Ondo: Appeal Court strikes out AP’s suit against tribunal ruling

Court of Appeal sitting in Akure, yesterday, dismissed the appeal filed by Accord Party, AP, against the ruling of the Election Petition Tribunal, which struck out its petition even as it restored part of the petition by Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, governorship candidate, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, for trial.

It also struck out the appeal by Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate Olusole Oke, for filling further evidence after the statutory period.

The appellate court, while affirming the decision that struck out substantial parts of the paragraphs of the petition, especially those that were considered “vague and nebulous,” however granted in part of the appeal of both ACN and PDP.
The court also restored the name of PDP in the petition by its candidate, Oke, and ordered that the tribunal should try the petition by Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, on its merit.

The Justice Andovar Kaka’an led Election Petition Tribunal had ruled on the AP and CPC petitions by striking them out, while it struck out some paragraphs in Akeredolu and PDP candidate governorship candidate, Oke …(read more)

Imo: Okorocha nominates Madumere as new deputy governor

Following the impeachment of Imo State Deputy Governor, Mr Jude Agbaso, Thursday evening, the state governor, Rochas Okorocha has nominated the Chief of staff, Eze Madumere, to replace the impeached deputy governor.

Agbaso was impeached by 23 out of the 26 members  of the Imo House of Assembly over allegations of bribery

With 23 affirmative votes from the legislators present, the House Majority Leader, Mr Adaku Ihuoma (representing Ahiazu Mbaise constituency), moved the motion for the impeachment. …(read more)

APGA: Only Court Can Stop Our National Convention

The interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Mr. Maxi Okwu, has said only a court can restrain the party from going ahead with the planned national convention slated for April 8.

Okwu, who addressed journalists in Abuja Wednesday,  said the party’s constitution vested the power to convene a national convention on the National Executive Committee (NEC)  contrary to that of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which  insisted that only the National Chairman of APGA can convene the convention of the party.

Speaking on the protracted issues arising from the Enugu High Court judgment that sacked the national executive of APGA, Okwu said: "Contrary to the position of INEC, the power to convene a national convention is vested on  the NEC as contained in Article 22(1)  of the APGA constitution filed with INEC."…(read more)

INEC refuses to register rival APC

Controversy over the useof the acronym, ‘APC’, by rival political organisations took a new dimension on Monday.

In a dramatic turn of events, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) refused the African Peoples Congress registration as a political party.

The notice of refusal was contained in a letter dated March 21, 2013 and addressed to the Acting National Chairman of the association, Chief Onyinye Ikeagwuonu.

It was upon this disclosure that for the second time in five days, the African Peoples Congress addressed a press conference to alert the public to INEC’s alleged plans to deny it registration as a political party.

For weeks now, controversy has raged over which association, the merging All Progressives Congress (APC) or the African Peoples Congress “owns the ellipsis, ‘APC’.

While opposition parties claimed proprietary right of the acronym, having popularised it; the rival organisation said it had written to the INEC, using the abbreviation for its proposed party.

Although INEC admitted receiving such letter of intent from the African Peoples Congress, it denied registering any new political party as being bandied about.

However, Chief Ikeagwuonu seemed to puncture the INEC position Monday, when he displayed a copy of the letter allegedly prepared for the endorsement of INEC’s chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, to halt his association’s registration.

Indeed, the said four-paragraph letter, signed by INEC’s secretary, Abdullahi Kaugama, stated unequivocally that it would not “register the proposed African People’s Congress as a political party.”

Headlined as: Re-Application For Registration As A Political Party, the letter reads: “Your application for registration as a political party dated 28th February, 2013 refers.

“The Commission has observed that your Association is in breach of Section 222(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), which stipulates as follows:

‘No Association by whatever name called shall function as a Political Party unless:

(a) The names and addresses of its national officers are registered with the Independent National Electoral Commission.’

“A close observation of your submitted Form PA1 established that it does not contain the addresses of your national officers as stipulated in the above provision.

“Consequently, the Commission shall not register the proposed African People’s Congress as a political party.”

Spokesperson for the INEC chairman, Mr. Robert Kayode Idowu, confirmed the development last night, saying, “it is true that the African Peoples Congress cannot be registered because they did not meet the requirement of the Constitution.”

However, at the press conference at its national headquarters in Abuja, the association threatened to sue INEC should it carry out the alleged move.

Ikeagwuonu said: “Our attention has been drawn to a desperate effort by some paid INEC officials to conclusively consummate the black market transaction we warned about last Thursday, to deny the African Peoples Congress registration, citing purported irregularities in the addresses of our national officers.

“We had earlier alerted Nigerians about this high level conspiracy and have thus been reliably informed today, by an impeccable source, that a draft letter denying APC registration is right now on the table of the INEC chairman, waiting for his endorsement.”

The association, however, announced that it would go ahead with arrangements to field a candidate for the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Anambra State.

“We wish to also inform Nigerians that our party primaries, prelude to fielding a candidate in the Anambra state governorship election, commences as planned,” Ikeagwuonu said.

Impeachment Threat

While the Rochas Okorocha administration in Imo State is bent on impeaching Deputy Governor Jude Agbaso, based on a corruption allegation, he waves it off as politically motivated persecution as the 2015 elections approach

The Imo State political terrain is at present charged, with impeachment moves against Deputy Governor Jude Agbaso over an alleged N458 million bribe given to him by a contractor. The latest chapter in the drama was on Monday 18 March, when an Owerri High Court struck out Agbaso’s motion to stop the state House of Assembly’s impeachment process against him. According to the presiding judge, Justice F.I. Duruohaigwe, “It would be unnecessary to grant the motion, since the applicant was not challenging the impeachment.”

Agbaso had earlier asked the court to restrain the state legislature from proceeding with the impeachment process it started two weeks ago, and that the Nigeria Police should be prevented from harassing him or acting upon the recommendations of the House against him. The court, however, granted the applicant’s second prayer. The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, quoted counsel to the applicant, Patrick Ikweto, as arguing in the court that the legislature infringed on the fundamental human rights of the deputy governor by investigating and indicting him in its report. Ikweto added that the House “ought not to have dabbled into the investigation because that was a role of the security agencies”.

However, counsel to the state legislature, Adeniyi Akintola, argued that the court had no jurisdiction to make any order in the matter and that the matter was primarily a case of impeachment, “which the House of Assembly is constitutionally empowered to handle”. Hearing on the substantive suit of whether or not the House should investigate him comes up on 27 March. …(read more)

Lagos Speaker asks court to strike out case against him

Lagos State House of Assembly, Speaker, Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Monday, prayed a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, to strike out the charge of money laundering preferred against him.

Ikuforiji’s counsel, at the resumed hearing of the matter, following the absence of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, prosecutor, made the application.

Ikuforiji and is personal assistant, Oyebode Atoyebi, are facing a 20-count charge on money laundering. They were first arraigned on March 1, 2012.

Reacting to a letter by EFCC counsel, informing the court of his absence, defence counsel said since the trial began, prosecution had treated the case with levity, claiming that several adjournments granted by the court had been at the instance of the prosecution, which had exhibited visible reluctance in the trial.

Trial judge, Justice O. Okeke, in a short ruling, said in the overriding public interest, he was adjourning the matter and ordered for accelerated hearing of the case.

The court consequently, adjourned the case till April 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 for continuation of trial.

PDP sweeps Bayelsa LG polls

The ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, has swept Saturday’s local government area elections in Bayelsa State.

The party won the chairmanship seats in the eight councils of the state.

The party’s candidate for Ogbia Local Government Area, the council of President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr. Inaye Abah, was returned unopposed while in Sagbama council, which is Governor Seriake Dickson’s local government area, the chairmanship seat  was won by Mr. Willie Oyadougha of PDP, who polled 56,737 votes.

In Southern Ijaw council, Chief Remember Ogbe of PDP scored 120,189 votes; in Yenagoa council, Mr Ben Walson scored 111,391 votes; Mr Obed Andy polled 39,557 to clinch Brass council.

Others include Mr. Tobiye Bill,  who scored 59,553 votes to win Ekeremor council;  Bio Amina-Elemina scored 57,787 votes to clinch Nembe council, while Gbarainbiri Eselema, also of PDP, polled 19,379 to win Kolokuma-Opokuma council.

Chairman of the state Independent Electoral Commission, Chief Izagara, who declared the results in Yenagoa, urged the elected council chairmen to see their victory at the polls as a call to the service of their people.

2015: PDP raises panel to woo opposition governors, says Akpabio

THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday moved to stop its dwindling fortune. It raised a committee to woo opposition governors to its fold ahead of the next general elections in 2015.

Akwa Ibom Governor Godswill Akpabio, who doubles as the chair of the PDP Governors’ Forum, said this yesterday in a chat with State House correspondents.

He spoke after meeting President Goodluck Jonathan.

According to him, the move to reach out to the governors elected on the platform of opposition parties is aimed at having at least 30 governors under the PDP by next election.

He, however, declined to name members of the committee, insisting that there was no crack in PDP.

Akpabio said that the reported overtures by the opposition to some PDP governors would not work.

Said he: “The only truly national party in Nigeria is the PDP. It is the PDP that can make overtures towards others and we PDP governors are poised to bring our colleagues from the other parties to join us. This is what we are trying to do now.

“There is no overture that anybody will make, PDP is too large and organised. We have set up a tactical committee to also reach out to the opposition (in quote) because we want to be more than what we are.

“We started with over 30 governors, now we have been reduced to 23 and there is the need for us to come together. We should be over 30 in the next election and this seems to have rattled the opposition.”

“I can tell you that even now the opposition is rattled. You can see the barrage of attacks on the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum. This is a sign that the opposition is rattled because there is really no need for the attack.

Goni sworn in as Head of Service

President Goodluck Jonathan has sworn in Alhaji Bukar Goni Aji as the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.

The ceremony was held  Monday, at the Aso Chambers, State House, Abuja.

Goni, who was until his appointment, Permanent Secretary, Common Services Office, Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, will take over from Alhaji Isa Sali, who will attain the mandatory retirement age of 60 on Saturday, March 23.

Alhaji Goni hailed from Yobe State and was born on January 13, 1959.

He attended Government College, Maiduguri; Borno College of Basic Studies, Maiduguri and graduated from the University of Maiduguri in 1984. …(read more)

‘INEC has not registered any APC’ – Jega

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, yesterday, said that no political party with acronym “APC” has been registered. .

Speaking on a live audience participation Radio Nigeria Hausa programme Hanu Dayawa, monitored in Kaduna, Jega said the All Progressive Congress (APC) just recently officially notified the commission that it intended to merge some opposition parties into one.

Said Jega: “This issue has generated controversy in the past few weeks. Firstly, the truth is that no political party wrote to notify us that it is planning to merge with some other political parties until the past five days or so.

“Therefore it not true that we were notified. The issue became serious when one group came out to seek for registration and I guess that was what made them to write and notify us. But that is not the issue. The main issue is that there are guidelines for registered political parties who want to merge to become a new party. There are also guidelines for individuals or groups who want to form a political party for registration”. …(read more)

Eight PDP Governors Move to Defect

As political calculations towards the 2015 elections heighten, it has emerged that at least eight Peoples Democratic Party governors are set to leave the party. It is not a question of "if" but of "when", said a senior political actor familiar with the developing strategy.

The governors are those of Rivers (Rotimi Amaechi), Adamawa (Murtala Nyako), Kano (Rabiu Kwankwaso), Jigawa (Sule Lamido) and Kebbi (Seidu Dakingari).

Others are Governors Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto and Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara.
To underscore the frustrations of the group with PDP, three of the Governors: Lamido, Kwankwaso and Wamakko boycotted the PDP peace parley in Kaduna yesterday, which had Vice-President Namadi Sambo in attendance.

THISDAY has learnt the eight governors are firmly resolved to work together politically, claiming that they have been "thoroughly marginalised in PDP" and have lost confidence in the party leadership, which they say has been totally "commandeered" by President Goodluck Jonathan and the Aso Rock political apparachik.

The governors, according to several sources, have come to the conclusion that their political fortunes can only dwindle in PDP and as such are weighing their strategic options and next political moves having reached some political "agreement-in-principle" with the Bola Tinubu and Muhammadu Buhari – led opposition merger group, All Progressives Congress (APC), after several meetings in Lagos and Abuja. …

(read more)

 

Eight PDP Governors Move to Defect

As political calculations towards the 2015 elections heighten, it has emerged that at least eight Peoples Democratic Party governors are set to leave the party. It is not a question of "if" but of "when", said a senior political actor familiar with the developing strategy.

The governors are those of Rivers (Rotimi Amaechi), Adamawa (Murtala Nyako), Kano (Rabiu Kwankwaso), Jigawa (Sule Lamido) and Kebbi (Seidu Dakingari).

Others are Governors Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto and Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara.
To underscore the frustrations of the group with PDP, three of the Governors: Lamido, Kwankwaso and Wamakko boycotted the PDP peace parley in Kaduna yesterday, which had Vice-President Namadi Sambo in attendance.

THISDAY has learnt the eight governors are firmly resolved to work together politically, claiming that they have been "thoroughly marginalised in PDP" and have lost confidence in the party leadership, which they say has been totally "commandeered" by President Goodluck Jonathan and the Aso Rock political apparachik.

The governors, according to several sources, have come to the conclusion that their political fortunes can only dwindle in PDP and as such are weighing their strategic options and next political moves having reached some political "agreement-in-principle" with the Bola Tinubu and Muhammadu Buhari – led opposition merger group, All Progressives Congress (APC), after several meetings in Lagos and Abuja. …

(read more)