The embattled Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Agboola Ajayi, has filed a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to stop the state House of Assembly from impeaching him.
Listed as defendants in the suit are; the House of Assembly, the Inspector General of Police, the state Commissioner of Police, the Department of State Services and the Speaker of the Assembly, Mr David Oloyeloogun.
In the suit, the Deputy Governor asked for an order of perpetual injunction to stop the impeachment process and for the respondents to stay action.
He filed the suit on Tuesday, hours after the Assembly served the notice of impeachment on him on grounds of alleged gross misconduct.
The clerk of House, Bode Adeyelu, read the motion on the floor of the Assembly.
Thereafter, 14 of the 26-member Assembly signed the notice while nine voted against the decision, insisting that the action was illegal.
But according to the Speaker of the House, Mr Bamidele Oloyelogun, the Constitution empowers the Assembly to investigate the allegation and proceed on impeachment if necessary and when necessary constitutional requirements are met.
See below, copies of the suit filed by the deputy governor challenging the impeachment.
President Donald Trump celebrated his impeachment acquittal Thursday in a rambling, emotional speech raging against the investigations that have overshadowed his entire administration.
Trump gathered scores of loyal Republican legislators, his legal team, his wife Melania and White House aides in the ceremonial East Room and brandished the front page of The Washington Post reading: “Trump acquitted.”
“This is what the end result is,” he said to a standing ovation.
Trump is on a victory lap after Wednesday’s Senate vote clearing him of abusing his office and obstructing Congress.
But the event in the White House was an unusual mixture of Trump bitterly recounting Democratic-led investigations of his alleged corruption, joking and praise for those who stood by him.
It was “not a news conference, not a speech, it’s not anything,” Trump said. “It’s a celebration.”
Trump said he’d been “through hell” but we ended up “winning” against “vicious” Democrats.
Trump now hopes to seize the momentum to push his reelection campaign against a divided Democratic party.
He began earlier Thursday with an appearance at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, a multi-faith gathering for Washington power brokers, business leaders and conservative evangelicals.
The theme of the breakfast was “love your enemy.”
But from the moment he entered to the strains of “Hail to the Chief,” Trump made his feelings clear by holding up a copy of USA Today with another banner headline proclaiming his acquittal.
In a tired, raspy voice, Trump indicated he was in no mood for forgiveness, saying he’d been “put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people.”
He also ripped into Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who as speaker of the House led his impeachment, and Mitt Romney, the lone Republican senator to support the charges.
“I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong,” he said in a clear reference to Romney, a devout Mormon who cited his faith as a reason for breaking ranks with Trump.
“Nor do I like people who say ‘I pray for you’ when they know that’s not so,” he added in a jab at Pelosi, who has often spoken of praying for Trump, and who was seated an arm’s length away.
Right before Trump spoke, Harvard professor Arthur Patterson called on the audience to address the “contempt and polarization that is tearing our societies apart.”
Verdict reveals divisions
Trump was impeached in the Democratic-led House last December over his attempts to push Ukraine into opening what would have been a politically damaging corruption probe into election rival Joe Biden.
But the Senate, where Trump’s Republicans hold a majority, cleared him Wednesday in a party line vote illustrating the divisions running through the country ahead of the November polls.
Even though several conceded Trump’s behavior was wrong, Republicans ultimately stayed loyal, voting to clear the president of charges of abuse of power, by 52 to 48, and of obstruction of Congress, by 53 to 47 — far from the two-thirds supermajority required for conviction.
Romney, a longtime Trump foe, risked White House wrath to vote alongside Democrats on the first count, saying Trump was “guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust.” He voted not guilty on the second charge.
Trump’s impeachment and trial will leave a permanent stain on his record, as it did for the only two presidents to have encountered the same fate, Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998.
While the White House immediately declared that Trump had obtained “full vindication and exoneration,” Pelosi warned that by clearing Trump Republicans had “normalized lawlessness.”
“There can be no acquittal without a trial, and there is no trial without witnesses, documents and evidence,” said the top Democrat in Congress — who a day earlier ripped up her copy of Trump’s State of the Union address on live television.
“Sadly, because of the Republican Senate’s betrayal of the Constitution, the president remains an ongoing threat.”
But as he wound down the Senate proceedings, Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell said he was confident impeachment would ultimately damage the Democrats.
“They thought this was a great idea. At least for the short term, it has been a colossal political mistake.”
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced the Senate’s acquittal of President Donald Trump on Wednesday and said he remains “an ongoing threat to American democracy.”
“Today, the President and Senate Republicans have normalized lawlessness and rejected the system of checks and balances of our Constitution,” Pelosi said in a statement issued after the Senate acquitted Trump of both impeachment articles passed by the House.
“The President remains an ongoing threat to American democracy, with his insistence that he is above the law and that he can corrupt the elections if he wants to,” Pelosi said.
The Republican-majority Senate voted 52-48 to acquit Trump of abuse of power and 53-47 to acquit him of obstruction of Congress.
US President Donald Trump drew on staunch Republican support Wednesday to defeat the gravest threat yet to his three-year-old presidency, winning an acquittal in the Senate on impeachment charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Only the third US leader ever placed on trial, Trump readily defeated the effort to expel him from office for having illicitly sought help from Ukraine to bolster his 2020 re-election effort.
Despite being confronted with strong evidence, Republicans stayed loyal and mustered a majority of votes to clear the president of both charges — by 52 to 48 on the first, 53 to 47 on the second — falling far short of the two-thirds supermajority required for conviction.
“Two-thirds of the senators present not having pronounced him guilty, the Senate adjudges that respondent Donald John Trump, President of the United States, is not guilty as charged,” said Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who presided over the trial.
One Republican, Senator Mitt Romney, a longtime Trump foe, risked White House wrath to vote alongside Democrats on the first count, saying Trump was “guilty of appalling abuse of public trust.” He voted not guilty for the second.
The verdict, never truly in question since the House of Representatives formally impeached Trump in December, cleared out a major hurdle for the president to fully plunge into his campaign for re-election in November.
Trump had repeatedly dismissed the probe as a “hoax” and a “witch hunt” but argued he had the right as president to pressure Ukraine while refusing to comply with Congressional subpoenas for testimony and documents.
Democrats were dejected but not surprised, after an intense 78-day House investigation that faced public doubts and high-pressure stonewalling from the White House.
Anticipating the likely party-line vote by the senators, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi repeatedly said that, whatever happened, Trump would join two previous presidents as being tarred with the “impeached” label.
The vote closed a political chapter that many Democrats had been reluctant to enter.
Pelosi originally rejected pressure early last year to impeach Trump on evidence compiled by then special counsel Robert Mueller that he had obstructed the Russia election meddling investigation.
But her concerns that it was a hefty political risk for Democrats less than two years before national elections melted after new allegations surfaced in August that Trump had pressured Ukraine for help for his 2020 campaign.
Though doubtful from the outset that they would win support from Senate Republicans, an investigation amassed with surprising speed strong evidence to support the allegations.
The evidence showed that from early in 2019, Trump’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani and a close political ally, Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, were scheming to pressure Kiev to help smear Democrats, including Trump’s potential 2020 rival Joe Biden, by opening investigations into them.
Adam Schiff, who led the House investigation, said the fact that it came after Mueller’s investigation showed that Trump’s 2016 campaign had actively sought help from Russia forced Democrats to act.
“We must say enough — enough! He has betrayed our national security, and he will do so again,” Schiff argued on the Senate floor this week.
“He has compromised our elections, and he will do so again,” Schiff said.
Driven by hate
Trump’s defenders were not seen as having undermined the facts compiled by Schiff’s probe, and several Republican senators acknowledged he did wrong.
But his lawyers and Senate defenders argued, essentially, that Trump’s behaviour was not egregious enough for impeachment and removal.
And, pointing to the December House impeachment vote, starkly along party lines, they painted it as a political effort to “destroy the president” in an election year — arguing that voters should be allowed to decide Trump’s fate.
“Your hatred of Donald Trump has blinded you to the obvious. This is not about protecting the country, this is about destroying the president,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said before the vote.
“The only way for this to end permanently is for the president to get reelected.”
One half of the chamber was on its feet, roaring its approval for Donald Trump. The other sat in sullen silence, broken by boos and occasional hisses until their leader Nancy Pelosi ultimately ripped up the president’s speech.
Six weeks after he was impeached by the House of Representatives — and a day before his expected acquittal in the Senate — Trump’s annual State of the Union address was delivered in a triumphant vein, and could not have been more polarizing.
Chants of “Four more years! Four more years!” greeted the president as he entered the chamber headed by his chief political nemesis in Washington: the Democratic Speaker of the House.
After a slow stroll down the center aisle, accepting backslaps from Republican lawmakers, Trump stepped up to the rostrum and handed Pelosi a copy of his speech.
The smiling speaker reached out for a handshake. Trump did not return the favor.
And at the very end of his address, Pelosi — very deliberately — ripped up her copy of the president’s speech — in a pointed political statement delivered on live television.
The bitterness between the 73-year-old president and the 79-year-old speaker is nothing new.
But the latest flashpoint comes one day before the US Senate votes almost certainly to acquit the 45th president on the impeachment charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice.
Throughout the impeachment crisis, Trump has repeatedly assailed Pelosi for her impeachment “hoax,” branding her “nervous Nancy” and “crazy Nancy” on Twitter.
Trump leaned into Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over his Senate trial, and spoke with him for a good seven seconds — an eternity in the walk-up to his speech.
– Theater –
The shadow of impeachment hung heavy over the evening — neatly illustrated by Jerry Nadler, one of the lawmakers who led the prosecution at Trump’s trial, who sat leafing through a pocket copy of the US Constitution ahead of his address.
But Trump made no mention of impeachment or his expected acquittal in the one hour and 18 minutes speech, opting instead to focus on his “incredible” record on the economy.
“Jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling, confidence is surging,” Trump said, earning a prolonged standing ovation — one of dozens during the night.
Democrats remained largely silent as Trump boasted of his achievements — with many female lawmakers dressed in white in a nod to the suffragette movement for women’s voting rights.
But when he spoke of creating an “inclusive society,” elevating “every race color, religion, and creed,” many in the opposing camp winced, hissed or jeered.
“No!” cried, one female lawmaker. Several Democrats walked out.
Democrats, many looking shell-shocked, booed further as the president accused them of being soft on “dangerous criminal aliens” and seeking to “impose a socialist takeover of our healthcare system.”
In a reality TV-style flourish, Trump paid a live tribute to controversial conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, who recently disclosed he has advanced lung cancer, asking Melania Trump to present him with the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
Trump went on to single out a woman in the audience whose army husband had been away for months on foreign deployments, telling her he had “a very special surprise.”
It was her husband, in full uniform, coming down the stairs for a tearful, surprise reunion — in front of a primetime national television audience.
But Trump’s theatrics appeared to largely leave Democrats cold.
“Every State of the Union has oratorical and presentation flourishes, but you don’t want to make it into a theater, you know — we didn’t go to the opera,” House Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi told AFP.
Leading Republicans took to the talk show circuit Sunday to defend their expected acquittal of US President Donald Trump at his Senate trial next week — despite offering sharp criticism of his role in the Ukraine scandal.
The president was impeached in December for abuse of power over-pressuring ally Kiev to announce investigations that would have helped him politically, including into Joe Biden, a leading challenger in this year’s presidential ballot.
A day ahead of the Iowa Democratic caucuses — the official start of the election season — key Republican senators including Lamar Alexander and Joni Ernst said Trump’s behaviour was troubling but did not warrant removal.
“Hopefully, he’ll look at this and say, ‘Okay, that was a mistake. I shouldn’t have done that, shouldn’t have done it that way,” Alexander told NBC.
The Tennessee senator suggested Trump had been naive in asking a foreign ally to look into Biden and his son Hunter’s business dealings in Ukraine, which Republicans have claimed without evidence were corrupt.
But he added: “The bottom line: it’s not an excuse. He shouldn’t have done it.”
Trump is all but assured of being acquitted at only the third impeachment trial of a US president, with Republicans holding 53 seats in the Senate to 47 for the Democrats. A two-thirds majority, or 67 senators, is needed to remove him from office.
‘The wrong manner’
Ernst said it was “up to the American people” to decide on Trump’s behaviour, adding that she would vote Wednesday to acquit the president, who is also accused of obstruction of Congress.
“I think, generally speaking, going after corruption is the right thing to do, but he did it in the wrong manner… I think that he could have done it in different channels,” she told CNN.
A narrow majority of Americans believe Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress by withholding documents and testimony during the impeachment inquiry, according to a new NBC/WSJ poll.
But they remain divided on whether he should be kicked from office, with 46 per cent hoping to see him removed and 49 per cent saying he should keep his job.
Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher suggested Trump’s conduct had forced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s hand when she would rather not have started impeachment proceedings.
“Nine million more people voted for Democrats last time around than Republicans. We have winning messages without impeachment,” he told NBC.
On Friday, Democrats failed to muster the four Republican votes needed to allow witness testimony — a departure from every other impeachment trial in US history.
They had been eager to hear from Trump’s former national security advisor John Bolton, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and other key administration figures caught up in the scandal.
Bolton reportedly says in a forthcoming book Trump told him military aid to Ukraine was tied to Kiev’s investigating Biden — corroborating the central claim against the president.
Alexander said however there was no need for more evidence and, with Washington awaiting the results of Monday’s Iowa caucuses, it was better to let the American public decide who should be the next president.
The first vote in the US primary process will be closely watched as a sign as to which of 11 Democratic candidates are gaining early momentum to challenge Trump in November’s election.
‘We are the jury’
“As upsetting as what’s going on in the Senate is, the thing that I’m always reminding voters of — especially in these closing days of the Iowa caucuses — is that, yes, the Senate is the jury today but we are the jury tomorrow,” Pete Buttigieg, who is running third in the Hawkeye State, told CNN.
“And we get to send a message at the ballot box that cheating, lying, involving a foreign country in our own domestic politics, not to mention abuse of power more broadly and bad administration, that that’s not okay, that we can do better.”
The Senate resumes as a court of impeachment on Monday to hear final arguments, before voting on Wednesday on the two articles of impeachment passed last month in the House.
Adam Schiff, the leader of the House impeachment managers, told CBS Sunday that it was “pretty remarkable” that senators on both sides had acknowledged that Democrats had proved their case against the president.
“But I’m not letting the senators off the hook. We’re still going to go into the Senate this week and make the case why this president needs to be removed. It will be up to the senators to make that final judgment, and the senators will be held accountable for it.”
Four contenders for the Democratic nomination — Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet — were required to be present at the impeachment trial.
Monday’s Iowa vote is headed to a photo finish, with leftist Bernie Sanders holding a narrow polling lead over Biden.
Lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff called dramatically for the Senate to remove President Donald Trump from office Thursday, saying the US leader cannot be trusted to put the country’s interests ahead of his own.
“The American people deserve a president they can count on, to put their interest first,” said Schiff.
His impassioned words capped a long day in which Democrats detailed Trump’s illicit scheme to pressure Ukraine to help his 2020 reelection campaign.
“You know, you can’t trust this president to do what is right for this country. You can trust he will do what’s right for Donald Trump,” Schiff added.
“He’ll do it now. He’s done it before. He’ll do it for the next several months. He’ll do it in the election if he’s allowed to. This is why, if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed.”
“Because right matters. And truth matters. Otherwise, we are lost.”
‘It is illegal’
As the 100 senators sat as jurors and millions of Americans watched on television, House impeachment managers mustered scores of videos, internal documents and extensive witness testimony to lay out a strong case that the US leader abused his powers.
Schiff’s prosecution team detailed how Trump flagrantly undertook last year to force Kiev to help him tarnish his possible 2020 reelection rival, former vice president Joe Biden.
“President Trump used the powers of his office to solicit a foreign nation to interfere in our elections for his own personal benefit,” House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler told the chamber.
“Since President George Washington took office in 1789, no president has abused his power in this way,” Nadler said.
“The president has repeatedly, flagrantly, violated his oath… The president’s conduct is wrong. It is illegal. And it is dangerous.”
‘Unfair and corrupt’
Over nine hours the Democrats methodically dismantled Republican claims that Trump did nothing wrong.
They left few doubts that Trump’s sole motivation in secretly freezing aid to Ukraine last July was to force Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce one investigation into Biden and a second into an unsupported story that Kiev helped Democrats in the 2016 election.
To puncture a key White House argument that the US constitution requires a specific crime to remove a president, they played old videos in which two of Trump’s closest defenders, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and storied criminal defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, said that abuse of power itself is a clear impeachable offense.
And they detailed the extensive role of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in the scheme to pressure Zelensky, even while US intelligence and diplomatic chiefs disagreed with it.
“Donald Trump chose Rudy Giuliani over his own intelligence agencies. He chose Rudy Giuliani over his own national security advisors… That makes him dangerous to our country,” said Schiff, who leads the House Intelligence Committee.
Yet, three days into arguments into the historic trial, there were few signs that any of the Republican majority that Trump commands in the Senate would buy into the evidence and turn against him.
“What we heard from the managers yesterday, the day before, it is the same thing, day after day after day,” said Republican Senator John Barrasso.
“We’re hearing the same things over and over,” said Trump attorney Jay Sekulow. “We will be putting on vigorous defense of both facts and rebutting what they’ve said.”
At the White House, Trump unleashed a barrage of tweets attacking the process as “loaded with lies and misrepresentations.”
“Most unfair & corrupt hearing in Congressional history!” he tweeted
Democratic prosecutors will complete their arguments Friday with a focus on the second impeachment charge, obstruction of Congress, before Trump’s legal team holds the floor in his defense for three days.
Democrats are hoping their arguments will at least persuade some Republicans, who hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, to support their call to issue subpoenas next week for four top current and former Trump aides to testify, and for internal White House records about the Ukraine affair.
But all indications were that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in coordination with the White House, will seek to stifle witness requests and bring the trial to a close with a vote to acquit Trump by the end of next week.
Both Trump and McConnell said early this week that the White House could claim executive privilege to refuse the subpoenas, forcing a court challenge that could prolong the case well into February.
President Donald Trump’s historic impeachment trial begins in earnest on Tuesday in the Senate, with Democrats calling for his removal from office and Republicans determined to acquit him — and quickly, if possible.
Four months after the Ukraine scandal exploded and went on to overshadow the end of Trump’s term, and 10 months before Americans go to the polls to decide whether to re-elect him, the 100 members of the Senate will gather at 1 PM (1800 GMT) with chief justice John Roberts presiding over the trial.
The job of these lawmakers, sworn in last week as jurors, is to decide if Trump abused his office and obstructed Congress as charged in two articles of impeachment approved last month by the House of Representatives.
They state that Trump tried to pressure Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 US election to help him win, and then tried to thwart a congressional probe of his behaviour.
It will be only the third time a president has endured an impeachment trial, after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1999.
Part of the scandal centres on a July 25 telephone call in which Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump’s potential opponent in the November vote.
Democrats, who control the House of Representatives and led the investigation, accuse Trump of manipulating Ukraine by withholding nearly $400 million in military aid for its war against Russian-backed separatists and a White House meeting for Zelensky until the latter announced a Biden probe.
“The president did nothing wrong,” Trump’s lawyers responded in a 110-page brief submitted to the Senate on Monday.
This echoes the repeated assertions of the 73-year-old real estate magnate that the saga is a political witch hunt and a hoax, and that his phone call with the Ukrainian leader was “perfect.”
In the president’s brief, his 12-man legal team contested the very idea of his impeachment.
They called the two articles of impeachment — approved largely along party lines in the Democratic-controlled House — the product of “a rigged process” and “constitutionally deficient on their face” because they involved no violation of established law.
That team, which has recruited high profile lawyers such as Kenneth Starr, who tried to bring down Clinton over his affair with Monica Lewinsky, said in the brief, “The Senate should reject the Articles of Impeachment and acquit the president immediately.”
“President Trump abused the power of his office to solicit foreign interference in our elections for his own personal political gain, thereby jeopardizing our national security, the integrity of our elections, and our democracy,” the House managers said Saturday in a memorandum.
They said the president’s behaviour “is the Framers’ worst nightmare,” referring to the authors of the US Constitution, and that Trump deserves to be removed from office.
But Trump looks almost certain to be acquitted because of the 53-47 Republican majority in the Senate.
He will be abroad as his trial opens; Trump left late Monday for the economic forum in Davos, Switzerland.
How long the trial will last is up in the air.
The first order of business Tuesday will be to set the rules, such as how long they will hear the arguments of the House managers, or prosecutors; how long they will hear the defence; the time allotted for questions, submitted by the senators but read by Roberts; and whether they will call witnesses or seek other evidence.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell late Monday proposed rules calling for each side to have 24 hours over two days to present their arguments. That makes for long trial days stretching late into the night but is a significantly quicker pace than in Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999. The chamber will debate and vote on the proposed rules Tuesday.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said McConnell is rushing the trial and also making it harder for witnesses and documents to be presented.
“On something as important as impeachment, Senator McConnell’s resolution is nothing short of a national disgrace,” Schumer said in a statement.
The Democrats want key Trump administration officials to testify, such as acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton, in the belief that they know a lot about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Bolton has said he is willing to testify if subpoenaed.
The White House has said it expects the trial to be over in two weeks. Clinton’s trial lasted five weeks.
McConnell has said he won’t consider the witness issue until after the arguments and questioning take place, and his majority means he will likely prevail.
The 2019 political year in Nigeria is one that could be simply described as ‘eventful,’ featuring various critical and interesting events in the country.
Highpoints of such events range from elections to court cases, and crisis within political parties, among others.
In line with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), political parties, civil society groups, the electorate, and other critical political stakeholders stepped up preparations ahead of what some political actors termed the ‘most important event of the year – the general elections’.
Although the 2019 general elections may have come and gone, the dust they left behind has yet to settle as a result of the mixed reactions that followed. Since the beginning of the year until February 15, Nigerians had prepared and shown their readiness to elect a new set of leaders at various levels until the electoral umpire shifted the date of the elections by one week.
This followed a crucial meeting of INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, and the 12 national commissioners of INEC which began on the eve of the initial Election Day and lasted until the early hours of the next day.
Barely five hours to the start of the polls, Professor Yakubu announced at a short press briefing that the Presidential and National Assembly elections had been postponed until February 23, while the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly polls would take place on March 9.
The INEC boss explained that before arriving at the decision, the meeting concluded that going ahead as scheduled was no longer feasible after carefully reviewing the implementation of the logistics and operational plan, as well as the determination to conduct free, fair, and credible elections.
The decision sparked criticism in some quarters while some individuals and groups called for understanding and support for INEC to ensure the process went peacefully. Seven days later, the Presidential and National Assembly elections took place as scheduled.
The presidential election was keenly contested by President Muhammadu Buhari and his major rival and former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, as well as some younger candidates such as Omoyele Sowore, Fela Durotoye, Felix Nicholas, Kingsley Moghalu, and Obadiah Mailafia among several other.
Although a total of 73 political parties – including the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – fielded candidates for the election, some later endorsed Buhari of the APC while others formed an alliance with Atiku to kick the incumbent president out of office.
Announcing the results on February 27, Professor Yakubu said the President polled a total of 15,191,847 to defeat his PDP rival who scored 11,262,978. President Buhari won the election with a wide margin of close to four million votes ahead of Atiku, claiming a total of 19 states while the former vice president won in 17 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
Following the declaration, the President and members of the ruling party celebrated their victory while the PDP accused the APC of rigging the election and vowed to challenge the outcome in court.
Meanwhile, Nigerians also elected their representatives at the upper and lower chambers of the National Assembly – Senate and House of Representatives. In the build-up to the poll, the APC suffered a big loss as scores of lawmakers in both chambers defected to the PDP – including the then Senate President Bukola Saraki and former Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
However, a majority of the senators who defected to the PDP lost their seats, including Senator Saraki. This led to the emergence of Senator Ahmed Lawan and Mr Femi Gbajabiamila – both of the APC – as the Senate President and Speaker of the 9th National Assembly.
Having completed their two terms as provided by the law, some former governors won their elections to the Senate. These included Kashim Shettima (Borno), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe), and Tanko Al-Makura (Nasarawa).
Former governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State also joined his colleagues in the Senate following a series of court battles after an electoral official said he declared him winner of the election in Imo West senatorial district. On his part, former Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi, lost his bid to become a senator to Senator Kola Balogun of the PDP.
Two weeks after Nigerians cast their ballots, the electorate returned to their various polling units to elect leaders at the state level – the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly polls.
Unlike the February 23 polls held across the country, the March 9 elections took place only in 29 states, excluding Edo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Bayelsa, Kogi, and Anambra States.
The election recorded wins and losses in various states as the APC unseated PDP in some states while the PDP took over power from the APC elsewhere. As of March 23, INEC had concluded and announced the winners of the governorship elections in 22 states, while the exercise was suspended in Rivers and declared inconclusive for various reasons in six other states. The affected states included Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Plateau, Kano, and Sokoto.
At the end of the whole process, results and winners were announced for all 29 states where the election took place. A breakdown of the results revealed the APC won in 14 states while the PDP claimed 15 states.
The APC retained power in 12 states but lost five states to the opposition party, including Benue and Sokoto where the governors defected before the elections. On the other hand, the PDP retained power in 10 states but lost Gombe State, as well as Kwara where the third governor defected from the ruling party.
The APC could have won in one more state – Zamfara, but the party ceded all the posts it won in the state to the PDP on the directive of the Supreme Court which held that it did not conduct primaries and therefore, could not have won any election.
Similarly, the party was affected by an internal crisis in Rivers, leading to an order of the apex court which barred the APC from participating in any election in the state.
Triumph vs Defeat
While some Governors won their elections into the Senate as members of the 9th National Assembly, former governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, was defeated by Senator Kola Balogun of the PDP.
Former governors elected into the Red Chamber comprise new and returning senators. They are Senator Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Senator Tanko Al-Makura, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Senator Kashim Shettima, and Senator Ibrahim Gaidam, among others.
The conclusion of the general elections paved the way for the kick-off of the 9th National Assembly with the APC reclaiming its leadership from the PDP following the defection of former Senate President Bukola Saraki and erstwhile Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara to the opposition party.
Saraki and Dogara dumped the APC along with dozens of lawmakers numbering over 45 in the build-up to the general elections, but it wasn’t enough to deny President Buhari a second term in office, as well as the ruling party from retaining the majority in both chambers of the National Assembly.
Rather, Senator Saraki and most of his colleagues in the Senate – except Senator Dino Melaye – and some members of the lower chamber lost their re-election bid in the February 23 poll, although Mr Dogara was returned by members of his constituencies. As a result, Senator Ahmed Lawan and Mr Femi Gbajabiamila were elected as the Senate President and Speaker of the 9th National Assembly respectively.
From The Ballot To Court
As it is widely accepted that only the electorate can decide the fate of aspiring leaders through the power of the ballot, that wasn’t the case for some politicians who participated in the election. The people in this category are the aggrieved candidates who proceeded to the Election Petitions Tribunal in various courts to reclaim their mandates purported to have been stolen by the winners in the elections.
Prominent among them are former Vice President Atiku and the PDP, as well as Mr Ambrose Owuru and Hope Democratic Party (HDP) who approached the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal to challenge the re-election of President Buhari in the February 23 poll.
Atiku and the PDP prayed the court to disqualify President Buhari on the grounds that he didn’t possess the requisite academic qualification to contest for the office of the President. They also alleged irregularities, over-voting, use of force, and non-compliance with electoral laws among other claims during the elections.
After months of arguments between the petitioners and defendants, as well as the presentation of witnesses and evidence before the court, the Tribunal dismissed Atiku’s petition on September 11. In a unanimous judgement which lasted almost nine hours, Justice Mohammed Garba who delivered the lead judgement ruled that Buhari was duly elected as President.
He added that the petitioners failed to prove the allegations against the defendants. Other members of the Tribunal agreed with the judgement. They are Justice Peter Olabisi-Ige, Justice Abdul Aboki, Justice Joseph Ikyegh, and Justice Samuel Oseji.
On the other hand, Owuru and HDP claimed that the failure of INEC to conduct the election on February 16 before it was postponed by a week forced his party to conduct a referendum through which Nigerians elected him as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Dismissing the petition in its judgement delivered in July, the Tribunal held that the petition was unknown to the law and lacked constitutional backing, adding that it was an aberration that constituted an abuse of court processes.
Despite the duration of proceedings at the Tribunal, the petitioners in the presidential election were not satisfied with judgement of the court. They, thereafter, took their appeals to the Supreme Court where they challenged the decision of the Tribunal.
Shortly after elections were concluded, the Governorship and National Assembly Elections Tribunals across the country have been busy attending to litigations triggered by the outcomes of the polls. At the governorship level, the Tribunals affirmed the outcomes of the polls in the states where elections held.
The court affirmed the victory of Governor Seyi Makinde and the PDP but validated the appeal of Mr Adebayo Adelabu and the APC. It disagreed with the Tribunal on the grounds that documents submitted were not processed properly while the appellants’ evidence were not evaluated adequately.
They noted that if not that the 180-day time limit for the Tribunal had been exhausted, it would have ordered a re-trial. It, therefore, ordered that status quo be maintained, retaining PDP’s Makinde as the elected governor of Oyo State.
Some of the governors who also won at the Tribunal are Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Emeka Ihedioha (Imo), and Samuel Ortom (Benue), among others. Meanwhile, some candidates who lost at the appellate court have challenged the judgements at the Supreme Court.
Fight Back To Victory
The aftermath of the elections that returned some members of the 8th National Assembly and brought in new members of the 9th Assembly is one that cannot be allowed to pass by without being reviewed.
Shortly after the February 23 polls were conducted, the has been a war of words and exchange of blames among politicians and political parties, especially between the APC and PDP while others were preparing to go to the Tribunal.
The court ordered INEC to issue a Certificate of Return to former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi, of the PDP as the winner of the election. Senator Adeyeye, also an erstwhile spokesman of the PDP, defected from the opposition party to vie for the senatorial seat.
In a similar development, Senator Ibrahim Dambaba – one of the lawmakers who defected from the APC to PDP in July 2018 – returned to the Senate on the order of the Court of Appeal in Sokoto. The court set aside the Tribunal ruling and sacked APC’s Abubakar Shehu-Tambuwal as the senator representing Sokoto South district.
In Akwa Ibom, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Goodswill Akpabio, is likely to return to the Senate, provided he wins a rerun. Senator Akpabio’s hopes were rekindled by the Court of Appeal in Calabar which ordered a re-run election in Essien Udim, the local government where the minister who contested on the APC platform lost to Senator Christopher Ekpenyong of the PDP.
The Tribunal had sacked Senator Melaye but he went to the appellate court to seek justice. The PDP candidate, however, lost his appeal in October as the court held that he could not prove his allegations and consequently ordered a rerun within 90 days.
In line with the court order, INEC fixed November 16 for the election – the same day the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States took place.
In the face of the various developments that accompanied the 2019 general elections, the marks left behind have yet to disappear in some states. There have been some power struggles within political parties in some states such as Edo, Kogi, and Taraba among others.
The crisis in the Edo chapter of the APC is one that has continued to linger for months despite the effort of some party leaders. There seems to be a dispute between the APC National leader and his successor – Governor Godwin Obaseki over the proclamation of the Edo State House of Assembly among other issues.
The dispute took a new twist when a faction of the APC in the state suspended the national chairman while another group asked the party’s national leadership to expel the governor from the party.
While the crisis was ongoing, Governor Obaseki’s PDP rival in the September 2016 election, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, defected to the ruling party. Away from Edo, the Kogi State chapter of the APC also had its share of the piece following a prolonged disagreement between Governor Bello and his former deputy, Mr Simon Achuba.
Some lawmakers were also impeached while others resigned in the course of the year. In June, Mr Abel Diah was re-elected as Speaker of the Taraba State House of Assembly but the reign only lasted for a while. His deputy, Mohammed Gwampo, was impeached after in October while Diah resigned barely two months later.
This led to the emergence of Mr Joseph Kunini and Mr Hammanadama Abdullahi as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively.
Elsewhere, Mr Isah Idris was impeached as the Speaker of Jigawa State House of Assembly while Ugonna Ozuruigbo resigned as the Deputy Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, just as members of the Gombe State House of Assembly impeached Shaiubu Haruna as their Deputy Speaker.
Revolution Call Misinterpreted?
Having summarised the 365 days of the year in this short piece, the review would be incomplete without the prosecution of the convener of #RevolutionNow movement, Mr Omoyele Sowore, by the Nigerian government.
However, protesters met a strong resistance from security forces already stationed in the Surulere area of Lagos where the demonstration was billed to take place. Several protesters were arrested in the process, including a journalist with online news platform, Sahara Reporters.
Meanwhile, the DSS accused Sowore – the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress in the February poll – of planning to topple the Muhammadu Buhari government through the protests. But the activist denied the coup allegations, insisting that he only mobilised Nigerians to protest against bad governance and other vices in the country.
In September, the government filed seven counts of conspiracy to commit treasonable felony and money laundering charges against Sowore and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, a day before the detention order of the Federal High Court in Abuja permitting the DSS to detain him for 45 days expired on September 21.
Temple Of Justice Desecrated?
The duo pleaded not guilty to the charges and were later granted bail in the sum of N150 million but not without stringent conditions. Despite two orders of the court directing their release, Sowore and Bakare were held by the DSS until the evening December 5 while the Service insisted that it did not disobey the court.
The move was thwarted by Sowore’s supporters and his lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, who condemned the action in its entirety. After the atmosphere was a bit calm, Falana drove his client to the DSS of in the nation’s capital where he was rearrested and detained.
The action of the security operatives was described as ‘desecration of the temple of justice’ by some Nigerians, including prominent legal practitioners in the country, although the DSS denied invasion of the court by its personnel.
Reacting to the incident, the Presidency, the Senate, as well as the House of Representatives said they had commenced an investigation into the court invasion but the outcomes have yet to be made public.
Members of the US Senate were sworn in on Thursday to serve as jurors at the historic impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the trial, administered the oath to the senators who will decide whether the 45th president should be removed from office.
“Do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, President of the United States, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the laws, so help you God,” Roberts said.
Senators in the chamber responded: “I do.” They then individually signed a book affirming their oath.
Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate majority leader, then adjourned the proceedings and said the trial would resume at 1:00 pm (1800 GMT) on Tuesday.
Earlier on Thursday, Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who will serve as lead prosecutor for the trial, read out the two articles of impeachment accusing Trump of “high crimes and misdemeanours.”
The Democratic-controlled House, in an overwhelmingly partisan vote, impeached Trump on December 18 for abuse of power in his dealings with Ukraine and for obstruction of Congress.
Impeachment rules require a two-thirds Senate majority to convict and remove a president and Trump’s acquittal is widely expected in the Republican-dominated Senate.
Amid a solemn silence, articles of impeachment against Donald Trump were read aloud on the Senate floor on Thursday as the bitterly divided chamber began a historic trial of the US president for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Senate Sergeant of Arms Michael Stenger opened just the third impeachment trial of a US president in history with a warning to the 100 senators.
“Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye,” Stenger said after the seven members of the House of Representatives who will serve as prosecutors gathered in the well of the Senate chamber.
“All persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment, while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States, articles of impeachment against Donald John Trump, President of the United States,” the sergeant at arms said.
Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who will serve as lead prosecutor for the trial, then read out the two articles of impeachment passed by the House on December 18.
“I will now read the articles of impeachment,” Schiff said, “impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors.”
US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is to be sworn in at 2:00 pm (1900 GMT) to preside over the trial.
Roberts, 64, who was appointed to the nation’s top court by president George W. Bush, will then deliver an oath to the 100 senators who will swear to administer “impartial justice.”
The proceedings will then adjourn and the trial will get underway “in earnest” on Tuesday, according to Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell.
Impeachment rules require a two-thirds Senate majority to convict and remove a president and Trump’s acquittal is widely expected in the Republican-dominated Senate.
‘The Senate’s time is at hand’
Trump is accused of abuse of power for withholding military aid to Ukraine and a White House meeting for the country’s president in exchange for an investigation into his potential presidential election rival Democrat Joe Biden.
The Government Accountability Office concluded in a report released Thursday that the White House violated federal law by putting a hold on the congressionally-approved funds for Ukraine.
“Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,” according to the GAO, a congressional watchdog.
The second article of impeachment — for obstruction of Congress — relates to Trump’s refusal to provide witnesses and documents to House impeachment investigators in defiance of congressional subpoenas.
McConnell has been extremely critical of Trump’s impeachment by the Democratic-controlled House and pledged on Thursday that things would be different in the Senate.
“It was a transparently partisan performance from beginning to end,” McConnell said. “But it’s not what this process will be going forward.
“This chamber exists precisely so that we can look past the daily drama,” the Republican senator from Kentucky said. “The House’s hour is over. The Senate’s time is at hand.”
The two articles of impeachment were delivered to the Senate on Wednesday in a solemn procession by the seven House Democrats who will prosecute the case against the 45th US president.
“So sad, so tragic for our country, that the actions taken by the president to undermine our national security, to violate his oath of office and to jeopardize the security of our elections, has taken us to this place,” Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said as she signed the articles.
“This president will be held accountable,” she said. “No one is above the law.”
Pelosi held back on delivering the articles to the Senate as she pressured McConnell to agree to subpoena the witnesses and documents that the White House blocked from the House probe.
McConnell has refused to commit, saying the issue will only be decided after the trial’s opening arguments and questioning.
A Trump administration official told reporters they expect the trial to last no longer than two weeks, suggesting McConnell could use his 53-47 Republican majority to stifle calls for witnesses and quickly take the charges to a vote.
Trump ridiculed the investigation and trial on Wednesday, as he has for months.
“Here we go again, another Con Job by the Do Nothing Democrats,” he wrote on Twitter.
Democrats released documents this week that showed Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani worked with Ukrainian-born American Lev Parnas to pressure Kiev to investigate Biden.
They also showed the two, working with Ukrainian officials, trying to force out the US ambassador to the country, Marie Yovanovitch, eventually removed by Trump.
In a televised interview Wednesday, Parnas told MSNBC that “President Trump knew exactly what was going on.”
“He was aware of all of my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president,” Parnas said.
Aside from Schiff the prosecution team will include Judiciary Committee chair Jerry Nadler; House Democratic Caucus chair Hakeem Jeffries; Zoe Lofgren, a veteran of two previous impeachment investigations; and three others.