nwaka reacted saying  “it is wrong to say so because even Kalu himself contested in the last senatorial election and presented candidates in his Progressives People’s Alliance (PPA) and they all failed.

“What we are saying is that for internal democracy to prevail, members must return to their wards and register or re-register before ratification”.

According to him, the PDP Intelligence arm was very strong  and had revealed that Kalu was still a full member of the PPA. Let him purge himself of his inglorious past, he has not yet passed through the proper channel in his bid to return to the PDP.

Benue ACN lawmakers reject council poll result

Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) lawmakers in the Benue State House of Assembly have renewed their called for the scrapping of state electoral bodies.

They rejected the results of last Saturday’s local government election in the state.

In a statement in Makurdi, the state capital, by Minority Leader Adugu Gbilive and Minority Chief Whip Terkimbir Ikyange, the ACN lawmakers urged Nigerians to call for the scrapping of state electoral bodies through the ongoing constitutional amendment.

They noted that the “charade” the Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC) allegedly displayed during the conduct of the poll has shown that state electoral bodies are tools in the hands of some governors. …(read more)

Ondo Tribunal: INEC fails to reply ACN’s petition

The Accord and its governorship candidate in the October 20 election in Ondo State, Mr. Olawale Ojo, have urged the Election Tribunal to fix their petition for pre-hearing.

The application followed the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC’s) response to the petition.

INEC had said the tribunal lacks jurisdiction to hear the petition. It said the exclusion of Accord’s candidate in the election was a pre-election matter pending before the Federal High Court, Akure.

It said the Accord’s primary election did not follow the requirement of the Electoral Act. …(read more)

APGA Crisis: Court Adjourns Umeh’s Appeal to Jan. 15

For the third time, the hearing of the appeal filed by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, challenging the order of an Enugu High Court, restraining him from parading himself as chairman was stalled yesterday.
The matter which came up during the court sitting yesterday could not go on as scheduled by the Enugu division of the Court of Appeal, following a letter addressed to the court by Chudi Obieze, the counsel to the respondent, praying for an adjournment on grounds of ill-health.

The said letter from Obieze was supported with a medical certificate signed by the Chief Medical Director of an Anambra State-owned general hospital, confirming him sick and stating that he would be off for five days, starting from Wednesday, November 28, 2012.
However, counsel to Umeh, Pat Ikwueto (SAN), had while addressing the court on the letter, noted that if the respondent’s lawyer cannot come, he has other lawyers in his chambers and there was no reason why he should not send them to represent him.

He expressed dismay that the delay witnessed in the matter have been detrimental to APGA as a political party and therefore prayed the court to allow him to move his application or rescind all the orders made by the lower court in manifest disregard to rules of the court. 
But, in his ruling, the presiding judge, Justice Inyang Okoro, held that the medical certificate tendered by the defendant’s counsel had shown that he is sick and the court cannot disregard that. …

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Oshiomhole Queries Airhiavbere’s Credibility at Tribunal

It was a show of drama Thursday at the resumed hearing of the Edo State Election Petitions Tribunal as Governor Adams Oshiomhole queried General Charles Aihiavbere’s credibility to question his qualification.
Counsel to Oshiomhole had attacked Aihiavbere as he mounted the witness box, telling him that he was detained for three months while in the Army for questionable conduct.

Airhiavbere had taken Oshiomhole to the tribunal over the July 14 gubernatorial election in the state alleging that the he does not possess the requisite academic qualifications and that the election was fraught with irregularities.

At the resumed hearing yesterday, the tribunal admitted two documents: the Western Region of Nigeria Gazette No 17, Volume 5 of April 5, 1956 and the Tribune Newspaper of July 12, 2012 as exhibits.
The Gazette admitted in exhibit provides that a child must attain the minimum age of six years before being admitted into primary school.
Airhiavbere who was the sole witness of the plaintiffs, under cross-examination, initially refused to acknowledge the fact that Oshiomhole had certificates which he referred to as ‘documents.’                           

However, under further cross-examination, he admitted that Oshiomhole indeed had certificates which he was compelled to readout in the open tribunal by Ken Mozia, SAN, counsel to the 2nd respondent.
Oshiomhole also queried Airhiavbere’s credibility as a witness and told the tribunal that he was detained for three months for questionable conduct which necessitated his compulsory retirement.

The plaintiff however insisted that he served the Army meritorious for 37 years before retirement.
The tribunal presided over by Justice Muazu Pindiga adjourned the matter till Wednesday, December 5 for the respondents to call their witnesses.

Anenih, Nnamani, Ali, Akande Jostle for PDP BoT Chair

The former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, former Minister of Works, Chief Anthony Anenih, former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Ahmadu Ali and former Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) Board of Trustees (BoT) have thrown their hats into the ring to contest for the chairmanship of the PDP BoT.

The 120-member strong BoT of the ruling party will meet Fridaay night to choose a new chairman for the board.

The seat became vacant following former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s resignation in April this year. It was learnt that the campaign for who will replace Obasanjo as the chairman of the BoT is intense as members have crisscrossed the states taking their campaigns to members of the board.

But it is uncertain as to where the interest of President Goodluck Jonathan lies. 

Though no zoning formula is used in determining the chairman of the BoT, it is believed that there should be equity in the election of members into the various organs of the party.

The president is from the South-south, the same zone as Anenih who was ousted from office in 2007 by Obasanjo. Anenih was the chairman of the BoT from 2003 to 2007.

However, the national chairman of the PDP is from the North-east, the national secretary is from the South-west, while the chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum is from South-south, although the latter position is not a party post.

Yet pundits believe that given the fact that the president and chairman of the NGF are from the same geopolitical zone, it could count against Anenih.

On his part, Ken Nnamani, a former senate president, is banking on his popularity and for serving as the antidote for the third term project, to become the next chairman of the BoT.

He is also from the South-east that has complained that the zone has been marginalised in PDP affairs.

Also campaigning vigorously for the office is the former national chairman of the party, Senator Ahmadu Ali. He is from Kogi State, and the same North-central zone as the secretary of the BoT, Senator Walid Jubrin. …(read more)

PDP Summons Nyako over Adamawa Crisis

The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Wednesday summoned Adamawa State Governor, Admiral Muritala Nyako (rtd), over the crisis rocking the party in the just concluded local government election in the state.

The party won majority seats in the election.

But Nyako Wednesday presented N94,843,314,620 as budget for 2013 fiscal year to the state House of Assembly.

However, Nyako’s summon was the highpoint of the NWC meeting presided over by the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.

Addressing journalists at the party’s national secretariat, the National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said nobody was bigger than anybody or group of individuals, stating that: “we must administer the party in line with the party constitution.”

Nyako is ecpected to appear before the NWC on Friday at 10 am.

THISDAY gathered that the summon is not unconnected with the decision by the NWC of the party that the list presented by the state chapter of the party should be reconciled and harmonised with all stakeholders in the state.

It was also gathered that the NWC was not happy that the election was conducted against a court order. …(read more)

200 election offenders on trial, says Jega

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, yesterday said over 200 offenders have been prosecuted for allegedly involving in electoral malpractices.

Speaking during a consultative workshop with the Civil Society Organisation (CSO) on the plans and progress towards the 2015 general election, he said lack of funds has affected the prosecution of the electoral offenders.

Stressing that there were no records of prosecution of the offenders before he came into office, Jega cited the case of a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member who indulged in electoral malpractices and was prosecuted by INEC and convicted during his tenure.

He called for the establishment of an Election Offenders Commission to try offenders, because according to him, INEC as is currently constituted does not have the human capacity and logistics to try election offenders.

Okorocha gets 21-day ultimatum to probe Ohakim

A group, the Joint Action Group (JAC), yesterday gave Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha a 21-day ultimatum to probe former Governor Ikedi Ohakim.

It said an immediate action is necessary to ensure that the millions of naira the former administration allegedly mismanaged are recovered.

JAC, which comprises traders, mechanics, transporters, artisans and other self-employed individuals in Imo State, issued a communique after its emergency meeting in Owerri, the state capital.

The communique by JAC President, Rev. Ngozi Amadi, decried the government’s perceived delay in arresting and probing Ohakim and his aides over what it described as the “senseless looting of public funds”. …(read more)

Enugu: Appeal Court upholds Uba’s election

The Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu Wednesday upheld the election of Senator Andy Uba as the duly elected senator for Anambra South Senatorial zone, following Chima Nzeribe’s appeal against the judgment of the Election Petition Tribunal which had recognised Uba as having been duly elected.

The Appeal court in Enugu struck out the seven issues raised by Nzeribe on the grounds of frivolity and abuse of court process. The appellant was fined the sum of  N20,000 as relief to the plaintiffs, Uba, People’s Democratic Party, and the Independent National Electoral Commission.

INEC to issue 10-yr electronic voters’ card – Jega

Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, said Wednesday, in Abuja that the commission had successfully prosecuted 200 of the 870,000 electoral offenders.

Jega who spoke at the INEC/civil society dialogue on plans and progress toward the 2015 elections, also said the commission was ready to issue permanent electronic voters’ card that would be valid for 10 years

He explained that the prosecution of electoral offenders was in respect of offences arising from the 2011 voters registration and general elections.

Jega said the prosecution had been “a big problem” because of paucity of fund and manpower.

He said: “In actual fact, some of those apprehended have been prosecuted and convicted but the number is just too small compared to those remaining. A youth corps member was also prosecuted and sentenced in Ondo for electoral manipulation.”

He noted that the police was in charge of prosecuting offenders until it was handed over to INEC, adding that the task was beyond the capacity of INEC and should not be left with the commission.

He said if INEC was saddled with the responsibility of prosecuting electoral offenders, its major mandate would suffer because the quantum of offenders would be too much for the commission.

Jega called on government to work on the “Uwais panel report, on electoral reform, that recommended that a separate body should be set up to handle electoral offences.” …(read more)

INEC: Lack of Funds, Manpower Hamper Prosecution of Electoral Offenders

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rolled out its plan for the 2015 general election, blaming its inability to effectively prosecute electoral offenders on insufficient funding and limited manpower.
Stating this yesterday in Abuja during a consultative workshop with civil society groups, the commission’s Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, said the commission had apprehended 870,000 electoral offenders, of which a meagre 200 or 0.02 per cent have been successfully prosecuted in the country during the course of various elections.

Jega said the prosecution was for offences arising from the 2011 voters’ registration and general election. One of such electoral offenders yet to be prosecuted is a serving senator from Bayelsa State, whom the commission said it caught with ballot boxes and thumb-printed ballot papers during election.

The INEC chairman said prosecution has been “a big problem,” because of paucity of funds and manpower, the News Agency on Nigeria (NAN) has reported.

“In actual fact, some of those apprehended have been prosecuted and convicted but the number is just too small compared to those remaining,” he added.

He said one of those convicted was “a youth corps member who was prosecuted and sentenced to jail in Ondo State for electoral manipulation.”

However, Jega defended the use of members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) as election officials, stating that they were better than using people from the streets. He also said that because of attacks on youth corps members during and after elections, arrangements have been concluded to provide them with 24 hours security their lodge.

The electoral body chairman said the police were in charge of prosecuting offenders until it was handed over to INEC, adding that the task was beyond the capacity of INEC and should not be left with the commission alone…(read more)