Alleged Diezani Bribe: INEC Director Pleads Guilty To Receipt

Alleged Diezani Bribe: INEC Director,Christian Nwosu Pleads Guilty To ReceiptA Director of Administration at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Christian Nwosu, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to a charge of receiving 30 million Naira for the purpose of manipulating the outcome of the 2015 general elections.

He allegedly received the sum out of a total of 264.88 million Naira purportedly used by the former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison-Madueke, to bribe some officers of the electoral body ahead of the conduct of the elections.

The EFCC Prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that the money is a small fraction of a larger sum of $115 million, which the former Petroleum Minister allegedly diverted.

The INEC Director has given useful information to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He also surrendered the title document of a landed property he acquired with the funds for 25 million Naira in Delta State, with another five million Naira already recovered from his account.

After reviewing the facts, Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos, subsequently found him guilty of the offence and convicted him.

The judge, however, deferred his sentence till Friday, April 7.

Fani-Kayode Says Fraud Charges Are Politically Motivated

Femi Fani-Kayode, Fraud, PDPFormer Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, has described the fraud charges against him as politically motivated.

Mr Fani-Kayode stated this on Wednesday on Channels Television’s politics programme where he faulted the charges file by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“I have done absolutely nothing wrong and neither have any of my co-accused. I saw this coming the day we lost elections and it was announced that the other side had won.

“I refused to leave the country just as I refused to leave the country in 2008 when I was accused of things then.

“I have absolutely no doubt that in the end of this particular exercise I will be declared innocent by the court simply because it is very obvious that this is a politically motivated allegation,” he said.

The former Minister denied receiving funds from government agencies to run the campaigns of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 general elections.

He criticised the allegations, stating that the money used to fund the PDP campaign was gotten from the party’s private account.

“You asked a direct question, did I receive money from any government agency for my operations within the campaign? The answer is no.

“Our Director of Finance sent money out to the various directors including me from our own private company account for us to run our operations.

“I was given only 10% of what I needed (very small) about 800 million Naira to run a campaign for three months and we utilised that money,” he said.

Fani-Kayode said that the charges before him have brought him no regret working for former President Goodluck Jonathan, saying that he was not the only person that has been facing charges.

NHRC Reads Riot Act To Electoral Offenders

NHRCThe National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has read the riot act to perpetrators of electoral violence and all persons engaged in the use of hate speeches.

This comes as part of efforts to stem the tide of electoral violence and the promotion of hate speeches in Nigeria.

The Executive Secretary of NHRC, Professor Bem Angwe, gave the warning on Thursday while inaugurating a special investigation panel on hate speeches and electoral violence in Abuja.

Professor Angwe said that the commission was taking steps to bring the full weight of the law on persons who engage in acts capable of breaching the peace of the nation.

He added that the commission was compiling names of ad-hoc and permanent staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) who exhibited acts that caused violence in the 2015 general elections.

The Chairperson of the investigation panel, Oti Ovrawah, appealed to Nigerians to cooperate with the panel in ensuring an end to electoral violence in the country.

INEC Boss To Meet NASS On Electoral Law Reforms

INECThe Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says he will approach the National Assembly for reforms of the Electoral Law.

He said this on Tuesday at a meeting with civil society organisations in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital to discuss issues emanating from recent elections.

Professor Mahmood Yakubu’s resolve was informed by recent court judgments on petitions from the 2015 general elections which in some cases, resulted in upturning earlier results declared by the electoral umpire.

He lamented that the 2015 election had the highest record of post elections court cases in the history of the commission.

Professor Yakubu promised that the commission would consult with the National Assembly (NASS) on the challenges experienced in recent elections and the need for amendment to the subsidiary laws.

“The Electoral Law has been undergoing reform and review over time and once there are challenges, we will go back to the National Assembly and seek for relevant amendments so that the electoral process can be strengthened,” the INEC boss said.

He also gave the assurance that the commission would think of ways to improve on the card reader technology rather than drop it in future elections.

In their separate remarks, some members of the civil society organisations, Clement Nwankwo and Festus Okoye, referred to the post elections petitions and the judgements by both the Appeal and Supreme courts in some cases.

According to them, recent court judgements revealed the need for Electoral Law reforms to reflect recent technologies such as the card reader machines introduced by INEC.

Witness Confesses Receiving 25m Naira From Metuh

MetuhA seventh witness says that he received the sum of 25 million Naira from the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Olisa Metuh, for image laundering.

Testifying in the case of criminal diversion of 400 million Naira preferred against Mr Metuh by the Federal Government, Mr Abah Dabo said that he received the said sum of money from the PDP Spokesman to manage the party and former President Goodluck Jonathan ahead of the 2015 general elections.

Dabo, who was also a former Political Adviser to former Vice President Namadi Sambo, told the court on Thursday that the money he received from Metuh on December 16, 2014 was meant for countering the negative publicity being received by President Jonathan and the PDP from the then opposition party.

He explained that he used part of the money given to him to pay for an office accommodation in Maitama district of Abuja and engaged some youths to manage a website known as ‘Whatsapp Naija’.

The witness revealed that he refunded the 25 million Naira to the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission when he read in the media that the money was part of the fund that Metuh received from the office of the National Security Adviser.

Under cross examination from the Defence lawyers, Ifedayo Adedipe and Ben Nwosu, the witness maintained that he did not know the source of funds from which the PDP spokesman paid him for his services, adding that he never asked Mr Metuh for his source of funding.

The lawyers stressed further that they were not bothered by the quality of evidence given by the seventh prosecution witness.

The court subsequently fixed February 9 for further hearing on the trial of the PDP spokesman.

War Against Boko Haram Has Not Been Won – Fani-Kayode

fani-kayodeFormer Aviation Minister, Mr Femi Fani Kayode says that the war against insurgency has not been won by the military and people are being killed every day.

He stated that the government had claimed on the 23rd of December that the war against insurgency had been won by the military but noted that on the 25th of December some people were killed in Maiduguri, with more casualties  in Borno on the 27th and in Adamawa on the 28th.

He also said that a lot of the 22 Local Government Areas that were recovered by the Jonathan led administration have been taken back by the sect members.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr. Fani-Kayode said “it’s simply not true that the war against Boko Haram had been won”.

In the aspect of arms procurement, Mr Fani-Kayode said there was nothing wrong with buying arms with cash under the previous administration. He explained that at a point there was an embargo on arms purchase in Nigeria and the military needed the arms to fight against insurgents and the only way arms could be bought was through the black market.

The former Aviation Minister said before the 2015 General Elections, the Nigerian Military had made some positive gains in the war against terror but regretted that all appears to have been reversed after the elections.

He further stated that it is not helpful to continuously blame the present administration for the challenges being faced at the war front but called on Nigerians to come together and support the government in the fight against insurgency.

He also advised the government to come clean about the challenges being faced and stop dwelling on the actions of the previous administration.

Abia Governorship Tribunal Upholds Governor Ikpeazu’s Election

 IkpeazuThe Abia State governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Umuahia has upheld the election of Mr Okezie Ikpeazu as the Governor of Abia State in the April 11, 2015 election.

The tribunal, in its ruling, dismissed the petition of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship candidate, Dr Alex Otti, for lack of merit.

Dr Otti had filed a petition against the return of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the election.

Dr. Otti had sought the nullification of the election of Ikpeazu on the grounds that the election was marred by irregularities and malpractice.

In his written address as adopted, the petitioner is claimed that election did not take place in the three local governments of Obingwa, Osisioma and Isiala Ngwa North believed to be strongholds of Ikpeazu.

Court Dismisses Ikpeazu’s Case Against Alex Otti

court-gavelThe Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, the Imo State capital on Thursday dismissed an appeal brought by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) against the ruling of the Abia State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, Abia State.

The appeal followed the ruling of the Abia State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in which the tribunal struck out the governor’s appeal, stating that all preliminary objections should be taken along with the substantive petition.

Earlier, the governor and his party had approached the Appellate Court to appeal against the decision of the tribunal and also for the court to set aside the decision of the tribunal to hear Alex Otti’s petition because it was not properly filed.

However, in a unanimous ruling delivered by Justice Aliyu Baka and Justice Aribiyi, the Appeal Court set aside Governor Ikpeazu’s appeal, saying the governorship election petition tribunal deserved the right to keep all the motions till the final date.

The court stated that the decision of the tribunal was in line with Section 12 (5) of the first schedule of the electoral law which states that the tribunal has discretion to keep all the motions till the final date.

The Appellate Court also dismissed the PDP’s appeal, which stated that Alex Otti’s petition was not properly signed to be accepted as a petition before the tribunal as well as that the pre-trial form was not issued by Alex Otti and his party, APGA.

It would be recalled that the same Court of Appeal in Owerri had on the 3rd of August 2015 struck out Governor Ikpeazu’s appeal against the ruling of the tribunal on his motion be taken along with the judgment.

Otti also filed an appeal urging the appeal court to set aside the ruling of the lower tribunal against his application for extension of time to tender more evidence and call more witness to close his case formally.

Speaking with journalists after the ruling, Counsel to APGA and Alex Otti, Mr Nwala Oracle, described the judgement as one that went the way it should, adding that the ruling had only advanced the course of justice, otherwise, justice will be delayed by so much obstacles. He however expressed confidence that his client will take the upper hand at the end of the day.

Also speaking, counsel to the PDP, Charles Esonu, accepted the ruling as one that had enhanced the course of law.

DSS Retires Former Spokesperson, Marilyn Ogar

marilyn_Ogar-dssThe Spokesperson of the Department of State Security (DSS), under the last administration, Marilyn Ogar, has been compulsorily retired from service.

Sources from the Federal Government agency revealed that Mrs Ogar was investigated over issues relating to her conduct in the last few years, which turned out that she was found guilty on alleged partisanship in the build-up of the 2015 general elections.

Although the former Spokesperson of the DSS is not due for retirement, the action of the security agency is seen as a disciplinary measure.

It will be recalled that Ogar was recalled from a study leave abroad, removed as the spokesperson of the agency and later demoted from the rank of deputy director after she was promoted in the twilight of the Goodluck Jonathan-led administration.


INEC Cautions Electoral Commissioners Ahead Of Elections

inecThe Acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mrs Amina Zakari, has asked all Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to work cautiously, not minding the challenges the commission is experiencing at the election petition tribunals.

The INEC boss made this call at a second meeting with RECs, to consolidate on the gains of the 2015 general elections and to develop strategies for future elections.

She noted that in spite of the various cases at the tribunals, INEC would take the security of its materials very seriously ahead of the upcoming Kogi and Bayelsa elections in November and December.

She added that all electoral commissioners, directors and staff must strive to uphold the integrity of the commission.

Mrs Amina Zakari was appointed as the Chairman of INEC, following former Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega’s conclusion of term of office.

Professor Attahiru Jega’s tenure as the Chairman of INEC came to an end on Tuesday, June 30.

Deliver Change Before Dreaming of 2019, Saraki Advises Politicians

SarakiNigerian politicians have been advised to concentrate on ensuring that Nigerians get the change they voted for, instead of making plans for the 2019 elections.

One of the senators vying for the position of Senate President in the 8th National Assembly, Senator Bukola Saraki, speaking in Abuja said such politicians are not aware that the country’s political landscape has changed.

He said this when responding to an inquiry concerning his reported interest in contesting for the Office of President in 2019.

He said there is no guarantee that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will even be in position to enjoy the support of Nigerians if it does not meet the expectations of Nigerians.

Different groups have continued to drum support for the candidacy of Senator Bukola Saraki for the Senate President.

Senate Presidency: Group Drums Support For Saraki

senateMembers of the Buhari Support Group have continued to drum support for the candidacy of Senator Bukola Saraki for the Senate President.

During a press conference in Abuja on Saturday, the Group insisted that the north-central zone needed to be compensated for the role it played during the general elections.

They also maintained that their candidate had the antecedent that the hallow chamber could entrust its leadership with.

Earlier in May, the north-east caucus in the Senate had declared that it would resist any plan to impose any candidate for Senate Presidency on the group.

Senator Danjuma Goje, who led of the group, asked Nigerians to disregard any purported endorsement of any Senator from the north-east for the office of the Senate President.