Despite COVID-19, Kogi Still Pays Salaries, Repays Loans – Governor Bello

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, speaks after the Supreme Court affirmed his election as governor of the state.

 

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State says despite the dwindling resources occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the state still pays workers’ salaries while gradually offsetting its debts.

The governor disclosed this on Monday during an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

According to Governor Bello, his administration has been prudent with the management of the state resources to the benefit of the people.

He explained that critics of the state government should commend efforts made in addressing the numerous challenges facing the state.

READ ALSO: Bitter, Unnecessary Disputes Costing APC Seats In Elections, Buhari Decries

“In this COVID-19 regime, we are paying salaries, projects are ongoing, all our obligations and the indebtedness that we inherited, we are paying steadily.

“We are not going to take more than N1billion per month. That is financial prudence that in this era that resources are dwindling, Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) has nosedived, inflows from the federation account has really nosedived.

“We are paying back our loans; we are paying all other loans. Yet we are meeting up with all our obligations and projects are ongoing,” he said.

 

When asked why some Kogi workers still receive part payment of their salaries, the governor neither confirmed nor denied it.

He simply replied: “I am not aware of anybody that is being paid percentage of their salaries. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and other organised labours are there.

“On a monthly basis, we are meeting up with our financials, our salary obligations and other contractual agreements are being met on a monthly basis.”

His remarks followed the Supreme Court verdict which upheld his electoral victory in November 2019.

Speaking further, Governor Bello asked his opponent to join hands in building a better state.

Kogi: PDP Expresses Shock, Says Supreme Court Judgement Does Not Inspire Hope

PDP Hails Supreme Court Ruling On Zamfara Election

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that it is shocked over the judgement of the Supreme Court which upheld the victory of Yahaya Bello as the Governor of Kogi State.

The apex court had dismissed the five grounds of appeal filed by the PDP candidate, Musa Wada, including allegations of rigging and over-voting, and that Governor Bello did not secure the highest votes.

In a statement on Monday by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said that the judgment fell short of the expectation of the majority of the people of Kogi State and Nigerians in general.

The party added that the judgement has failed to inspire hope for a violent-free election in the country.

READ ALSO: Supreme Court Upholds Election Of Yahaya Bello As Kogi Governor

It called on its supporters and the people of Kogi State to remain calm and focused on achieving a credible electoral process in the country, while also mourning those who lost their lives during and after the election.

“Our party deeply mourns all those who were gruesomely murdered, as well as commiserates with all victims of violence.”

The PDP urged its supporters not to lose hope after pursuing the recovery of their mandate to the very end.

According to it, such commitment is a demonstration of the undying determination of the people to defend their choice of leadership.

“Our party will continue to stand with the people of Kogi State as they weather the insensitive and anti-people government in Kogi State,” the party added.

No Victor, No Vanquished, Says Gov Bello After Supreme Court Victory

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State speaks to journalists after the Supreme Court upheld his victory in the November 16, 2019 Governorship election on Monday.

 

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has said that there is no victor and no vanquished in the Supreme Court judgement which pronounced him the winner in the November 16, 2019 Governorship election.

Reacting shortly after the apex court upheld his election as the Governor of Kogi State, Mr Bello who said the victory means a lot to him, thanked God and the people of the State for giving him a mandate for another four years.

“I thank the people of Kogi State who turned out en masse and trusted me and gave us their mandate for another four years. I appreciate Mr President, Muhammadu Buhari, and all the party leaders of the All Progressives Congress at all levels.

“This wonderful resounding statement from God almighty through the justices of the Supreme Court means a lot to me and the people of Kogi State.

“By the special grace of God, we will continue to do more for our people in the area of security, infrastructure, fighting corruption, and to ensure that we lead with the fear of God,” he promised.

READ ALSO: Supreme Court Upholds Election Of Yahaya Bello As Kogi Governor

The Governor stressed that his administration will need the support of everyone as he seeks to push a united State, which he said, has not been united over the years.

“I will continue to do my best to ensure that across the party line, we continue to unite Kogi State and the people will continue to benefit and feel the dividends of democracy irrespective of your religion or the senatorial district you come from.

“In this particular pronouncement of the Supreme Court, I state that there is no victor and there is no vanquished, we only tested what the law and fact is before the court; they have spoken and I know you will join me in making sure that we unite the state.

“I call on my brothers and sisters, those who contested with me, the victory is all ours because we are citizens of Kogi State. We all have the interest of the state at heart, but today, the people spoke; God almighty has really affirmed this assertion by the people.”

The apex court, in its judgement led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, dismissed the appeals filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Kogi Governorship Election, Musa Wada.

The panel also dismissed the seven grounds of appeal filed by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its candidate, Natasha Akpoti, which includes an allegation of age falsification against the Kogi State Deputy Governor.

Supreme Court Upholds Election Of Yahaya Bello As Kogi Governor

Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello speaks on COVID-19 at the Government House in Lokoja on July 5, 2020.

 

The Supreme Court has upheld the election of Yahaya Bello as the Governor of Kogi State.

In its Judgement delivered on Monday, the Apex Court, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, disagreed with the appeal filed on five grounds by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Kogi Governorship Election, Musa Wada.

Mr Wada claimed that the election held on November 16, 2019, was riddled with serious electoral infractions; rigging and over-voting, and that Governor Bello didn’t secure the highest vote.

The apex court also dismissed the seven grounds of appeal filed by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its candidate, Natasha Akpoti, which includes an allegation of age falsification against the Kogi State Deputy Governor

Other members of the panel include Justices Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, Sylvester Ngwuta, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Inyang Okoro, Amina Augie, Uwani Abba-Aji.

Mr Wada approached the Supreme Court after his petition was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on July 4th, 2020 with a split decision of two to one.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) returned Bello as the duly elected governor on November 18, 2019, having scored the highest number of votes in the poll.

He got a total of 406,222 votes to beat his closest rival, Wada who scored 189,704 votes and Akpoti who garnered a total of 9,482 votes.

Supreme Court Set To Deliver Judgement In Kogi Governorship Appeal

A file photo of a courtroom at the Supreme Court complex in Abuja. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The Supreme Court will on Monday, deliver judgement in the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, and its candidate in the Kogi Governorship Election, Musa Wada, challenging the election and victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Yahaya Bello as the Governor of Kogi State.

Last week, A seven-man panel of the Supreme Court presided by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Mohammed heard the appeal filed by Mr Wada and fixed August 31 to deliver judgement.

Mr Wada who lost his appeal at the Election Petition Tribunal claimed that the Kogi election held on November 16, 2019, was riddled with serious electoral infractions, when he approached the Supreme Court after his petition was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on July 4th, 2020 with a split decision of two to one.

A five-man panel of justices of the appeal court upheld Governor Bello’s election and ordered Mr Wada to pay a sum of N100,000 each to Governor Bello, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and INEC, who were listed as respondents in the appeal.

READ ALSO: Leadership Absent In Nigeria, Govt Is Crippled – Pat Utomi

The apex court will also give a verdict in the appeal filed by the Social Democratic Party and its candidate, Natasha Akpoti.

Lawyer to Governor Bello, Joseph Daudu, and that of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Dr Alex Izinyon, urged the court to dismiss the appeal filed by Mr Wada through his lawyer, Jibrin Okutepa, for lacking in merit.

Mr Daudu asked the apex Court to toe the line of the Court of Appeal and the election petition tribunal which gave concurrent decisions by dismissing Mr Wada’s petition.

Meanwhile, the second appeal filed by the SDP and its candidate asked the apex Court to set aside the findings of the Court of Appeal and the Tribunal and allow their appeal to succeed.

The Appeal Court had held that Akpoti could not prove the allegations of corruption and voter intimidation against Governor Bello.

On November 18, 2019, INEC returned Bello as the duly elected governor having scored the highest number of votes in the keenly contested poll.

He polled a total of 406,222 votes to beat his closest rival, Wada who scored 189,704 votes and Akpoti who garnered a total of 9,482 votes.

Kogi Election: Supreme Court Fixes August 31 For Verdict On Wada’s Appeal

PDP’s Musa Wada

 

Supreme Court sitting in Abuja has fixed August 31, 2020, for the judgement in the appeal filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Musa Wada.

Mr Wada is challenging the election victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Yahaya Bello as the Governor of Kogi State.

His party (PDP) insisted that its candidate won the November 16, 2019 governorship election while Mr Wada claims that the election that brought in Mr Bello as governor of the state was riddled with serious electoral infractions.

READ ALSO: Supreme Court Commences Hearing On Wada’s Appeal Challenging Yahaya Bello’s Election

A seven-man panel of the Supreme Court presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Mohammed, fixed the date to deliver judgments in two separate appeals challenging the victory of Mr. Bello shortly after hearing submissions of lawyers to parties in the separate suits.

The two appeals fixed for judgment are that of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate, Mr. Musa Wada and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its candidate, Natasha Akpoti.

Wada through his lawyer, Jibrin Okutepa pleaded with the Apex Court to allow his appeal.

However, lawyer to Governor Bello, Joseph Daudu, and that of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Dr Alex Izinyon, urged the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.

Mr Daudu specifically pleaded with the apex court to affirm the concurrent decisions of the Court of Appeal and the state governorship election petition tribunal which dismissed Wada’s petition.

In the second appeal filed by the SDP and its governorship candidate Natasha Akpoti, the apex court also announced its decision to give a final verdict on the same day with that of the PDP.

While arguing their brief, the two appellants had pleaded with the panel of the apex court to set aside the findings of the Court of Appeal and the Tribunal and allow their appeal to succeed.

Counsel to INEC, Dr Alex Izinyon and Paul Daudu in their separate arguments prayed for an outright dismissal of the appeal.

A third appeal filed by the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) and its governorship candidate, Usman Mohammed was, however, dismissed after it was withdrawn by the appellants.

The appeal was a sequel to the Court’s prompting on the eligibility of its candidate who was said to be 31 years instead of the mandatory 35 years.

In May, Mr. Wada lost his petition at the election tribunal which sat in Abuja

In the judgment of two to one, delivered by the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Kashim Kaigama, the tribunal held that the petitioner had failed to prove the allegations of over-voting, massive thumb printing, voter intimidation, and other electoral malpractices.

The tribunal also awarded a cost of one million naira to be paid by the petitioners, PDP and Musa Wada to INEC, Yahaya Bello, and APC who are the respondents.

Thereafter, Mr Wada lost his appeal before the Court of Appeal, being dissatisfied with the judgement, he approached the Apex Court.

Supreme Court Commences Hearing On Wada’s Appeal Challenging Yahaya Bello’s Election

A file photo of the Supreme Court in Abuja.

 

Supreme Court has on Tuesday commenced hearing on the appeal filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Musa Wada challenging the election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Yahaya Bello as the Governor of Kogi State.

The Chief  Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Mohammed is presiding over a seven-man panel at the hearing.

The PDP had insisted that its candidate Mr. Wada won the November 2019 governorship election.

The appellant claims that the election that brought in Mr. Bello as the Governor of Kogi State was riddled with serious electoral infractions.

He had earlier lost his petition at the election tribunal which sat in Abuja and lost his appeal before the Court of Appeal, being dissatisfied with the judgment of the Appeal Court, he approached the Apex Court.

INEC To Challenge Judgement Relisting Political Parties At Supreme Court

A section of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters in Abuja was gutted by fire on April 17, 2020.
A signboard of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters in Abuja.

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has received the judgement of the Court of Appeal reinstating at least 22 political parties in the country.

INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, confirmed the receipt of the judgement in a statement on Monday.

Channels Television had reported that Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), and 20 others were reinstated by the appellate court.

But the electoral umpire said a total of 23 political parties were relisted by the four-man panel of judges led by Justice Sodipe Lokulo.

READ ALSO: Appeal Court Reinstates 22 Political Parties, Says INEC’s Action Illegal

Okoye decried that the same court had upheld its decision to de-register the political parties, only for it to later fault its action.

“We recall that on July 29, 2020, the Court of Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division in an appeal filed by the National Unity Party (NUP) affirmed the power of the Commission (INEC) to deregister political parties that fail to meet the constitutional threshold in Section 225A.

“Dissatisfied with the judgment, the National Unity Party lodged an appeal which is presently pending before the Supreme Court,” he said.

The INEC official added, “The Commission is, therefore, faced with two conflicting judgements from the Court of Appeal – one affirming the powers of the Commission to deregister political parties and the other setting aside the deregistration of ACD & 22 others.

“Faced with two conflicting judgements from the same Court, the Commission is not in a position to pick and choose which one of them to obey.”

Okoye said INEC would approach the Supreme Court for a final resolution of the issues raised in the two conflicting judgements.

He insisted that the commission was focused on preparations for the conduct of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections scheduled to hold on September 19, 2020, and October 10, 2020.

According to the national commissioner, INEC is strictly and methodically following its timetable and schedule of activities derived from the Constitution and the Electoral Act.

He assured Nigerians and the people of Edo and Ondo States that the electoral umpire was on course and would deliver on its mandate.

US Supreme Court Allows First Federal Executions In 17 Years

A man holds a sign in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on July 9, 2020. - The court ruled that US President Donald Trump must hand over financial records to prosecutors in New York. In a 7-2 ruling, the court said the president does not have absolute immunity from criminal investigation. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP)
A man holds a sign in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on July 9, 2020. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP)

 

 

The Supreme Court of the United States on Tuesday cleared the path for the first federal executions in 17 years, overturning an earlier order by a lower court to delay them.

“We vacate the District Court’s preliminary injunction so that the… executions may proceed as planned,” the Supreme Court ruled, referring to four scheduled executions.

They were suspended by US District Judge Tanya Chutkan to allow for legal challenges to the lethal injection that was to be used in the executions.

 

 

AFP

Supreme Court Strikes Out Suits Challenging Legality Of Virtual Court Sittings

 

The Supreme Court has struck out a suit brought by the Attorney-General of Ekiti State, Olawale Fapohunda, against the Attorney-General of the Federation regarding the legality of virtual court sittings.

In the suit, Mr Fapohunda asked the court to determine whether the directive issued by the AGF to the Heads of Courts at Federal and State levels, as it relates to the conduct of virtual proceedings in court, is not a violation of the federalism provisions of the 1999 Constitution.

He also asked the apex court to determine if the directive issued in line with the National Judicial Council is not a violation of the constitutional provisions on fair hearing as it relates to the conduct of criminal trials in public.

Furthermore, Fapohunda asked the court to set aside or strike down directives to the extent that they purport to be binding on the Ekiti State High Court for being inconsistent with the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Apart from the Attorney General of the Federation, the Attorneys General of Lagos and Ogun States who have implemented virtual court proceedings were also listed as second and third defendants.

Ekiti State further asked that the Supreme Court determines whether the AGF’s guidelines are not a derogation from the legislative, executive and judicial law-making, law execution and adjudicatory rules making powers exclusively vested in states of the federation in respect of states courts, by virtue of Sections 1(3), 4(6), 5(2), 6(2), 272 and 272 and 274 of the Constitution.

File Photo of a virtual court proceeding in Ogun State.

 


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The plaintiff is also asking the apex court to decide whether Lagos and Ogun states, having adopted virtual court hearings pursuant to the lockdown, the three arms of Government in Ekiti State are bound to conduct their legislative, executive and judicial functions pertaining to adjudication in state courts in compliance with the directive upon which the National Judicial Council formulated the provisions of Articles E(1) to E(13) of its Guidelines (issued on May 7, 2020).

But in a unanimous judgement on Tuesday, a seven-man panel, led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour declared that as at today, virtual court sittings are not unconstitutional.

The suit was also struck out on grounds that it was speculative and failed to show any cause of action.

The court further held that the National Assembly is constitutionally empowered to make and amend laws and any Judge that refuses to sit virtually should be reported to the NJC and removed from the bench.

Meanwhile, the court also struck out a suit brought by the Attorney-General of Lagos State.

The issue of the constitutionality or otherwise of remote or virtual court hearing has dominated national discussion since the publication of the guidelines of the NJC which recommended virtual court proceedings for courts in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Opinion has been divided among lawyers on the legality of the directive.

A number of High Courts including those in Lagos, Ogun, and Borno states, have proceeded to implement the guidelines while many States have been adamant in their opposition to the directive insisting that only a constitutional amendment or pronouncement by the Supreme Court can ensure the legality of virtual court hearings.

Constitutionality Of Virtual Court Hearings: Supreme Court Set To Hear Ekiti Attorney General’s Case

 

The Supreme Court has fixed tomorrow, 14th July 2020 for the hearing of the suit brought by the Attorney- General of Ekiti State, Olawale Fapohunda against the Attorney-General of the Federation and Attorneys- General of Lagos and Ogun States respectively.

In the suit brought pursuant to Order 3 rule 6, Supreme Court Rules (as amended in 1999), section 232(1) of the 1999 constitution (as amended) and sections 1(3), 36(3) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the Attorney-General of Ekiti State is asking the Supreme Court to determine whether the directive issued by the Attorney-General of the Federation, vide its directive issued on the 20th of April, 2020 to the Head of Courts at Federal and States level, in conjunction with Guidelines, issued on the 7th May,2020, by the National Judicial Council specifically as it relates to the conduct of virtual proceedings in court is not only a violation of the federalism provisions of the 1999 Constitution but also in violation of the constitutional provisions on fair hearing specifically as it relates to the conduct of criminal trials in public.

READ ALSO: Compel Govs To Fund Healthcare With Security Votes, SERAP Asks Court

The Ekiti State Attorney- General is also asking the Supreme Court to set aside, or strike down so much of the said directive of the Attorney-General of the Federation and National Judicial Council Guidelines, as it relates to Virtual or Remote Court sittings to the extent that they purport to be binding on the Ekiti State High Court for being inconsistent with Section 1(3), 4(6), 5(2), 6(2), 36(3) and (4), 272 and 274 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

The issue of the constitutionality or otherwise of remote or virtual court hearing has dominated national discussion since the publication of the guidelines of the National Judicial Council which recommended virtual court proceedings for courts in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Opinion has been divided among lawyers on the legality of the directive. A number of High Courts including those in Lagos, Ogun, and Borno States have proceeded to implement the guidelines while many States have been adamant in their opposition to the directive insisting that only a constitutional amendment or pronouncement by the Supreme Court can ensure the legality of virtual court hearings.

US Supreme Court Orders Trump To Hand Over Financial Records To Prosecutors

U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a meeting of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board in the East Room of the White House on June 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP
U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a meeting of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board in the East Room of the White House on June 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

 

The US Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that President Donald Trump must hand over financial records to prosecutors in New York.

In a 7-2 ruling, the court said the president does not have absolute immunity from criminal investigation.

The nation’s highest court also issued a ruling in a separate case concerning a request by Democratic-led congressional committees for Trump’s tax returns and financial records.

In a 7-2 ruling and a partial victory for Trump, the court sent the congressional case back to a lower court for further consideration.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat, has asked for eight years of the president’s financial records in connection with an alleged “hush money” payment made to porn actress and former Playboy model Stormy Daniels.

Trump’s attorneys had claimed the president was immune from criminal investigation — a claim rejected by the court.

“Two hundred years ago, a great jurist of our Court established that no citizen, not even the President, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding,” the court said. “We reaffirm that principle today.”

Vance called the ruling “a tremendous victory for our nation’s system of justice and its founding principle that no one – not even a president – is above the law.

“Our investigation, which was delayed for almost a year by this lawsuit, will resume, guided as always by the grand jury’s solemn obligation to follow the law and the facts, wherever they may lead,” Vance said.

 

AFP