…as Obi says no going back on legal battle
The Presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, has inaugurated a legal team consisting of 17 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) to challenge the outcome of the presidential election which has been surrounded with controversial resistance.
Recall the leadership of PDP and its PCC had said they were still searching and consulting for a legal team that would handle the petition of Atiku’s petition at the presidential election tribunal.
The team of the former Vice President combined no fewer than 17 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), trailing that of APC’s and its presidential candidate in the recently held presidential election, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, which combined 13 SANs in their defence team.
The development has revealed no fewer than 30 SANs are now in the contest of the legal battle.
Atiku while inaugurating the legal team at his campaign headquarters in Abuja, charged members to establish the claim of illegality in the Feb. 25 presidential election and reclaim the mandate of the Nigerian people.
The PDP candidate instructed the legal team that apart from reclaiming the mandate from those who “undertook the electoral heist,” they should also use the opportunity of the trial to strengthen constitutional democracy in the Country.
In his brief to the team, which is being headed by Chief J. K. Gadzama (SAN), at the conference room of his office at the campaign headquarters, Atiku said it was imperative that they work assiduously in reclaiming the mandate not necessarily because of him and the PDP, “but to strengthen democracy and the electoral process and for generations unborn.”
Those listed as members of the team include: Chief Chris Uche (SAN), Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN), Tayo Jegede (SAN), Ken Mozia (SAN), Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Mahmood Magaji (SAN), Joe Abraham (SAN), Mr Chukwuma Umeh (SAN), Dr. Garba Tetengi (SAN) and Chief Emeka Etiaba (SAN).
Others are Chief Goddy Uche (SAN), Prof. Maxwell Gidado (SAN); the National Legal Adviser of the PDP, A. K. Ajibade (SAN), Mr. O. M. Atoyebi (SAN), Mrs. Nella Rabana (SAN), Paul Ogbole (SAN), Nuremi Jimoh (SAN), and Abdul Ibrahim (SAN).
Frontline contenders with Tinubu at the presidential poll which include the duo of Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), who were defeated at the polls, have declared their resolve to explore legal mechanisms to challenge the outcome of the election in court, alleging electoral fraud.
Both PDP and LP had since rejected the outcome of the election and vowed to challenge it in court.
Recall INEC in early hours of last Wednesday had declared Tinubu, candidate of the APC, as the winner of the election and President-elect of the presidential poll held on February 25.
According to the results announced by INEC, Tinubu of the APC polled 8,794,726 to defeat Atiku of PDP with 6,884,520 votes, while Peter Obi of Labour Party and Sen Rabiu Kwakwanso of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) recorded 6,101,533 in third position and 1,496,687 votes (4th position) respectively.
The margin between Tinubu who polled 8,794,726 votes and Obi who polled 6,101,533 is over 2.6million votes.
Atiku, 76, who has now run for presidency race six times, polled 6,984,520 votes, ahead of Obi who polled 6,101,533.
Tinubu, Atiku, and Obi led in 12 States each, while Kwakwaso of NNPP led only in one State (Kano).
Recall during the collation process there had been protests against INEC, with demands that the Commission upload the results on the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV).
In a related development, agents of the PDP and other opposition parties had staged a walkout of the International Collation Centre in protest. Demostrations had trailed the development by demonstrators demanding INEC to electronically upload the results against manual collation adopted by the Commission.
Meanwhile, in his reaction, Atiku had last Thursday rejected the declaration of Tinubu as winner of the presidential polls, arguing that the level of “manipulation and fraud that attended this election was unprecedented in the history of our nation.”
Atiku last Thursday, in his first media briefing in Abuja, after the poll, described the process as flawed – “a rape of democracy” which he said “must be challenged.”
Under the Electoral Act 2022, any candidate dissatisfied with the return made by the INEC, shall within 21 days after the date of the declaration of the result of the election, file a petition before the tribunal.
An election tribunal shall deliver its judgement in writing within 180 days from the date the petition was filed.
Atiku rejecting the outcome of the election had while knocking INEC for what he described as conducting the “worst” election in Nigeria’s history, said the outcome would contested in Court.
The party said the filing of his petition would start immediately after inspection of the election materials.
…I remain committed, no going back on legal battle — Obi
Meanwhile, on his part, the Presidential candidate of LP, Obi said he remains committed to the mission of retrieving his mandate by contesting the outcome of the presidential poll declared by INEC.
Obi who stated this in a statement he issued via his verified Twitter handle on Wednesday, said,“I remain committed and will give more attention to our mission of retrieving our mandate. A new Nigeria is possible! -PO.
“It is also imperative that Obidients vote for candidates with Competence, Character, Capacity, and Compassion.
“I am supposed to commence our whistle-stop campaign for our various Labour Party Governorship and State Assembly Candidates today. Initially, my trip was to take me to Nasarawa, Lagos, Enugu, Abia, Delta, Edo, Rivers, Plateau, Borno, etc.
“However, following INEC’s refusal to allow our party to inspect the materials (including BVAS) from the 25th February presidential elections, I am personally heading to the Court today with our lawyers.
“As we pursue due process and defer to the rule of law, I urge all the OBIdients in the various states to continue campaigning for our candidates, namely, Gbadebo Rhodes Vivour in Lagos, Chijoke Edeoga in Enugu, Patrick Dakum in Plateau, Alex Otti in Abia, Ken Pela in Delta, Ibrahim Mshelia in Borno, to name just a few.”
INEC issues CoR to Reps-elect
Meanwhile, INEC on Wednesday issued Certificates of Return (CoR) to winners of the February 25, 2023 House of Representatives election in Nigeria.
The INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, presented the certificates to the members-elect at the National Collation Centre in Abuja.
Yakubu had on Saturday said winners were declared for 423 legislative seats, indicating that supplementary elections would be conducted in 46 other constituencies.
He said in the House of Representatives, 325 out of 360 seats have been won by eight political parties.
In terms of party representation, the INEC boss said African Democratic Party (ADP), won 2; All Progressives Congress (APC), 162; All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), 4; Labour Party (LP), 34; New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), 18; Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), 102; Social Democratic Party (SDP), 2, and Young Progressives Party (YPP), 1.
Recall their Senate counterparts received their Certificate of Return on Tuesday.
In the list however, eight names are missing, as the Commission noted that supplementary elections will be held in affected Senatorial districts, which include Enugu East, Kebbi North, Plateau Central, Sokoto East, North and South, Yobe South and Zamfara Central.
Concerned Benue APC Stakeholders pass vote of confidence on Alia’s Govt
By Titus Atondu, Makurdi
Benue State Concerned APC Stakeholders arising from a closed door meeting disassociated themselves from the position of the All Progressives Congress (APC) local government party chairmen and the State Executive Committee over their media attacks on governor Hyacinth Alia and his administration.
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting in Makurdi, the State Capital, the leader of the stakeholders and former president of the Senate, Senator Ameh Ebute, advised Governor Alia to discountenance all distractions and continue his focus on developing the State with the diligence so far employed.
“You are by this communiqué requested to desist from further actions and retreat to allow elders and major stakeholders to wade into the matter and seek appropriate answers to all issues,” Senator Ebute said.
Senator Barnabas Gemade, General Onoja, retired, Senator Joseph Akaagerger, and Senator Ebute, thanked the entire Benue APC family and also assured Governor Alia of their continuous support; passing a vote of confidence on Alia’s administration and his team.
“We the concerned stakeholders of APC in Benue state are worried by the recent attacks on the Governor and Government of Benue state, particularly, the content of the communiqué we saw on social media under the hands of the APC LG chairmen, as well as the resolution of the state working committee, in respect to leadership, meeting and party activities.
“We see this as a deliberate attempt to distract the Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia-led administration from fulfilling his campaign promises to the people. This unfortunate incident by the APC LG Chairmen has opened a vista for the opposition to take full advantage, culminating in a recent motion sponsored by an opposition (PDP) senator from Benue against the government of Benue state,” he stated.
According to the former Senate president, the APC leaders are not in support of the actions of the Local government party chairmen and the party executive committee, particularly for their inability to explore all necessary avenues for proper engagements before resorting to unnecessary media outings that have further escalated what would have easily been managed internally by the party.
“We acknowledge and have participated in critical as well as strategic stakeholder’s meetings to include but not limited to two expanded stakeholders meetings held in government house, Makurdi and a mini state congress to herald the Governorship Elections Petitions Tribunal victory of His Excellency, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia and His Deputy, Barr. Sam Ode at the IBB Square, Makurdi, all at the instance of His Excellency, the Governor of Benue state,” he said.
He maintained that at several meetings and other fora, elders of the party as well as the executives of the party had caused to pass a vote of confidence on the Governor of Benue State and applauded his inclusive leadership style.
“It is on the basis of these and many more that we the concerned elders have found it necessary to address the public and ask all concerned party members to desist from further public outings and stop any impending action that will further cause disunity in the party,” he stated.
Responding to a question, senator Gemade charged members of the public to ignore social media practitioners that turned to publishing falsehood against personalities.
He expressed shock that a social media platform reported that he held a zoom meeting to lobby Governor Alia to decamp to the opposition PDP in Benue state.
“I can’t blame them because they are looking for food but should be ignored. Benue APC is intact and Alia administration is doing well so far,” Gemade said.
Osun APC, PDP clash over Adeleke’s plan to extend Ilesa water contract lifespan
By Ismail Azeez, Osogbo
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State are currently embroiled in a heated exchange of words over Governor Ademola Adeleke’s proposal to extend the duration of the Ilesa water financing agreement with the Islamic Development Bank.
The Ilesa Water Project was commenced by the former Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola which is due for closure by December 2023.
The Osun APC berated Governor Ademola Adeleke for allegedly bungling the multi-billion naira Ilesa Water Project, describing his current eye-service to regularise the project as fathom and deceit designed to save face from the embarrassment.
“Before Adeleke, like a bull in the China shop, mindlessly ordered for stoppage of work on the water project last December, his predecessor, His Excellency, former state Governor Adegboyega Oyetola CON, now Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, had completed the reticulation component and laying of water pipes, setting a stage for the final component of the work, which is water treatment.
“Until few days ago when they began to run helter skelter to save the day, Governor Adeleke and his lousy yes-men had intentionally and practically ignored all entreaties from the sons and daughters of Ijesaland to get the project back to track so that their dream of getting potable and healthy water to drink in their lifetime would come to reality.”
The APC Chairman, Sooko Tajudeen Lawal, in a statement issued by the party’s Director of Media and Information, Chief Kola Olabisi, Tuesday, questioned the soundness of the thought-process of the state governor and his advisers, pondering why Adeleke would choose to punish a whole generation of Ijesa because their elites gave unwavering support to the government of ex-Governor Oyetola, which prioritised the welfare of Ijesa people above mundane and reckless politics.
Lawal said, “It is painful that the clumsy government of Senator Adeleke, having wasted almost one year without accessing the balance of $37.9 million Islamic Development Bank(IDB) loan meant for the completion of the water project, is now belatedly begging profusely, claiming to be ramping up actions to extend the life span of the Ilesa water financing agreement with the bank which is due for closure in few days’ time.”
Lawal cautioned that unless men of good intention at the federal level were mobilised to remedy the situation, Osun State might suffer a double jeopardy because “the project might not only suffer misfortune as it did 30 years ago when the fund meant for it was brazenly converted for personal use, Osun State could equally run into further financial headache on account of court case instituted against it by the project contractor, who is seeking compensation for a breach of contract.
“The Osun APC is using this medium to appeal to all Nigerians of means and clout to come to our aid by saving the state from the current logjam inflicted on us by the confused and tactless Governor Adeleke and his coterie of political jesters.
“One, we need the Islamic Development Bank, the financing bank, to extend the financing agreement on the Ilesa Water Project beyond December 2023.
“Two, the project contractor should be placated to settle out-of-court as being requested by the state government so that the state does not lose money and suffer unduly over the indiscretion and lack of seriousness of some political mal-administrators,” Lawal pleaded.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) slammed APC in Osun over its thoughtless remarks on the Ilesa Water Project saying, “The recent remark from Osun APC chairman, Tajudeen Lawal, calling Adeleke’s action about the project ‘political pettiness’ shows that APC is not remorseful for the atrocities it committed while in office.
“The challenges the project is facing were caused by the Oyetola government. It was Oyetola who terminated the contractor’s contract leading to the litigation that the state is battling.”
In a statement from the Media Office of the party, the State Chairman, Hon. Sunday Bisi, while commenting on the Ilesa water project and the recent reaction from the opposition, described the APC as an anti-people association and a clueless party.
“Governor Adeleke’s action exemplifies the responsible oversight expected of a government committed to inclusive governance.
“The mismanagement of funds and allegations of corruption during the previous administration demanded a reassessment of the project’s trajectory, which Governor Adeleke duly acknowledged.
“Since Lawal has decided to mislead the public through false accusations on Governor Adeleke, there is a need to remind the public of the atrocities of the APC on the water project. Lawal and his fellow grievers should be informed that it was Oyetola who terminated the water project contract with the contractor thereby resulting in the Contractor’s court action.
“This added to the several messes of the Oyetola government that Governor Adeleke has been left to clear. The Governor has initiated an out-of-court settlement with the contractor which is currently ongoing.
“Lawal seems preoccupied with deflecting attention from the glaring failures during his party’s tenure. The massive corruption under the last administration concerning the project is another challenge. Despite the staggering billions of naira spent on the project, it is still far from completion.
“The Governor after meeting with the then Minister of Water Resources was advised to relieve the project consultant who was accused of squandering several billions of naira which resulted in more revelation on the corruption under the last administration.”
“The project consultant accused the House of Assembly led by an Ijesa man and an APC stalwart, Timothy Owoeye, of demanding a 5 million dollar ($5,000,000) bribe. This highlights the corrupt practices that derailed the project’s progress. This unacceptable diversion of public funds for personal gain reflects a dire lack of empathy and accountability within the previous administration.
“Lawal should call Owoeye to address the public why he apparently neglected his community’s welfare in favour of personal enrichment, an act unbecoming of an elected representative entrusted with safeguarding the public interest.
“The termination of the project’s contract by Oyetola’s administration resulting in legal actions added complexity to an already convoluted situation. Governor Adeleke’s proactive measures in clearing the aftermath of these decisions reflect his dedication to rectifying the evil perpetrated by the previous governance.
“The ongoing discussion for an out-of-court settlement with the contractor was also borne out of the current administration’s efforts to mitigate potential financial repercussions stemming from the clumsy actions of the past actions. This indicates a strategic approach aimed at safeguarding the state’s interests, a commendable display of maturity in handling a challenging situation.
“The claims by Lawal and his cohorts regarding Governor Adeleke’s involvement in the Ilesa Water Project lack substance when juxtaposed against the prevalent mismanagement, corruption, and neglect witnessed during the tenure of Lawal’s party.
“Adeleke’s administration’s focus on transparency, community welfare, and accountability in public spending stands the governor out as a beacon of impeccable integrity. It is imperative to prioritise the truth over baseless accusations and hold to account all those responsible for the mismanagement and malpractices that hindered developmental projects, including that of the Ilesa water project,” he added.
Bayelsa APC accuses Diri of pressuring EFCC to arrest Sylva
The Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused the Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri of allegedly pressuring the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest and prosecute Timipre Sylva over “trumped up charges” from the State Governor, Douye Diri.
The party spokesperson in the state, Doifie Buokoribo, made the allegation in a statement on Monday.
The APC spokesperson in the State, Mr Buokoribo, said Mr Diri was instigating the anti-graft agency to arrest and prosecute Mr Sylva to frustrate the APC candidate from pursuing his case at the election tribunal.
He said Governor Diri and the PDP adopted the strategy because they know they are holding a “stolen mandate.”
Mr Buokoribo said, “We are aware of Senator Diri’s devious activities at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission aimed at sponsoring invented petitions against Sylva, and the pressure he is mounting on officials of the commission to initiate arrest and prosecution against him on trumped-up charges, particularly, bordering on his tour of duty as Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.”
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