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Tribunal rejects PDP’s pleas for reexamination over inconsistent statements



The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abeokuta metropolis, on Wednesday rejected the pleas of the counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) Mr Gordy Uche, SAN, seeking reexamination for his witness after certain inconsistencies were discovered in her statement.

The party had called a witness, Mrs Shittu Omobolanle, from Makun, Sagamu, to appear before the panel and testify in it’s favour based on her experience in the gubernatorial poll of March 18, 2023.

Meanwhile, in her statement, the witness gave her polling unit number as 27-20-14-020, whereas, her voter’s card indicates 27-20-14-004 as her PU number.

Counsel to Governor Abiodun, Kehinde Ogunwunmiju, SAN, pointed out the discrepancy during cross examination, when he asked her to read out the numbers on the two documents. Subsequently, the petitioners’ counsel – Gordy Uche SAN – attempted to get her to explain the reasons behind the inconsistencies.

Uche SAN argued that opportunity for reexamination should be freely granted to enable his witness explain the facts behind the two numbers, citing the Evidence Act and other authorities to substantiate his stance.

In their reactions, counsels to respondents vehemently objected to the argument, on the ground that there was no ambiguity whatsoever in the two documents.

They equally cited relevant authorities, including that of the Supreme Court in Natasha v The State, to buttress their positions that reexamination can only be allowed along the line of argument of the petitioners’ counsel if there was any ambiguity in the issue sought to be reexamined. In his response to the objection, Uche SAN agreed that reexamination was truly limited to ambiguities only but argued that the discrepancies in the witness’ written statement and voter’s card were an ambiguity within the meaning of the Evidence Act.

Replying on points of law, Ogunwumiju SAN clarified that the issue in question was not an ambiguity. He invoked legal authorities and judicial decisions defining ambiguity to mean unclear answers. He explained that what occurred during cross examination was a contradiction by the witness not an ambiguity and that re-examination cannot be used to improve the faulty evidence of a witness. Supporting Ogunwumiju, counsel to APC – Chief Afolabi Fashanu SAN – urged the Tribunal to take judicial notice of the fact that documents speak for themselves. Together, the respective counsel urged the tribunal not to allow the pleas for reexamination as canvassed by the petitioners’ counsel.

The tribunal, in its ruling completely agreed with lawyers to respondents, that the matter at hand was unambiguous and therefore, disallowed the prayer for reexamination as pleaded by the PDP.

In a related development, similarities were also discovered in the statements tendered before the tribunal by Omobolanle and another PDP’s witness from Ikenne, Awotubo Olalekan, when compared with witnesses’ statements earlier submitted before the panel.


Benue Speaker humble, knowledgeable — Ogundoyin



By Titus Atondu, Makurdi

The Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly and Chairman, Conference of Speakers of State Legislature of Nigeria (CSSLN), Rt. Hon. Adebo Edward Ogundoyin has described the Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly Hon. Hyacinth Aondona Dajoh as a humble, knowledgeable and an active member of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria.

Ogundoyin also revealed that the Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Hon. Dajoh is one of the decision makers in the Speakers Conference as a result of his vibrant participation in their meetings.

Ogundoyin made the disclosure in an address as the chairman of the Grand Civic Reception put together by Mbatiav Development Association in honor of Hon. Hyacinth Dajoh, Speaker, Benue State House of Assembly and the Vice Chairman (North Central), Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria at LGEA Primary School Akoagher , Mbatiav, Gboko local government Area of Benue State.

Represented by the Speaker of Gombe State House of Assembly and the vice Chairman (North East), CSSLN, Rt. Hon. Abubaka Muhammad Luggerewo, explained that their physical presence in Mbatiav in their numbers is to identify with the entire Mbatiav people for making the right choice of sending their son to represent them  as the Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly and the result of making the right choice is evident in  the transformational agenda  courtesy of the Benue Speaker that  they are witnessing in their respective areas.

He pledged the support of CSSLN to the Benue Speaker to continue with his selfless service to mankind, Benue State and Nigeria at large.

Earlier, the Majority Leader of the Benue State House of Assembly Hon. Saater Tiseer spoke on behalf of Members of the Benue State House of Assembly, thanked Mbatiav people for the honor done to them, added that the reception in honor of the Speaker by his people reflect the true love they have for their son is worthy of emulation.

Hon. Saater also said that the Benue Assembly under the watch of the speaker will continue to remain supportive and loyal to his leadership to succeed.

On his part, His Royal Highness, Ter-Gboko,  Chief Gabriel Shosom, described the uncommon leadership style of the Speaker as first of its kind  since the return of democracy in 1999 as demonstrated in his  speedy connection with personalities across the country  within the short period of time in office.

Chief Shosom, enjoined Mbatiav people to give their children  the Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly Aondona Dajoh  and the Executive  Governor of Benue state Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Alia their blessings and support to succeed.

President General, Mbatiav Community Development Association, Chief Terfa  Usoho, explained that the Mbatiav community has not witnessed remarkable development since the inception of Democratic governance in the state.

“This trend is even worrisome when one considers the size and the position of Mbatiav in Gboko local government area.

“For the records, we are the most populous in all of Jemgbagh, we vote massively and wisely yet we have always asked in vain, lived on handouts and hardly received benefits commensurate to our size and significance.”

“We continue to lack even the basic health, education and security infrastructure that our people so desperately need.”

“But suddenly, our story,as a people, has begun to change,. hopefully it is changing for the better. This change has been occasioned by the elevation of our son to the esteemed position of the Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly. The Speaker has relentlessly and consciously pursued various developmental initiatives that have significantly transformed Gboko West constituency in the short while since he assumed office as the Speaker,” Chief Usoho explained.

Responding, the Speaker of the 10th Assembly Hon. Hyacinth Dajoh, thanked Mbatiav community for the honour done him and colleagues and promised to pursue with vigour initiatives and make laws that would have direct bearing on their lives.

Hon. Dajoh, also promised to be hundred percent loyal to the Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia administration for the overall good and development of the State.

He thanked his colleagues from other states for traveling from far distances despite their crowded schedules to come and identify with him on the occasion of the grand reception in his honour by his people and prayed for their safe trips back to their respective destinations.

Nigerian NewsDirect reports that highlights of the occasion was the decorations of the Speakers of other States, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe among others in Tiv traditional attire as well as members of the Benue State House of Assembly who have been supportive to the Speakers cause in the tenth Assembly.

Speaker, Hon. Aondona Dajoh, accompanied by his counterpart from other States, commissioned  a traditional Council hall he built.

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Baba Eto’s factional mandate movement dismissed by presidency insiders



In a recent development, Cardinal James Odunmbaku, popularly known as Baba Eto, and his allies have come under scrutiny for attempting to create a factional Mandate Movement group within the Lagos State All Progressive Congress (APC).

Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, has reportedly informed his close associates that he has never instructed Baba Eto, Tayo Ayinde, the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Lagos State, or anyone else to create a factional group.

According to sources, the President has communicated to some of his close associates that he is currently working round the clock to find lasting solutions to the economic situation facing the country. However, all Eto could do was create a political crisis for personal gains.

On Wednesday, 28th February 2024, Baba Eto and his associates organized a meeting at GRA Ikeja, dubbing it the “Mandate Lagos CWC inauguration.” Reacting to the news, Chief Olu Arulogun, the chairman of all chairmen of The Mandate Movement, under the leadership of Abdullahi Ayinde Enilolobo, challenged Eto to cease misleading members and Lagosians with his individual agenda.

The Mandate Movement, with its extensive structure across zones, wards, LGAs, and states, has been in existence since its establishment and was further stretched across the federation by Enilolobo and others during the campaign period to support Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Enilolobo currently serves as the Lagos State Chairman of the Mandate Movement, emphasizing that the group has thrived across the federation.

Chief Olu Arulogun, while advising Eto to avoid creating unnecessary crises, urged Nigerians to maintain hope and continue praying for the success of President Tinubu.

Finally, Arulogun stated that the purported inauguration preparations, including the administration of the oath of allegiance by the Eto minority camp using the name of The Mandate Movement, lack legitimacy. The general public is hereby advised, as the leadership of the group is entirely unaware of such an event.

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Shaibu storms PDP secretariat for Certificate of Return, threatens legal action



The crisis in PDP took a dramatic twist on Wednesday as Edo Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, stormed the party secretariat demanding issued the of certificate of return for winning Edo PDP gubernatorial primary election.

Mr Asue Ighodalo, equally as the candidate of the party in another primary held same day in the same city.

NAN further reports that Ighodalo was issued the certificate of return on Monday by the PDP National Working Committee (NWC).

The PDP acting National Chairman, Malam Umar Damagum, presented the certificate to Ighodalo at a ceremony at the party’ss National Secretariat at Wadata Plaza, Zone 5 Wuse, Abuja.

Damagum while presenting the certificate said that the party was united in its drive to retain the Edo governor’s seat.

According to him, “PDP is one and the party organised and recognised only the primary election which took place at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin and produced Ighodalo as its candidate.’’

Surprisingly, Shaibu came to the party secretariat insisting he was the authentic winner of the party primary for the election and should be issued the certificate of return.

He said it was not a surprise that he came for the certificate, as the PDP guidelines for Edo 2024 governorship primary, had approved Feb. 28 for the issuance of the certificate.

“Why I am here is to obey the guidelines to come and receive the certificate of return and I was told that somebody else came yesterday and was given the certificate.

“I think the court will tell among us who is the real candidate, but I am here in fulfillment of the electoral guidelines of the PDP to receive my certificate.

“I have a document here where those that conducted the primary submitted same to the office of the National Organising Secretary. From this document you will see the mess that took place in Edo.

“This primary cannot be put aside. I am ready for us to correct the abnormalities in the party’s internal democracy because that is the beginning of the sustenance of democracy in the country.

According to him, if the party does not get it right, the foundation of our democracy is already been threatened.

“We will not fold our hands and watch what we laboured for being destroyed. Some people died in the process,’’ he said.

Shaibu, who alleged that the party’s primary was compromised from the onset, demanding that all observed abnormalities must be corrected.

He also alleged that those who conducted his faction’s primary election submitted its report nut unfortunately were being threatened to re-write another report.

“This is a committee that was put together by the NWC. If the PDP is serious and ready to win Edo, they must do what is right.

“I am telling our members in Edo not to be worried; we will get to the promise land.

“Edo will be the place where we will reset how internal democracy can be strengthened so that the foundation of democracy is not destroyed,’’ he said.

Shaibu said he had earlier informed party leaders that he would go for his certificate of return, but was surprised that none of them was in the office except secretariat staff.

“I don’t know why they are not here. That is strange,’’ he said.

Shaibu said he would have no option than to go to court if the party leaders refuse to issue him the certificate of return as the party‘s candidate.

According to him, if the party internal mechanism is followed there will not be need to go to court.

“But, if the party is not ready to listen, the next line of action will be the judiciary, but I pray we don’t get there and that is why I came here today,’’ he said.

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