Appeal Court Nullifies Impeachment Of Former Ondo Deputy Governor

Appeal Court Nullifies Impeachment Of Former Ondo Deputy GovernorThe Court of Appeal sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital has nullified the impeachment of a former Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Ali Olanusi.

The court held that Honourable Olanusi’s impeachment in 2015 by the Ondo State House of Assembly was not done in accordance with the provisions of the law.

In his ruling, Justice Muhammed Danjuma, said Olanusi was wrongfully impeached, and that he was not accorded fair hearing before he was impeached by the State Assembly.

Justice Danjuma ordered the restoration of all the rights and benefits due to the former Deputy Governor from the time of his impeachment from office to the period his tenure ended.

Speaking to reporters on the ruling, Olanusi’s Counsel, Richard Alade, said the releases sought by his client from the lower court have been granted by the Appellate Court.

He commended the industry and effort put into the judgement which he said resulted in a sound idea.

Mr Alade described the judgment as a fantastic one and a victory for the Nigerian people and the constitutional system of the country.

“The Appellate Court has given judgment and the judgment is sound enough and it’s touching on all aspects of law that bother on constitutionality and means to uphold the tenets of justice and legality. This is what has been in place as the justice system must not be brutalised by the powers that be.

“By the grace of God, all the releases being sought by the appellant from the lower court have been granted. Anybody that has the reason to listen to that judgment will be appreciative of the industry and efforts put into it for it to become a sound idea. I will best refer to it as fantastic and a victory for the Nigerian people and the constitutional system of Nigeria,” he said.

The former Deputy Governor, on his part, thanked God and the judiciary, as well as the people of Ondo State who stood by him during the legal battle.

He noted that despite all the charges brought against him, there was no impeachable offence traceable to him.

“We have cause to thank God and we have to thank the judiciary too, judiciary is improving in Nigeria. In a civilised country, such a thing can never happen. They did not see any file where I committed an impeachable offence.

“At last, the truth has prevailed and I’m happy. I have to thank God, the judiciary and the people of Ondo State, they stood by me,” Olanusi said.

He defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress shortly before the 2015 general elections.

Consequently, Mr Olanusi was impeached as deputy to former Governor Olusegun Mimiko by the Ondo State House of Assembly on allegations of corruption and abuse of office.

Supreme Court Gives Reasons For Judgement On Kogi Governorship Tussle

Supreme Court, Kogi GovernorshipThe Supreme Court has given reasons why it upheld the election of Mr Yahaya Bello as the duly elected Governor of Kogi State.

The Court held that Mr‎ James Faleke, the deputy governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 governorship election cannot be declared winner of the poll having failed to participate in the primary elections of the All Progressives Congress.

The apex court, among others, said that Faleke, whose joint ticket with the governorship candidate of the party, late Prince Abubakar Audu, had garnered 240,873 votes before Audu died, cannot benefit from the vote or take the place of Audu, because he did not meet the condition precedent.

In the reasons, advanced for the summary judgment, delivered on September 20, Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, held that Faleke did not obtain nomination form, did not participate in the primary election and as such, cannot under any circumstances, be made the governorship candidate to replace Audu.

Besides, Justice Kekere-Ekun said that before the sudden death of Audu, after the November 21 governorship election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), had already declared the election inconclusive and that since the election, had not been completed and the final result issued by the electoral body, Faleke, as a running mate, cannot claim ‎victory in the election.

The apex court upheld the substitution of Yahaya Bello to replace Audu because in the face of the law, Bello obtained nomination form, took part in the primary election and came second, unlike Faleke who did not meet that condition.

Faleke’s Argument

Mr James Faleke of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had challenged the decision of the Kogi State governorship election petition tribunal which upheld the election of Yahaya Bello as the validly elected governor.

Mr James Falake was the deputy governorship candidate to late Abubakar Audu who died before the conclusion of the governorship election that was to see him elected as governor.

Yahaya Bello was then presented by the party, All Progressives Congress (APC) as replacement for Audu, a decision Mr Faleke challenged, arguing that he should have stepped into the position, having together with the late Audu gone through the election process.

He approached the Supreme Court after being dissatisfied with the judgement of the election tribunal and Appeal Court which both upheld Yahaya’s eligibility.

There had been four appeals against the Court of Appeal rulings with the Supreme Court expected to decide if Mr Bello should continue as Kogi governor or vacate office.

One of the appeals was by the immediate past governor of the state and candidate of the opposition PDP, Idris Wada.

The Supreme Court went ahead to uphold the election of Mr Yahaya Bello as the duly elected Governor of Kogi State.

 

Kogi Governorship: Bello Calls Victory “Act Of God”

Kogi, Yahaya Bello, Supreme CourtKogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has described his victory at the Supreme Court as an act of God, saying it shows that Nigeria honours democracy.

Governor Bello made the declaration in statement on Tuesday by his spokesman, Mr Kingsley Fanwon, after the judgement.

He said his victory at the Supreme Court was a big honour to democracy.

The Governor dedicated the victory to the people of Kogi State who believed in transforming the state from potentially great state to a really great state.

However, he warned his supporters against unbridled celebration, saying the moment was a challenge to the state’s residents to reflect on how to make the state great.

Governor Bello pledged to continue to pursue his cardinal goals of improving education, reinventing healthcare, boosting infrastructural development and raising the capacity of the state’s citizens to reinvigorate the economy.

He thanked the judiciary for raising to the occasion and standing firm with what he said was true and just.

Supreme Court Ruling

Earlier on Tuesday, the Supreme Court upheld the election of Mr Yahaya Bello as the duly elected Governor of Kogi State.

A seven-man panel headed by Justice Sylvester Ngwata affirmed the election after listening to the closing statements of all the counsel.

The court also said it would provide reasons for its decision on September 30.

In a swift reaction, the immediate past Governor of Kogi State, Mr Idris Wada, said he was yet to study the judgement.

Mr Wada, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media and Strategy, Mr Jacob Edi, noted that he cannot make any comment until a copy of the Supreme Court judgement was made available to him.

Supreme Court Upholds Yahaya Bello’s Election As Kogi Governor

Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court has upheld the election of Mr Yahaya Bello as the duly elected Governor of Kogi State.

The seven-man panel headed by Justice Sylvester Ngwata affirmed the election after listening to the closing statements of all the counsel.

The court also said it would provide reasons for its decision on September 30.

There had been four appeals against the Court of Appeal rulings with the Supreme Court expected to decide if Mr Bello should continue as Kogi governor or vacate office.

One of the appeals was by the immediate past governor of the state and candidate of the opposition PDP, Idris Wada, while another was by Mr James Faleke who was the deputy governorship candidate to late Abubakar Audu.

Mr James Faleke of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had challenged the decision of the Kogi State governorship election petition tribunal which upheld the election of Yahaya Bello as the validly elected governor.

Mr James Falake was the deputy governorship candidate to late Abubakar Audu who died before the conclusion of the governorship election that was to see him elected as governor.

Yahaya Bello was then presented by the party, All Progressives Congress (APC) as replacement for Audu, a decision Mr Faleke challenged, arguing that he should have stepped into the position, having together with the late Audu gone through the election process.

He approached the Supreme Court after being dissatisfied with the judgement of the election tribunal and Appeal Court which both upheld Yahaya’s eligibility.

Law and Order

It is expected that Kogi State would be peaceful in spite of the judgment which would be met with different reactions by parties involved.

The Kogi State Police Command had warned that it would deal decisively, in accordance of the law, with anyone caught taking laws into his hands, as the Supreme Court delivers its judgment.

The State Police Commissioner, Abdullahi Chafi, gave the warning while addressing newsmen at his office on Friday.

The CP further stressed that intelligent report reaching the command revealed that some miscreants were planning to create crisis before, during and after the Supreme Court judgement.

While warning parents to caution their wards, political party heads and their supporters, he said that his command was fully ready to deal with whoever disobeys the law.

He also placed a ban on any kind of public celebration by anybody or groups after the court judgement.

Military Court-Martial Warns Against Avoidable Adjournments

Court Martial, Army, SoldiersThe Court-Martial trying erring soldiers of the Operation Lafiya Dole has warned that it will not welcome unnecessary adjournment and delays.

The President of the Court-Martial, Brigadier General Olusegun Adeniyi, gave the caution on Wednesday during the trial of four officers and 16 others charged for various malpractices in the course of the counter-insurgency war.

General Adeniyi, who read the riot act to the prosecuting and defence counsels, noted that he would conclude the trials within the shortest possible time, assuring that time spent in detention by the accused would be adequately accounted for once judgement was handed down.

He stated further, the reason for their confinement, adjourning sitting till September 5.

“Their confinement is so they do not endanger national security, others and themselves and interfere with prosecution since we still do not know the nature of their charges.”

The adjournment followed a plea by the prosecutors, who failed to furnish the court with details of charges against the erring soldiers.

The defence counsel, Steve Ogenyi, also made a bail application for the accused, who has spent between six to 18 months in detention, a request the court denied.

The acting General Officer Commanding 7 Division, Major General Victor Ezugwu, who inaugurated the Court Martial, said that the aim was to achieve timely and quick dispensation of justice.

General Ezugwu had appealed to the prosecutors and accused to avoid antics such as frivolous call for adjournment to cause unnecessary delay.

He also advised the court to avoid being biased and decisions based on external pressure, such that the judgement passed stands the test of Appellate Court and public opinion.

The acting GOC disclosed that the offences of those arraigned varies from theft and sales of ammunition to murder in the course of operations.

Counter Insurgency: Four Officers,16 Soldiers Face Court Martial

court maritalFour officers and sixteen other ranks of the Nigerian Army are facing Court Martial over offences committed in the theatre of the Operation Lafiya Dole.

Acting General Officer Commanding 7 Division, Major General Victor Ezugwu inaugurated the Court Martial on Wednesday following a directive from the Army Headquarters.

According to him, the aim is to achieve timely and quick dispensation of justice.

Gen. Ezugwu appealed to the prosecutors and accused to bear that in mind and avoid antics such as frivolous call for adjournment to cause unnecessary delay.

He also advised the court to avoid bias and decisions based on external pressure, such that the judgement passed stands the test of Appellate Court and public opinion.

Gen. Ezugwu told journalists that the offences of those arraigned varies from theft and sales of ammunition to murder in the course of operations.

The 20 soldiers are being arraigned at the maiden court martial, proceedings on account of the weight of their offences.

The GOC further stated that over a 100 soldiers have been tried and punished at the Brigade level over acts of indiscipline and unprofessionalism.

15,000 soldiers have also been awarded medals of excellence on the theatre of operation for patriotism and gallantry.

The president of the Court Martial, Gen. OG Adeniyi has assured the accused of fair hearing and justice.

The prosecutors have sought adjournment till September 5, 2016, the defense did not oppose but have applied for an open arrest for the accused who have been in military detention form 6 months to nearly 2 years.

Appeal Court Dismisses Faleke’s Appeal Against Yahaya Bello’s Election

James Faleke, Yahaya Bello, APC, Kogi State, Appeal Court
Mr James Faleke

The Court of Appeal  sitting in Abuja has dismissed the suit filed by Mr James Faleke, challenging the election of Mr Yahaya Bello as Kogi State Governor.

The 5-man panel of the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja ruled that Faleke’s case lacks merit.

The appellate court had earlier reserved the judgment after hearing submission from all parties involved in the matter.

Counsel for Faleke, Akin Olujimi, had urged the Appeal Court to set aside the decision of the Kogi election tribunal and invalidate the election of Yahaya Bello on the ground that Bello was not properly nominated.

He submitted that Bello did not undergo all the electioneering processes as required by law before he emerged as his party’s candidate in the re-run election.

Yahaya Bello
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello

In his own submission, Joseph Daodu, who is counsel for Governor Bello, insisted that the issue of nomination of candidates for election was the sole responsibility of a political party.

Daodu submitted that Governor Bello, having been nominated by the APC in compliance with the existing law and authority of the party remained the candidate of his party in the election.

Counsel for INEC, Ahmed Raji, asked the court to uphold the election of Yahaya Bello on the ground that he was properly nominated by APC as a replacement to Abubakar Audu who passed away during the election.

The Tribunal

Mr James Faleke ran as deputy governorship candidate with Mr. Audu. It looked as though they were coasting to victory before Mr. Audu suddenly died.


INEC declared the election inconclusive and asked the APC to nominate a replacement for the deceased. Mr. Yahaya Bello was nominated and he nominated Mr. Faleke as his deputy, an offer the latter refused.

A three-man tribunal led by Justice Halima Mohammed, on June 6, held that Faleke lacked locus standi to challenge Bello’s election having never been sponsored by his party, the APC, as a governorship candidate in both the November 21, 2015 election and the December 6, 2015 supplementary poll.

The Chairman of the Tribunal, Halima Mohammed, who read the judgment in the petition filed by Mr Faleke, threw away the petition for lacking in merit.

She said the fact that INEC declared the election of November 21, 2015 inconclusive meant no governor or deputy governor-elect emerged, and Mr Faleke therefore had no basis to challenge the nomination of Mr Bello to replace the late Mr Audu.

 

Appeal Court Reserves Judgment on Kogi Election Petition

Appeal Court, kogi electionAppeal court Abuja division has reserved judgement in Kogi governorship legal tussle till a date to be communicated to parties.

The appellate court reserved the judgment after hearing submission from all parties involved in the matter.

The appeals were filed by James Faleke of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Idris Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenging the decision of the Kogi State governorship election petition tribunal which upheld the election of Yahaya Bello as the validly elected governor.

Counsel for Faleke, Akin Olujimi, urged the Appeal Court to set aside the decision of the tribunal and invalidate the election of Yahaya Bello on the ground that Bello was not properly nominated.

He submitted that Bello did not undergo all the electioneering processes as required by law before he emerged as his party’s candidate in re-run election.

In his own submission, Joseph Daodu, who is counsel for Governor Bello, insisted that the issue of nomination of candidates for election was the sole responsibility of a political party.

Daodu submitted that Governor Bello, having been nominated by the APC in compliance with the existing law and authority of the party remained the candidate of his party in the election.

While counsel for INEC, Ahmed Raji, asked the court to uphold the election of Yahaya Bello on the ground that he was properly nominated by APC as a replacement to Abubakar Audu who passed away during the election.

Justice Hannatu Sankey, who presided over the sitting announced that the date for judgment would be communicated to parties in the matter.

Appeal Court Reserves Judgment On Honeywell, Ecobank Dispute

HoneywellA Court of Appeal in Lagos has reserved judgment in the appeal filed by Honeywell Group, asking the court to vacate an order limiting its financial transaction.

The appellate court also reserved for judgment, Ecobank’s cross appeal bordering on the same subject matter.

Justice Mohammed Yunusa of a Federal High Court in Lagos had on December 14, 2015, issued the interim order in a suit between Ecobank Plc and Honeywell Group.

The suit was sequel to an alleged 3.5billion Naira unpaid loan facility granted by Ecobank to Honeywell.

Justice Yunusa had issued an interim order, limiting Honeywell to 15 million Naira weekly withdrawals from the company’s account.

Dissatisfied with the decision, Honeywell appealed and asked the court to set aside the interim order.

At the hearing of the appeal on Monday, the three-man panel of justices presided over by Justice Sidi Bage reserved judgment after lawyers in the matter adopted their briefs of arguments.

Imo Tribunal: Court Dismisses Petition Against Okorocha’s Victory

imo tribunalThe Imo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has dismissed the petition filed by the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Honourable Emeka Ihedioha, challenging the victory of Governor Rochas Okorocha in the last Governorship election.

Delivering the judgment at the tribunal sitting in Owerri, the capital of the state, the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice David Wyom, dismissed the petition on the grounds that the petitioner abandoned their petition, having failed to pay for the pre-hearing notice within seven days, as stipulated in paragraph 18 (1) of the rule guiding election petition proceedings.

Justice Wyom further stated that the petitioner applied on June 23, but failed to make payment for the pre-hearing notice until July 3, which was outside the seven days provided by law and on the strength of the Supreme Court authority on this issue.

“The validity of the process starts from when the pre-hearing notice payment was made and not when it was applied which in turn means the petitioner paid out of time but applied within time,” Justice Wyom stated.

Earlier in court, counsel to Governor Rochas Okorocha and the All Progressives Congress, Adeniyi Akintola, moved a motion for the tribunal to dismiss the petition of the petitioner on the grounds that they had abandoned their petition, having paid out of the stipulated time.

While addressing reporters after the judgement, Adeniyi Akintola said he saw the loophole in their petition and hinged on it.

He stressed that the judgement made would enrich the judicial jurisprudence in Nigeria.

On his path, the counsel to Honourable Emeka Ihedioha, Mike Ahamba, stated that, as a senior lawyer, he was embarrassed by the ruling.

“The work abandonment has lost its meaning if a petition that has gone through pre-hearing session in which all parties participated can now be described as abandon in other words, the tribunal has overruled the Supreme Court order on this issue,” he said.

He further stated that his client had concluded plans to appeal the judgement at the Court of Appeal.

Ex-Governor Joshua Dariye To Face Trial

dariyeThe Supreme Court has dismissed an interlocutory appeal filed by former Plateau State Governor, Senator Joshua Dariye, challenging the corruption charges leveled against him since 2007 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Mr Dariye was arraigned by the EFCC on July 13, 2007 on a 23-count charge bordering on money laundering and other corruption charges alleged to have belonged to the Plateau State Government.

‎Dariye argued that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case on the alleged offenses involving funds belonging to the Plateau State Government.

Unmeritorious Appeal

The former governor thus argued that he ought to have been tried in Jos and urged the court to quash the entire 23 counts against him.

However, the Supreme Court said Dariye’s appeal was “unmeritorious,” saying the Court of Appeal was right to have affirmed the ruling of the FCT High Court which had dismissed his notice of preliminary objection.

A five-man panel led by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, said the scenario played out in the suit was ‎a “sad commentary on the country’s anti -graft war”.

The Judges then ordered Dariye to return to the FCT High Court in Gudu, Abuja, to face his trial.

The EFCC accused the former governor of diversion of about 1.2 billion Naira of the state’s ecological funds into the account of Ebenezer Ratnen Venture, which is alleged to be one of the companies through which he allegedly siphoned the public funds.