INEC Challenges Judgement Upholding Natasha Akpoti’s Candidacy

A file photo of Mrs Natasha Akpoti.

 

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has filed an appeal to challenge the judgement which asked that a Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate, Natasha Akpoti, was eligible to contest the governorship election in Kogi State.

In the case filed at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, the electoral umpire stated its dissatisfaction with the judgement delivered by Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa on November 7 at the Federal High Court in Abuja

Justice Ogunbanjo-Giwa, at the time, ruled that INEC was wrong to have disqualified Akpoti from the November 16 poll.

In her judgment, she held that INEC lacked the power to disqualify any candidate for an election as it was the exclusive preserve of a competent court of law.

The judged then granted reliefs 1 to 7 of the plaintiffs and ordered the electoral umpire to include the names of the governorship and deputy governorship candidates of the SDP, as well as the party’s logo on the ballot in the poll.

READ ALSO: The Military That Conquered Nigeria In 1966 Still In Effective Control – Opadokun

Meanwhile, the electoral umpire confirmed to Channels Television that it planned to challenge the judgement and some others, if possible up to the highest level to help strengthen the nation’s electoral system.

Akpoti and her running mate, Adams Khalid, had approached the court to challenge their exclusion from the governorship election by INEC.

INEC had refused to accept the nomination of Khalid in replacement of the earlier nominated running mate, Mohammed Yakubu.

Yakubu was replaced on the ground that he was not qualified to run as a deputy governorship candidate on account of his age.

Akpoti and the SDP were then disqualified by INEC for nominating an unqualified deputy governorship candidate.

SDP’s Natasha Akpoti Calls For Cancellation Of Election In Kogi Central, Lokoja

 

The Governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party in Kogi State, Natasha Akpoti, has called for the cancellation of the elections in Kogi Central and parts of Lokoja, the state capital.

Akpoti wants the Independent National Electoral Commission to cancel the elections in the areas and hold a rerun on the grounds that “what happened in Kogi Central and other parts of the state was a far cry from a credible election”.

“Ballot boxes were destroyed and burnt in Okene, Adavi, Ajaokuta and Ogori Magongo and Okehi Local government areas and other parts of the state,” she said in the statement on Sunday.

“Our agents were chased away from the various polling units of the Kogi Central Senatorial District.”

For Akpoti, these incidents were enough to make INEC take drastic action.

“I am therefore calling on you and in line with your powers as enshrined in the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended to cancel the election in Kogi Central Senatorial District and some part of Lokoja and order for a rerun,” she said.

Saturday’s election had been marked by reports of violence, thuggery, harassment and intimidation with INEC condemning those incidents.

The electoral umpire had, however, said in a statement on Saturday that most of those who wanted to vote got to do so.

For Akpoti and her party’s agents and supporters, it was a different story, according to her statement.

“In some polling units, our agents were tied with ropes by APC-led thugs,” she said.

She also alleged that gun-wielding thugs supporting the APC did not allow SDP agents in Okene to come near the polling units. These thugs, she added, told voters not to come and vote unless they were to vote only APC.

SDP’s Natasha Akpoti Votes, Decries Violence In Kogi Elections

 

Candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) at the 2019 Kogi Governorship Election, Natasha Akpoti, has cast her vote in the polls, after which she accused incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello of sponsoring violence.

Akpoti told reporters that she has the “tremendous support” of the Kogi people but is worried about the violence being sponsored by her opponent.

“I am the most credible of all the candidates and I have the tremendous support of not just people from Kogi Central, but also Kogi East and Kogi West,” she said. “And it is unfortunate that the government at hand, with due respect to the APC candidate, Yahyha Bello, has decided to take laws into his hands and sent thugs to embark on violence and attack.”

Akpoti also noted that she was concerned about the level of training exhibited by the INEC officials at the ward where she voted.

 

PHOTOS: Court Returns SDP’s Natasha Akpoti To Kogi Governorship Race

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Thursday held that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was wrong to have disqualified the Kogi governorship election candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Natasha Akpoti.

 

See Photos Below:

Kogi Election: SDP Candidate Natasha Akpoti Is Qualified To Contest, Court Rules

Kogi SDP Governorship candidate Natasha Akpoti addressing supporters after court ruling in her favour at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Thursday. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Thursday held that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was wrong to have disqualified the Kogi governorship election candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Natasha Akpoti.

Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa in her judgment says INEC lacks the power to disqualify any candidate for an election as it is the exclusive preserve of a competent court of law.

READ ALSO: Appeal Court Affirms El-Rufai’s Election As Kaduna Governor

According to the Judge, the provisions of sections 31(1) and 83 of the Electoral Act which holds that INEC cannot disqualify or reject candidates nominated by a political party for an election is aimed at ensuring that it does not lie within the executive realms of INEC to determine who participates in an election.

Justice Ogunbanjo-Giwa accordingly granted reliefs 1 to 7 of the plaintiffs as she orders INEC to include the names of the governorship and deputy governorship candidate of the SDP as well as the party’s logo on the ballot in the November 16 governorship election in Kogi State.

Akpoti and her running mate Adams Khalid had approached the court to challenge their exclusion from the 2019 Kogi State governorship election by INEC.

The electoral umpire had refused to accept the nomination of Mr Khalid in replacement of the earlier nominated running mate, Mohammed Yakubu.

Mr Yakubu was replaced on the grounds that he was not qualified to run as a deputy governorship candidate on account of his age.

Mrs Akpoti and the SDP were thus disqualified by INEC for nominating an unqualified deputy governorship candidate.

The Kogi Governorship election is scheduled to hold on November 16.

Oyo SDP Forms Alliance With PDP Ahead Of Governorship Polls

 

The Social Democratic Party in Oyo State has formed an alliance with the Peoples Democratic Party ahead of the March 9 governorship election.

Candidate of the SDP, Bolaji Ayorinde, confirmed this on Saturday after a meeting with the candidate of the Zenith Labour Party, Sharafadeen Alli and that of the PDP, Seyi Makinde.

The meeting which took place at the residence of the former governor, Rasheed Ladoja, was according to them, aimed at deliberating on forming a coalition against the All Progressives Congress-led government.

Speaking on the decision, Ayorinde said Makinde is the preferred candidate, adding that the coalition is an open book and other political parties are free to join in the interest of the people of the state.

The ZLP candidate, on the other hand, declined to speak to journalists noting that talks are still ongoing.

SDP Candidate Defects To PDP, Pledges Allegiance To Wike In Rivers

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike receiving Rivers State Deputy Governorship Candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Christopher Udume

 

The Rivers State Deputy Governorship Candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Christopher Udume, has defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), declaring support for the re-election bid of Governor Nyesom Wike.

Mr Udume defected with 98 percent of the SDP Executive Committee and some party chairmen from the Local Government Areas.

Speaking during a defection meeting at the PDP Campaign Office in the state on Thursday in Port Harcourt, Udume said they were defecting to the PDP to assist Governor Wike to secure his re-election.

He said: “On behalf of myself and supporters of the SDP, we wish to join the PDP. We are bold to say that you deserve to continue with your good works.

READ ALSOAbia Residents Protest Over Results Of National Assembly Elections

“We are here to say, re-elect Wike again. Your great works are there for all to see and we are therefore committed to ensuring that you get a second term”.

He stated that the new PDP entrants will work with Senator-elect for Rivers South-east, Bari Mpigi to ensure the total success of the party.

State Publicity Secretary of SDP, Inime Righteous, said that the party has come to identify with a success story.

He said that they are motivated because evidence abounds on the achievements of the Governor.

Financial Secretary of the SDP, Adol Ibeka, noted that the leadership of SDP has moved specifically to deliver Governor Wike during the 2019 Governorship election.

While the Secretary of SDP, Cotterell Tumbodiaa, said that the second term of the governor is guaranteed.

The state governor in his response said his re-election has been secured by God and the good people of Rivers State.

He said with the defection of the SDP Deputy Governorship Candidate of SDP, the party no longer has a Governorship Candidate because of the constitutional requirement for election.

“God in his infinite mercies has given us victory. Nobody born of a woman can stop us from victory. It doesn’t matter the gunboats or armoured personnel carriers, God is with us.

“Anybody can plan against us, but you are planning against God. I cannot be afraid of any man because He who is with us, is greater than them “, he said.

“All the schemes against elections in Rivers State will fail because the state is PDP”.

Governor Wike thanked the former leaders of SDP in Rivers State for committing to peaceful elections in Rivers State.

He urged other leaders to abandon negative destructive tendencies and join in the development of the State.

 

SDP Crisis: Court Adjourns Jerry Gana’s Appeal Challenging Judgment On Donald Duke’s Candidacy

 

The Supreme Court has adjourned the appeal filed by a former Information Minister of Information, Jerry Gana, challenging the judgment of the appeal court which dismissed his appeal challenging the candidacy of Mr. Donald Duke as the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party, (SDP).

The Supreme Court panel presided over by the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice Tanko Mahmood, said the court can not go ahead to hear the suit and deliver judgment as requested by professor Gana because all parties have not been properly served as required by law.

READ ALSOSDP Expels Jerry Gana, Suspends Donald Duke

The case has been adjourned to February 26, 2019, for hearing.

The appeal court had set aside the judgment of a Federal High Court which nullified the candidacy of Mr. Donald Duke as a Presidential candidate of the SDP for lacking merit.

Falae Quits Active Politics

File Photo; The Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Mr Olu Falae speaks to Channels Television on the herdsmen attacks in parts of the country.

 

A former Presidential candidate and Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Olu Falae, has announced that he will no longer be actively involved in politics.

The decision according to him is a result of some health challenges.

Falae made the announcement at a news conference in Akure, the Ondo State capital on Friday.

Details later…

General Elections: I Remain SDP’s Candidate, Duke Reacts To Buhari’s Endorsement

How I Will Fix Electricity Problem In 36 Months – Donald Duke
File: Former Cross Rivers State Governor, Donald Duke.

 

Former Governor of Cross River State, Mr Donald Duke, says he remains the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) despite reports that the party has endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari as its consensus candidate for the 2019 general elections.

Duke took to his Twitter page on Thursday night to condemn the party’s decision, insisting that he remains the sole candidate of the SDP.

“Regardless and for the avoidance of doubt, I Donald Duke, remain on the ballot and the candidate of SDP as recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),” he stated.

Duke claimed that he was being fought by a presidential aspirant in the party who believes he is from the “wrong part of Nigeria.”

READ ALSO: Court Declares Jerry Gana As SDP Presidential Candidate, Sacks Donald Duke

“This afternoon, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Social Democrats Party, SDP, came up with a decision to endorse the APC and its candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari for the February 16th Presidential election.

“This decision has arisen according to the party, as a result of protracted legal squabbles within the party which has made the party unable to commence a decent campaign.

“This unfortunate saga, is as a result of an aspirant who lost at the party primaries on the 6th of October fair and square, does not query the conduct of the primaries but rather resort to bigotry, querying my suitability to contest for the presidency on the grounds that I come from “the wrong part of the country,” he said.

According to him, the decision to join the presidential race under the SDP platform rather than the previous party he belonged to was to make the needed change.

He thereafter criticised the SDP’s National Executive Council for the decision he describes as rather unfortunate.

General Elections: SDP Adopts Buhari As Consensus Candidate

SDP Adopts President Muhammadu Buhari As Consensus Candidate

 

The National Executive Council of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has adopted President Muhammadu Buhari as the consensus candidate for the February 16, Presidential election.

The endorsement follows the recent legal battle between two candidates former Information Minister, Jerry Gana and former Cross River State Governor, Donald Duke who jostled for the Presidential ticket.

An FCT High Court in Abuja had on December 14, 2018, declared the Jerry Gana, as the winner of the presidential primary of the SDP.

READ ALSOCourt Declares Jerry Gana As SDP Presidential Candidate, Sacks Donald Duke

Professor Gana had gone to the court in November, seeking to be declared the winner of the primary, in line with the zoning formula of the party.

This development comes after the SDP announced Mr Duke as the winner of the primary which was held in October.

According to the party, the former governor polled 812 votes to defeat the former minister who scored 611 votes.

Mr Gana, however, claimed that the convention of the party that ushered in Duke as the presidential candidate of the party was illegal and flawed.

But on January 24, 2019, the Appeal Court set aside the ruling of the FCT High Court which prevented Donald Duke from parading himself as the Presidential candidate of the party.

The three-man panel led by Justice Abdul Aboki held that the application was illegal and unconstitutional, which ought not to have been entertained by the lower court.

Related PostAppeal Court Overturns Ruling Disqualifying Donald Duke As SDP’s Presidential Candidate

The court further held that the position of the former minister in section 18 of the party’s amended constitution contravenes the Electoral Acts stipulation for the validity of a candidate in any election.

SDP Crisis: Donald Duke Hails Appeal Court Judgment, Says It Is ‘Interpretation Of Law’

Jerry Gana                                                                                         Donald Duke

 

A former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, has hailed the judgement of the Appeal Court in Abuja that reinstated him as the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

Duke, who made an appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily Friday, described the Appellate Court’s decision as an “interpretation of law”.

“What happened at the lower court could be described as a political judgement. What happened at the Appeal Court was the interpretation of the law,” he said.

His comments come amid the lingering crisis over who flies the party’s flag during next month’s presidential election.

Duke had emerged the SDP’s presidential candidate after polling 812 votes to beat his closest rival and former Information Minister, Professor Jerry Gana, who polled 611, during the party’s primary which held on October 6, 2018,

Dissatisfied with the outcome, Gana approached an Abuja High Court in November to disqualify Duke as the party’s presidential candidate.

Consequently, he got respite on December 14 when the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court declared him the winner of the party’s presidential primary.

Duke, however, appealed the ruling.

On Thursday, the Appeal Court ruled in his favour by overturning the ruling of the FCT court that disqualified him as the party’s presidential candidate.

READ ALSO: Appeal Court Overturns Ruling Disqualifying Donald Duke As SDP’s Presidential Candidate

The former Cross River Governor, therefore, appealed to aggrieved members of the party to sheathe their swords and work for their victory at the general elections.

“You cannot get a 100 per cent support. It’s left for me to show leadership, to bring them onboard and reach out to Professor Gana and appeal to him so that we can come together and see a larger picture which is our party and the nation.

“I am doing that. I did that on October 7 and I am doing it again. Leadership is conciliatory and working together, building bridges. He may be hurt, but it gets to a point where pursuing interests works contrary to the larger interests.

“And I think we have gotten to that point. We have 23 days to the elections. There is hardly enough time to sell our views to the nation,” he said.