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Benue Guber: INEC, APC, Gov Alia, Deputy beg tribunal for more time to defend petition

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The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Governor Hyacinth Alia, his Deputy, Sam Odeh and their party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, have asked the Benue State Governorship election tribunal to give them more time to open their defence in the petition challenging the outcome of the March poll.

Newsmen reports that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its governorship candidate in the 2023 election, Titus Uba had dragged them to court over the controversy surrounding Alia’s Deputy, Odeh’s Form EC-9.

PDP and its candidate are alleging that Odeh obtained the form from INEC, allegedly filled, signed and submitted it to the electoral body, saying that the said INEC Form EC-9 was sworn to before an Abuja High Court.

Uba and PDP said they have via their counsel, Samuel Irabor written to the Chief Registrar, High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja seeking to verify the authenticity of the INEC Form EC-9.

According to them, in response to the said letter of 27th December 2022, the office of the Chief Registrar in a letter dated 9th January 2023 stated that “There is no Revenue Receipt Number on the said document, there is no Court Seal on the said document and the name of the Commissioner for Oath did not appear on the said document.

“Therefore, the affected document was never sworn to before the court.”

The Petitioners closed their case on July 5, and it was adjourned to Friday, (today), for the respondents to open their defence.

When the matter came up, counsel to INEC, Ishiaka Dikko, SAN, told the court that he was not yet prepared to open his defence.

The counsel apologized to the tribunal for not filing his scheduled list of witnesses and documents he seeks to tender, 24-hours to the date of hearing as required by law.

Counsel to Governor Alia, S.I Ameh, SAN, Counsel to Sam Odeh, Mamman Mike Osuman, SAN, and that of the APC, Mathew Burkaa, SAN, all aligned themselves with the application for an adjournment.

Dikko also told the court that he was served a certificate of compliance by the petitioners this morning and needs to look at it. He asked the court for an adjournment to tomorrow, Saturday, July 15th, 2023, and said he was ready to bear the consequences of the adjournment sought.

Despite objections by the PDP and Uba’s counsel, the Chairman of the panel led by Justice Ibrahim Mohammed who ruled on the application, granted the adjournment.

He adjourned the matter to Saturday for INEC, Alia, Odeh and APC to call their witnesses.

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Mimiko’s younger brother joins guber race in Ondo

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By Akintunde Jacobs, Akure

Abass Mimiko, a  younger brother to the former governor  of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko, has emerged as the candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) in the forthcoming November 16 governorship election in the state.

Mimiko, who emerged the candidate through affirmation in the primary election of the party held on Wednesday at the state party secretariat in Akure, the state capital, said he was going to focus more on education, health, economy and security of the state if elected as the next governor of Ondo State.

According to him, “We are a forced to be reckoned with in this election, we will ensure food security within a year of our being in the office, we will have surplus of food in Ondo State, we will ensure affordable quality education, industrialisation housing , free health services for all residents are  part of our programmes.”

He, however, said his brother, Olusegun Mimiko has thrown his weight behind him in his aspiration to become the next governor of the state.

In his remarks, the National Secretary of the party, Yahaya Wakama said the party was ready to take over the state from the ruling party, urging the members to work hard in order to achieve this.

“Let me remind us however that the days ahead will be even more demanding and disturbing. The signs of what we should expect are already here, harassment, attacks and economic strangulation are some of the weapons that the ruling party will wield in their attempt to prevent the people’s will. But we cannot give up.

“We must resolve to snatch our state from the jaws of death and the predators whose only desire is to sink the ship of state. We must remain the voices of our people and work for their betterment,” Wakama said.

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Edo Guber: INEC final list unsettles LP leadership

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…As Dep. Governorship candidate’s name is missing

By Elvis Omoregie, Benin

The final list of candidates for the upcoming governorship election in Edo state as published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has unsettled the leadership of the Edo State Chapter of the Labour Party (LP).

The party has faulted the electoral body for omitting the name of its validly nominated running mate, Alhaji Asamah Yusuf Kadiri, (SAN) instead of Oluyinka Faith Alufohai who was listed by the electoral body.

Recall on April 19, it was reported that Labour Party governorship candidate in the September 21 gubernatorial election, Olumide Akpata dropped Oluyinka Faith Alufohai and picked Alhaji Asamah Yusuf Kadiri, SAN as the deputy governorship candidate of the party.

In a press statement by Comrade Kelly Ogbaloi, State chairman LP, made available to journalists in Benin City, he assured party members and supporters that “this is simply a technical error.”

According to Comrade Ogbaloi, “Our team followed all necessary procedures and submitted Alhaji Kadiri’s name and credentials as the deputy governorship candidate, well within INEC’s stipulated window. Unfortunately, a technical glitch occurred at the end of the National Headquarters of our party during the submission process, resulting in the incorrect name appearing on the final list.

“We are currently actively engaged with INEC officials to rectify this issue immediately and our team has provided all requisite documentation demonstrating Alhaji Kadiri’s valid nomination. We have been following-up with INEC diligently, to ensure it updates its candidate list with the accurate information.

“We recognise the anxiety this error may cause, but urge our supporters to remain calm and steadfast in their commitment to our party’s vision. Your unwavering support and activism have been invaluable thus far, and we need you to continue spreading awareness of our platform and championing the positive change we represent.

“The Labour Party is determined to contest the forthcoming September 21, Edo State Governorship elections fairly and transparently. We should not allow this minor administrative hurdle to dampen our confidence or impede our momentum. Together, we shall overcome any obstacle, minor or major, as we continue our march towards restoring Edo State to its pride of place nationally.”

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Ganduje lauds Ododo over Ondo State governorship primaries

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The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, has lauded Gov. Ahmed Ododo of Kogi over the successful conduct of the Ondo State Governorship primaries of the party.

Ganduje stated this when he received the report of the State Governorship Primary Election Committee from Ododo in Abuja on Tuesday.

He also commended members of the committee for a job well done.

“You have made history because this is your first national assignment outside Kogi, we thank you and your members for giving the assignment your best.

“On our part, we followed the Constitution to ensure that no loophole was observed during the exercise, I followed you and your team closely from our observation room.

“And you followed the procedure from the collation, this report is very important to us, we will study it and there after, a Certificate of Return will be issued to the winner of the primary,” he said.

The National Chairman called on the other aspirants and the party’s stakeholders to join forces with the winner of the primary election, Gov. Lucky Ayedatiwa, to ensure total victory at the Nov. 16 governorship election.

Earlier, Ododo thanked members of the party in the state for their cooperation and support, expressing optimism that the APC would record landslide victory in the election.

He also called on other aspirants to and join forces with Ayedatiwa, to ensure the party’s victory in the election.

“I hereby submit the results confirmed from 18 Local Government Areas of the state, which covered the whole activities that happened during the primaries, the aspirants and their votes.

“I thank the party’s leadership for giving the committee the opportunity to serve, I am ready to perform in any other national assignments in future,” he said.

Aiyedatiwa got 48,569 votes to beat his closest rival Mayowa Akinfolarin, who polled 15,343 votes in the election, while Olusola Oke came third with 14,865 votes.

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