Supreme Court Affirms Bello As Niger State Governor

Niger State, Abubakar Bello,The Supreme Court on Friday in Abuja upheld the election of Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello.

The court declared that the case by a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mustapha Babangida, lacked merit.

In the judgement delivered by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, the appellant did not participate in the election, even though he is an APC card-carrying member.

Mr Babangida had asked the apex court to nullify the election of Governor Bello and called for a fresh election.

He earlier dragged the APC to the Federal High Court in Minna, claiming among other reliefs that the party was biased and that the governor’s emergence as the APC flag bearer was null and void.

Ruling on the case with Suit No. FHC/Minna/255/2015 and dated February 3, 2016, Justice Onnoghen said after considering the issues, citing the case of Audu and Nyako and Section 87 sub-section 9 of the Electoral Act, 2010, the appellant did not participate, neither did he fail in the elections.

The CJN prepared the lead judgement and mandated the presiding judge, Justice Kumai Bayang Akaahs, to read the judgement, saying the appellant had no right to take the matter to court.

Counsel to the appellant, Mohammed Mohammed, called for an amendment of Section 87 of the Electoral Act which denied his client the right to sue, while counsel to the respondent, Yunus Usman, hailed the ruling of the apex court.

Briefing journalists on the judgement, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Nasara Danmallam, said the legal battle is over.

The commissioner further called on Mr Babangida to join Governor Bello in moving Niger State forward.

Anambra PDP: Ejike Oguebego Faction Demands Certificate Of Return

AnambraThe crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party in Anambra State is far from being over.

This comes as the Ejike Oguebego-led faction of the party is demanding for the immediate issuance of Certificate of Return to its members who participated in the national and state assembly elections.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, spokesperson of the group, Honourable Tony Offiah said that the suit by INEC seeking an interpretation of the January 29 judgment of the apex court is a ploy aimed at preventing the PDP faction from realizing their electoral mandate.

The Supreme Court had on Wednesday declined jurisdiction to review its judgment delivered on January 29 in the leadership dispute within the Anambra State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The apex court noted that by its rules and the provisions of the constitution, it lacked jurisdiction to review its own judgment.

Ruling on an application filed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) seeking clarifications and consequences of the judgment, Justice John Okoro held that the judgment by its ordinary meaning did not need to be subjected to any clarification.

In the unanimous ruling endorsed by the 5-man panel of the court, Justice Okoro said that the dispute on whether the Certificate of Return should be withdrawn from the serving lawmakers and giving to the list of candidates of the Oguebego faction was not an issue before the court and that the court never made any pronouncement to that effect.

The January 29 Ruling

The Supreme Court in the Januray 29 ruling, re-affirmed the chairmanship of Ejike Oguebego as the authentic State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State.

The Supreme Court also declared the list of candidates submitted by the Ken Emekayi-faction illegal.

Mr Oguebego had sued on behalf of themselves and others including Mr Chris Uba, who is the Anambra South Senatori­al Zone candidate for the apex court to determine who were the legal and validly nominated candidates of the party to stand for the last general elections for the party in the state.

The faction says that going by the ruling, the list of nominated party candidates in the last election from the Oguebego-led executive of the Anambra PDP is the only one to be recognised by the INEC.

 

 

Supreme Court Gives Reasons For Akwa Ibom Judgment

Supreme courtThe Supreme Court has explained why it set aside the judgment of the Akwa Ibom State governorship election tribunal and that of the appellate court in a petition filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate Mr Umana Umana in the Akwa Ibom State governorship election.

In a lead judgment delivered by Justice Centus Nwaeze and unanimously supported by the 7-man panel, the courts said that the petitioner made allegations of criminal acts but could not prove it beyond reasonable doubt.

It added that the lower court curiously used a newspaper report to decide on criminal acts misconceiving the grounds of the appeal of the APC and its candidate.

According to him, the law is settled that disenfranchisement must be proved polling unit by polling unit.

The court also held that there was a wrong reliance on the petitioner witness number 48 by the lower court to decide that there was disenfranchisement of voters in 18 of the 32 local governments in Akwa Ibom State, even though the said witness admitted that he was not at his polling unit at the time of the polls.

The court also held that the over generalization that there was anarchy in Akwa Ibom State during the polls was wrong because the Nigerian Police report of the polls largely contradicts that of the witnesses which were relied upon by the court.

Justice Centus Nwaeze held that the two lower courts metamorphosed into an inquisitor forum shopping for schemishes even though there was no demonstration in court.

The apex court held that the judgment by the tribunal and the appellate courts were not consistent with the law and are accordingly set aside.

Supreme Court Dismisses Aisha Al-Hassan’s Appeal

Supreme courtThe Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Aisha Al-Hassan.

In a judgment delivered by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, the Apex Court held that the appeal lacked merit and substance.

The Apex Court upheld the Appellate Court’s verdict which had earlier dismissed the petition on the grounds that the APC and its governorship candidate cannot question the nomination of Governor Darius Ishaku as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Al-Hassan had filed the appeal questioning the nomination of Darius Ishaku as the candidate of the PDP.

According to her, the PDP did not conduct primary elections to nominate its candidate as required by the law.

The Supreme Court says it will give reasons for the judgment on February 22, 2016.

 

Supreme Court Judgment: Saraki Expresses Disappointment

sarakiThe Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has expressed disappointment over the judgment of the Apex Court, on the six grounds of his appeal.

This comes after listening to the ruling of the Supreme Court in the appeal he filed to challenge the process of arraigning him before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, the Senate President said that he would like to put it on record that “the facts of the substantial matter are not before the Supreme Court since the apex court was only invited to rule on some preliminary issues in the process of commencing the trial”.

The Senate President believes he will have his day in the court to prove his innocence of the charges preferred against him during the trial proper.

Dr. Saraki also thanked everyone who supported him from the beginning of the case. He assured everyone that at the end of the day, truth will prevail and justice will be served.

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the appeal of Dr Bukola Saraki against the judgment of the Appeal Court on his trial by the Code of Conduct Tribunal on charges of false asset declaration.

A seven-man bench, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, gave the judgment that the CCT was properly constituted to exercise jurisdiction over Saraki’s trial and has jurisdiction to try criminal matters.
With this judgment by the Supreme Court, the trial of the Senate President before the CCT for alleged false asset declaration is set to continue.

Ebonyi Election Ruling: State Govt. Calls For Support From All Parties

Supreme courtThe Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Senator Emmanuel Onwe has said the Supreme Court’s verdict has given the people of Ebonyi State hope, unity and peace for the development of the state.

This is following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Abuja affirming the election of Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State as the duly elected governor.

In a unanimous judgment read by Justice Centus Nweze, the court held that the appeal filed by the candidate of the Labour Party, Edward Nkwegu, challenging the election lacked merit.

The Apex Court, however, fixed February 5, 2016 to enable it give reasons for dismissing the appeal.

Sen. Onwe mentioned that the State government is willing and determined to ensure rapid human, capital and infrastructural development in the state.

He therefore called on all stakeholders, politicians, party leaders and opposition parties to support the Dave Umahi led administration in the state to move Ebonyi State forward.

Mr Umahi polled a total of 289, 867 votes to emerge winner, defeating his closest rival, the Labour Party candidate, Edward Nkwegu, who polled a total of 124, 817 votes.

Supreme Court Upholds Election Of Ebonyi State Governor, Umahi

Dave-UmahiThe Supreme Court sitting in Abuja has affirmed the election of Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State as the duly elected governor.

In a unanimous judgment read by Justice Centus Nweze, the court held that the appeal filed by the candidate of the Labour Party, Edward Nkwegu, challenging the election lacked merit.

The Apex Court, however, fixed February 5, 2016 to enable it give reasons for dismissing the appeal.

Mr Umahi was on April 12, 2015 declared winner of the Ebonyi governorship election.

Umahi polled a total of 289, 867 votes to emerge winner, defeating his closest rival, the Labour Party candidate, Edward Nkwegu, who polled a total of 124, 817 votes.

Kogi Governor Wada Flags Off 642 Million Naira Road Project

Kogi Kogi State Governor, Capt Idris Wada, has flagged off the construction of the second phase of the Ankpa township road at the cost of 642 million naira.

Governor Wada, who performed the ceremony in Ankpa, said that his administration decided to embark on the project in fulfilment of his campaign promises as well as to demonstrate his determination to provide good road network across the senatorial districts in the state.

He said that the rehabilitation of the Ankpa township road became necessary because the town serves an important role among commercial and financial centres in the state.

It holds one of the largest markets in the state while it houses first class banks and medium scale enterprises.

Governor Wada took time to warn the senior officials of the State Ministry of Works not to compromise standard while he also warned the contractors handling the project against doing a shoddy job.

In his opening remark, the State Commissioner of Works, Mr Godwin Onamah, while appealing to the contractor handling the project to adhere to specification, solicited the support and cooperation of the people in the area to enable the government deliver more gains of democracy.

He assured the Governor of the ministry’s readiness to supervise all state road projects.

The Ankpa road project is expected to be completed in 12 months.

Osun Election: Supreme Court Affirms Aregbesola’s Victory

supreme courtThe Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate in the August 9, 2014 governorship election in Osun state, Iyiola Omisore, against the election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Rauf Aregbesola.

The seven-man panel of the Apex (Supreme) Court, led by Justice John Fabiyi, affirmed the concurrent judgments of the Court of Appeal in Akure, Ondo State capital, and the Osun State Election Tribunal, which had both affirmed Aregbesola winner of the election.

The Presiding Jugde, Justice C.C Nweze, who read the lead judgment, resolved six out of seven issues formulated by the appellant against him.

 

Rep Dismisses Reason For Jonathan’s Refusal To Amend Constitution

ConstitutionThe House of Representatives has responded to President Goodluck Jonathan on the reasons he cited for withholding his assent to the Constitution alteration Bill.

This is coming a day after President Jonathan dragged the National Assembly to the Supreme Court, asking the apex court to nullify the proposed amendments.

President Jonathan had argued that not less than four-fifth majority members of each house of the National Assembly was required to amend the Constitution and demanded that evidence be made available to show this was complied with.

Briefing journalists in the National Assembly, the House Minority Whip, Samson Osagie, said that the four-fifth requirement was met, as evidenced in the votes and proceedings of July 24, 2013.

Osagie also explained why the National Assembly amended section 58 of the Constitution which looks at the President’s failure to assent to a bill passed by the National Assembly.

President Jonathan had written to the Senate, refusing to give assent to some sections of the Nigerian Constitution amended by the National Assembly.

President Jonathan’s letter to the National Assembly detailed the sections which he refused to approve.

In the letter read by the Senate President, President Jonathan rejected the alteration of section nine of the Constitution which removes the approval of the President in the process of constitution amendment.

President Jonathan also rejected the amendment which separated the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation from the Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General from the Commissioner for Justice in the states of the Federation.

Supreme Court Dismisses Suit Against Gov. Wada

gov. wadaThe Supreme Court has dismissed a suit filed by the governorship candidate of the now defunct Congress fo‎r Progressive Change in Kogi State, James Ocholi (SAN), seeking an order sacking the state governor, Captain Idris Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party.

In the lead judgment delivered by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, the Apex Court held that the appeal
by Ocholi, who had asked the court to nullify Wada’s election and he be declared the validly elected governor, lacked merit.

The plaintiff had instituted the suit asking for Wada’s removal on the grounds that he (Wada) was not qualified to contest in the December 3, 2011 governorship election since he (Wada) was not a candidate for the election earlier scheduled to hold on April 26 of the same year.

Ocholi contended that the election earlier scheduled for April 26, 2011 was not cancelled but only postponed to December 3, 2011, on the account of a court order.

The petitions arising from the December 3, 2011 election filed by the now defunct parties, the Action Congress of Nigeria and the All Progressives Congress – had earlier been decided in favour of Wada by the Supreme Court.

In a unanimous judgment on Friday, the apex court’s appeal panel presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, affirmed the concurrent judgments of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court ‎in Lokoja, which had both dismissed the appellant’s case.

Justice Kekere-Ekun held ‎that the Federal High Court, Lokoja had in its judgment delivered on July 10, 2013, rightly dismissed Ocholi’s suit ‎for lack of jurisdiction.

The Apex Court also affirmed the judgment of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, delivered on September 24, 2012, upholding the Federal High Court’s verdict that the appropriate court where the appellant ought to have instituted his suit was the election petition tribunal.

‎Justice Kekere-Ekun held that the prayers sought by Ocholi, in substance and in nature, was a matter that could be entertained by the election petition tribunal.

She held, “The aim of the appellant’s suit was the nullification of the victory of Wada at the election held on December 3, 2011 and a declaration that he is the lawful winner of the election and the person validly entitled to be sworn in as the governor of Kogi state.

“The Federal High Court had no jurisdiction to entertain his claims. The concurrent decisions of the two lower courts in this regard cannot be faulted.

“The appellant has not advanced any cogent reasons to warrant interference by this court.”

The court held that Ocholi waited for more than three months after the conduct of the election that produced Wada as governor before raising the issue of qualification of the candidates who participated in the election.

“It had become a post election matter that could only be determined by an election tribunal,” she added.
‎She also held, “I agree with the learned senior counsel for the respondent (Wada) that having regard to the facts and circumstances of this case, the appellant had every opportunity to institute his action before the conduct of the election.

“Not only did he fail to challenge any of the steps taken by the Independent National Electoral Commission such as the publication of a new timetable for the conduct of primaries, the new election date and the list of qualified candidates for the December 3rd 2011 election, he fully participated in the new primaries and contested the election.”

Other Justices on the panel headed by the CJN agreed with the judgment. Other Justices on the panel were Afolabi ‎Fabiyi, Dantijo Muhammad, Clara Ogunbiyi, John Okoro and Centus Nweze.

South Korea Legalises Adultery

AdulterySouth Korea’s Constitutional Court has thrown out 60-year-old statute outlawing adultery under which those found guilty face up to two years in prison.

The nine-member bench ruled by seven to two says the 1953 law was unconstitutional in a judgement handed down on Thursday.

The court held that adultery was a private matter in which the State should not intervene.

According to the presiding judge, Park Han-Chul “even if adultery should be condemned as immoral, state power should not intervene in individuals’ private lives.”

It was the fifth time the Apex court had considered the constitutional legality of the legislation which had made South Korea one of the few non-Muslim countries to regard marital infidelity as a criminal act.

In the past six years, close to 5,500 people have been formerly arraigned on adultery charges – including nearly 900 in 2014.

The numbers had been falling, with cases that end in prison terms increasingly rare.

In 2004, 216 people were jailed under the law in 2004. That figure had dropped to 42 by 2008, and since then only 22 have found themselves behind bars, according to figures from the state prosecution office.