Appeal Court Overturns Orubebe’s Conviction At CCT

The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja has ruled out the judgment of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) convicting the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe, over allegations of false declaration of assets.

The former minister was convicted in October 2016 for allegedly failing to declare a property (plot of land) in Asokoro, Abuja.

The Federal Government then filed a one-count charge of false asset declaration against him but the former minister told the tribunal that the property was no longer his as at the time he went into public service.

He further stated that he had sold the property and saw no need to declare what was not his.

The tribunal, however, convicted him on the basis that the title deeds of the property still bore his name.

A three-man panel of judges of the Appeal Court led by Justice Mohammed Abdul Aboki voided the conviction, describing it as a miscarriage of justice.

The court held that it was obvious that Orubebe sold the property, even if the property still had his name on it, there was no need to declare it.

The court therefore discharged and acquitted the former minister.

Code Of Conduct Tribunal Finds Orubebe Guilty

Orubebe, CCT, Code of Conduct TribunalThe Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday pronounced former Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Orubebe, guilty of non-declaration of asset.

The asset is in a choice area of Abuja, Asokoro.

Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar, announced a forfeiture of the property.

Justice Umar explained that the testimonies and document presented by the prosecution prove that the former minister is guilty as charged.

He further stated that while the minister claimed that the property was on rent from the federal government, the rejection of the claim by his former landlord to allow him exercise his right over the property rendered the power of attorney useless.

The former Minister had pleaded ‘not guilty’ for two count charges of false declaration of assets and another two counts of bribery when arraigned before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar
Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar

Mr Orubebe was charged by the Code of Conduct Bureau for alleged failure to declare landed property in Kyamu and Asokoro district, both in Abuja, on assumption of office as minister on September 26, 2007.

In the other counts, Mr Orubebe was also accused of allegedly accepting bribes totalling 70 million naira for the award of contracts in favour of his company.

Mr Orubebe’s name had been in the news after the presidential election of March 28, 2015.

On 31 March 2015, Orubebe, acting as a polling agent for the Peoples Democratic Party, tried to disrupt the proceedings of the 2015 presidential election collation.

Orubebe alleged that the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, had taken side with the opposition political party at the time, All Progressives Congress (APC).

He, however, subsequently apologised to Nigerians over his conduct by tendering an unreserved apology urging them not to follow in his footsteps and explaining that he regretted his action.

CCT Fixes September 21 For Judgement On Orubebe’s Case

OrubebeThe Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) Mr Danladi Umar has approved September 21 for the delivery of judgment in the case against a former Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godsday Orubebe.

The judgment is to be delivered in the case of alleged false declaration of assets preferred against the former minister.

The notice of the Tribunal’s sitting schedule for the month of September and October also contains the case of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, whose motion has been slated for ruling on October 5.

Senator Saraki is seeking the withdrawal of the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal from the trial over alleged bias.

Mr Orubebe has denied the allegations, saying he does not own any property which was not declared in his asset declaration form submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

Led in evidence on June 2 by his lawyer, Larry Selekowei, the former minister told the Tribunal that he did not declare Plot 2057 in Asokoro for which he is standing trial , because as at the time he was leaving the government in 2011, he had sold off the land to pay two years house rent.

Mr Orubebe had in 2015 tried to scuttle the collation process of the Presidential election, accusing the electoral body of being bais.

The Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal had in April dismissed the application filed by Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki seeking his withdrawal from the trial, holding that the application lacked merit.

In his ruling, Justice Danladi Umar said that the Attorney-General of the Federation has no powers to investigate any person.

“It is only the security and law enforcement agencies that have that power and it is only when they have concluded their investigation that the Attorney-General can prosecute,” he claimed.

The counsel to the Senate President, Mr Raphael Oluyede, had during the hearing insisted that Mr Danladi was still under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the same agency that allegedly filed the criminal charges against him.

He alleged that it was obvious that the said investigation was used as a bait by the EFCC to get Mr Danladi to do its bidding.

 

 

FULL TEXT: General Muhammadu Buhari’s Official Acceptance Speech

The Die is Cast

Acceptance Statement by General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, President-Elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
April 1st, 2015

Muhammadu Buhari acceptance
Focus words of his speech

I am immensely grateful to God for this day and for this hour. I feel truly honoured and humbled that the Nigerian people have so clearly chosen me to lead them. The official announcement from INEC was the moment the vast majority of Nigerians had hoped and been waiting for. Today, history has been made, and change has finally come. Your votes have changed our national destiny for the good of all Nigerians .

INEC has announced that I, Muhammadu Buhari, shall be your next president. My team and I shall faithfully serve you. There shall no
longer be a ruling party again: APC will be your governing party. We shall faithfully serve you. We shall never rule over the people as if
they were subservient to government.

Our long night has passed and the daylight of new democratic governance has broken across the land. This therefore is not a victory
for one man or even one party. It is a victory for Nigeria and for all Nigerians. Millions of you have worked for this day. So many have
risked life and livelihood; and others have died that we may witness this moment.

And it is with a very heavy heart that I report many deaths and injuries amidst the jubilations yesterday. We send our sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives; and wish speedy recovery to those who suffered injuries. I appeal to all our supporters to celebrate this victory with prayers and reflection instead of wild jubilation.

May the souls of those who died rest in peace. Let us take a moment of silence to honour all of those whose sacrifices have brought us to this fine and historic hour. As the results of the election have shown, their labour has not been and will never be in vain. Democracy and the rule of law will be re-established in the land.

Let us put the past, especially the recent past, behind us. We must forget our old battles and past grievances—and learn to forge ahead. I assure you that our government is one that will listen to and embrace all.

I pledge myself and our in-coming administration to just and principled governance. There shall be no bias against or favouritism for any Nigerian based on ethnicity, religion, region, gender or social status. I pledge myself and the government to the rule of law, in which none shall be so above the law that they are not subject to its dictates, and none shall be so below it that they are not availed of its protection.

You shall be able to go to bed knowing that you are safe and that your constitutional rights remain in safe hands. You shall be able to voice your opinion without fear of reprisal or victimisation. My love and concern for this nation and what I desire for it extends to all, even to those who do not like us or our politics. You are all my people and I shall treat everyone of you as my own. I shall work for those who voted for me as well as those who voted against me and even for those who did not vote at all. We all live under one name as one nation: we are all Nigerians.

Some unfortunate issues about my eligibility have been raised during the campaign. I wish to state that through devotion to this nation, everything I have learned and done has been to enable me to make the best possible contribution to public life. If I had judged myself incapable of governing I would never have sought to impose myself on it. I have served in various capacities and have always put in my best.

But despite the rancour of the elections, I extend a hand of friendship and conciliation to President Jonathan and his team. I hereby wish to
state that I harbour no ill will against anyone.

Let me state clearly that President Jonathan has nothing to fear from me. Although we may not agree on the methods of governing the nation, he is a great Nigerian and still our president. He deserves our support and permanent respect by virtue of the office he has held.

This is how an honourable nation treats its servants and conducts its affairs; and this is how Nigeria should be.

I look forward to meeting with President Jonathan in the days to come to discuss how our teams can make the transition of administrations as efficient as possible.

Here, I want to thank my party for selecting me as its candidate. I thank our party leaders and members for the steadfast contributions
they made to bring our dream to fruition. I thank INEC, the police and all other government agencies for performing their tasks in a proper manner and for refusing to be induced to undermine the election and the democratic process.

I also wish to thank religious Leaders, traditional leaders, the media, labour unions, Civil Society organisations, organised private sector,
youths and students for their roles in this election.

Here, I want to thank my party for selecting me as its candidate. I thank our party leaders and members for the steadfast contributions
they made to bring our dream to fruition. I thank INEC, the police and all other government agencies for performing their tasks in a proper manner and for refusing to be induced to undermine the election and the democratic process.

I also wish to thank religious Leaders, traditional leaders, the media, labour unions, Civil Society organisations, organised private sector,
youths and students for their roles in this election.

I give special thanks to President Obama and his timely intervention and support for peaceful and credible elections in Nigeria and for
sending Secretary John Kerry and other United States officials. The European Union – especially the United Kingdom, France, Germany and other nations that were actively involved in ensuring the success of this election are equally appreciated. My sincere thanks to the United Nations Secretary General Mr Ban-Ki Moon. The Commonwealth, China, India and other Asian and Gulf states are also hereby appreciated.

Finally our brothers in the African Union and ECOWAS have truly and clearly shown and demonstrate their commitment to our
democratisation process. Former Presidents John Kuffour, Amos Sawyer, Bakili Muluzi and his team are well appreciated. I must also
add my appreciation for the role played by civil societies, national and International observers, other world leaders in ensuring that Nigeria holds free and fair elections.

I assure all foreign governments that Nigeria will become a more forceful and constructive player in the global fight against terrorism
and in other matters of collective concern, such as the fight against drugs, climate change, financial fraud, communicable diseases and
other issues requiring global response. I want to assure our fellow African nations that Nigeria will now stand as a more constructive
partner in advancing the matters of concern to our continent, particularly with regard to economic development and eradication of
poverty.

Former head of state and president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, General Yakubu Gowon, Alh. Shehu Shagari, General Ibrahim Babangida, Chief Ernest Shonekan and General Abdulsalami Abubakar deserve commendations for their statesmanship and words of caution and counsel for peace during the tense moments of this electoral period.

Most of all, I thank the people of Nigeria for reposing their confidence in me at this trying moment. Our nation wrestles many challenges including insecurity, corruption, economic decline. I pledge to give you my best in tackling these problems.

The good people of Nigeria, your obligation does not end with casting your ballot. I seek your voice and input as we tackle these problems.

This will not be a government democratic only in form. It will be a government democratic in substance and in how it interacts with its
own people.

No doubt, this nation has suffered greatly in the recent past, and its staying power has been tested to its limits by crises, chief among
which is insurgency of the Boko Haram. There is no doubt that in tackling the insurgency we have a tough and urgent job to do. But I
assure you that Boko Haram will soon know the strength of our collective will and commitment to rid this nation of terror, and bring
back peace and normalcy to all the affected areas. We shall spare no effort until we defeat terrorism.

Furthermore, we shall strongly battle another form of evil that is even worse than terrorism—the evil of corruption. Corruption attacks and seeks to destroy our national institutions and character. By misdirecting into selfish hands funds intended for the public purpose, corruption distorts the economy and worsens income inequality. It creates a class of unjustly-enriched people.

Such an illegal yet powerful force soon comes to undermine democracy because its conspirators have amassed so much money that they believe they can buy government. We shall end this threat to our economic development and democratic survival. I repeat that
corruption will not be tolerated by this administration; and it shall no longer be allowed to stand as if it is a respected monument in this
nation.

I ask you to join me in resolving these and the other challenges we face. Along the way, there will be victories but there may also be
setbacks. Mistakes will be made. But we shall never take you for granted; so, be rest assured that our errors will be those of
compassion and commitment not of wilful neglect and indifference.

We shall correct that which does not work and improve that which does. We shall not stop, stand or idle. We shall, if necessary crawl,
walk and run to do the job you have elected us to do.

I realise that the expectation of our people today is as high as their commitment to change has been strong and their belief in us
unshaken. While we pledge to begin doing our best without delay, we would like to appeal to them to appreciate the gravity of our situation, so that we become more realistic in our expectations.

We will govern for you and in your interests. Your vote was not wasted.

This is not the first time Nigerians have cast their votes for us, and this is not the first time they have been counted; but this is the first time that the votes have been allowed to count. With the help of God, we pledge to do our utmost to bring forth the Nigeria you seek.

Thank you for your patience and attention.

General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR
President-Elect,
Federal Republic of Nigeria

Orubebe Apologises For Outburst At Election Results’ Collation Centre

sd_godsday_orubebe_on_eye_on_ministry_of_niger_delta_061112A former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, has apologised for the outburst he expressed on Tuesday while the collation of Nigeria’s presidential election results was on-going at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja.

Mr Orubebe had accused the Chairman of the Independent National electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega of being ” tribalistic, selective and partial” in dealing with issues of irregularities raised during the just-concluded presidential and National Assembly elections.

He said his action was as a result of frustration, triggered by alleged refusal of the INEC to take his party’s petition.

Apologies to fellow Nigerians 

“My colleague came here and approached him gently about the petition and he told my colleague to go and give it to his secretary.

“We were surprised that yesterday, the secretary came and threw the paper at my colleague and the chairman said that he was not going to take the petition. So we were wondering that, in a position that we are talking about providing the best for the people of this country, what we expect from the commission is fair and equal treatment for any political party,”  Mr Orubebe said.

Hours after the announcement of the winner of the election, Mr Orube apologised on his twitter handle saying: “At ICC; the event and outburst of yesterday (Tuesday) is regrettable. Apologies to fellow Nigerians”.

— Godsday P. Orubebe (@ElderGOrubebe) April 1, 2015

Mr Orubebe has also congratulated the winner of the Presidential elections, General Muhammadu Buhari, saying the result is “victory for democracy”. His outburst came before a session of result announcement started. Before that section of collation resumed, Mr Orubebe had tweeted on his twitter handle: “We must all remain calm and peaceful as we are ready for the second phase of collation and result announcement”.

However, in raging outburst, he brought the proceedings to a temporary halt, insisting that the collation would not continue.

“Professor Jega! You cannot continue,” he shouted for minutes.

After his outburst, the chairman of the INEC said the ruling party had not submitted any written petition to the commission.

“Yesterday, after we took the first batch of results in this hall and as we declared a recess, as I was working down to the office, my PA came to me and said that here are some papers that the PDP representatives gave to him.

“I told my PA to take back the documents to them, that we don’t collect petitions on the platform where we are collating results.

“As I speak to you, the secretary of the commission is in the office to collect petitions.

“I have started collations and I cannot be receiving petitions in this hall.

“As I speak to you I have not received any petition from my secretary which the PDP has submitted.

“On the issue of results with the APC, I have not seen any result. On that issue, I think it is frankly unfair to me. I have not seen the results and how can I speak on something I have not seen

“Please, let us be careful about what we say or do. Let us not disrupt a process that has ended peacefully.

“Mr Orubebe, you are former Minister of the Federal Republic. You a statesman in your own right. You should be careful about what you say or what allegations you make and certainly you should be careful about your public conduct,” Professor Jega said.

During a recess after the incident, Mr Orube said it was “unfortunate that the chairman of the commission allowed things to degenerate to this level”. We approached him quietly. The PDP had in a petition raised issues concerning four states and the petition was taken to their man office. Nobody was ready to take the petition”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reps to investigate allegations of corruption against Orubebe

The House of Representatives on Thursday directed two of its standing committees to commence an investigation into allegations of corrupt practices brought against the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe.

The Minister of Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe

The motion presented by a member of the House, Olesegun Odeneye (Ogun State) reminded the House of allegations that the minister has paid for many phantom projects, and is presently residing in a house, built and handed over to him by a construction company which he has failed to declare in his asset declaration.

“A case has been made against the minister as it relates to a house built for him by Setraco Construction Company at Mabushi district here in Abuja. It has been found that he failed to declare the house in his asset declaration form with the Code of Conduct Bureau,” Mr Odeneye said.
The House subsequently mandated its committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes to investigate the matter and make appropriate recommendations to the House within 21 days.

The House further directed the ministry of Finance, the Central Bank and the Accountant General of the federation to suspend all payments into the ministry over what it described as bogus contracts, except the East West road projects until the completion of investigation to verify the authenticity of certificates pending for payment.

The deputy speaker, who presided, ruled that the motion should not be debated until investigations are completed.

A non-governmental organisation, Anti-Corruption Network, led by former member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye had accused Mr Orubebe of using his office to divert public fund for his personal use. The organisation provided photos of a residence it claimed was built for the Minister in the Mabushi area of Abuja.

Leader of the group had alleged that Setraco built and delivered the new mansion to Mr Orubebe in less than six months after the company benefitted from contracts to build part of the East-West highway in the Delta region.

Orubebe tells NGOs to criticise FG constructively

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, has called on Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) existent in Nigeria to criticise the government constructively.

The minister was speaking after an NGO, Anti-Corruption Network, headed by a former member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dino Melaye, accused his ministry of involvement in fictitious contracts totalling N29 billion between 2010 and 2011.

The projects as alleged by Melaye are Canalisation/River Training Centre in Foupolobulou Ndoro Creek; canalisation contract and the Land Reclamation/Shoreline protection project at Ogbobagbene in Burutu Local Government Area.

Mr. Melaye said the scam involved payments for “phantom projects”, over-budgeting and violation of Bureau of Public Procurement guidelines for the award of government contracts.

Niger Delta Ministry: Orubebe denies Melaye’s allegations of inflating contract cost

The Minister of Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe on Tuesday dismissed allegations by the anti-corruption network led by a former member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye that the ministry awards and pays for non-existent and over inflated contracts.

The Minister of Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe

Reacting to the allegations, Mr Orubebe said all projects initiated by the ministry are verifiable and exist in communities traceable by anyone who is serious on getting facts.

He said all projects are mandated to go through the due process office and the ministry only deals with existing files of projects approved by the due process office and not with contractors as the allegations suggest.

“What they have said is total fallacy,” the Minister said.

In a telephone interview with Channels Television, Mr Orubebe, who travelled out of Nigeria, promised to furnish the media with the “facts and figures” of the contracts.

Mr Melaye, who is the Secretary of the anti-corruption network, had alleged spurious award of contracts in the Niger Delta by the ministry threating to file legal action against the Minister of finance and her Mr Orubebe.

Also reacting to the allegations by the former lawmaker, the chairman of the House of Representatives’ committee on the Niger Delta, Warman Ogoriba said he is not aware of any petition to his committee on projects in the region and advised Mr Melaye to desist from misleading the public with his unverified records.

Some of the allegedly phantom projects which the group said have been exhaustively investigated and found fraudulent are the contract for the channelization of the Odoubou-Bololou creek project in Ogbaba-Gbene, Brutu Local government area, costing N1.2 billion; contract for the land reclamation and shoreline protection at Ogboba-Gbene and channelization of Foupolo-Bunu ndoro creek both above N2 billion each.

Both Misters Orubebe and Ogoriba however said the former lawmaker and his group are only being mischievous and crying woof over nothing.