The 36 states of the Federation on Monday took the Federal Government to the Supreme Court, challenging the presidential executive order signed in May by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The states are seeking an order of the Supreme Court to quash President Buhari’s executive order on the funding of courts, which he signed on May 20.
According to the states, Buhari’s executive order no. 00-10 of 2020 transferred the Federal Government’s responsibility of funding both the capital and recurrent expenditures of the state High Courts, Sharia Courts of Appeal, and the Customary Courts of Appeal, to the state governments.
They are contending that the order is a clear violation of sections 6 and 8(3) of the 1999 constitution, which makes it the responsibility of the federal government to fund the listed courts.
The 36 states, while claiming that they had been funding the capital projects in the listed courts since 2009, are also asking the Supreme Court to order the Federal Government to make a refund to them.
The suit was filed for the states by nine Senior Advocates of Nigeria, led by a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Augustine Alegeh.
Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami was listed as the sole respondent in the suit.
US President Donald Trump is set to unveil his Supreme Court nominee on Saturday, barely five weeks out from the November 3 presidential election, with US media reporting that he has chosen conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett for the job.
If the 48-year-old law professor is indeed nominated and confirmed, her appointment would consolidate a conservative majority in the country’s top court.
Citing sources close to the process, various media outlets, including The New York Times and CNN, said Trump would put forward the 48-year-old judge.
“We are going to be announcing somebody great,” the US president said in Virginia on a whirlwind three-state campaign tour Friday.
“Tomorrow [Saturday] I think is going to be a big day!” he added, as the crowd roared with approval.
The president did not name his nominee but earlier said his decision was made. Barrett was “outstanding,” he said.
Media reports noted the mercurial Trump could still change his mind before the official announcement, expected at 5 pm (2100 GMT) Saturday.
Democratic opponents, led by presidential candidate Joe Biden, have demanded that Republicans back off on replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg — a liberal icon — until after the November 3 election.
Leaders of the Republican majority in the Senate, which is tasked with confirming Supreme Court nominees, said they have enough support to hold a vote on the nomination either before the election or at worst during the “lame duck” session between the election and the inauguration of the next president in January.
“We will certainly do that this year,” Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said.
If Barrett is confirmed, the Supreme Court would have a 6-3 conservative majority.
Barrett was only appointed to the bench for the first time in 2017. A deeply conservative Catholic, she is considered hostile to abortion rights — a key issue for many Republicans.
The left-leaning government watchdog group Accountable US was unimpressed with the reported choice. “Barrett has proven time and again that protecting businesses — not people — is her top priority,” said group president Kyle Herrig.
In 2018, the mother of seven was on the shortlist presented by Trump for a seat vacated by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, a position ultimately filled by Brett Kavanaugh after a ferocious confirmation battle.
A full bench
For Trump, nominating a conservative judge to the Supreme Court is a way to fire up his base heading into November’s election.
But at Friday’s whirlwind campaign outings, the US president also looked beyond his core supporters and in Florida — where the Latino vote is all-important — said his Democratic challenger Joe Biden has been “very bad to Hispanics.”
“I’m a wall between the American dream and chaos,” he said.
Later in Georgia, he insisted that as president he had exceeded his promises for African Americans.
“I did more for the black community in 47 months… than Joe Biden did in 47 years,” he said, repeatedly swiping at Biden’s legislative record in co-sponsoring 1990s tough-on-crime legislation that many experts say resulted in high incarceration rates for black Americans.
Biden himself did no in-person campaigning Friday but travelled from his home in Delaware to Washington for a ceremony in the US Capitol, where Ginsburg lay in the state — the first woman and Jewish person to do so.
Ginsburg’s last wish reportedly relayed to her granddaughter, was for her seat to be decided by whoever wins the next election.
Trump cast doubt upon the veracity of that in an interview Monday, suggesting it could have been a ploy made up Democratic leaders.
Republican leaders have said that if the fate of a disputed election rests with the Supreme Court, they will need a full bench of judges to prevent a deadlock.
Trump refused Wednesday to clearly guarantee a peaceful transfer of power if he loses, stirring outrage among Democrats.
The Democratic leadership has vowed to do everything in their power to prevent the confirmation of a new justice before the election, but with a 53-47 Republican majority in the Senate, there is little they can do to stop it.
Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma has knocked those addressing him as Supreme Court Governor, describing them as ignorant people.
The governor who was interviewed on Channels Television’s Hard Copy on Friday argued he was not the first to be favoured by a Supreme Court justice, adding that he emerged as governor of the state through legitimate means.
“It is the height of ignorance because they don’t know what they are saying. There is a reason for the Supreme Court. In the doctrine and principle of democracy, the law expected that there would be grievances and malpractices in the electoral process,” Uzodinma said.
“When this happens, the only legitimate right you have is to seek redress at the court. And of course, the court determines. Remember that this is not the first time, so many elections had held where the candidates went to court and they got justice. So, why will mine be different?
“Human beings voted and the votes were not counted. I went to the Supreme Court and INEC was unable to explain why they did not enter the result. It was a simple judgment. The Supreme Court said INEC was wrong.”
On governance, Uzodinma said his administration had been making efforts to increase the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of Imo State.
The Supreme Court has been asked to reject the application by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria limited to review and set aside a 17 billion naira judgment entered against it in 2019.
The Apex Court had on January 11, 2019, upheld the judgment of the court of appeal which awarded 17 billion naira damages against the oil giant for oil spillage in Ejama-Ebubu in Tai Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State.
In a preliminary objection filed by Mr. Isaac Agbara and nine others to the application by Shell asking the apex court to set aside its earlier judgment in the matter, the respondents claim that Shell has already paid one billion naira out of the 17 billion.
But the Shell petroleum company through Mr. Wole Olanipekun described the opposition of the respondents’ application as frivolous because it has no bearing with the jurisdictional issues.
At the hearing of shell’s application, the respondents, in a preliminary objection argued through their lead counsel, Mr. Lucius Nwosu, described Shell’s request as scandalous and an affront to the finality of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Mr. Nwosu while urging the court to dismiss Shell’s application for being incompetent, submitted that the Supreme Court cannot sit on appeal in its own judgment.
He further contended that the Supreme Court by its unanimous judgment of January 11, 2020, put an end to the over 30-year-old legal tussle on the oil spillage suffered by the respondents and their people in the oil-producing region.
Nwosu drew the attention of the apex court panel to a letter of the Supreme Court in which the current Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, reacted to clarification to the January 11, 2019 judgment.
He further informed the court that the judgment is sought to be set aside by the oil company had already been partly executed with over 1 billion naira recovered by the respondents, adding that section 235 of the 1999 constitution makes the supreme court a final court in the land and that no appeal can be entertained from the Supreme Court’s decision.
He, therefore, pleaded with the apex court to reject the invitation by the Shell company to make the court sit as an appellate court in its own judgment.
Mr Nwosu further argues that the same shell who is reluctant to pay damages to Nigerian victims of its oil spillage had in similar situations paid over $206 million to victims in Mexico.
But Shell petroleum company through Mr Wole Olanipekun described the opposition of the respondents’ application as frivolous because it has no bearing with the jurisdictional issues.
Mr Olanipekun contended that what the respondents tagged a judgment was a ruling and not a final judgment.
He submitted that Shell’s request has judicial precedence, adding that the oil giant would not have come back to the supreme court to seek for review of its judgment if there was no precedent.
He pleaded with the apex court to dismiss the preliminary objection to its client’s application for judicial review.
After listening to the submissions of parties to the preliminary objection, the five-man panel led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, adjourned the suit to November 17, 2020 for the ruling.
President Donald Trump said Monday he will announce his nominee for the empty Supreme Court seat at the end of this week, kickstarting a political fight set to upend the already nail-biting US election.
“I will announce it either Friday or Saturday and then the work begins, but hopefully it won’t be too much work,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News.
Down in the polls against Democratic opponent Joe Biden and widely criticized for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the Republican is seizing on the sudden vacancy at the constitutional court as a way to change the subject and super-charge his right-wing base.
The death last week of Ruth Bader Ginsburg stripped the court, which was already tilted to the right, of one of its steadiest liberal votes.
With a chance to name his third new justice since entering the White House, Trump is now on the cusp of installing a firmly conservative majority for many years to come.
Biden is leading calls for the Republican-controlled Senate to delay voting on a nominee until the results of the November 3 election are known, arguing that to rush through confirmation before would be an “abuse of power.”
But Trump made clear Monday that he has no qualms in flexing his political muscle and his allies in the Senate have said they intend to deliver.
Trump said his nominee announcement will wait until after memorial services for Ginsburg are completed. But then he wants to move full speed ahead.
“The final vote should be taken before the election. We have plenty of time for that,” Trump said.
Trump cited fears that a court with only eight judges left could end up in a 4-4 split on rulings following what is likely to be a close and contentious election.
“We don’t want to have a tie,” Trump said.
He rejected Democratic complaints, saying if they “were in the same position there is zero chance that they wouldn’t do it.”
“They wouldn’t even talk about it. They’d say ‘you’re crazy.'”
– Election politics –
Trump confirmed that two women — Judge Amy Coney Barrett and Judge Barbara Lagoa — feature prominently on his shortlist.
He also noted Lagoa is a Hispanic-American from Florida, a state that by some projections he has to win if he has any hope of securing a second term.
Lagoa is “excellent, she’s Hispanic, she’s a terrific woman,” he said. “We love Florida.”
Analysts say that a Supreme Court nomination saga could also shift attention away from the coronavirus pandemic, which has already killed nearly 200,000 Americans, and inspire Republican voters who want the Supreme Court to reflect their conservative views on issues like immigration, abortion and healthcare.
There are risks for Trump, though.
Ginsburg was an icon to the left and the fight to replace her with a conservative ahead of an election that Biden is currently on track to win might stir Democrats even more than Republicans.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 62 percent of Americans, including one in two Republicans, think the vacant court seat should be filled only after the election.
In another potential warning sign to gung-ho Republicans, the Democratic fundraising group ActBlue reported Sunday that small donors had given a total of $100 million since Ginsburg’s death.
Trump, however, signalled he’ll play hardball, rejecting reports that Ginsburg while on her deathbed told her granddaughter that her final wish was for her seat to be filled by the new president.
“I don’t know she said that,” Trump said, suggesting the statement was “written out” by Democratic leaders. “That came out of the wind.”
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.