Tribunal Upholds Gbajabiamila’s Election

Femi-GbajabiamilaThe Lagos State National Assembly Election Tribunal sitting in Ikeja has upheld the declaration of the majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila as the winner of Surulere Federal Constituency I election.

In a judgment delivered by Justice C. U. Anwuka, the tribunal dismissed the petition submitted by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) Mr. Tony Ashikodi and resolved all the issues raised in favour of Mr Gbajabiamila.

Mr. Gbajabiamila, had been declared winner of the March 28, 2015 poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after polling 21,715 votes.

But his victory in the election, was challenged by Mr Ashikodi, who polled 14,550 votes.

While delivering the judgment, Justice Anwuka, who headed the three-man panel, explained that the petitioner failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and also failed to substantiate his allegations of ballot boxes snatching and falsification of result sheets by not calling witnesses to justify his claim.

The judge also dismissed Mr Ashikodi’s claim of multiple irregularities holding that the petitioner said in his evidence, he was not present at the collation centre.

The tribunal further revealed that the petitioner did not link any document tendered with his allegation of irregularities.

On the issue of allegation of failure to comply with section 139 of the Electoral Act, the tribunal held that the petitioner was wrong in law.

In his petition Mr Ashikodi had alleged that the election was characterised by irregularities and a breach of the guidelines set out by INEC for the conduct of the election.

Apart from seeking an order nullifying the election, the petitioner had also urged the tribunal for an order compelling INEC to conduct a fresh election, arguing that Mr Gbajabiamila did not score the highest number of valid votes as declared by INEC.

Mr Ashikodi’s counsel, Kalu Onuah, said the tribunal was bound to declare null and void the declaration by INEC that Mr Gbajabiamila won the election, in compliance with Section 53(2) of the Electoral Act, 2010 which mandated the nullification of any election where the number of votes cast exceeded the number of registered voters.

Mr Onuah, further argued that a situation where the result sheets were not signed and counter-signed by the agents of the candidates at the polling units should lead to the nullification of the result.

Opposing him, counsel to Mr. Gbajabiamila and the APC, Omotayo Olatunbosun argued that the petitioner’s counsel  misrepresented the facts.

The respondents’ counsel argued that none of the exhibits tendered by the petitioner and his party alluded to any of their claims that the election was fraught with irregularities.

Election PetitionTribunal: Election Did Not Hold In Rivers – Peterside

dakuku on rivers tribuanlThe All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate during the 2015 elections in Rivers State, Mr Dakuku Peterside, on Wednesday took his turn in the witness box at the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal in Abuja, where he told the tribunal that the April 11, 2015 election did not hold in the state.

In his submission, Mr Peterside, who was led by his counsel, Akin Olujinmi, said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), simply allocated votes to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Nyesom Wike.

The APC candidate, who voted at his Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area, told the tribunal that few minutes after casting his votes, some hoodlums came and carted away election materials.

He tendered some documents including reports of International Observers on the Rivers governorship election, manual of electoral officials, result sheets, which were accepted as exhibits by the tribunal while some were withdrawn.

Another witness, Maj. Abdulraham Imam, told the tribunal how his team, comprising 55 soldiers were able to arrest two people and recovered over 80 machetes, three AK 47 riffles, in Gegema/Akukutoro Local Government Areas of the state on the eve of election during routine patrol.

Mr Imam, who is the 52nd witness at the tribunal, said he personally handed over the suspects and weapons to the Divisional Police Officer because of the sensitive nature of the recovered items.

A Chieftain of the APC, Mr Achi William-Wobodo, who represented the party at the tribunal, said only four political parties; PDP, APC, Labour Party and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) out of 18 political parties were recorded in INEC’s data base.

Gowon Praises President Jonathan And Buhari

GowonNigerian Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), has praised Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan and the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), for their statesmanship in the 2015 election.

General Gowon, who spoke to State House correspondents in Abuja, the nation’s capital on Tuesday, after the Council of State meeting, particularly praised the outgoing President for conceding defeat and putting a call across to his opponent, the first of its kind coming from an incumbent president.

The former Head of State also stressed that future politicians and Nigerians have a lot to learn from President Jonathan and General Buhari in future elections in the country.

General Gowon said that the act had gone a long way to deepen the democratic process which Nigeria had sought for over the years.

Plateau Assembly Members Get Certificate Of Return

inec presents certificate of return to Plateau members of the house of assembly Elected members to the Plateau state House of Assembly have been presented their Certificates of Return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Members representing Riyom constituency assured of adequate representation of the people towards a better and developed state.

The Eighth Assembly in the state will be having only three members returning to the house, a situation which makes 21 of the legislatures to be new members of the Assembly which can slow down legislative functions as observed by a Former Speaker of the House.

Meanwhile, the Governor-elect in the state has promised to run a collective government without discrimination on the basis of ethnic, religious or political affiliation, in the interest of the state.

Edo: INEC Declares Election In Orhionmwon II Inconclusive

-The Independent National Electoral Commission has declared the Edo State House of Assembly elections for Orhionmwon Constituency II inconclusive on account of alleged violence during the polls.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC in the State, Mike Igini who announced this on Monday said elections in 12 polling units were cancelled.

These units accounted for over 4,000 votes, a number in excess of the margin by which one of the candidates was leading in the polls.

Mr Igini also said the Commission will conduct elections there on or before Saturday, the 18th of April, 2015.

Of the 24 constituencies in the state, APC candidates have been declared winners in 20, while PDP led in three.

Oyo REC Releases NASS Election Results, Reacts To Protests

oyoThe Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Oyo State, Ambassador Rufus Akeju, has officially released the results of the National Assembly elections in the state, cautioning political parties who may feel aggrieved.

The REC told Journalists during a Press Conference at the headquarters of INEC in Ibadan that those protesting the results of the elections should seek redress at the Election Petition Tribunal, instead of disturbing public peace.

Mr Akeju added that several measures have been put in place to avoid malpractices during and after voting, condemning the generalised rejection of the result saying, it is a disservice to the electoral system and insult to the voters who made the sacrifice.

Members of the Accord and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had earlier marched to the Oyo State office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as a way of registering their displeasure, chanting songs amidst very tight security.

The Governorship candidate and leader of Accord, Rashidi Ladoja and his PDP counterpart, Teslim Folarin, at separate interviews, condemned the results in its entirety, claiming that the elections were fraught with irregularities

The results of the National Assembly election indicates that all the 3 senatorial seats in Oyo State were won by the APC, 12 of the 14 House of Reps seats also won by APC, while the Labour Party and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won a seat each.

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Full Text: Buhari’s Last Message To Nigerians Before Election Day

Muhammadu Buhari APC Presidential candidate2The Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, General Muhammadu Buhari, in his last message to Nigerians before the elections on Saturday, has called on them to give him the chance to lead the mission to re-build the country.

“Give me the chance to lead you in rebuilding a Nigeria that all of us can be proud of once again”, he said in a statement made available to Channels Television.

Buhari, who faulted the current administration on several accounts including corruption, poverty and insecurity, noted that “At no other time in our history is Nigeria in such an urgent need of strong and competent leadership. Sadly, at no other time is this leadership so sorely absent in our country”.

According to him, “No matter how much resources we have, if not properly utilized, it would only create a few billionaires and leave majority of our people in poverty. Under the current administration, corruption has enjoyed unprecedented prosperity and this has been at the heart of most of our government failings, including insecurity, broken infrastructure and growing inequality in our country”.

The former Head of State, in his message titled “Time For Nigeria To Be Great Once Again”, urged citizens to realise that they were united in their fears and struggles for a secure nation and better economy.

“Invariably, our fears are the same; our dreams are the same; and our problems are the same. Regardless of the language we speak, or the way we understand and worship God, what affects anyone of us, affects everyone of us.”

 

The full text of Buhari’s message here:

Time For Nigeria To Be Great Once Again

I want to take this last opportunity, before we go to the polls on Saturday March 28 and April 11 respectively, to thank everyone who has supported our campaigns. I am humbled and grateful to have had the opportunity to meet so many of my fellow Nigerians who have helped to carry the message of change across our great country.

This is the fourth time that I would be standing for election as the President of Nigeria. All these years, I have been driven by a keen awareness of the potential greatness of our country and the desire to provide the true leadership that will unleash this huge potential.

I believe that a stable and prosperous Nigeria is not only important to Nigerians. It is also important to Africa and the rest of the world. The evidence of this is the unprecedented attention that our country will receive this weekend. On Saturday, the whole world would wait with baited breath for the greatest black nation on earth to take charge of its destiny. We must therefore not miss the significance of this moment. We must not let ourselves and our country down.

At no other time in our history is Nigeria in such an urgent need of strong and competent leadership. Sadly, at no other time is this leadership so sorely absent in our country. We live in a time of great opportunities and great peril. It is only a leader that understands these in equal measure that can find the rightful place for Nigeria among the great Nations of the world.

I have travelled extensively around Nigeria in the last three months. In the course of my travels, I encountered directly, what I have always believed: that a Hausa man’s desire for security is not different from the Ijaw woman’s desire to feel secured in any part of our country.

An Igbo woman’s desire for her children to get quality education and find employment is not different from the Yoruba man’s dream for his children to become a useful member of our society. A wife’s desperate need for affordable and quality healthcare for her husband diagnosed with prostate cancer in Enugu is not different from a husband’s desire to save the life of his wife diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Lagos.

Invariably, our fears are the same; our dreams are the same; and our problems are the same. Regardless of the language we speak, or the way we understand and worship God, what affects anyone of us, affects everyone of us.

Our economy is celebrated as the largest in Africa, yet our country is home to the continent’s highest number of people living in extreme poverty. Our youth population is larger than the combined population of many of our neighbours, yet our failure to plan and create opportunities for them is turning them to a social time bomb rather than economic catalysts.

A band of ragtag terrorist group has threatened our territorial integrity, killed thousands of Nigerians, displaced our people and abducted our children. The almost 60, 000 Nigerians who have become refugees in neighbouring countries represent a budding threat to sub-regional stability.

However, even in the face of these daunting challenges, I see a great opportunity for change. We have to start by rebuilding the trust and confidence of Nigerians in their government. No citizen will respect a government under whose watch more than 200 girls were abducted.

This singular act can only portray the government as insensitive, incompetent or both. When I become president, reuniting these children with their families will, without doubts, be a top priority. Rebuilding the army and other security agencies will also be a top priority of my government. I will ensure that never again will terrorists find a safe haven in Nigeria.

Recent fall in international price of crude leaves us badly exposed and vulnerable. Dwindling oil revenue also means that we are going to face serious financial challenges in the months ahead. However, even as daunting as this appears, it also provides us with great opportunity to diversify our economy and finally give meaning to the widely held belief that our prosperity as a nation would not continue to depend on the resources buried under our feet, but on the productive capacity of our people.

No matter how much resources we have, if not properly utilized, it would only create a few billionaires and leave majority of our people in poverty. Under the current administration, corruption has enjoyed unprecedented prosperity and this has been at the heart of most of our government failings, including insecurity, broken infrastructure and growing inequality in our country.

My government will have a zero tolerance for corruption. I will set a personal example and run a government that truly serves the people rather than serve themselves and a privileged few. Like I have repeatedly maintained that if Nigeria does not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria.

We must not allow Nigeria to die. Therefore, we must do all that is necessary to root out this evil that has reduced our great country to a laughing stock of the world. We must begin to rebuild the social fabrics of our society and teach a different experience to our youth in the values of hard work, discipline, integrity and service.

The change that I seek therefore; is a change from the current regime of mindless of corruption and profligacy; a change from fear and insecurity to peace and stability; a change from religious and ethnic divisiveness to unity, equity and justice. This is the change that my party stands for. This is the change that I am committed to bringing about as President. Give me the chance to lead you in rebuilding a Nigeria that all of us can be proud of once again.

As we come out to vote on Saturday, I appeal to all Nigerians to shun violence in whatever form. It is the right of every adult Nigerian to vote and expect that their votes would count in a free, fair and credible election. However, we also have a responsibility to respect the choice of others and grant them the same treatment that we expect.

I also want to call on all our men and women in uniform, the Judiciary, and all others who have constitutional responsibility to safeguard our democracy, to remember that their responsibility is primarily to Nigerians and the survival of Nigeria. They must therefore not allow anyone to use them to subvert the will of the Nigerian people. I believe that their dreams and aspirations are not different from those of other Nigerians.

I have no doubt that with God being on our side; together we can make our country great once again.

Gen. Muhammadu BUHARI, GCFR

Anyaoku Tasks Candidates On Peace Pact

anyaokuThe Chairman of the Abuja Accord of January 14, 2015, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, has urged presidential candidates for the elections on Saturday to make conscious efforts to observe the agreement of the accord.

In a statement made available to journalists, Chief Anyaoku observed that despite the agreement, election campaigns have been characterized by hate speeches and violence in some areas.

While he commended security agencies for helping to keep the incidents minimal, Chief Anyaoku stated that the real test of the accord would be during the elections and the days after.

Mr Anyaoku, in the statement, pleaded with political leaders to be more actively engaged in advocating non-violence to their supporters.

He also encouraged everyone to work towards maintaining a positive image for the country as all eyes of the international community are on Nigeria to conduct free, fair and peaceful elections.

INEC To Commence Distribution Of Sensitive Materials

inecThe Independent National Electoral Commission in Anambra has said distribution of sensitive materials for Saturday’s election would commence on Thursday, as the materials have taken to the INEC office from the Central Bank of Nigeria where they had been deposited.

At the Central Bank of Nigeria in Awka, representatives of INEC, various leaders of political parties and security personnel were present to observe the transfer of the sensitive materials which included the ballot papers and the result sheet among other important election materials to the INEC Headquarters in Awka.

Commenting on the exercise, the state chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Mr. Mike Kwentoh and the representative of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Innocent Okpoko, expressed satisfaction, noting that if INEC continued in like manner, there would be a free and fair election.

On the part of APC representative, Mr. Kingsley Ezenwenyi, the monitoring process should have commenced at the airport in Enugu where they would have been able to monitor the arrival of the cargo plane with the materials to the Central Bank where it was first deposited before finally moving to INEC office.

Ezenwenyi faulted the process pointing out that it was different from what it used to be. He recalled how they monitored the process at Enugu in 2010 and he observed that some palettes had been missing to which he raised an alarm but nobody could provide answers including the then Resident Electoral Commissioner, Professor Chukwuemeka Onukaogu.

However, the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Edwin Nwatarali noted that INEC was ready for Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Nwatarali, who said his Commission had complied with the provisions of electoral law in all their activities, assured all present that INEC was ready and really committed to giving credible elections, stating that his Commission had checked and cross checked the materials, had ascertained them to be complete and was ready to send them to the 21 local government areas.

On his part, INEC Head of Operations, Elder Ata Okon Ewa, said the process of moving the materials which included the ballot papers, result sheet and other important materials from CBN to INEC office was an indication of their readiness to conduct the election adding that every local government would start receiving their materials from Thursday.

Mr. Nwatarali added that INEC had made necessary arrangement with road transporters’ Association to provide responsible drivers that would carry the materials to the various local government areas. He concluded by urging everybody to come out en mass to vote as arrangements to provide adequate security had been made.

Buhari’s Eligibility: Court Adjourns Hearing Till April 22, 23

BuhariThe Federal High Court in Abuja has adjourned hearing in all cases questioning retired General Muhammadu Buhari’s eligibility to contest in the 2015 presidential elections, to the 22nd and 23rd of April.

The court also dismissed the application filed by two other parties one Ebunoluwa Adegoruwa, a human rights activists and another Chukwuma Ochu seeking to be joined in the suit.

Trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola said the applicants are no more than meddlesome interlopers seeking to waste the time of the court and as such their applications concerning Buhari’s eligibility are frivolous and is thereby struck out.

The two parties before the court had approached the court to be joined as defendants in the suit.

While Mr Adegoruwa premised his application on the grounds that he is a pro-democrat who wants to ensure that all parties are granted equal rights, Mr Uwa told the court that his application is on the grounds that General Buhari is his candidate in the 2015 presidential elections and if he is disqualified he will be disenfranchised.

Buhari’s eligibility to contest in the forthcoming elections has been a bone of contention since he emerged the All Progressives Congress’ candidate.

On March 19, the court reserved ruling till  March 23 to decide whether it has jurisdiction to hear the suit filed by one Chukwuwike Okafor and Donald Daunamigba challenging Buhari’s eligibility to contest the 2015 general elections.

At the resumed hearing of two suits filed by Chukwunweike Okafor and Donald Daunamigba, their lawyer Mike Ozekhome (SAN) told the court that he had received a number of preliminary objections and applications for joinder in the suit.

He, however, asked the court for accelerated hearing in view of the fact that the general elections are barely a week away. According to him the court should consolidate all applications in the suit and decide on it, together with the substantive suit.

On March 24, the court ruled that all pending applications and the originating summons would be taken together in the suit challenging Buhari’s eligibility in the forthcoming March 28 presidential election.

Counsel to the plaintiff, Mike Ozekhome, who replied on point of law, argued that the parties seeking to join are interlopers and he canvased for accelerated hearing.

While counsel to the APC, Lateef Fagbemi, faulted Ozekhome’s position, he maintained that the mode of service on his client is faulty, stating that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

Counsel to Muhammadu Buhari , Mr Abubakar Malaki, also aligned with the position of the APC.

After listening to all parties, the presiding Judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, fixed the 25th of March to rule on the application for joinder.‎‎

Governor Okorocha Urges APC Supporters To Wait After Voting

OkorochaImo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has urged the All Progressives Congress (APC) supporters to wait behind after voting in the course of the forthcoming March 28 and April 11 general elections.

The Governor made the appeal while speaking at the south-east presidential rally on Monday, which held in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

During the occasion, Governor Okorocha also welcomed into the party’s fold, new members, who have defected from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The presidential candidate of the opposition party, General Mohammed Buhari, in his statement, asked the party supporters to vote out the PDP.

Major political parties in Nigeria have continued to extend their drag net, making last ditch efforts to woo voters ahead of Saturday’s presidential election.

The Imo State Governor, had earlier promised Imo indigenes schooling in all tertiary institutions in the state that if re-elected, he would ensure the continuity of his free education programme in all Imo State owned tertiary institutions.

While receiving hundreds of students from the Imo State University (IMSU) at the Government House in Owerri, the Imo State capital, the Governor said that his achievements in the advancement and development of education in the state remains unbeatable and laudable.

The Governor also said that his administration would remain committed to empowering the less privileged and the down-trodden.

Okorocha Pledges Free Education If Re-elected

OkorochaThe Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has promised Imo indigenes schooling in all tertiary institutions in the state that if re-elected, he would ensure the continuity of his free education programme in all Imo State owned tertiary institutions.

While receiving hundreds of students from the Imo State University (IMSU) at the Government House in Owerri, the Imo State capital, the Governor said that his achievements in the advancement and development of education in the state remains unbeatable and laudable.

The Governor also said that his administration would remain committed to empowering the less privileged and the down-trodden.

The students, drawn from all the faculties and department in the Imo State University, thanked Governor Okorocha for his free education programme in the university and for other numerous developmental strides in the state.

The students further endorsed the Governor to run a second term in office to avail him the opportunity to consolidate on his achievements in his first term in office.

While addressing the crowd, Okorocha rolled out some of his achievements in the past three and half years, as he also promised that if re-elected the Governor, his free education programme would continue.