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APC, PDP await fate in Kebbi guber battle as Supreme Court reserves judgment

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The Supreme Court has reserved judgment in the governorship election dispute between Governor Nasir Idris of the All progressives Congress (APC) and Aminu Bande of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The five-man panel led by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun on Tuesday reserved the judgment after parties in the petition adopted their processes.

At Tuesday’s proceedings the respondents’ counsel urged the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit and uphold the judgments of the lower courts that upheld the election.

The appellant’s lawyers while adopting their processes, urged the apex court to find merit in the appeal and allow it.

The Court of Appeal Abuja had upheld the election of Governor Nasir Idris of Kebbi State.

The three-member panel of the court, in a unanimous judgment, dismissed the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Aminu Bande, for lack of merit.

The court, in the judgment delivered by Justice Ndukwe Anyanwu, resolved all the five issues formulated for determination in favour of the governor and against the PDP and its candidate.

The court held that the appellants failed to establish all the allegations brought up against the governor in their petition.

It held that the allegations of forgery of testimonial brought against the deputy governor of the state, Abubakar Tafida, could not be established as required by law.

It also held that the issues of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act in the conduct of the election could not stand because the appellants failed to prove how the allegations substantially affected the poll.

The court, consequently, affirmed the judgment of the Kebbi State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal which had on 5 October, 2023, affirmed Idris as the duly elected governor.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the March 18 Kebbi gubernatorial election inconclusive owing to “massive vote cancellation and over-voting” in 20 of the 21 LGAs in the state.

The Commission later fixed 15 April for a supplementary election.

At the end of the exercise, Idris, scored 409,225 votes to beat Bande, who got 360,940 votes.

Bande and his party rejected the result and filed a petition before the tribunal.

In the petition, the petitioners alleged that there was over-voting in some polling units and that Mr Idris was not qualified to contest the poll.

They also alleged that the deputy governor had submitted a fake secondary school testimonial to INEC.

However, in the judgment, Justice Ofem Ofem, the chairman of the tribunal, held that the petitioners failed to prove beyond doubt that the third respondent (deputy governor) presented a fake certificate to INEC.

Justice Ofem added that the evidence presented showed that the testimonial in question was duly signed and issued to him by the then Principal of Sultan Abubakar College, Sokoto in 1982.

The tribunal chairman described the documents presented by the petitioners as “iron cast evidence”, saying, “we state categorically that the third respondent did not forge certificate”.

On the issue of over-voting, Justice Ofem said out of the 59 polling units being questioned, irregularities were discovered in nine.

Justice Ofem, however, said the deduction of the votes would not affect the margin between the election winner and the first runner-up. He added that there was no substantial evidence to prove over-voting and irregularities in other polling units.

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Sanwo-Olu to unveil Eko Cares today

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Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu will today flag off the various interventions deployed to lessen the burden of Lagosians amid the economic hardship.

The interventions – in transportation, education, health and agriculture – are coming under the umbrella of EKO CARES.

The fuel subsidy removal sparked a rise in cost of living. Mr Sanwo-Olu announced a 50% cut in fares on all government transport platforms on February 8, 2024. After a review of the situation, the fare slash was reduced to 25%. For six weeks, the Ounje Eko Sunday market that signalled the reduction of food by 25% has been running. Civil servants from levels one to 14 were asked to work thrice a week. A N35,000 wage award was also given to all civil servants.

About 15,000 women from all the 20 local governments and 35 Local Council Development Areas got N50,000 each to support their businesses. Besides, Mr. Sanwo-Olu announced free delivery for expectant women in all government hospitals, among other initiatives.

To drive the initiatives, the Governor set up a non-partisan Special Dispensation Advisory Council of eminent Nigerians, including rights activists, religious leaders, a youth representative and opposition party chieftains. It is chaired by Mr. Governor; Deputy Governor Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat is alternate Chairman.

Details of other interventions will be unveiled today at a ceremony, which will take place at the Governor’s Office in Alausa, Ikeja

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Nigeria’s future lies in your hands — Bauchi Gov tells corps members

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Rauf Oyewole, Bauchi

The Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed has said that greatness and future of Nigeria will be determined by the youths, particularly the members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

The Governor said this at the Wailo Orientation Camp of NYSC during the swearing-in of the newly posted Batch A stream II 2024, on Tuesday.

Mohammed, who was represented by the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mohammed Salis Gamawa, said, “I implore you to take with utmost seriousness the nation’s clarion call to serve with greater dedication and commitment. The future of this country lies in your hands.”

Mohammed enjoined them to cherish his commendation and become a catalyst for change in the orientation camp and during the entire service year. He further urged them to take with utmost seriousness the noble call and dedicate themselves toward achieving the Scheme’s goal of national unity and development.

“The good people of Bauchi State appreciate and understand the objectives and philosophy of the NYSC. In view of this, we have resolved to join hands with you in every way possible to ensure the success of the Scheme in the State.”

Also, the Bauchi state Coordinator of the NYSC, Mrs Rifkatu Yakubu, warned all the corps members across the country that any act of indiscipline would not be tolerated. According to her, any corps member found indulging in any form of indiscipline would be decisively dealt with in accordance with NYSC by laws.

She said, “You must equally obey all camp officials as they are your guardians. Indiscipline is not tolerated here and I assure you that if you are law abiding you will have a very fruitful and enjoyable camping exercise.

“On our part, we pledge to do our utmost best to ensure that you experience the regimented nature of camp throughout the duration of the orientation course and the entire service year.”

Yakubu commended Governor Bala Mohammed for his approval of the renovation and repairs of damaged camp facilities and the release of funds to augment feeding of corps members for the orientation exercise.

She said that the corps members would be given the opportunity to serve in the various committees set up for the smooth running of the camp. This, she believed, would give them practical experience in administration and a chance to contribute to decisions that affect them.

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Information Minister urges religious leaders, traditional leaders to champion awareness on nutrition

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The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, has appealed to faith-based leaders and traditional rulers to lend their voices in advocating for policies prioritising nutrition and access to nutritious food for their communities and followers.

The Minister made the call in Abuja on Tuesday at a one-day high-level dialogue on nutrition with faith-based leaders and traditional rulers held in the State House.

Idris, who said access to nutrition food, is not just a matter of sustenance but a fundamental human right of all citizens, decried the situation where malnutrition is afflicting millions of Nigerians including children.

“It is agonising that millions of our fellow citizens continue to suffer from malnutrition, depriving them of the opportunity to live healthy and productive lives.

“Therefore, I appeal to each of you gathered here today to seize this moment as an opportunity to catalyze change within your communities. Let us join hands across religious and cultural divides and unite in our pursuit of a healthier and more prosperous nation.”

The Minister said the launch of the awareness campaign on nutrition with faith-based leaders and traditional rulers as the vanguard, would surely make an impact given their tremendous influence that extends far beyond the confines of their respective congregations and Emirates, kingdoms, and chiefdoms, especially in shaping the fabric of the society.

The event, which was held at the instance of Vice-President Kashim Shettima, brought together religious leaders, traditional rulers, representatives of multilateral institutions, development partners, and policymakers to brainstorm and strategize on the awareness campaign for nutrition.

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