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Tribunal judgement imminent, as PDP, Atiku close case against Tinubu on Thursday



The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate in the 2023 general elections, Atiku Abubakar, has indicated that they will close their petition against the President, Bola Tinubu, on Thursday, June 22.

The lead counsel to the party and Atiku, Chris Uche, SAN, disclosed this on Tuesday at the resumed hearing in their petition before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC).

This is just as the case of Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi is also drawing to a close, a development reflecting the imminence of judgement on the petitions against the outcome of the February 25, 2023 election.

In a joint petition, the PDP and its candidate, Atiku, are challenging the outcome of the February 25 election, which produced Tinubu as the elected President as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The petitioners, according to the pre-hearing schedule drafted by the court, were given three weeks to prove their case, which was slated to end Tuesday.

However, they were granted two extra days, which they lost in the course of the proceedings for different reasons – one of which was the June 12 public holiday in celebration of Democracy Day.

Although the petitioners stated during the preliminary hearing in the case that they would call a hundred witnesses in aid of their petition, they have so far called only 25.

After their session, Uche told journalists that, “We are closing our case on Thursday, it was supposed to end today, but because we lost two days, one of which was the June 12 public holiday, the court graciously extended our time by two days.”

He asserted that some of the documents they will tender in the last two days will take the place of the remaining 70 witnesses.

Also at Tuesday’s proceeding, their joint petition came to a premature end following the presentation of unsorted documents before the PEPC.

The court disagreed with their move to tender form EC8A series that is, polling unit results beginning in Abia State.

According to the court, the documents were not properly sorted.

In his defence, counsel for the PDP, Chris Uche, SAN, told the PEPC that it was difficult to get electoral materials, including Form EC8As from INEC on time.

He asked the court to admit the documents in evidence pending the proper numbering by lawyers for parties and the court registry after the close of the day’s proceedings.

He added that INEC should have properly arranged the documents before bringing them to court in line with a subpoena issued to the electoral umpire.

But INEC’s lawyer, Kemi Pinero, disagreed with Uche’s position, arguing it was incumbent on the parties to arrange the electoral documents given to them by the Commission through a subpoena

He added that the documents sought to be tendered by the PDP were brought by INEC’s officials from across the country.

He also stated that, despite producing the documents, the PDP had not paid for its certification.

Ruling on the arguments, the Justice Haruna Tsammani-led panel told Uche that it was the duty of his legal team to create a schedule of the documents after INEC had produced them through a subpoena.

After deliberations, the petitioners told the court that the legal team had agreed to take the documents back for arrangement and tendering by Wednesday.

After confirming the agreement of the respondents, the court adjourned the matter to June 21 for the continuation of the hearing.

Meanwhile, during proceedings, the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, called a cloud engineer and architect, Clarita Ogar, for cross-examination before the PEPC in aid of their case against Tinubu.

The witness appeared before the court on Monday, but cross-examination was moved to Tuesday following objections by the respondents based on the late service of the witness deposition by the petitioners.

Led by Patrick Ikweato, SAN, who examined the witness, Ogar informed the court that she was subpoenaed to appear as an expert but not on behalf of Amazon, as she also clarified in her statement.

She insisted during cross-examination by INEC, represented by A.B. Mahmoud SAN, that contrary to claims by the commission, there was no technical glitch in the maintenance stage of the commission’s technical application used in the upload of the presidential election results.

She maintained that glitches could, however, occur at the testing stage of an application and not after deployment at the post-production maintenance stage, as suggested by Mahmoud.

Counsel for Tinubu, Wole Olanikpekun SAN, during cross-examination, put it to the witness that she was the LP’s house of representative candidate in Cross-River in the just concluded elections, which she affirmed.

The senior advocate asked the witness to confirm before the court that she also has a case in court against INEC bordering on her inability to upload some information to the commission’s platform in her bid to run for office.

In her response, Ogar argued that network failure could have come from either end, specifically from the side of the person performing the upload and not necessarily the server.

After the witness was discharged, the case of the petitioners could not proceed following their complaints that INEC had refused to give them sensitive documents.

Counsel for the petitioners, Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, lamented that they had subpoenaed INEC almost a month ago to produce the documents but that they deliberately refused to receive the service of the subpoena by the bailiff.

The senior advocate insisted that the electoral body must produce the remaining documents by tomorrow to enable them to advance their case which was slated to end the same day.

The court faulted their argument and questioned them on why they did not take further action following the alleged defiance exhibited by the commission.

The court, headed by Justice Tsammani, adjourned the petition to Wednesday, June 21st, for continuation.

Atiku and Obi who came second and third respectively according to the final results of the February 25 presidential elections, have been contesting the outcome which produced Tinubu, petitioning the Court to set aside his victory.


NNPP denies membership of Coalition of Concerned political parties



The National Working Committee of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) has denied membership of Coalition of Concerned Political Parties.

The NNPP said this in a statement by its acting National Chairman, Mr Abba Ali in Abuja.

“The attention of the leadership of the party has been drawn to newspaper reports of the formation of a coalition by NNPP and some political parties and wishes to state emphatically that there is nothing of such.

“The reports which came out on Friday Dec. 8, 2023, indicated that our great party, the NNPP, PDP and some other political parties have formed a coalition.

“The NNPP is using this medium to reiterate that the report in all its material substance is false and is very far from the truth, ” he said.

Ali said that since the 2023 General Elections, no official of the party had engaged with any political party, either individually or collectively, to discuss the issue of forming a coalition now or in the nearest future.

He urged Nigerians and the international community to disregard any news of the NNPP going into coalition with any political party or parties.

Seven opposition political parties were on Wednesday alleged to have formed CCPP to strengthen democracy in the country.
The coalition comprised of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), African Democratic Congress (ADC), Social Democratic Party(SDP),Peoples Allied Movement (PDM), New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Young Progressives Party (YPP)and Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).

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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.

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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.

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