What We Expected Of Supreme Court’s Verdict On Akeredolu’s Election – PDP

Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, reacts to the Supreme Court verdict of July 28, 2021, at the Government House in Akure.

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has faulted the majority judgment of the Supreme Court on the Ondo State governorship election.

In a statement on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP insisted that the nomination of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu as the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate was flawed.

It stressed that the split judgment by the apex court on Akeredolu’s nomination proved that there was merit in the appeal against his election as governor.

“While our party restates its utmost respect for the institution of the judiciary, especially the Supreme Court, the PDP had expected the apex court to stand up as the conscience of our nation by halting the absurdities and impunities being entrenched in the political firmament by the APC,” the statement said.

It added, “The party notes that the majority judgement, as presented by the Supreme Court, did not address the impunity in the action of the Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, in functioning as the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) while at the same time holding office as a sitting governor, contrary to the provisions of Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), as well as the constitution of the APC.”

Candidate of the PDP for the 2020 Ondo Governorship election, Eyitayo Jegede, spoke to reporters on September 5, 2020.
A file photo of the PDP candidate in the 2020 Ondo Governorship election, Eyitayo Jegede.

 

According to the opposition party, the fact that three justices out of the seven-man panel upheld its position on the illegality of Akeredolu’s nomination confirms his candidacy as ‘cancerous’.

It described such an action as a brazen violation of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), as well as the constitution of the ruling party.

The PDP noted that that the judgement of the apex court did not disagree with its position that Mr Buni, as Governor of Yobe State, cannot function as the national chairman of a political party and nominate a candidate for election to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

It explained that the quest for a legal pronouncement that would guide the sanctity of the nation’s electoral system was the reason it explored its point of grievance legally to the highest court in the land, in the interest of the nation and not just because of its candidate, Eyitayo Jegede.

The party, however, urged its members in Ondo and across the country not to allow the development make them lose hope, but to remain calm and law-abiding in the general interest of the nation.

Ondo Poll: Buhari Praises Akeredolu, Asks Opposition To Sheathe Its Sword

In this file photo taken on September 4, 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari endorses Governor Rotimi Akeredolu as the APC candidate in the Ondo State governorship election.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State on his victory at the Supreme Court.

He also commended the judgement of the apex court which upheld the re-election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the October 10, 2020 polls.

The President praised the governor on Wednesday in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

He urged Governor Akeredolu and all elected leaders of the ruling party to always place the people first in their consideration of development programmes and projects.

President Buhari affirmed that the popularity of the APC would continue to depend on performance and acceptance by the electorate.

He also commended the governor for assiduously working for the development of the state, with reforms that continue to attract the goodwill of investors, and insistence that education, health and security take priority.

The President noted that the Supreme Court Judgement, preceded by that of the Court of Appeal, has further bolstered the strength and reach of the APC and its bright chances of consolidation in coming elections.

He called on the opposition to sheathe the sword, work for the development of Ondo State, and wished the government and people a prosperous future.

A seven-man panel of justices of the Supreme Court had upheld the re-election of Governor Akeredolu after hearing the appeal of Mr Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

While four of the justices held his re-election, the three others disagreed with the majority judgement, stressing that Akeredolu’s candidacy in the October 10, 2020, poll was a nullity.

They held that the appeal filed by the appellants had merit and ought not to be struck out by the appellate court.

Jegede and his party had asked the Court of Appeal in Akure, Ondo State capital to sack Akeredolu because his nomination form was signed by a sitting governor, Mai Mala Buni (of Yobe State), who doubled as the Acting National Chairman of the APC.

The appeal was filed in line with the constitutional provision that forbade a sitting governor from holding executive positions outside their statutory position as governors.

But the appellate court struck out the appeal for lack of merit – a decision which made the appellants seek redress in at the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Upholds Akeredolu’s Election

FILE PHOTO: Akeredolu won on the back of a campaign in which he promised to provide composed and focused leadership. Credit: Rotimi Akeredolu/Facebook

 

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the re-election of Rotimi Akeredolu as Governor of Ondo State.

Akeredolu’s victory was affirmed after four of the seven justices of the Supreme Court that heard the case upheld his candidacy in the October 10, 2020 election in the state.

Three other justices disagreed with the majority judgement, insisting that Akeredolu’s candidacy in that election is a nullity.

The minority judgement held the view that the appeal has merit and ought not to be struck out by the appeal court.

Akeredolu was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the October 10, 2020, governorship election in Ondo State.

The PDP and its candidate, Eyitayo Jegede had earlier approached the appeal court to challenge the candidacy of Akeredolu, insisting that his nomination form was signed by a sitting Governor Mai Buni who doubles as the Acting National Chairman of the party.

The appeal was based on the constitutional provision which forbids sitting Governors from holding executive positions outside their statutory position as governors.

They prayed the court to nullify Akeredolu’s candidacy, but the Court of Appeal in Akure, Ondo State capital, on June 16, struck out the appeal for lack of merit.

At the Supreme Court, the outcome was the same for the PDP as the majority judgement backed the decision of the appeal court.

 

Victory Again

 

Governor Akeredolu, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, was re-elected on the back of a campaign in which he promised to provide composed and focused leadership marked by economic growth and improved security for people in the state.

He polled 292,830 votes – winning 15 of the 18 local governments – to defeat Jegede who scored 195,791 votes, and Agboola Ajayi of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) who came third in the election with 69,127 votes.

It was the second time the governor would defeat his PDP rival candidate.

Akeredolu, who had Ajayi as his running mate when he first contested for the office, beat Jegede to win his first term as governor in 2016 before the ZLP candidate chose to go against his boss and join the governorship race in 2020.

The poll, the second major election to be conducted since the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, was preceded by a dramatic campaign featuring 17 political parties and their candidates before about 11 of them pulled out of the race in favour of other candidates.

Ondo Poll: Jegede Congratulates Akeredolu, Thanks Supporters After Supreme Court Defeat

Candidate of the PDP for the 2020 Ondo Governorship election, Eyitayo Jegede, spoke to reporters on September 5, 2020.
Candidate of the PDP for the 2020 Ondo Governorship election, Eyitayo Jegede, spoke to reporters on September 5, 2020.

 

Mr Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has congratulated Governor Rotimi Akeredolu following the judgement of the Supreme Court on the Ondo State governorship election.

Jegede, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and PDP’s candidate in the election, made the gesture on Wednesday despite his loss to the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate at the apex court.

“Now that we have explored the grievance procedure permitted by the constitution and the law, it is time to give glory to God,” he said in a statement personally signed by him.

The senior advocate added, “With this outcome, our respect and reverence for the judiciary and our justices of the supreme court has not diminished.”

He also thanked the legal team, led by Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), for their commitment, industry, and dedication to the cause, as well as for their sacrifice.

Jegede commended the people of Ondo for their steadfastness, saying the decision to approach the apex court was for service and the collective interest of the majority of the people.

“The outcome of today’s judgement should not deter good and well-meaning individuals from aspiring for leadership in our state and in our country. For all our people who have stood strong, we salute you.

“We thank the national and state leadership and the generality of the members of PDP for providing us with great support. For our governors who provided the required leadership and kept faith with our aspiration, gratitude, history will judge you right,” said the PDP candidate.

 

Jegede and his party had asked the Court of Appeal in Akure, Ondo State capital to sack Akeredolu, saying his nomination form was signed by a sitting governor, Mai Mala Buni (of Yobe State), who doubled as the Acting National Chairman of the APC.

The appeal was filed in line with the constitutional provision that forbade a sitting governor from holding executive positions outside their statutory position as governors.

But the appellate court struck out the appeal for lack of merit – a decision which made the appellants seek redress in at the Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, a seven-man panel of justices of the Supreme Court had upheld the re-election of Governor Akeredolu in a majority judgement of four against three.

The three justices disagreed with the majority judgement, stressing that Akeredolu’s candidacy in the October 10, 2020 poll was a nullity.

They held that the appeal filed by the appellants had merit and ought not to be struck out by the appellate court.

Governor Akeredolu polled 292,830 votes to defeat Jegede who scored 195,791 votes, and Agboola Ajayi of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) who came third in the election with 69,127 votes.

It was the second time the governor would defeat his PDP rival candidate.

Supreme Court Orders FG To Refrain From Ceding Oil Wells To Imo

The Supreme Court in Abuja.

 

The Supreme Court has granted an order of injunction refraining the Federal Government and its agencies from ceding oil wells at Akri and Mbede communities, to Imo State.

The order was granted on Wednesday to stop a purported implementation of the ceding of about 17 oil wells to Imo State, pending the determination of a suit brought before the court by the Rivers State Government.

In the ruling, the Supreme Court restrained the Attorney General of the Federation and the Attorney General of Imo State, from taking further action on the ownership of the Oil Wells, till the disputes surrounding them are resolved.

The apex court also barred the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and the office of the Accountant General of the Federation from approving, implementing or giving effect in any manner.

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Thereafter it fixed September 21 for the hearing of the substantive suit.

The Rivers State government through its Attorney General had dragged the AGF and the Attorney of Imo State before the Supreme Court over the disputed oil wells.

The plaintiff sought a declaration that the boundary between Rivers and Imo states as delineated in Nigeria’s administrative map 10th, 11th and 12th editions as well as other maps bearing similar delineation “are inaccurate, incorrect and do not represent the legitimate and lawful boundaries between the two states.”

It also sought a declaration that as far as the Nigerian administrative map 10, 11 and 12 editions and other maps bearing similar delineations of the boundaries between Rivers and Imo, are unlawful and void, they “cannot be relied on to determine the extent of the territorial governmental jurisdiction of Rivers State”.

Rivers State, therefore, urged the Supreme Court to declare that the correct instrument, maps and documents to be relied on in determining the boundary between Rivers and Imo State are those used by the plaintiff in delineating the boundary lines between Rivers and Imo.

Lagos East: Supreme Court Dismisses PDP’s Appeal, Upholds Senator Abiru’s Victory

Senator Tokunbo Abiru.

 

The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Babatunde Gbadamosi, seeking to disqualify Senator Adetokunbo Abiru of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from continuing to represent Lagos East Senatorial District.

Justice Adamu Jauro who wrote the lead judgment upheld the arguments of Senior Advocates Of Nigeria, Kemi Pinheiro for Abiru and Abiodun Owonikoko for APC, that the appeal lacked merit.

Four other justices who sat on the appeal with Justice Jauro concurred with the lead judgment.

The court also awarded a cost of N1 million against the PDP and Gbadamosi in favour of each of the respondents, Abiru and the APC.

Abiru won the December 5, 2020, senatorial bye-election by a landslide, polling 89,204 votes against Gbadamosi’s 11,257 votes.

Gbadamosi and the PDP through their counsel, Senior Advocate Of Nigeria, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa challenged Abiru’s eligibility to contest the election, raising, among others, allegations of double voter registration, residency and indigeneship.

After losing at the lower and appellate courts, the appellants approached the Supreme court with Abiru and the APC filing a cross-appeal.

In its judgment on Wednesday, the Supreme court in resolving the first issue against the appellant held that the failure of the appellant to disclose the date of publication before the trial court is fatal to their case as that fact is material to the determination of the case.

As a result, the court held that the case at the trial court was not competent and consequently dismissed same.

Following the resolution of issue one against the appellant, the appeal was held to be lacking in merit and same was therefore dismissed.

Having dismissed the appeal, the Supreme Court held that there was no reason to dabble into the cross appeal and dismissed same.

 

Supreme Court Dismisses APC Forgery Suit Against Obaseki

A photo combination of Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and a court gavel.

 

The Supreme Court has dismissed the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) forgery suit against the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.

The court dismissed the suit for lack of merit.

It was filed against Governor Obaseki, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The apex court’s judgement comes two days after the Court of Appeal in Benin upheld the victory of Governor Obaseki of Edo at the 2020 governorship election.

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The judgement was delivered barely two months after the Elections Petitions Tribunal struck out the petition by the Action Democratic Party (ADP) and its governorship candidate, Iboi Lucky.

ADP had challenged the outcome of the September 19, 2020, governorship election, which returned Mr Obaseki of the PDP as governor of Edo.

In its ruling, the appellate court held that Obaseki did not forge his certificates with which he contested the 2020 governorship election.

The court, therefore, dismissed the appeal filed by the ADP and its candidate.

Supreme Court Faults Dissolution Of Katsina, Oyo LGAs

Photo combination of Governors Seyi Makinde of Oyo and Aminu Masari of Katsina States.

 

 

The Supreme Court has declared the dissolution of local government administrations in Oyo and Katsina States and their replacement with caretaker committees as illegal.

In the judgment delivered on Friday by Justice Adamu Jauro, the apex court in a unanimous decision condemned the Oyo and Katsina state governments for the unlawful dissolution of the state duly elected local government Council officials.

The court in the suit filed by Abubakar Ibrahim  Yantaba and others vs Governor of Katsina State,  in its judgment, allowed the appeal and set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

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The court ruled that the dissolution of duly elected PDP local government council officials by Governor Aminu Masari on allegation of financial misappropriation of councils funds is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.

The Court further gave consequential orders directing that the unlawfully dissolved elected PDP Council officials be paid all their entitlements from the date of their illegal dissolution to the date they were supposed to vacate office.

The Court also awarded costs to the Appellants and insisted that it should be complied with within a time frame.

Governor Masari had on assumption of office in July 2015 unlawfully dissolved Katsina State duly elected PDP Council officials on the allegation of misappropriation of  Local Governments’ funds.

Supreme Court Upholds Deregistration Of 74 Political Parties

Supreme Court Strikes Out APC's Appeal On Exclusion From Rivers Elections

 

 

The Supreme Court has affirmed the judgement of the Court of Appeal which upheld the deregistration of the National Unity Party and others.

INEC had last year deregistered the parties over failure to win any election during the 2019 general election.

In the judgement, delivered by Justice Adamu Jauro, the apex court said the de-registration of NUP and 73 other parties, was done in line with the law and compliance with the extant provisions of the Constitution and Electoral Act.

In the appeal before the apex court, NUP challenged their deregistration by INEC at the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal.

The Abuja Division of the Appeal Court had on July 29, 2020, affirmed the powers of the National Independent National Electoral Commission to deregister political parties.

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Delivering the lead judgment of a panel of the court, Justice Mohammed Idris, held that INEC did not err in law in the deregistration of the National Unity Party, which filed the appeal.

The court upheld the judgment of Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja which had earlier in May 2020 nullified the deregistration of NUP and 73 other political parties for being in breach of section 225(a)of the Nigeria Constitution.

The said constitutional provision spells out the minimum election victory a party must record or percentage of votes it must poll to sustain its status as a registered political party.

INEC, in deregistering the affected 74 political parties in February 2020 stated that they failed to meet the minimum requirement to enable them to remain in existence.

 

Algeria Supreme Court Orders Retrial For Prominent Journalist

A file photo of a court gavel.

 

Prominent journalist Khaled Drareni, a symbol of the struggle for a free press in Algeria, is to face a retrial after the supreme court accepted his lawyers’ cassation appeal on Thursday.

“The supreme court overturned the decision. The cassation appeal of the defence was accepted, so Khaled Drareni will be retried,” Abdelghani Badi, a member of the defence team, told AFP.

“I hope that in this new trial, there will be no pressure on the judiciary, as has been the case before,” he said.

During Drareni’s trial in September, his defence team said there had been “pressure (from the executive) on judges”.

Drareni was arrested in Algiers in March 2020 while covering the pro-democracy Hirak protest movement, which swept former strongman Abdelaziz Bouteflika from power in 2019 and carried on demonstrations to demand a sweeping overhaul of a ruling system in place since Algeria’s 1962 independence from France.

The 40-year-old correspondent for French-language TV5 Monde and press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) was provisionally released last month after almost a year in prison along with dozens of other activists under presidential pardons issued ahead of the Hirak’s second anniversary.

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On Thursday, Drareni told AFP he and his defence team had hoped for an end to the proceedings against him but expected the retrial.

“We hope… the new trial… will correct the two trials that I underwent in the first instance and in the appeals court,” he said.

The founder of the Casbah Tribune online news site was sentenced on appeal in September to two years in jail on charges of “inciting an unarmed gathering” and “endangering national unity”.

– Press freedom fight –

The harsh sentence for a media figure outraged Drareni’s fellow journalists and sparked an international support campaign.

He was also accused of having criticised Algeria’s political system on Facebook and of publishing a statement by a coalition of political parties calling for a general strike, according to RSF.

Authorities have charged Drareni with having worked for foreign media outlets without gaining press accreditation — an opaque bureaucratic procedure in Algeria — as well as being an “informer” in the pay of “foreign embassies”.

The former television presenter’s case has become a symbol of the fight for freedom of the press and expression in Algeria, at a time when authorities have cracked down on dissent, detaining and prosecuting activists, opposition figures, journalists and social media users.

Despite the recent release of some 40 political prisoners, around 30 people remain in custody on charges linked to the Hirak uprising or civil liberties, according to prisoners’ rights group CNLD.

RSF ranked Algeria 146 out of 180 countries and territories in its 2020 World Press Freedom Index, a 27-place drop from 2015.

AFP

Supreme Court Dismisses Appeals By Oshiomhole, Upholds Sack Of Igo Aguma

A file photo of the Supreme Court in Abuja.

 

The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeals filed by a former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, and the ex-caretaker committee chairman of the party in Rivers State, Igo Aguma over Mr. Aguma’s sack.

In a unanimous judgment, a five-man panel of the apex court upheld the December 29, 2020 judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which set aside an earlier judgment of the high court of rivers state.

In the lead judgment prepared by Justice Adamu Jaoru, but read on by justice Amina Augie, the court held that the appeal was without merit because it was plagued with a litany of jurisdictional issues.

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The Supreme Court said the judgment in the appeal by Mr. Aguma should be applied to the one filed by Mr. Oshiomhole, in which the former APC national chairman, among others, queried the jurisdiction of the Appeal Court in Abuja to have heard the case.

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, in its December 29, 2020 judgment had set aside the June 2020 judgment of Justice George Omereji of the High Court of Rivers State in Port Harcourt and sacked Mr. Aguma as acting/caretaker committee chairman of APC in Rivers State.

The appeal court equally affirmed the appointment of Isaac Abbot Ogbobula as the caretaker committee chairman of the Rivers State APC.

It held that it is the exclusive right of the national working committee of the All Progressives Congress under the party’s constitution to appoint a caretaker committee for any organ of the party.

Abacha Loot: Supreme Court Declines Family’s Request To Access Frozen Foreign Accounts

General Sani Abacha was a Nigerian military Head of State in the 1990s
General Sani Abacha was a Nigerian military Head of State in the 1990s

 

The Supreme Court has again refused the request by Ali Abacha, a brother to the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, to unfreeze the accounts traced to him and relatives of the late Abacha in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Jersey, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg.

In a unanimous judgment delivered on Friday by a five-man panel of the court, the apex court held that Ali Abacha’s case was statute-barred as at when it was commenced in April 2004 at the Federal High Court in Kaduna.

In the lead judgment prepared by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, but read by Justice Ejembi Eko, the court held that having dismissed a similar appeal in an earlier judgment delivered in February 2020, it has no reason to depart from its reasoning in the case brought by Mister Abba Mohammed Sani on behalf of the Abacha family.

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The appeal was against the July 19, 2010 unanimous judgment of the Court of Appeal, Kaduna division, in which a three-man panel set aside the September 24, 2004 judgment by Justice Mohammed Liman of Federal High Court, Kaduna, earlier given in favour of Ali Abacha.

Ali Abacha had filed several suits at the Federal High Court, Kaduna in 2004, challenging among others, the 1999 decision by the Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, acting through the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Kanu Agabi (SAN), to request the freezing of all accounts traced to the late Abacha, his family members and relatives in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Jersey, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg.