The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has upheld the election of Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State.
The tribunal on Wednesday dismissed the petitions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate Umar Nasko for lacking in merit.
On the allegation by the petitioners that the Governorship election in 2019 was marred with intimidation, violence, vote-buying among other act of irregularities, the tribunal says the petitions are bereft of evidence and was bound to fail at arrival.
The tribunal had earlier in the day dismissed the petition by the PDP and its candidate challenging Governor Bello’s victory in the recently held governorship election stating that he submitted forged certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The tribunal, led by Justice John Igboji, while dismissing the petition said it constitutes an abuse of court process because it had been heard and decided by a Federal High Court.
A Federal High Court sitting in Minna has dismissed a certificate forgery case filed by the Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against Governor Abubakar Bello and his deputy, Ahmed Ketso.
This comes barely 72 hours after the court had dismissed the suit filed by the opposition PDP challenging the eligibility of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC),
The court presided by Justice Aminu Aliyu upheld the objections of the defendants that the suit having been filed outside 14 days is contrary to the intendment of section 285 (9) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) is statute barred and therefore dismissed.
The PDP secretary Mohammed Zhigun in a suit number FHC/cs/mn/04/19 filed 11th of February 2019, had alleged that both Governor Abubakar Bello and his deputy had presented forged certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He filed the suit as an individual even though his party, the PDP had filed its own separate suit alleging the same offence.
Expressing their views, counsel to the governor and the deputy governor, Mr Jibrin Okutepa (SAN) stated that the case against his client is nothing but meant for political amusement and states further that from on-set, the plaintiff set out on a mission that he knew was fruitless.
On his part, counsel APC Yunus Usman (SAN) stated that he is satisfied with the judgment and noted that the case was bound to fail on all sides. While counsel to INEC JohnsonUsmann said that he is satisfied with the judgment.
A Federal High Court sitting in Niger State has dismissed a case of certificate forgery filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the state governor, Abubakar Bello.
The PDP on January 11, 2019, filed a suit against the Governor alleging that he submitted forged certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
In today’s proceeding, the presiding judge, Justice Aminu Aliyu upheld the objections of the defendants that the suit having being filed outside 14 days runs foul of Section 285 (9) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
The Court held that the Plaintiff has failed to establish that Governor Bello presented forged certificate to INEC as the sole witness called by PDP was demolished under cross-examination by the Defendants’ Counsel.
In conclusion, the court further held that the Plaintiff’s case is devoid of merit, dismissed the same and awarded cost of N500,000 to the 1st and 2nd Defendants.
Expressing their views, Counsel to the Governor, Mr Jibrin Samuel Okutepa (SAN) states that the case against his client is nothing but meant for political amusement and that from on-set, the Plaintiff set out on a mission that is nothing but for political amusement.
On his part, Counsel to APC, Yunus Ustaz Usman (SAN) says he is satisfied with the judgment and noted that the case was bound to fail on all sides.
Counsel to INEC, Johnson Usman stated that he is satisfied with the judgment as the Judgment was sound and in line with the state of the law in all aspect.
He finally concluded by saying that the Plaintiff having withdrawn all his reliefs apart from the omnibus reliefs, the court was very magnanimous and over diligence in considering those reliefs.
Counsel to the Plaintiff, Aliyu Lemu who said he was dissatisfied with the judgment because the Judge erred in law, indicated his interest to appeal against the judgment.
The Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello said the successful return of President Muhammadu Buhari from medical vacation has shocked mischief makers and death wishers.
The Governor expressed gratitude to God Almighty for answering the collective prayers of all Nigerians by returning the President back home in good health.
Bello said that the President’s return on Friday has laid to rest various concern and speculations surrounding his health condition, assuring that he would continue to lead the country.
While commending religious bodies and political organizations for their prayers, outpouring love and solidarity during the President’s medical trip to London, Governor Bello urged all Nigerians to always be positive and pray for their leaders.
“Positive thoughts and prayers are a fundamental instrument necessary to overcome challenges facing the nation, I am particularly excited at the level of solidarity shown to the President by Nigerians” the governor said.
He prayed that Allah will continue to grant Mr. President sound health, greater strength, wisdom and courage to continue with the good governance of this country.
About 17 suspected criminals and Boko Haram terrorist who have been hibernating within Kogi State have been nabbed and paraded by the Nigerian Army in Lokoja, the state capital.
The Commandant, Chari Maigumeri Barracks in Lokoja, Brigadier General Henry Ayamasaowea while parading the suspects before the State Governor, Yahaya Bello said they were picked up following a special operation by the Nigerian Army, Navy and the DSS, who have been working around the clock in the last three weeks in the state to put an end to the kidnapping and invasion of insurgents into the state.
Meanwhile, apart from the Boko Haram members nabbed by the joint operation, those arrested and paraded also include the hoodlums that attacked a police station in Eika, Okehi Local Government Area of Kogi state where two police officers were killed.
Some of the items recovered from the terrorist are several Ak 47, locally made guns, 12 masks of different size, ammunition, dagger, pump action guns, grenade and explosives devises.
The Commandant, briefed the governor on how the 17 suspects were all arrested in Okene and its environs, he said the joint operation combed the entire central senatorial district of the state and the insurgence have invaded Kogi state after the military success in Sambisa forest.
The Operation Officer Lieutenant Colonel, Tosin Ayoola also gave the governor a breakdown on what they have on ground, he identified the suspects as members of the Boko Haram and not a suspect.
However, Governor Bello said, “If the joint task-force will build on the tempo adopted in arresting this suspected terrorist, then crime will be reduced within the shortest time in Kogi state”.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, has tasked the Nigerian state governors to give priority to job creation and youth empowerment.
The Sultan, who is the President of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, proposed that the recommendation would end the menace of restiveness and violent crime bedeviling Nigeria.
He noted that if youths were fully engaged in meaningful ventures, they would not avail themselves as tools for perpetrating violence and other heinous crimes in the society.
The monarch made the recommendation in Lokoja during the inauguration of the Kogi State Revenue House which was built by the Governor Yahaya Bello led administration.
He commended Governor Bello for striving hard in bringing development to the people in the face of the economic recession and dwindling resources.
The Sultan urged the people of Kogi State to support the governor in the development of the state.
“Today we’ve gathered to (witness) this very important occasion after praying at the mosque this afternoon.
“We are here to commission the building which of course, you all know the importance of money.
“Nothing works without money; money is needed in everything to achieve a goal.
“We are therefore grateful to God for us to be part of history to commission this project,” he said.
Lack Of Vision
In his address, the Executive Chairman of the revenue board, Mr Yakubu Oseni, said that what existed as a revenue house before the building was erected was nothing to write home about.
“In retrospect, we may recall that at his inauguration ceremony, his excellency (Governor Bello) declared unreservedly that he will take this state to an enviable height.
“True to this declaration, we have gathered here to witness the commissioning of the revenue house.
“There is no better way to walk the walk than for us to witness the commissioning of this revenue house today.
“Your royal majesties, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me emphasise for better understanding that what existed as revenue house before we came on board left a lot to be desired, it was in a state of comatose.
“This was largely due to lack of vision and mission, accountability, transparency and sound leadership,” he said.
The event was witnessed by top government functionaries, royal fathers, religious leaders and indigenes from the 21 local government areas of the state among others.
The ceremony also marked the first year of Governor Bello’s administration as the fourth Executive Governor of Kogi State.
Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, has called for more commitment and support for the ‘Change Begins With Me’ campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari, insisting that the attitudinal re-awakening initiative is not a one-man business.
Governor Sani Bello gave the charge in Minna, the state capital during one of the activities to mark the country’s 56th Independence celebration.
The Governor, who said that more lip service is paid to the campaign, maintained that for the country to achieve the desired change, all citizens must deliberately and consciously work towards it.
“We all have been shouting the change slogan but I am disappointed because the change is not yet with us.
Whether you are a doctor, policeman, civil servant, politician or a judge, the change is about everyone.
“The day the Nigerian Police and the judiciary will uphold the law is the day things will change for the better.
“We must move away from the way we have been doing businesses; we must pity those that don’t have and those who cannot help themselves. Everyone has a role to play”.
The Governor expressed displeasure with the way some doctors and nurses relate with patients in public hospitals in the state. He stressed that with such attitude, there cannot be service delivery.
“At the general hospitals, if you see the way some patients are treated by nurses and doctors, it is inhuman, to the extent that the sickness of the patients often times degenerate.
“Nigerians must shun corruption; we must be dedicated in the discharge of our duties with strict adherence to the ethics of our professions and callings,” he said.
He advised both political appointees and civil servants to turn a new leaf for a better Niger state and Nigeria, adding that change is not just with the administrators.
“Everyone has a role to play, from the Governor to the last political appointee, we must move away from the old ways.
“We must also desist from employing family members who do nothing at the expense of the state.”
Gov. Sani Bello attributed the economic challenges facing the country to greed, stressing that Nigerians are their own problems.
He reaffirmed the resolve of the present administration to ensure the development of a new Nigeria and called on the people to support government policies and programmes.
He stressed that the present status of the state as a civil servant’s state is nothing to be proud of.
“We must make Niger state commercially viable. To come out of the present economic predicament, we must all come together to find workable solution through creating alternative sources of income for the state,” he concluded.
Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, has congratulated Nigeria’s immediate past military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, who clocked 74 years on Monday.
Describing him as the father of the new Nigeria, Governor Bello credited the uninterrupted democracy presently enjoyed to the solid foundation laid by the short but memorable administration of General Abubakar.
Compatriot Of Immeasurable Value
In a statement by his spokesman, he said the former Head of State’s contribution to democratic development gave birth to the current political dispensation in Nigeria.
“You are a compatriot of immeasurable value, a man whose words are his honour. Though your reign was brief, Nigeria and Nigerians are the beneficiaries of the democratic foundation you laid.
“Your singular bravery act saw to the enthronement of democracy and the re-positioning of Nigeria in the comity of nations. A committed and loyal officer, your towering credentials in the military saw you to the height of your career when in 1998, destiny placed the leadership of this country on you.
“A responsibility you delivered creditably well to the admiration of the international community. Even out of office, your track records as a lover and agent of peace saw to your appointment as Ambassador of Peace by the international community.
“Your strong conviction in peaceful resolution of conflicts has brought peace to Liberia, Niger Republic and Guinea where you have been called upon to mediate.
“Government and the good people of Niger State are proud of you. We celebrate our icon today and always, as he marks his 74th birthday and pray that Allah (SWT) will continue to preserve his life in good health as he continue to serve Allah his creator and mankind,” statement read.
Governor Bello then urged General Abubakar to continue to provide the much needed leadership and statesmanship counselling to those in authority, to enable Nigeria move out of its present precarious condition.
The former military leader was born in Minna, the Niger State’s capital on June 13, 1942 and he handed over power to a democratically elected government in 1999.
Reactions have continued to trail the judgment of the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which dismissed a petition filed by Mr James Faleke, challenging the election of Mr Yahaya Bello as the Governor of Kogi State.
Addressing a news conference in Abuja on Monday after the Tribunal’s verdict, Mr James Faleke announced plans to appeal the judgment.
He said: “One thing I can say is that the judges have delivered their own judgment.
“I am going to consult my own lawyers and I am very certain that we will appeal the judgment.
“I think that there are certain sections of the judgment that I have seen on the Tv.
“I am not a lawyer, but I believe it is not in tune with our constitution.
“It is interesting to say that a candidate that is empowered by the constitution does not have a locus standi,” Mr Faleke stated.
He said the Tribunal erred in law by dismissing his petition without examining the whole merit of his case.
“The judgment said that the party had the right to choose a candidate, but only limited to a period before the election.
“If it is before the election, which of the elections are they referring to?” he questioned.
Mr Faleke further pointed out that the judges did not look at the main subject of his petition.
He was the running mate of Mr Abubakar Audu, the initial candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the Kogi State governorship election.
Mr Audu was leading in the election before he died a day after the election was held.
He was, however, replaced with My Yahaya Bello, a decision that Mr Faleke strongly opposed, refusing to be the running mate of Mr Bello.
After Mr bello was sworn in as Governor, he filed a petition, claiming he was the right candidate to take over late Audu’s position.
Victory For Democracy
Meanwhile, Governor Bello, shortly after the declaration by the Tribunal, described his victory as divine and a victory for democracy and the people in the state.
He further told the political class in the state to join hands with him in building a virile state that would match other states.
The Governor also said that the victory was not a surprise, as it was destined by God.
“It is significant, as it came on the first day of Ramadan.
“Well, everybody has the right. Just like he has the right to go on the Tribunal, he has the right to go and appeal up to Supreme Court level.
“But I am only extending my hands of fellowship to him to come over. There is a lot to be done, both in the state and the National Assembly, instead of washing our dirty linen in the public,” Governor Bello reiterated.