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Appeal Court affirms Jones Erue-led APC leadership in Delta



The Court of Appeal sitting in Benin, on Friday, affirmed Mr Jones Erue-led faction as the legally elected executive of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta.

The affirmation followed an appeal filed by the Erue-led executive against the March 8 judgment of an Asaba Federal High Court, which declared the Cyril Ogodo-led faction as the elected executive of the party.

The panel of three judges, in a unanimous judgment read by Justice Mohammed Shaibu, held that the lower court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit as it bordered on an intra-party matter.

Other members of the panel are Justice C.N. Uwa and Justices J.O. Bada.

The appellate court also held that the respondents’ non-compliance with Section 97 of the Sheriff and Civil Process Act was a fundamental breach of the law.

It added that statutory provision of service writ of summons was not complied with, as the writ was not endorsed.

It further held that failure of the respondents to file their suit within 14 days of the pre-election act complained of, extinguished their rights to contest the primary they did not participate‎ in.

“In the instant case, the respondents were neither aspirants‎ nor contestants and therefore lacked locus standi to challenge the action of the APC.

“The appeal is allowed. The judgment of the lower court is‎ hereby struck out for lack of jurisdiction,’’ Shaibu said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the appeal court awarded N100,000 costs against the respondents.

In another related judgment, the court held that election matters were time-bound and must be strictly adhered to, adding that the lower court was wrong to have assumed jurisdiction in the suit.

“The lower court was wrong; the judgment is a nullity and is hereby set aside,”, the court held in the unanimous judgment delivered by Justice C.N Uwa.

NAN reports that with the victory of the Erue-led faction, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege’s candidacy at the 2019 Delta Central senatorial election has been affirmed.

Soon after the judgment, jubilant ‎supporters of the victorious faction burst into celebration at the court premises.


Respondent alleges threat to life at Abia election tribunal



A respondent, Mr Emeka Okoroafor on Wednesday told the National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Abia that his life is currently being threatened by unknown persons.

Okoroafor, a second respondent, alleged that he is being threatened in connection with the petition filed against him by Mr John Ogele, candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

Ogele had approached the tribunal to challenge the victory of Okoroafor of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 9, 2019 House of Assembly election for Isuikwato state constituency.

Nigeria News Agency , reports that Ogele who came fourth in the election, is asking the tribunal to return him as winner.

The petitioner, a two-term member of Abia assembly, alleged alteration and swapping of the election results.

During Wednesday’s proceedings however, the respondent raised alarm before the Justice Cornelius Akintayo-led three-member tribunal, immediately after he was being cross-examined as a star witness.

Okoroafor, the Chairman of Justice and Judiciary and Public Petition committees, claimed that some unknown persons had been trailing him in the past couple of days.

“My lord, I have been finding it difficult to go to my constituency, you see somebody trailing you, you park, he parks, you move, he moves.

“It has made it difficult for me to sleep over in Isuikwato since the commencement of this trial,” he said.

Okoroafor alleged that he witnessed a similar incident prior to the election where he was nearly kidnapped, but miraculously escaped.

He told the court that he was handicapped as he could not engage security agents because of the pending trial.

But Mr C.C Elele, counsel to the petitioner, debunked the allegation arguing that Okoroafor was only trying to whip up sentiment in the ongoing trial.

He said that the respondent, who is also a learned colleague, was being callous and unfair, stressing that he was at liberty to contact security agents if there was such a threat.

In his response, Ogele said it was a grievous allegation against him and urged the tribunal to discountenance it.

“I only accosted the respondent on Monday for bringing people who are not presiding officers to appear in court as witnesses,” Ogele said.

Akintayo, however, advised the respondent to contact the police for any complaint, adding that anything concerning threat to life or assault was outside the tribunal’s jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, he gave the petitioners five days to file their written arguments and three days for respondents to reply on point of law.

The matter was adjourned to Sept. 4, for adoption of final written addresses.

Edited by Nyisom Fiyigon Dore

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Election petition: AD, LP want Sanwo-Olu, others subpoenaed



Chief Owolabi Salis, Alliance for Democracy Governorship  Candidate for Lagos State in the 2019 General Elections, and his Labour Party counterpart, Mr Ifagbemi Awamaridi, on Wednesday prayed that INEC be subpoenaed to testify before the Lagos State Election Petition Tribunal.

In a motion exparte, the candidates urged the  tribunal to also compel the state Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to appear before it.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the duo alleged that Sanwo-Olu, INEC, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Lagos State and the Returning Officer for Lagos State did not want to come and testify over their petitions challenging Sanwo-Olu’s election.

In the motion supported by a nine-paragraph affidavit, they prayed the tribunal to consider the time frame within which the petitioners  would call witnesses,.

The motion exparte was brought pursuant to Order 8, Rule 1(3)&(4) of the Electoral Act (as amended), 2010.

The three-man panel chaired by Justice Terhemen Asua granted the motion to serve the respondents by pasting on the INEC office wall but declined to subpoena the governor, citing the Immunity Clause in the constitution.

“Upon perusing of the motion exparte, we are satisfied that the good cause has been shown by the petitioners.

“But as far as the first respondent, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu is concerned, he is covered by the Immunity Clause as a sitting governor; he cannot be compelled to appear in court,”  Asua said.

NAN reports that the applicants had filed petitions against Sanwo-Olu challenging, his victory in the March 9 gubernatorial election in Lagos State.

The other respondents are INEC, All Progressives Congress, Lagos State  Resident Electoral Commissioner, the state Returning Officer, the state  commissioner of police and the army.

Proceedings in the tribunal will continue on Thursday.

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Tribunal dismisses Shehu Sani’s petition



The National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Kaduna on Wednesday dismissed the petition of Sen. Shehu Sani of Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) for lack of merit.

Shehu Sani had approached the Tribunal asking it to nullify the election of Sen. Uba Sani of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as senator of Kaduna Central Senatorial District.

Uba Sani, a former Political Adviser to Gov. Nasir El-Rufai,  won the Feb. 16, 2019 election with 355, 242 votes.

His closest contestant, Lawal Adamu of the PDP, scored 195,497 votes while Shehu Sani was a distant third with 70,613 votes.

Chairman of the three-man Tribunal, Justice A. H. Suleiman in a judgment that lasted two hours, said that Sen. Shehu Sani’s petition had no substance and lacked merit.

He said that the petitioner had failed to present convincing evidence to warrant the nullification of the election.

The lead counsel to Sen. Uba Sani, Frank Igbe hailed the Tribunal for a fair judgment.

He thanked all those that contributed to the success of the case and urged those not satisfied with the ruling to proceed to the Court of Appeal.

Meanwhile, counsel to Shehu Sani who were present at the court declined comment on the verdict.

However, his lead counsel, Mr Morris Odeh, who was away in Benue, told a NAN correspondent on phone, that he would only comment after consulting with his client and other colleagues who were in court.

Meanwhile, the Tribunal has fixed August 24, for ruling in the petition of the  Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate Lawal Adamu, who were also challenging the election of Uba Sani.

In another development, the Tribunal has fixed Monday, Aug. 26, to rule on the petition of Mr Barnabas Bantex, former deputy governor of Kaduna State.

Bantex, who contested for Senate under APC to represent Kaduna South Senatorial district, is challenging the re-election of Sen. Danjuma Lah of the PDP in the Feb. 16 polls.

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My reappointment, collective efforts of the staff – Malami



 Malami reiterates his commitment to the collective welfare of the staff.

He charged them to be more proactive in their duties as they have collective responsibility to work as family.

According to him, ‘Malami’s coming back to the Ministry showed that, Mr President recognised his good work during the last four years which he definitely wanted him to come back and finished.

He congratulated the Staff of the Ministry and enjoined them to cooperate with the Minister in order to take the Ministry to the next level.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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2 docked over alleged unlawful possession of military kits



Two men, Mutiu Ogundeji, 32, and Hakeem Adeagbo, 26,  on Wednesday appeared before Mrs Imoleayo Akinrodoye, the President of a Mapo Grade ‘A’ Customary Court in Ibadan, charged with posing as military officers.

The suspects, whose addresses were not provided, are facing a two-count charge of unlawful possession and impersonation.

Police prosecutor, Ayodele Ayeni told the Court that the defendants were arrested on Monday at Bode area of Ibadan, after some concerned members of the community, who knew them to be jobless, alerted the police of their activities in the neighbourhood.

He tendered two pairs of military trousers, two camouflage shirts, two underweares, two caps, four pairs of socks and a sweater as exhibits found in possession of the duo.

In their defence, each of the suspects confessed to being in possession of military uniforms, but denied using them for armed robbery or any fraudulent purpose.

Akinrodoye went ahead to admit the defendants to bail in the sum of N200,000 each with two reliable sureties each in like sum.

She later adjourned the case till Aug. 30 for continuation of hearing.

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