Kogi Gov Primary: Supreme Court Affirms Musa Wada As PDP Candidate

 

The Supreme Court has affirmed Musa Wada as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 governorship election in Kogi State.

A five-man panel of the Supreme Court headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Mohammed dismissed the appeal filed by Abubakar Ibrahim challenging Wada’s candidacy.

In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Amina Augie, the apex court affirmed the candidacy of Wada on the ground that Ibrahim failed woefully to prove the allegation of illegal thumb printing of 600 ballot papers.

READ ALSO: Conflicting Court Orders Leave Us In An Impossible Position – INEC

The court further held that beyond failing to prove his case, the appeal filed by Ibrahim is grossly lacking in merit and has become a mere academic exercise aimed at wasting the time of the court.

Reacting, the lawyer to Wada, Jibrin Okutepa applauded the verdict of the court.

He, however, vowed to continue the suit challenging the victory of Mr Yahaya Bello as the governor of Kogi State.

Supreme Court Rejects Trump Bid To End Young Immigrant Protections

Protesters hold signs at a rally to defend DACA on September 5, 2017 in New York. BRYAN R. SMITH AFP
Protesters hold signs at a rally to defend DACA on September 5, 2017 in New York. BRYAN R. SMITH AFP

 

The US Supreme Court dealt President Donald Trump’s efforts to choke off immigration a fresh blow Thursday when it rejected his cancellation of the DACA program protecting 700,000 “Dreamers,” undocumented migrants brought to the United States as children.

The high court said Trump’s 2017 move to cancel his predecessor Barack Obama’s landmark Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was “arbitrary and capricious” under government administrative procedures.

The judgement on a five-to-four vote, with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the court’s four liberal members, stressed that it was not an assessment of the correctness of the 2012 DACA program itself.

Instead, they said the Trump administration had violated official government procedures in the way they sought to quickly rescind DACA in September 2017 based on weak legal justifications.

The ruling suggested there are legal administrative methods Trump could cancel DACA, putting the onus back on the administration if it wants to pursue the issue.

 

‘The American way’

Immigration champions and Dreamers cheered the narrow ruling.

“Eight years ago this week, we protected young people who were raised as part of our American family from deportation,” Obama tweeted.

“Today, I’m happy for them, their families, and all of us. We may look different and come from everywhere, but what makes us American are our shared ideals.”

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the ruling prolonged the life of a program she said was supported by three-quarters of Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike.

“This way is the American way and I’m very proud of it,” she said.

Jesus Contreras, a Houston paramedic under DACA who came to the US from Mexico as a child, said he had prepared for the worst.

“I know it is not the end of the battle,” he said.

“We still have to fight for legislation but right now it is a good feeling to know that we are protected and safe at least for now,” he said.

 

Campaign issue 

On Twitter, Trump turned the decision into a call to support him in the November presidential election so that he can appoint more conservative justices to the high court.

“These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives,” Trump wrote.

“We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd. Amendment & everything else. Vote Trump 2020!”

 

Anti-immigrant policy

The decision came three and a half years after Trump entered office promising to halt almost all immigration and to expel the more than 10 million people estimated living in the country, many for decades, without legal immigration documents.

The Obama administration had sought to address this issue in 2012 with the DACA policy offering protection at renewable two-year periods, including authorization to work, to people brought into the United States illegally as children, and then growing up here.

DACA, and the subsequent DAPA program — Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents — were executive actions by Obama to eliminate the constant threat of deportation for more than 4 million undocumented migrants.

Obama ordered the programs due to Congress’s inability to pass the so-called Dream Act, which would have created a law offering essentially permanent residency to millions of immigrants long settled in the country, families with homes, businesses, and professions.

Trump cancelled DAPA just after coming to office and then went after the more established DACA, but immediately faced a series of court battles over it.

 

-AFP

Orji Kalu Returns To Senate After Six Months In Jail

A file photo of former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu.

 

Former Governor of Abia State and Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has returned to the Senate after spending six months in jail on allegations of corruption.

Senator Orji arrived at the National Assembly on Tuesday and is attending plenary.

Speaking to journalists before entering the Senate Chamber, the Senator said he was glad to be back to work and that he needs to hit the ground running to cover up for the loss of time to provide quality representation for his constituents in Abia North.

The former governor has been serving a 12-year sentence.

He was released on June 2, 2020, from the Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja following an order by the Federal High court.

Senator Kalu, a two-term former governor of Abia State, had urged the court to set aside his conviction on December 5, 2019, by Justice Mohammed Idris.

He explained that this became necessary since the Supreme Court, in its verdict delivered on May 8, 2020, held that Justice Idris gave the judgment without jurisdiction.

He was convicted for embezzling N7.65 billion belonging to the Abia state government.

However, the Supreme Court nullified his conviction and ordered a retrial.

Lagos Tests Constitutionality Of Virtual Court Hearings At Supreme Court

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

 

 

The Lagos State government has filed a suit against the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and the National Assembly before the Supreme Court to test the constitutionality of virtual court hearings.

The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Moyosore Onigbanjo, filed the suit on behalf of the government.

In the suit, the state is asking the Supreme Court to determine “whether having regard to Section 36(1), (3) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution [as amended], the use of technology by remote hearings of any kind, whether by Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp, Skype or any other audiovisual or video-conference platform by the Lagos State High Court or any other courts in Nigeria in aid of hearing and determination of cases are constitutional”.

It also urged the Supreme Court to determine “whether in view of the powers conferred on the Chief Judge of a State under Section 274 of the Constitution and in particular, the Chief Judge of Lagos State having exercised such power to regulate the practice and procedure of the High Court of Lagos State through the issuance of Practice Directions for Virtual Hearings dated 4th and 15th May 2020, the National Assembly, can usurp the powers of the Chief Judge of Lagos State under Section 274 of the Constitution by commencing the process for the amendment of Section 36(3) and (4) of the Constitution to include virtual or remote hearings.”

The state, therefore, sought “a Declaration that the extant provisions in the Constitution, especially Sections 36 (3) and (4) are adequate to accommodate virtual or remote hearings of any kind whether by way of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp, Skype, or any other audiovisual or video-conference platform as provided for in the Practice Directions issued by the Chief Judge of Lagos State dated 4th and 15th May 2020”.

It also asked the Supreme Court to make a declaration that the Bill presented before the National Assembly seeking to specifically include remote hearing in the Constitution constitutes a usurpation of the judicial function.

The government urged the apex court to declare that it was not within the legislative competence of the National Assembly or any other body, person or authority whatsoever, to make laws to amend the Constitution for the regulation of the practice and procedure of the courts of Lagos State having regard to Section 274 of the Constitution.

In proof of its suit, a State Counsel in the State Ministry of Justice, Oluwayemisi Osisanya, in a 45-paragraph affidavit stated that following the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic which practically halted judicial proceedings in courts in Lagos, the National Judicial Council (NJC) issued guidelines on May 7, 2020, to aid the dispensation of justice in Nigeria.

She noted that pursuant to the provisions of Section 274 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the Chief Judge of Lagos State issued Practice Directions to accommodate virtual or remote hearing.

Osisanya said, “The amendment process of the National Assembly is threatening to disrupt the smooth running of the judiciary in Lagos State and the administration of justice on account of the uncertainty being created by the amendment process.

“I know as a fact that divergent views on whether or not virtual court proceedings are in compliance with Sections 36(3) and (4) of the Constitution and Section 200 of the ACJL have caused the plaintiff to become apprehensive in respect of the validity of the virtual proceedings conducted pursuant to the Practice Direction issued by the Chief Judge of Lagos State.”

“I know as a fact that the plaintiff is worried that the effect of the steps being taken by the second defendant to amend Sections 36 [3) and (4) of the Constitution would be to render virtual proceedings conducted pursuant to the Practice Directions issued by the Chief Judge of Lagos State as unconstitutional because this would mean that every virtual hearing conducted prior to the amendment was unconstitutional.

“I know that a pronouncement by this honourable court with regard to the proper interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) as it relates to the power of courts to conduct virtual or remote hearing proceedings will assist in resolving this issue,” she added.

The Supreme Court has yet to fix a date for the hearing of the suit.

Supreme Court Nullifies Orji Uzor Kalu’s Conviction

A file photo of former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu.

 

 

The Supreme Court has nullified the judgment which convicted the former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu.

A seven-man panel of the apex court also set aside the judgment which convicted Ude Udeogu, a former Director of Finance and Account at the Abia State Government House.

The Supreme Court gave the judgement on Friday, about five months after both men were convicted of corruption allegations levelled against them by the Federal Government.

Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos had sentenced Senator Kalu to 12 years imprisonment in his judgement delivered in December 2019.

He had also sentenced Mr Udeogu to 10 years imprisonment on the same day.

 

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

 

Displeased with the judgement of the Federal High Court, Kalu and Udeogu filed an appeal to challenge their sentencing at the Supreme Court.

READ ALSO: ‘Evidences Against Kalu Are Overwhelming’: EFCC Reacts To Supreme Court Verdict

The apex court, in a unanimous verdict on the appeal delivered by Justice Ejembi Eko, declared that the conviction of the appellants was null and void.

Justice Eko explained that the declaration was on the ground that Justice Mohammed Idris was already a Justice of the Court of Appeal, as at the time he delivered the judgment sentencing the appellants.

He held that a Justice of the Court of Appeal cannot operate as a judge of the Federal High Court.

The apex court, therefore, ordered the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to reassign the case for trial.

The Federal High Court had sentenced Senator Kalu on December 5, 2019, after finding him guilty of fraud to the tune of N7.56 billion.

The assets of Slok Nigeria Limited, his company, were also forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Similarly, the court sentenced Udeogu in an amended 39-count.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) filed the charges against them.

Alleged Money Laundering: Court Strikes Out Case Against Belgore

Supreme Court has struck out the case against the former governorship candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) in Kwara State, Dele Belgore (SAN).

 

The Supreme Court, sitting in Abuja on Friday, have struck out a money laundering charge brought against the former governorship candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Kwara State, Dele Belgore.

The Apex court allowed the appeal against the ruling of Justice Rilwan Aikawa of Federal High Court, Lagos delivered in November 2018.

Justice Aikawa had dismissed a ‘no case submission’ application made by Belgore and his co-defendant, a former Minister of Planning, Professor Abubakar Sulaiman, in the N450m Money Laundering Charge made against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In dismissing the application, the lower court had held that after a careful study of the prosecution’s case, he had formed an opinion that the defendants had certain explanations to make. The judge then ordered them to open their defence.

Dissatisfied with the ruling, Belgore filed an appeal at the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal. After considering the appeal, the court dismissed it.

READ ALSO: Delta Killing: Police Accuse Slain Youth Of Flouting Army’s Order

But in its ruling on Friday, the Supreme Court allowed the appeal on the ground that the Federal High Court, Lagos Division lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the charge.

The Court was of the view that offences for which the defendant was charged cannot be tried in Lagos but where the offence was allegedly committed in Kwara State.

Following this verdict, the EFCC has said that the defendant will be arraigned afresh in the state.

Zamfara Election: Supreme Court Reserves Judgement On APC’s Application

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

 

Supreme Court has reserved judgment in hearing of the All Progressives Congress (APC) application seeking the review of its judgement on the Zamfara election.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Mohammed who led a five-man panel announced that the judgment date will be communicated to all the parties.

The Supreme Court had on July 22, 2019, struck out the APC’s application asking the Apex Court to review its judgement on the governorship election.

READ ALSO: Supreme Court Begins Hearing Of APC’s Application On Zamfara Election

In a unanimous ruling by a five-man panel of justices led by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, the apex court said the application was incompetent and lacked merit.

The panel added that the application should not have been brought before it in the first place.

Reacting to the ruling, the lead counsel to the appellant, Robert Clarke, said the decision of the court was based on technicalities, stressing that the merits of his application were not looked into.

He added that he would tighten the loose ends that the judgement pointed out and submit his application again.

 

Imo Election: PDP Accuses Supreme Court Of Endorsing Electoral Fraud

PDP Hails Supreme Court Ruling On Zamfara Election

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the verdict of the Supreme Court on the review of its judgment on the Imo state governorship election.

It faulted the judgement of the apex court in a statement on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan.

The court had dismissed the application filed by the PDP candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, seeking a review of its judgement which removed him from office after about 10 months.

Ihedioha faulted the declaration of Hope Uzodinma as the Imo State governor and asked the court to return him back into office.

But the application was dismissed in a majority judgement of a seven-man panel of judges led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad.

Six of the judges on the panel agreed with the apex court’s verdict while Justice Chima Nweze gave a dissenting judgment, stressing that the decision ought to be reviewed.

 

Electoral Fraud

In its reaction, the PDP described the judgement as “a disconcerting endorsement of electoral fraud,” saying it has placed a huge burden on the court and the justices.

It, however, noted that Justice Nweze’s judgment presented a glimpse of hope for the nation’s judiciary.

The statement said, “Our party abides completely by every word of the judgment of Justice Nweze as treated facts, which are truly sacred.

“Justice Nweze’s pronouncement, which went straight into the substance of our application represents a universal view about the travesty of justice that occurred in the Imo state governorship election judgment.

“It is indeed unfortunate that the Supreme Court had the wholesome opportunity to redeem itself and correct its errors but chose to hide behind technicality to justify and endorse an electoral fraud.”

According to the opposition party, Nigerians expected the Supreme Court correct the errors purportedly made earlier and handed over victory to the supposed rightful winner.

It alleged that the court failed to summon the courage to affirm its infallibility but upheld and legalise the writing of election results by individual contestants against the will of the people as expressed at the poll.

The PDP called on all election stakeholders to rally to create remedies for what it described as a pathetic situation before the nation’s entire electoral process became vanquished.

“This judgment will continue to haunt the Supreme Court. It has created a burden of precedence and fallibility on the court.

“More distressing is the fact that the judgment has heavily detracted from the confidence Nigerians and the international community reposed on the Supreme Court and our entire jurisprudence,” the statement added.

Let’s Develop Imo Together, Uzodinma Tells Opposition After Supreme Court Verdict

Imo APC Faction Expels Hope Uzodinma
A file photo of Governor Hope Uzodinma.

 

 

The Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, has called on members of the opposition party in the state to join the movement to make the state better.

He made the call on Tuesday in an interview with reporters in Owerri, the Imo State capital in south-east Nigeria.

The governor’s remark was in reaction to the verdict of the Supreme Court on the application to review its judgement on the March 9, 2019 governorship election in the state.

In the suit, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Emeka Ihedioha asked the court to re-examine its judgement which removed him from office after about 10 months.

Ihedioha faulted the declaration of Uzodinma as the Imo State governor and asked the court to return him back into office.

The application was, however, dismissed in a majority judgement of a seven-man panel of judges led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad.

Six of the judges on the panel agreed with the apex court’s verdict while Justice Chima Nweze gave a dissenting judgment, stressing that the decision ought to be reviewed.

 

Political Evangelism

Justice Nweze held that the court has the power to overrule itself in a situation where such a judgment was not seen to have met the justice of the case.

He said Uzodinma misled the court in arriving at the judgment which removed Ihedioha from office, saying there was no evidence that the governor satisfied the required spread to have been declared the winner of the election.

The judge informed his colleagues on the panel that the judgment upholding Uzodinma’s victory in the election would continue to haunt Nigeria’s electoral jurisprudence.

Moments after the judgement, Uzodinma said the verdict reflected the true feelings of the people of Imo state who voted him into office.

He also commended the judiciary for standing by the truth and promised that his administration would continue to deliver good governance and prosperity to the people of the state.

Governor Uzodinma called on his political opponents to close ranks and join him in developing the state in the interest of the people.

He added that as the only state in the South East with the All Progressives Congress (APC) in power, he would embark on political evangelism to ensure the party wins more states in the region.

Oshiomhole Lauds Supreme Court Verdict Dismissing Ihedioha’s Application

APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, addressing a press conference in Abuja on February 13, 2020.

 

 

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has commended the judgement of the Supreme Court on the Imo State governorship election.

Mr Oshiomhole said the judgement of the apex court has affirmed that the choice of the people of Imo State has been respected.

He spoke to reporters on Tuesday moments after the Supreme Court dismissed the application of Mr Emeka Ihedioha asking the court to review its judgement which sacked him as the governor of Imo State.

Ihedioha had faulted the declaration of Uzodinma as the Imo State governor and asked the court to return him back into office.

The application was, however, dismissed in a majority judgement of a seven-man panel of judges led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad.

Six of the judges on the panel agreed with the apex court’s verdict while Justice Chima Nweze gave a dissenting judgment, stressing that the decision ought to be reviewed.

Justice Nweze held that the court has the power to overrule itself in a situation where such a judgment was not seen to have met the justice of the case.

He said Uzodinma misled the court in arriving at the judgment which removed Ihedioha from office, saying there was no evidence that the governor satisfied the required spread to have been declared the winner of the election.

The judge informed his colleagues on the panel that the judgment upholding Uzodinma’s victory in the election would continue to haunt Nigeria’s electoral jurisprudence.

Also reacting, Governor Uzodinma said the verdict reflected the true feelings of the people of Imo state who voted him into office.

He also commended the judiciary for standing by the truth and promised that his administration would continue to deliver good governance and prosperity to the people of the state.

Governor Uzodinma called on his political opponents to close ranks and join him in developing the state in the interest of the people.

He added that as the only state in the South East with the All Progressives Congress (APC) in power, he would embark on political evangelism to ensure the party wins more states in the region.

Ihedioha Loses Bid To Reclaim Imo Governorship Seat

 

The Supreme Court has dismissed an application filed by Mr Emeka Ihedioha, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Imo State governorship election.

In the suit, Mr Ihedioha asked the apex court to review its judgement which sacked him as the governor of Imo State.

The suit was dismissed on Tuesday in a majority judgement of a seven-man panel of judges led by Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad.

Six of the judges on the panel agreed with the apex court’s verdict while Justice Chima Nweze gave a dissenting judgment, stressing that the decision ought to be reviewed.

Justice Nweze held that the court has the power to overrule itself in a situation where such a judgment was not seen to have met the justice of the case.

He added that the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, misled the court in arriving at the judgment which removed Ihedioha from office after about 10 months.

READ ALSO: Court Dismisses Suit Filed By Boko Haram’s Ex-Spokesman

According to the judge, there is no evidence that Governor Uzodinma satisfied the required spread to have been declared the winner of the election.

He, therefore, told other judges on the panel that the judgment upholding Uzodinma’s victory in the March 9, 2019 poll would continue to haunt the nation’s electoral jurisprudence.

INEC had declared Mr Ihedioha as the winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Imo State on the ground that he won the majority of lawful votes cast at the governorship poll.

Meanwhile the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal, during appeals filed by Senator Uzodinma, gave a concurrent decision, upheld Ihedioha’s election and dismissed Uzodinma’s petition on grounds that he did not prove his allegations against the election of Ihedioha.

But the apex court held otherwise and sacked Mr Ihedioha on the 14th of January.

The apex court in its judgment disagreed with the decisions of the appeal court on the grounds that they erred in law when they excluded votes from 388 polling units from the total scores at the poll.

UPDATES: Hearing Of Ihedioha’s Application At The Supreme Court

A crowd of lawyers, politicians, and others gather at the Supreme Court in Abuja on January 14, 2020. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The Supreme Court is hearing the application filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, over the January 14, 2020 judgment which sacked him as the Governor of Imo State.

Mr. Ihedioha and the PDP, in their applications, claim that the judgment of the apex court which installed Senator Hope Uzodinma as the Governor of Imo State was obtained by fraud.

They are therefore praying the seven-man panel of the apex court to review and set aside the judgment.

The panel, headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammed, is currently hearing the application.

Lawyer to Mr. Ihedioha, Chief Kanu Agabi, in his argument, claims that fraud is evident in the judgment, as the appellant, Hope Uzodinma, claimed he was excluded from 388 polling units but tendered results from only 366 polling units

He adds that with the addition of votes from 388 polling units in favour of Senator Uzodinma exceeds the total number of accredited voters by 129,000 votes.

Countering the argument, Lawyer to Senator Hope Uzodinma says the application to revisit, review or set aside the judgment of the court is an incompetent one lacking in merit.

He argues further that the apex court lacks the jurisdiction to sit on appeal over any judgment delivered by the court except where cases of typographical errors or slips are noticed in the said judgment are established and in this case, no such errors have been established.

Mr Damian Dodo adds that the appellant approached the apex court in the face of compelling evidence that Senator Hope Uzodinma won the election, and therefore, has asked the court to dismiss the application.

Supreme Court has stood down Emeka Ihedioha’s application after listening to arguments from all the parties.

The apex court will deliver judgment by 3pm later today.

The judges resume to give judgement and Justice Olukayode Ariwoola is delivering judgment on Ihedioha’s application.

He says there is no constitutional provision empowering the apex court to sit on appeal over its own judgment, so the court does not have the competence to review its own judgment.

Justice Ariwoola states that the finality of the Supreme Court is entrenched in the constitution so the inherent powers of the court does not allow it to review or set aside its own judgment.

“The justices of the court are fallible but the judgment of the court is infallible to ask us to review the judgment will bring the court to disrepute.

The Supreme Court has dismissed Ihedioha’s application for review.

Six out of the seven judges upheld the earlier judgement, but a dissenting judgment by Justice Chima Nweze who believes the judgment ought to be reviewed.

He says the court has the power to overrule itself if such a judgment is not seen to have met the justice of the case.

He adds that Uzodinma misled the court in arriving at the judgment and that there is no evidence that he satisfied the required spread to have been declared the winner of the election.

Justice Nweze says this judgment will continue to haunt the nation’s electoral jurisprudence.

He set aside the judgment of January 14 and ordered Uzodinma to return the certificate of return issued to him as he affirms the election of Mr Ihedioha as the duly elected Governor of Imo state.