Olisa Metuh Ready To Return 400 Million Naira

Metuh, Olisa MetuhThe embattled former National Publicity Secretary of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, has restated his readiness to refund the entire N400 million paid to him by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan for publicity prior to the 2015 Presidential election.

Metuh, whose position was made known in a statement by his counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu said he was willing to refund the entire N400 million regardless of the fact that the money had already been expended on the directive of the former President and that the EFCC had already recovered part of the fund from a prosecution witness.

The counsel confirmed that the defence team had been in talks with the Ministry of Justice, the EFCC and other necessary bodies on how to refund the money and resolve the issue.

Ikpeazu said that it has become obvious from the evidence of prosecution and defence witnesses that at the time the money was released to Metuh after his presentation to the ex-President, he had no knowledge of the source.

He, however, had every cause to believe that the money was from the ex-President to whom he made presentation, received directives and rendered report and accounts accordingly.

Ikpeazu said refunding the entire sum is in line with Metuh’s support for the ongoing war against corruption in the country and that his client is more of a victim of circumstance.

He pledged his client’s support for the anti-corruption war of the federal government.

Court Dismisses Metuh’s Application To Travel

MetuhThe Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed an application filed by the former National Publicity Secretary, People Democratic Party, Mr Olisa Metuh, asking for the release of his International Passport to enable him travel abroad for medical treatments for a spinal cord aliment.

The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, while dismissing the application, held that he was concerned that Mr Metuh would abscond and not be available to conclude his trial if he was allowed to travel abroad.

Justice Abang further held that Mr Metuh cannot pretend not to be aware of the existing order of the court on his International Passport.

According to him, Metuh’s application amounted to asking to reverse its earlier order that allowed him to be on bail, since his passport form one of his bail conditions.

He added that a bail condition could only be varied when an accused person has not been able to set the conditions.

He noted that while he was not in a position to question the opinion of the doctor at the National Hospital, Abuja, there was no reasonable evidence from Metuh to prove that no Nigerian hospital was capable of treating him of the spinal cord related illness.

Justice Abang consequently dismissed Metuh’s application for lack of merit and on the ground that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the application since there was a subsisting order of the court asking him to deposit such documents with the Court Registrar.

Metuh had on May 16, applied to the court through his Counsel, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), asking it to return his travel document to enable him travel abroad for five weeks to access medication for a spinal cord related illness.

Supreme Court Refuses To Review Judgment On Anambra PDP

CourtThe Supreme Court has 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.

Rewriting The Judgment
The court held that Order 8, Rule 16 of the Supreme Court expressly stated that the court shall not review its judgment once giving, except there was a clerical mistake or slip which in this case, never happened.

It also held that what was brought before it was the issue of leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State and not on the implication of elections that was conducted thereafter.

The court noted that the action sought would amount to rewriting the judgment and giving order where nothing had been shown that there was a clerical mistake in the judgment.

Reacting to the ruling, counsel to INEC, Adebgoyega Awomolo, said that the decision of the court had resolved to blackmail and confusion employed by parties in the suit to suit their own purposes, a position supported by the counsel to PDP, Emeka Etiaba.

However counsel to the Ejike Oguebego faction, Chris Uche, said that the ruling had cleared the way for his clients to benefit from the judgment delivered on January 29, 2016.

I Am Against Cancellation Of Kogi Election – Lawyer

I Am Totally Against Cancellation Of Kogi Election – LawyerA Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Kemi Pinheiro, says he is against the cancellation of the inconclusive governorship election in Kogi State owing to the death of the APC candidate, Mr Abubakar Audu.

Mr Pinheiro, who spoke on Channels Television breakfast show on Tuesday believed that late Audu’s case was one of the very few instances that the constitution as well as the Federal lawmakers did not envisage.

The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was reported to have died of undisclosed medical reasons shortly after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the governorship election inconclusive on Sunday and the lawyer said that the constitution did not provide for the death of a candidate after an election had been conducted.

“I bear in mind the position of Section 181 of the constitution that provides for the death of a winner. Section 36 of the Electoral Act on the contrary provides for the death of a candidate after his nomination. Now in all these note sections, no provision has been made for the death of a candidate after election has been conducted,” Pinheiro said.

The legal practitioner stressed the need to consider some ethics where he emphasised that the votes of late Audu’s running mate, Abiodun Faleke, cannot be removed.

“There are broad principles here that we need to establish; one is that election results are sacrosanct.

“Two, by the cocktail of decisions of our appellate court, ‘the party platform is the machinery by which political power is achieved’.

“Thirdly, which is also very important, is that late Audu and Faleke ran a joint ticket and it is not possible to excise the vote of voters that perhaps voted for Faleke because Faleke is on the ticket or late Audu because Audu was on the ticket,” he added.

Constitutional Provision

Considering the provision of Section 181, Mr Pinheiro recommended that it became necessary for Faleke to run the ticket of the APC in the supplementary elections.

“Those 240,000 (approximately) votes that were earned where earned by the joint ticket and as such, we need to apply the principle that is applicable in Section 181 of the constitution to the situation at hand.

“The vote has already been earned by that joint ticket and we will be subjecting ourselves to so much other issues if the elections are cancelled and a fresh election is conducted.”

Kogi

Another lawyer, Mr John Oloyede, on the Monday edition of Sunrise Daily, had advised the electoral body to conduct a fresh election in Kogi State to resolve what appears to be a legal logjam created by the death of the APC governorship candidate.

Mr Oloyede said, “I don’t think Section 181 envisages the situation we have on our hands. The operative words here are ‘someone who has been declared as validly elected’ but in this situation, unfortunately, INEC in its own wisdom declared the election inconclusive.

“That means nobody has been declared a winner of the election, so Section 181 does not operate to take care of this situation.”

Mr Pinheiro concluded that he was “strongly against any idea or motion of cancellation of the election”, insisting that the votes had already been earned by the joint ticket of late Audu and Faleke.

There Should Be A Fresh Election In Kogi State – Lawyer

electionA lawyer, Mr John Oloyede has advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election in Kogi State to resolve what appears to be a legal logjam created by the death of the APC governorship candidate.

The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi State, Mr Abubakar Audu, was reported to have died of undisclosed medical reasons shortly after INEC declared the governorship election inconclusive on Sunday.

He was leading in the results announced by INEC, scoring 240,867 votes while the incumbent, Governor Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party polled 199,514 votes.

Speaking on Sunrise Daily on Monday, Mr Oloyede referred to the death of the APC candidate in the election as an “act of God that messed up all kinds of human projections”, but noted that “for every problem, whether legal or otherwise, there will be a solution”.

He recalled that major constitutional crises have been solved in the past using the doctrine of necessity and the Kogi issue would not be an exception.

There have been questions regarding the section of the constitution (Section 181) which recommends that if an elected governor is unable to be sworn in, then his deputy should take his place.

Mr Oloyede said, “I don’t think Section 181 envisages the situation we have on our hands. The operative words here are ‘someone who has been declared as validly elected’ but in this situation, unfortunately, INEC in its own wisdom declared the election inconclusive.

“That means nobody has been declared a winner of the election, so Section 181 does not operate to take care of this situation.”

Electoral Act

Some sections of the Electoral Act have also been played up as they address situations like the death of a candidate and the rights of political parties to change candidates.

He explained that indeed the APC has the constitutional right to substitute their candidate but the new candidate must have gone through a process of primaries for the position of governor with his name published within a stipulated time frame.

He then clarified that the use of the word ‘countermand’ as used in Section 36:1 of the Electoral Act would apply to the APC because of the recognition of sudden death and that only means that all the time-based requirements; primaries and all deadlines, would be waived and the party can go ahead to simply nominate a replacement.

Party Supremacy or Candidate’s Supremacy?

Mr Oloyede believes that there is a flux in the state of law where it is not able to give a sacrosanct pronouncement on party supremacy versus the candidate’s supremacy.

He gave his view on the possibility of INEC going ahead to conclude the inconclusive election by depending on the Supreme Court ruling on the case of former Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi to declare that the people voted for the APC in Kogi and not Mr Audu.

“It rubbishes the freedom of the individuals to vote for a candidate of their own choice if you go by way of the decision of the Supreme Court.

“Ordinarily if the people matter in any decision relating to elections in this country, the Rotimi Amaechi case has no precedence and should not stand.

“What is the whole essence of an electioneering process when the people’s choice is not respected?” he asked, and added, “At that point one would have expected that the court would have ordered a rerun saying ‘Amaechi go and contest, this other man cannot do it’.

“But now Audu is dead, he has garnered some votes. Yes it’s a joint ticket but can anybody say with all sense of responsibility that James Faleke who is his running mate was the one who got those votes? That is the germane question.

“Going by precedence, INEC can conveniently say the election can continue provided that James Faleke will now step in because he had a joint ticket. Then who chooses the deputy governor because this is not a situation where somebody has been declared as the winner, covered by Section 181.

“This is a situation where there is no winner yet. So is it James Faleke that will now choose a deputy governorship candidate to run with him and conclude the election? I think the proper thing is for the election to be rerun all over again with liberty to APC to present another candidate under Section 136:1.”

Fresh Election

In his recommendation, Mr Oloyede maintained that there should be a fresh election in Kogi State.

He said that it would be unrealistic to assume that the All Progressives Congress got all the votes it had from the people on its own strength.

He noted that Audu must have been loved by a large number of people for him to have garnered over 200,000 votes and it should not be assumed that a new candidate could have gotten that much vote simply because he belongs to the same party.

He also opined that it would seem unfair to have the votes of the electorate gifted to another person who never campaigned for their votes and whom they did not vote for.

He advised that for the electorate to have a final say in the matter, then they should be presented with another candidate by the APC and allowed to make their own decision in a fresh election.

He expects that the APC would consider Mr Audu’s running mate in order to increase its chances of still enjoying the support of the electorate.

Doctrine of Necessity

Another lawyer, Emeka Etiaba, joined the conversation via the telephone from Abuja and agreed with Mr Oloyede’s recommendation.

He explained that if the Kogi issue was a case of the death occurring before the election, the election would have been postponed for two weeks and a new date would be fixed, giving time to the party to make its substitution.election

He stated that “as it relates to law if the election is inconclusive, that means nobody has emerged as winner of that election” and he expects the doctrine of necessity to prevail.

“So my take on it is that, based on the doctrine of necessity, there will still be a postponement of the election and a new candidate to substitute the dead would be nominated by the APC and the election will go on,” he said.

Asked if he agrees with the recommendation of a fresh election, he said, “There should be a fresh poll and the APC will nominate a fresh candidate. They may go ahead and probably now use their deputy governorship candidate and get a deputy for him.”