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HDP Vice Presidential candidate, others dissociate selves from litigation

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The Vice Presidential Candidate of Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the 2019 Presidential Election, Alhaji Haruna Yahaya-Shaba, has dissociated himself from the purported legal action instituted by the Presidential Candidate of the party, Chief Ambrose Owuru.

Yahaya-Shaba, who is also the Deputy National Chairman of the party, disclosed this in a statement he personally signed and issued to newsmen in Abuja on Sunday.

He said that he was working with other National Executive Committee (NEC) members against the legal action taken by Owuru.

“We called an emergency NEC meeting to discuss very serious issues affecting our great Party.

“We have taken the decision to instruct our Lawyers to communicate the decision of the NEC to the Presidential Election Tribunal sitting in Abuja.

“In the last two weeks, I have been inundated with calls from many party members, including some NEC members, to explain the information that our party has filed a petition at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja,” Yahaya-Shaba said.

He said many people were shocked and surprised when he explained that as the deputy national chairman and indeed the vice presidential candidate of HDP, he only heard of the news of filing petition at the tribunal from the media.

“HDP is not a personal property of any individual. It is, therefore, illegal and unacceptable for any individual in the party to take such a unilateral decision without getting official approval of the Party.

“As the running mate of the party in the last presidential election, I therefore dissociate myself from this unilateral action.”

He also disclosed that the NEC of HDP had also constituted a seven-man committee to investigate allegations against Owuru that he allegedly received substantial amount of money from the opposition PDP to institute the illegal petition.

Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola

Judiciary

HDP drags FG to ECOWAS Court, seeks N800bn damages over rights’ violation

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The Hope Democratic Party (HDP) and its presidential candidate in the last general election, Albert Owuru, have filed a suit against the Federal Government before the ECOWAS Court, demanding N800 billion for alleged violation of rights.

In the suit, the regional court was asked to intervene in the dismissive manner in which the Supreme Court of Nigeria handled its appeal against President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the Feb.23 presidential election.

The defendants are Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Nigeria News Agency recalls that the apex court dismissed the applicants’ appeal on technical ground that the appeal was filed six days outside of the 60 days mandated by the constitution to hear Presidential Election Appeals.

The parties are seeking a declaration that the defendants orchestrated the Oct. 28 date for the applicants’ appeal which is outside the 60 days  to hear appeal that arose from tribunal’s judgment on Aug. 22.

They are also seeking a declaration that the failure and refusal of the defendants to institute, establish, and promote an independent court system to ensure and guarantee the protection of the applicants’ rights to justice and equity resulted in the alleged violation of their rights.

NAN reports that no date has been fixed for hearing.

Mr Chukuwuma Njoku, the applicants’ counsel who spoke on the appeal to newsmen on Friday in Abuja, said his clients proceeded to the regional court to seek redress.

“We have proceeded to seek redress for our violated right to have our case heard before ECOWAS Court of Justice.

“We are seeking the payment of the sum of N800 billion as damages for the violation of the applicants’ fundamental human rights throughout the period of the case in Nigerian courts,’’ Njoku said.

Edited by: Martins Odeh/Obike Ukoh
(NAN)

 

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Judiciary

Supreme Court strikes out HDP’s suit challenging Buhari’s election

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The Supreme Court on Thursday struck out the appeal filed by Chief Ambrose Owuru the candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP), challenging the election of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The appeal was struck out on the grounds that Owuru and his party engaged in gross abuse of court processes by filing two notices of appeal contrary to the provisions of the law.

In the unanimous decision read by Justice Mary Peter-Odili, the five member panel of Justices upheld the objection raised by the respondents in the suit and subsequently dismissed the appeal.

Justice Odili upheld the argument of Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, that the two appellants embarked on a journey aimed at misdirecting the court by filing two notices of appeal and simultaneously used the two notices to formulate grounds of appeal, contrary to the provisions of the law.

The court having upheld the preliminary objections of the three respondents to the appeal said that the HDP’s appeal has nothing to stand upon and consequently struck out the appeal.

The panel held that it was wrong for the appellants to have filed two notices of appeal and simultaneously used the two to argue their case even when they were within the time allowed by law to file a proper notice of appeal.

Odili held that the two appellants did not appeal the ruling of the tribunal which declared their petition incompetent and an abuse of court process, and struck it out but chose to appeal against the substantive judgment on the main petition which was delivered by the tribunal, “out of abundant caution”.

With the failure of the appellants to appeal against the ruling of the tribunal on the respondents’ objections to the petition, Justice Odili held that their appeal against the substantive judgment of the tribunal has no legs to stand upon.

Owuru and HDP had dragged the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to the apex Court over the dismissal of their petition challenging the declaration of Buhari as winner of the presidential election.

The court in striking out the suit further held that failure of the appellants to appeal the Aug. 22 ruling of the tribunal which had struck out their petition for being incompetent was fatal to their appeal.

Counsel to Buhari, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Yunus Usman SAN, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) Lateef Fagbemi SAN had in separate preliminary objections asked the apex court to strike out the appeal on the grounds that the appellants contravened the law by filing two notices of appeal in one matter.

They drew the attention of the court to the first notice of appeal filed on August 28 and the second one filed on Sept. 2, which were simultaneously used to formulate issues in the main appeal and which were predicated on different grounds.

The first one has 12 grounds and the second, eight grounds.

The respondents argued that the action of the appellants by the two notices of appeal constituted gross abuse of court process and aimed at irritating and annoying the respondents.

In his own notice of preliminary objection filed on Sept. 16, counsel to the APC insisted that the appellants attempted to build their appeal on nothing since the decision of the tribunal that they have no competent petition known to law was not challenged.

Fagbemi informed the tribunal that the petition relied upon by the appellants to come to the Supreme Court had been declared nonexistent by the decision of Justice Mohammed Garba, adding that until the decision of the tribunal on the competency of the petition is set aside, the two appellants have no business coming to court without challenging the declaration of the petition as incompetent by the tribunal.

However, counsel to the appellants, Isaac Udoka, made spirited efforts to convince the apex court on why the two notices of appeal were filed in respect of one matter.

Udoka submitted that the appellants were forced to do so because the presidential election petition tribunal did not release a clean copy of its Aug. 22 judgment on time while the time to file a notice of appeal was running out.

He urged the court to use its discretion to consider the second notice of appeal as a continuation of the first one.

It would be recalled that the tribunal had in a separate ruling on Aug. 22 voided the petition of Owuru and HDP for not being in conformity with the position of the law and for being an abuse of court process. (NAN)

EPA/SH

(NAN)

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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Judiciary

EFCC to court: HDP Presidential Candidate, Owuru, is wanted for alleged fraud charge

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Tuesday, told the Federal High Court, Abuja, that the Hope Democratic Party (HDP)’s Presidential Candidate in the 2019 election, Mr Ambrose Owuru, was on the commission’s list for fraud charges.

The EFCC said the case was still pending before the Port Harcourt Division of a Federal High Court in Rivers.

Counsel to the EFCC, Ibrahim Audu, made the remark at the hearing of Owuru’s fundamental rights enforcement suit, challenging the legality of the commission to declare him wanted in a July 10, 2018 newspaper publication.

Audu told Justice Nkeonye Maha that Owuru was avoiding trial in the criminal case instituted against him by the commission, which prompted the court in Port Harcourt to issue an arrest warrant against him.

He said the criminal charges against Owuru bordered on obtaining money by false pretence.

“He was evading his trial and the High Court duly issued an arrest warrant against him.

“It was on the basis of the arrest warrant that the publication was made,” he said.

Nigeria News Agency (NAN) reports that on Aug. 7 when the matter came up before Justice Taiwo Taiwo, a lawyer representing Owuru, Mr Eze  Nnayenlugo, had said that the criminal case referred to by the EFCC involved “a land transaction.”

He added that the case had been withdrawn.

However, the EFCC’s counsel insisted that the criminal case was still pending before the court in Port Harcourt and had not been withdrawn.

At the resumed hearing onTuesday, Owuru’s lawyer, Chukwunoyerem Njoku, urged Justice Maha to grant his client’s prayers, including an award of N500 million damages for the damage allegedly done to his reputation with the EFCC’s publication.

He also sought order, restraining the anti-graft agency from further publication.

Njoku stated that the commission had no power to declare anybody wanted without the backing of a court order.

“There is nothing in the exhibit tendered by the respondent (EFCC) that empowers it to make that publication,” Njoku added.

Responding, Audu said there was also no provision of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act that made a court order a condition precedent to declare a defendant facing criminal charges wanted.

“There is nothing in ACJA that says for the publication to be made, there must be a court order,” he said.

Audu added that the subject matter of the suit “is not one of the enforceable rights under Chapter 4 of the Constitution or under the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules.:’

He maintained that the suit ought to have been filed as a libel case instead of a fundamental rights enforcement suit.

He also argued that the Supreme Court had admonished other lower courts “not to be misled in treating every infraction as infraction of the fundamental rights.”

Justice Maha, after hearing parties to the case, fixed Oct. 7 for judgment on the legality of the publication and whether Owuru deserved the N500 million sought as damages in the suit.

NAN reports that the ‎Presidential Election Petition Tribunal had, on Aug. 22, dismissed an election petition filed by Owuru to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the Feb. 3 presidential poll. (NAN)
TOA/SH

edited by Sadiya Hamza

(NAN)

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Tribunal dismisses HDP’s petition against Buhari’s re-election

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The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Thursday in Abuja dismissed the petition filed by Hope Democratic Party (HDP) challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s election in the Feb.23 general election.

Delivering judgment, Justice Mohammed Garba, Chairman of the five-man panel held that the tribunal lack the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

Garba said the action was an abuse of court processes, adding that the premise on which the petition was hinged was unknown to the country’s Constitution.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the decision was unanimous as there was no dissenting judgment.

The Political Party and its Presidential Candidate, Ambrose Owuru had prayed the tribunal to set aside the outcome of the election on grounds that INEC allegedly failed to follow the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010.

The petitioners had averred that the electoral body’s abrupt postponement of the poll earlier scheduled for Feb. 16 was deceptive and done to favour a particular candidate.

The petitioners contended that Oworu, emerged winner of the election through a referendum conducted on Feb.16 by scoring 50 million votes across the country.

They had submitted that Nigerian citizens participated in the Feb. 16 referendum as required by law and therefore urged the tribunal to nullify the declaration of Buhari by INEC as president and in his place, restore Owuru as the authentic winner.

NAN recalls that Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, Counsel for the president had urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition on the grounds that it is frivolous, baseless and lacking in merit.

Olanipekun had told the tribunal that the petitioners did not in any way adduce evidence on how the referendum was conducted and who conducted it in line with the provisions of the law.

He further explained that referendum was not known to the country’s law as a procedure to elect citizens into positions of governance.

Olanipekun further said he had studied carefully the final address of the HDP and its presidential candidate and there was nowhere they made any case against president Buhari.

On his part, Mr Yunus Usman, SAN,  urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition with substantial cost to serve as a deterrent to those who may wish to file frivolous and baseless petitions in the 2023 elections and beyond.

Usman argued that the petition lacked merit because the electoral body conducted an election and not a referendum and that the claims of the two petitioners were strange to the electoral umpire.

He, therefore, urged the tribunal to uphold the declaration of Buhari as the winner of the Feb. 23 presidential election.

Also, Chief Akin Olujimi, SAN, Counsel for the All Progressive Party (APC) aligned with the other respondents to demand the dismissal of the petition for lacking in merit.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

 

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Judiciary

Presidential tribunal dismisses HDP petition against Buhari, APC

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Dismissal

by Martins Odey

Abuja, Aug. 22,2019 The Presidential Election in Thursday the petition filed by  HDP challenging election of Muhammadu Buhari as president.

details later…

.

 

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Judiciary

HDP prays tribunal to set aside Feb. 23 Presidential Election

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The Hope Democratic Party (HDP) on Monday prayed the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal to set aside the presidential election of Feb. 23 on the grounds that INEC did not follow conditions in the Electoral Act before postponing the poll earlier scheduled for Feb.  16.

The party is challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the Feb. 23 election.

Adopting the HDP’s final address, its lead counsel Mr Chukwunoyerem Njoku, informed the Tribunal that because INEC did not follow the conditions before postponing the election unconstitutionally, a referendum was conducted in line with the law and the presidential candidate of the HDP, Mr Ambrose Oworu, emerged winner of the referendum with over 50 million votes.

He submitted that Nigerian citizens participated in the Feb. 16 referendum as required by law and urged the Tribunal to nullify the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari by INEC as president and in his place, restore Owuru as the authentic winner.

However, the President represented by Mr Wole Olanipekun, SAN, urged the Tribunal to dismiss the petition on the grounds that it is frivolous, baseless and lacking in merit.

Olanipekun told the Tribunal that the petitioners did not in any way adduce evidence on how the referendum was conducted and who conducted it in line with the provisions of the law.

He also said he had studied carefully the final address of the HDP and its presidential candidate and there was nowhere they made any case against President Buhari.

Also adopting its final address, INEC through its lead counsel, Mr Yinus Usman, urged the Tribunal to dismiss the petition with substantial cost to serve as a deterrent to those who may wish to file frivolous and baseless petitions in the 2023 elections.

Usman argued that the petition lacked merit because the electoral body conducted an election and not a referendum and that the claims of the two petitioners were strange to the electoral umpire.

He, therefore, urged the Tribunal to uphold the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as the winner of the Feb. 23 lawful presidential election.

After listening to all the arguments, the Tribunal reserved judgment.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

 

 

 

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Presidential tribunal fixes Aug. 23 for final addresses in HDP, Owuru petition against Buhari

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Addresses

By Martins Odeh

The petition, challenging the victory of Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last presidential election, is anchored on the grounds that the rescheduling of the poll from Feb. 16, 2019 to Feb. 23, 2019 was done “without any recognisable presence or existence and or compliance with prescribed statutory conditions to do so.”

They contended that with the rescheduling, the presidential election was deemed “abandoned self-sabotaged and relinquished”, “giving way for the people’s controlled affirmative referendum election” which they said, by 50 million votes, validated Awuru as the elected President.

The respondents to the petition are the Independent National Electoral Commission, President Buhari and the APC.

The five-member tribunal led by Justice Mohammed Garba, fixed the date after the HDP and Owuru closed their case against Buhari.

Earlier, Mr Eze Maduachuchi, Counsel for the petitioners had led two witnesses to testify while the third witness was barred from testifying.

The barring of the witness by Justice Garba stemmed from fact that counsel for the petitioner failed to attach his deposition to the petition.

Maduabuchi also failed to show proof of his claim that the witness was duly subpoenaed to testify in the matter.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the petitioners thereafter tendered copies of some national dailies which were admitted as evidence.

They also tendered result of the referendum allegedly conducted by Citizen Observers Referendum Election Rights Protection of Nigeria and the final list of presidential candidates published by INEC.

Following the development, counsel for the petitioners informed the tribunal of his clients’ intention to close their case having exhausted their witnesses.

Mr Yunus Usman, SAN, Counsel for INEC, Mr Yusuf Ali, SAN, Counsel for Buhari and Chief Akin Olujimi, SAN, Counsel for APC, raised objections to the admissibility of the materials tendered by the petitioners, but reserved reasons to be reflected in their addresses.

Ali, counsel for the president had made an oral application urging the tribunal to fix a date for adoption of written addresses by parties.

The prayer was supported by the rest counsel for the respondents, as according to them, the petitioners had clearly finished their case.

The chair of the tribunal therefore gave petitioners two days to file and serve their address on the respondents.

Garba also ordered the counsel for the respondents to file their addresses and replies to the petitioners’ addresses within two days.

The judge further gave the counsel for the petitioners another two days to reply to the respondents’ replies on point law if the need arose.

He therefore, ordered that all process between parties must be concluded on July 27 preparatory to Aug.5 when all addresses would be adopted.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

 

 

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Judiciary

Presidential tribunal fixes Aug. 23 for final addresses in HDP petition against Buhari

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The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Monday fixed Aug. 23, doe adoption of final written address in the suit filed by the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) and its presidential candidate, Albert Awuru, challenging the election  of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The petition, challenging the victory of Buhari and his All Progressives Congress in the last presidential election, is anchored on the grounds that the rescheduling of the poll from Feb. 16, 2019 to Feb. 23, 2019 was done “without any recognisable presence or existence and or compliance with prescribed statutory conditions to do so.”

They contended that with the rescheduling, the presidential election was deemed “abandoned self-sabotaged and relinquished”, “giving way for the people’s controlled affirmative referendum election” which they said, by 50 million votes, validated Awuru as the elected President.

The respondents to the petition are the Independent National Electoral Commission, President Buhari and the APC.

The five-member tribunal led by Justice Mohammed Garba, fixed the date after the HDP and Awuru closed their case against Buhari. .

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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Judiciary

Presidential Tribunal orders HDP, Awuru to open case on July 22

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The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Thursday ordered the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) and its presidential candidate, Albert Awuru, to open their case on July 22.

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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