The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which is the 2nd Respondent at the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal on Monday, September 14, 2015 closed its defence abruptly after failing to call more witnesses at two previous sittings of the Tribunal.
When the case came up on Monday, the lawyer to the PDP, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo, SAN informed the Tribunal that a representative of the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State by name Obinna Ayogu, who had failed last Friday to produce one remaining bag of Incident Forms allegedly used during the election was in court.
Mr. Obinna Agogu told the Tribunal that he later realised that the one remaining bag was for Nsit Ubium Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State and not for Ini LGA as he had earlier said on the 10th September, 2015. At this point, the counsel to the PDP Tayo Oyetibo, SAN informed the Tribunal that they have closed their defence.
A member of the three man panel of judges hearing the petition reminded Mr. Oyetibo that the Incident forms which the representative of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) brought to the Tribunal following the subpoena the PDP caused to be issued on the Akwa Ibom REC was not before the Tribunal because same has neither been tendered nor admitted. Mr. Oyetibo agreed that the Incident Forms has not been admitted in evidence. He submitted that they will decide on what to do with the Incident Forms subsequently. It is however not clear why the party refused to tender the said Incident Forms. With this development, the PDP which had listed 23 persons as witnesses and called only 4 has abandoned the remaining 19.
However, a lawyer for one of the parties who spoke in confidence said that the forms have no relevance to the case at hand. “The Respondents may have realised that the Incident Forms will not fly or assist their case in anyway. That is why they have refused to tender same in evidence before the Tribunal and the implication is that the forms are worthless, but even if same were to be admitted, it will still not do any magic because non of the witnesses called by them presented any of the forms as his own. In any case, the INEC guidelines had clearly prohibited manual accreditation”. The lawyer stated.
On his part, Counsel to INEC, Mr. Tobechukwu Nweke, Esq. informed the Tribunal that the Commission will not be able to open their defence until Tuesday when the Electoral Officers (EOs) that they intend to call as witnesses are available. He stated that the EOs are on their way to Abuja. He then applied that the case be adjourned to Tuesday.
Responding, Mr. Solomon Umoh, SAN, counsel to the Petitioners, Mr. Umana Okon Umana and the All Progressives Congress (APC), said that although he was not opposing the application for adjournment, it had expected INEC to open their defence today since all the Respondents are working together which implies that the counsel to INEC ought to have known before hand that the PDP will not present more witnesses.
Mr. Dayo Akinlaja, SAN a member of the Petitioners team who later addressed the media said it was interesting that the 2nd Respondents were only able to present just 4 witnesses in addition to the 19 witnesses earlier called by the 1st Respondents. This according to him means that the two Respondents have only called 23 witnesses in all as opposed to the 52 witnesses called by the Petitioners. He expressed confidence that the truth about what took place in Akwa Ibom State on April 11, 2015 will prevail and that justice will be done at the end of the day.
The case has been adjourned to Tuesday 15th September, 2015 for continuation of defence.
The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Ikeja, will on September 29, 2015 give judgment in a petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate in Surulere Federal Constituency I of Lagos State, Mr. Tony Ashikodi, challenging the declaration of the House of Representatives Majority leader Olufemi Gbajabiamila of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as the winner of the March 28, 2015 poll.
The three-man panel, lead by Justice C.U Anwuka fixed the date after listening to the submission and adopting the final written address by parties counsels.
Ashokodi, through his lawyer Mr. Kalu Onuah, is challenging the victory of Gbajabiamila and alleged irregularities during the election, which he said, breached the provisions of Independent National Electoral Commission’s, INEC, approved guidelines for the polls.
At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, the petitioner’s counsel submitted that Gbajabiamila was not duly elected or returned by the majority of lawful votes cast at the election.
He urged the court to void the election by reason of manifest breach and violation of the Electoral Act 2015 Election Guidelines, adding that a fresh election should be ordered and to be conducted by the INEC for the constituency.
The petitioner had alleged irregularities in the conduct of the election, stating that “the final figures in the tally of results the Form EC 8C(i) were cancelled and altered with a view of declaring Gbajabiamila the winner of the election.
He also said the 14,351 received by the APC candidate was whimsically changed to 21,715 while 16,079 earlier recorded for petitioner was changed to 14,550.”
A human rights lawyer, Ahmed Adetola-Kazeem, said he has commenced contempt proceedings against the Director General of the Department of State Services, Lawal Daura, over the continued detention of an Islamic cleric, Abdul-Ganiy Ibrahim, in spite of a court order.
The cleric, his then pregnant wife, Muinat, had, on July 5, 2014, been reportedly whisked away from their Ijoko, Ogun State home by unidentified gunmen, but they were later traced to the DSS station in Abeokuta, from where Muinat was released while Ibrahim continued to be detained.
Adetola-Kazeem had approached a Federal High Court in Abeokuta to challenge the arrest and continued detention of the cleric by the DSS without disclosing his alleged offence or charging him to court.
He had urged the court to declare that the continued detention of Ibrahim for over four months, outside the period covered by the detention warrant by the DSS, from July 7 to September 17, 2014, was an infringement of Ibrahim’s right to dignity of person, personal liberty and freedom of movement guaranteed by sections 34, 35 and 41 of the constitution.
In its ruling on June 18, 2015, the court, presided over by Justice F.O.G. Ogunbanjo, upheld the lawyer’s argument and declared that the continued detention of Ibrahim by the DSS without charging him or arraigning him before a court of competent jurisdiction was a violation of his fundamental human rights.
The judge also declared that the continued detention of the cleric by the DSS without informing him of the offence for which he was being held and without allowing him access to his lawyer, was a breach of Section 36 of the constitution.
Apart from ordering his immediate release, the judge held that Ibrahim was entitled to public apology from the DSS, in addition to compensation for damages in the sum of N1m.
“The 1st applicant is entitled to the grant of general damages in accordance with Section 36 (5) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999,(as amended) for the abuse of his fundamental rights by the respondents’ unlawful detention and this court accordingly awards the sum of N1m to be paid by the respondents to the 1st applicant.
“The court having found that the continued detention of the 1st applicant is unlawful, the 1st applicant is entitled to public apology from the appropriate authority or person by virtue of Section 35 (6) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999,(as amended). I therefore order the respondents to comply with Section 35 (6) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999,(as amended) and tender a public apology to the applicant,” the judge had held, in his ruling in suit numbered FHC/AB/CS/84/2014 filed by Adetola-Kazeem.
But the lawyer said all efforts to get the DSS and its DG, joined as the first and second respondents in the suit, to comply had been unproductive.
He added that his efforts to set eyes on Ibrahim had also not yielded any result, particularly expressing worry over the inability of DSS operatives to tell where exactly Ibrahim was being kept.
“None of them has given me any positive response. They are not even sure where he is. Those in Abeokuta said he is in Abuja; those in Abuja said he is in Lagos. Anytime you ask them, they would say give us his name and also send his picture, so that we can ascertain if he’s with us because there a lot of them there,” Adetola-Kazeem had lamented while speaking with our corresponding early July.
But he said that the court order had been served on the DSS authorities, accompanied with a letter June 25, 2015 addressed to the DG of DSS.
In the said letter, the lawyer urged the DSS to obey the order of the court so as to save the image of the organisation from being battered.
“Be it noted that your organisation participated in this case from start to finish. You were represented by Mrs. Aisha Gyang, all through the case up until the ruling on June 18, 2015,” the lawyer said in the letter.
However, speaking with our correspondent on Sunday, Adetola-Kazeem said he had now commenced contempt proceedings against the respondents for failing to obey the court order.
The Federal Government has not appealed against the ruling of Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which dismissed a suit seeking the extradition of the Ogun-East Senator, Buruji Kashamu, to the United States of America to face illicit drug charge, findings by our correspondent have shown.
Since it was an interlocutory ruling and not a judgment on the main suit, the government ought to have appealed against the ruling which was delivered on July 1, within 14 days.
Our correspondent learnt that the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Justice, has only appealed against two separate judgments of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court which had stopped the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation from going ahead with the extradition proceedings already instituted against the senator before Justice Kolawole.
Justice Kolawole had, in his ruling on July 1, dismissed the extradition suit on the grounds that his court lacked jurisdiction to entertain it since the judgment of the Lagos division of the court nullifying the proceedings had not been set aside by any appellate court.
Justice Okon Abang of the Lagos division had, on June 8, 2015, nullified the extradition proceedings instituted before Justice Kolawole in the Abuja division of the court on the grounds that the suit was commenced in contravention of some subsisting court orders which had exonerated Kashamu of culpability in the alleged crime in the US.
Justice Abang’s order nullifying the proceedings was affirmed by Justice Ibrahim Buba in a ruling on June 23, 2015.
Our correspondent’s findings showed that the Federal Ministry of Justice had appealed against the two judgments by Justices Abang and Buba.
No official of the ministry was willing to offer information on whether or not the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation had appealed against Justice Kolawole’s ruling, which quashed the extradition suit.
However, a senior lawyer with the case but who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak for the ministry, confirmed the outcome of our correspondent’s search at the registry of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal that no appeal had been filed against Justice Kolawole’s ruling.
One of the lawyers in Kashamu’s legal team, Mr. Babs Akinwumi, also on Thursday confirmed that there was no pending appeal against the ruling.
“They (the Federal Ministry of Justice) have not appealed against the ruling. If they have appealed against it, they would have served us with their notice of appeal. Up till now, we have not received copies of their processes in the office, where they usually serve us,” he said.
According to Akinwumi, going by the provisions of the law, the ministry ought to have filed an appealed against the court’s decision within 14 days since the ruling was interlocutory and not a ruling on the main suit.
He said if it was a judgment on the main suit, then the appellant would have up to 30 days to file an appeal against the decision.
When contacted, the spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Charles Nwodo, said he did not have information on the case.
But justifying the ministry’s refusal to appeal against Justice Kolawole’s ruling, our source said the ministry hoped that it would win its appeals against the judgments of Justices Abang and Buba, and that would clear the way for a fresh extradition application to be filed.
“Their (the ministry’s) strategy is to get the judgments from Lagos set aside and if they (the ministry) are able to achieve that, they will then file a fresh extradition application,” the source said.
The immediate past Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, had filed the application on May 28, 2015, upon a United State Government’s request asking the Nigerian government to submit Kashamu for extradition.
The then AGF stated in the application, FHC/ABJ/CS/479/2015, that Kashamu, described by the US government as being also known as Alhaji and Kashmal, was a subject of a one-count second superseding indictment in criminal case No. 94 CR 172 filed before the Illinois court on May 21, 1998.
An affidavit deposed to by the Assistant US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Diane MacArthur, attached to the extradition request from the US government, was said to be dated April 27, 2015.
By the US government’s charge against him, Kashamu allegedly conspired with others to intentionally import “and did import into the United States” quantities of mixtures containing heroin between 1992 and 1995.
The offence for which Kashamu is allegedly wanted in the US is said to contravene Section 952(a) of Title 21, United States Code, and punishable under Section 960 of the same law.
The penalty for the offence on conviction under the law, according to the charge, is an imprisonment of not more than 10 years or a fine of up to $10m in the case of an individual or both.
Osogbo—A serving judge of Osun State Judiciary, Justice Folahanmi Oloyede has been issued a query by the Osun State Judicial Service Commission, SJC, over her petition against Governor Rauf Aregbesola.
This was disclosed by Oloyede’s counsel, Mr. Lukman Ogunsetan, yesterday during a chat with newsmen.
He added that the embattled judge was expected to respond within seven days to the query, ending next Monday.
Also an Osun State High Court, sitting in Osogbo, yesterday failed to hear an ex-parte application filed before it by Justice Oloyede.
Oloyede was in court to challenge the dismissal of her petition against Governor Rauf Aregbesola by the Osun State House of Assembly.
Justice Oloyede’s counsel, Mr. Lukman Ogunsetan had on Monday filed a motion exparte supported by an affidavit of urgency, sought an order of the court to file an application for an order of Certiorari to quash the recommendations of the Osun Assembly’s Ad-hoc committee that dismissed her petition and also recommended her to SJC for further disciplinary action.
However, the application that was supposed to be heard by the vacation judge, did not get a mention, as Justice Aderibigbe after the day’s proceedings only announced that his next sitting would be next week Thursday.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after proceedings, Ogunsetan explained that when he approached the judge, he was told that the file had not been read.
He added that Aderibigbe also told him that he could not give a definite date for the hearing of the application yet.
Ogunsetan further explained that hearing of the motion and granting of the order to file the substantive application of Certiorari would have put a temporary stop to issue connected with and to the case pending the final determination of the issues thereon.
He called for early hearing of Oloyede’s application in the interest of justice.
IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY
IN THE ABUJA JUDICIAL DIVISION
HOLDEN AT ABUJA
SUIT NO: FCT/HC/CV/1712/2015
MRS. DIEZANI ALISON MADUEKE …PLAINTIFF
MOREMI PUBLISHING HOUSE LTD. …1ST DEFENDANT
KOLA OLABISI …2ND DEFENDANT
STATEMENT OF DEFENCE
Save and except as is hereinafter expressly admitted, the Defendants deny each and every allegation of facts contained in the Statement of Claim as if same were herein set out and denied seriatim.
1. The 1st Defendant admits paragraph 1 of the Statement of Claim to the extent that the Plaintiff was at the relevant time of filing this action the Minister for Petroleum Resources of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
2. The Defendants admit paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Statement of Claim but deny that the said publications were defamatory of the Plaintiff contrary to the allegation in paragraph 4 of the Statement of Claim as the statements made in the publications are true.
3. Contrary to paragraphs 9 and 10 of the Statement of Claim, the Defendants say that:
3.1. no independent investigation has been conducted by anybody, whether the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or PriceWaterhouseCoopers, that exonerated the Plaintiff contrary to the Plaintiff’s contention;
3.2. rather, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (hereinafter referred to as PWC) in its audit report on the accounts of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), a corporation under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources presided over by the Plaintiff between April 2010 and May 2015, indicates that
a. the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) refused to open their financial statement to PWC and hence the latter could not have access to NPDC’s full accounts and records;
b. no supporting documents were provided by the NPDC for the $0.25 billion claimed by the NPDC as Nigerian Port Authority charges;
c. a sum totaling $10,257,161.07 could not be substantiated due to insufficient documents which ought to be provided by the NPDC;
d. a total of $59,324,737.01 ($59.3) Million on Charter Hire Services could not be substantiated due to lack of supporting documents which ought to be provided by the NPDC;
e. out of the $17,767,683.54 claimed as payments for manning and management fee of MT Tuma and MT Oloibiri, the sum of $6,658,588.74 could not be ascertained due to lack of supporting documents which ought to be supplied by NPDC;
f. the total claim of $5,457,006.98 out of the total claim $46,265,215.13 could not be substantiated due to lack of supporting documents. NNPC claimed the sum of $46,265,215.13 as crude transport payments during the review period, (which fell in between the Plaintiff’s service as Minister for Petroleum Resources) which was incurred on crude oil transportation from Escravos terminals to Warri refinery jetty using marine vessels;
g. the sum of $6,707,826.05 could not be substantiated due to lack of supporting documents. This forms part of the expenses allegedly incurred on marine throughput by the NNPC under the management of the Plaintiff;
h. on capital expenditure, the sum of $24,179,005.48 could not be substantiated due to insufficient supporting documents which were supposed to be provided by NPDC and NNPC under the Ministry of the Plaintiff;
i. no amount whatsoever was substantiated for the total claim on Pipeline Vandalism and Repair Cost of $11,896,654.71 and on Management Charge out Rate claim of $59,712,530.83 as no supporting documents were provided for the costs;
j. while there were documentary evidence that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria had ordered that subsidy on DPK be stopped and the Executive Secretary PPPRA to the CBN Governor confirmed that PPPRA had ceased granting subsidy on Kerosene and no appropriation was made in the nation’s budget in 2012 and 2013, NNPC, under the Ministry of the Plaintiff claimed they spent $9.9 billion on kerosene without budgetary allocation;
k. whereas the sale of kerosene has been deregulated and average common man takes no benefit of the subsidy payments, yet the Plaintiff supervised the payment of huge sums of money for payment of subsidy on a deregulated product for more than two years in her ministry, the amounts paid has never been recovered and the Plaintiff did not finger any recipient of the funds for prosecution by the relevant agencies;
l. in January 2015, investigators discovered that the various NNPC (55%) portion of Oil leases (OMLs) involved in the Shell Divestments related to eight OMLs were transferred to NPDC for aggregate sum of US$1.85 billion. So far, only the sum of US$100 million had been remitted in relation to these assets and the sum of US$1.75 billion remains unremitted while the Plaintiff presides over the affairs of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. In addition, the said assets were sold for less their commercial value;
m. the total amount remitted from the sale of domestic crude amounted to $14.5 billion which is just half the total amount of $28,215,731,691 claimed by NNPC to have accrued from the total revenue generated from domestic crude sales;
n. rather than allowing the House of Representatives Committee to complete its investigation, the Plaintiff went to court and obtained an order preventing the Committee from proceeding on its investigation and the said suit is still pending till the time of filing this defence.
4. The Defendants say that, further to and in clarification of paragraph 3 above, the NNPC is a wholly-owned outfit of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) which operates through its subsidiary, NPDC, in direct petroleum exploration and production operations and the affairs of all these bodies were superintended over by the Plaintiff as the Minister for Petroleum Resources. For paragraph 3 above, the Defendants shall rely on the PWC Audit Report as reported in an on-line tabloid, Nigeria News Headline Today on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at http://www.newsheadlines.com.ng/latest-news/2015/04/28/highlights-pwc-audit-of-nnpc-accounts/ and accessed on 6/5/15 at 8:19 pm. Notice is hereby issued to the Plaintiff to produce the original of the report of PWC which is in her possession at the trial of this suit.
6. The Defendants further aver that under the Plaintiff’s watch as Minister for Petroleum Resources, 445,000 barrels of crude oil were stolen on a daily basis for about four years without efforts by the Plaintiff to identify, initiate arrest or prosecute the criminals who were responsible for this huge theft and depletion of national wealth. The allegation of daily theft of crude oil was asserted by former President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice President Namadi Sambo and Minister for Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on several occasions and which facts were never contradicted nor debunked by the Plaintiff and which led to the award of bogus contracts of pipeline monitoring and protection to rag-tag security formations of ex-militants and ethnic militias by the government under which the Plaintiff served as Minister.
7. The Defendants aver that, contrary to paragraphs 11 and 12 of the Statement of Claim,
the statements contained in the said publications are true and the Plaintiff has no such reputation that can be damaged as the accounts of the Plaintiff’s stewardships in the Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and, later, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, are a catalogue of unscrupulous and indecent practices characterized by profligacy, self-aggrandisement, serial scandals and wanton embezzlement.
8. The Defendants shall, in justification, rely on the House of Representatives’ investigation of the Plaintiff for squandering about 10 billion Naira of tax payers’ money on charter and maintenance of a Challenger 850 aircraft for unofficial use as reported by
9. The Defendants further aver that the Plaintiff has been a subject of several reports of shady deals and dirty transactions relating to sale of oil blocks belonging to the Federation. The Defendants shall rely on
10. The Defendants further state that the Plaintiff, a married woman, is a personage of notorious reputation and penchant for illicit affairs which have been sustained by the nation’s oil wealth. The Defendants shall rely on the following publications to this effect:
a. an online blog, called Amazing Stories Around the World, published on Sunday 8 December 2013 a report titled “Kola Aluko’s Romance with Diezani, Omokore Exposed” which detailed the lavish lifestyle of one Kola Aluko who, according to reports, abandoned the Plaintiff after a sizzling romantic relationship and opted for the British model, Naomi Campbell. The said report is on http://amazingstoriesaroundtheworld.blogspot.com/2013/12/kola-alukos-romance-with-diezani.html and accessed on 6/5/15 at 8:49 pm;
b. a November 24, 2013 online report titled “The Dirty Secret Between Kola Aluko and Petroleum Minister, Allison Madueke Exposed” published by abusidiqu.com which details how the relationship between the Plaintiff and the said Kola Aluko went sour the latter having escaped with billions of dollars which were profits made from illegal oil deals involving the Plaintiff. The said story is on http://abusidiqu.com/dirty-secret-kola-aluko-petroleum-minister-allison-madueke-exposed/ accessed on June 6, 2015 at 12:28 pm;
e. a May 26, 2015 online report published by The Icon titled “N1bn Libel Suit: Allison-Madueke and agents evading service” in which the Plaintiff was alleged to be evading service of court process in Suit No. CV/1679/15 at the FCT High Court for libel and unauthorized use of the name of one Simon Imobo-Tswan and his platform, Network of Progressive Activists as well as his GSM number to launder the Plaintiff’s image in the media via news-stories and advertorial which report was accessed at http://www.theiconng.com/n1bn-libel-suit-alison-madueke-and-agents-evading-service/.
11. The Defendants aver that, at the trial of this suit, they shall rely on opinions of average Nigerians about the Plaintiff to buttress the fact that the Plaintiff has no reputation to protect save in the coterie of her corrupt associates and shall rely on the following publications:
b. an article published online by Premium Times on April 28, 2015 titled “Why the Federal Government Should Prosecute Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke” by Femi Akinfolarin and accessed at http://blogs.premiumtimesng.com on 6/5/15 at 7:55 pm;
c. the publication by Sahara Reporters of January 27, 2014 titled “Anti-Corruption Coalition Wants Nigeria’s Petroleum Minister, Alison-Madueke, Removed As Alternate President of OPEC”, a report of a petition by Civil Society Network Against Corruption which detailed a number of corrupt practices of the Plaintiff as the Minister for Transportation, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, and later, Minister for Petroleum Resources, all between 2007 – 2015. The said publication is on http://saharareporters.com/2014/01/27/anti-corruption-coalition-wants-nigeria%E2%80%99s-petroleum-minister-alison-madueke-removed and accessed on 6/24/15 at 11.43 am;
d. the KPMG report on the sleaze that characterized the Plaintiff’s stewardship in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources which report described NNPC as a “House of Fraud” but was brought to public attention by Premium Times of February 1, 2012 in a write-up titled “KPMG report: 20 Nigerians EFCC should interrogate” – accessed at http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/3636-kpmg-report-20-nigeriana-efcc-should-interrogate.html on 6/24/15 at 11:58 am. The Plaintiff is hereby given notice to produce the report of KPMG which was submitted to her but was covered up for a long time until unearthed by Premium Times;
12. The Defendants maintain that they are responsible corporate citizens of Nigeria with high ethical and professional standing and shall not libel anybody, the Plaintiff inclusive, but only publish real, credible and verifiable stories.
13. The Defendants shall rely on the defence of justification in this case as the Plaintiff has no reputation to protect.
14. The Defendants shall also rely on the defence of qualified privilege at the trial of this suit as it is part of their duties to inform the public.
15. Whereof the Defendants pray for the dismissal of the Claimant’s action with punitive and substantial costs as the said action is frivolous, vexatious and completely lacking in merit.
Dated this day of June, 2015
R. A. O. Adegoke,
M. A. BANIRE & ASSOCIATES,
c/o Olujinmi & Akeredolu & Co.,
5th Floor, NICON Plaza,
Muhammadu Buhari Way,
Central Area, Abuja.
+234-802-449-6925 [email protected]
FOR SERVICE ON:
c/o her counsel,
Dr. Chike Amobi,
Chike Amobi & Co.,
Ambassador Albert I Osakwe House,
1473, Inner Block Road, Suit 203,
Central Business District,
Culled from: NEWS AT 247
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State has advised Governor Nyesom Wike to start packing his bags with a view to vacating the Brick House Government House in Port Harcourt “as there is no way he could avoid being removed by the State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.”
The party gave the advice while welcoming the judgment of the tribunal which during Thursday’s sitting in Abuja ordered that APC be allowed to inspect materials used for the shambolic April 11, 2015 governorship election, and that forensic analysis be conducted on any materials used for the polls found to have been tampered with. The judge also overruled Wike’s application on jurisdiction.
“We wish to echo the words of Chief Akin Olunjinmi, leading counsel to our distinguished gubernatorial candidate, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, that Chief Wike’s prayer and motion on jurisdiction is a deliberate attempt and ‘game-plan’ to delay the tribunal’s sitting. We are happy that the honourable tribunal saw through Wike’s tricks and justifiably dismissed his objections, thus paving the way for the hearing of the substantive suit,” Rivers APC said in the statement signed by the Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya.
The party repeated its claim that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) erred in declaring Wike, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), winner of “the violence-marred election globally acknowledged to be a charade.”
“While Wike continues to enjoy the dividends of his stolen mandate, we wish to advise him to start to gradually pack his bags because he is a temporary tenant in the Rivers State Government House. The mountain of evidence against the declaration of Wike as governor is so high that his ouster by the tribunal is a foregone conclusion,” Rivers APC said.
It described as a minor setback the judgment, also on Thursday, by a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt presided over by Justice Lambo Akambi, which nullified the election of the 22 local Government council chairmen and councilors organised by the Professor Augustine Ahiazu-led Rivers State Independent Election Commission (RSIEC), during the administration of Chibuike Amaechi.
“It is our considered opinion that His Lordship erred in his judgment and we are confident of getting a favourable verdict on appeal,” Dr. Ikanya said. He urged APC’s teeming members and supporters in the state to remain calm and vigilant as the party leadership is determined to pursue the matter to a logical conclusion.
Lagos State Governor, Governor Akinwumi Ambode of All Progressive Congress, APC has been upheld as the winner of state governorship election held April 11, 2015 by state Election Petition Tribunal.
It would be recalled that, the governorship candidate of People’s Democratic Party, Jimi Agbaje, and his party have petitioned the victory of Mr. Ambode, asking the tribunal to nullify the his victory.
They argued that, Lagos State governorship election was not conducted under rules and guidelines given by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The Tribunal in it ruling, therefore struck out the petition by Agbaje and his party against Ambode and APC, saying that petition is defective because Agbaje and his party, while seeking for nullification of the election failed to ask and order toe conduct a fresh election.
In addition, if the election is nullified, the people of Lagos State would be left without a leader, turning the state a lawless state.
He however, urge Mr. Agbaje and his party to join hand together with Governor Akinwumi Ambode in order to move the state forward.
Also, Mr. Ambode, while reacting to the tribunal’s verdict, Agbaje and his party were just wasting their time and resources challenging his victory. He them to join hands with him to move the state forward.
Meanwhile, the People’s Democratic Party has promised to would file an appeal against the ruling by the tribunal.
They said the petition died prematurely, without being heard on the merit.
Following the victory of a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode at a Lagos High Court today, in which he was discharged and acquitted, the prosecutor, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has promised to review the judgement and respond to it appropriately.
The spokesperson of the commission expressed their shock over the court verdict. He said, we were shocked when received the judgement, but we are making effort to get a certified true copy of the judgment, as soon as we get that, we will review the judgement and make appropriate respond, EFCC added.
Former Aviation Minister, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode has changed his name over his victory at a Lagos Federal High Court.
Mr Femi who was charged with money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC was discharged and acquitted to Wednesday 1st of July from Lagos High Court.
While rejoicing over his victory, Femi gave God all the glory for vindicating him of the charges which has lasted for seven years. I am dropping my Surname for Olukayode in appreciation for what God has done for me, Femi added.
He also expressed his appreciation to all his family and friends who stood by him through his trying periods.
Finally, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode has been freed from the charges filed against by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The former Minister of Aviation, was set free by a Lagos Federal High Court, holding that Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC could not prove the allegation against Fani-Kayode. The court thereby set the accused free.