The Kaduna State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has upheld the re-election of Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC ) in the March 9 poll in Kaduna State.
The tribunal in its ruling on Monday in Kaduna dismissed the petition filed by Alhaji Isah Ashiru, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 9 election.
Justice Ibrahim Bako, the Chairman of the three-member tribunal, said the petitioners did not provide substantial evidence to support their petition.
Bako said: “The petitioners have not provided substantial proof before this Tribunal that will support all that they alleged in their petition.
“The petitioners failed to provide proof that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was wrong in its declaration that Gov. Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai was duly elected.
“This Tribunal, therefore, dismisses the Petition filed by the PDP and its candidate, Alhaji Isah Ashiru, against the decision of INEC that returned of Malam Nasiru El-Rufai, candidate of the APC, as duly elected in the March 9 election in Kaduna state.’’
Bako narrated that the PDP and its governorship candidate (Ashiru) had petitioned the March 9 poll in which El-Rufai was returned as duly elected by the INEC.
He said that the petitioners in their final written address on Aug. 19, asked the tribunal to cancel 515,951 votes which it contended were unlawfully added to the total votes cast during the March 9 poll.
According to him, the petitioners had called 135 witnesses out of the 685 they mentioned in the petition to prove alleged massive rigging, ballot stuffing and other irregularities during the poll as contained in their petition.
The petitioners had alleged that INEC had added 391,741 votes to El-Rufai of APC and 124,210 unlawful votes to the PDP through wrong or double entry on the result sheets.
The petitioners also contended that declaring the 2nd respondent as winner by 1st respondent was illegal as the 2nd respondent did not score majority of lawful votes.
The petitioners through their counsel, led by Emmanuel C. Ukala (SAN), said deducting 391,741 votes from 1,045,427 scored by the 2nd respondent and 124,210 from the petitioner’s 814,168 votes will give victory to the petitioners and candidate in the election.
The counsel had argued that after the deduction of the alleged unlawful votes, the petitioner will be left with 689,958 lawful votes, while the 2nd respondent will have 653,686 votes.
In his submission, the counsel argued that all parties to the petition were bound to argue their cases on the basis of whether or not the petitioners had assembled credible evidence to sustain their petition, as formulated by the tribunal.
Bako in his ruling, however, said the signatures of most of the 135 witnesses the petitioners presented in their written statements, as deposed before the tribunal did not match with the specimens taken while they testified in court.
He also said that some of the names of the witnesses did not match with the names on their INEC voter’s which they presented before the tribunal.
According to him, under cross examination, the tribunal discovered that most of the witnesses were not party agents and were not present at the various polling units the petition alleged there were irregularities.
“They were not witnesses to the events that took place during the election as the petitioners claimed.
“The Tribunal is therefore of the view that the witnesses lied under oath and their evidence cannot be relied upon in taking decision here,” Bako said.
He said the petitioners presented 18 sets of documents including certified true copies of results from 12 local government areas to support their petition.
The chairman however said the content of documents conflicted with the various pages of the petition and the testimonies of the witnesses.
He therefore said the petitioners had not provided the substantial evidence they claimed in their petition and dismissed the petition.
Reacting to the judgement, the state PDP Chairman, Mr Felix Hassan Hyat, said the party executive would meet with the counsel and take a decision on further action.
Hyat said the tribunal’s decision was the first stage of the petition out of the three stages allowed by law.
On his part, Sen. Uba Sani, who was in court, said the APC and El-Rufai had been vindicated by the decision of the tribunal.
He commended the tribunal for fairness in its decision, saying that the APC will work hard to justify the confidence the electorate gave to the party. (NAN)
Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola
Kaduna State maternity, paternity leave bill to be ready by end of 2020- El’Rufai’s wife
Wife of Kaduna State Governor, Aisha El’Rufai, on Tuesday said the bill for Maternity and Paternity Leave for workers in the state would be ready by the end of 2020.
El’Rufai made this known at the Save the Children Nigeria World Breastfeeding Week Webinar on Innovative Strategies for Improving Breastfeeding and Nutrition in Nigeria.
She said that the bill was to be enacted to among other things encourage breastfeeding among working women and also make provisions for paternity leave so men could support their wives for exclusive feeding.
“The bill will get a legal backing soon for effective implementation; the zero draft will be presented to stakeholders for their input and hopefully by the first quarter of 2021 the bill should be ready for ascent.
“Breast milk is the best nutritional choice for infants so supporting the practice of feeding babies only milk for the first six months of their lives will go a long way to make them grow healthy.
“ Kaduna state knows the importance of breast milk that is why it is introducing various policies and strategic documents developed to promote exclusive breastfeeding and improve nutrition of women and children in the state.’’
El’Rufai urged governors’ and local governments chairmen’ wives to encourage exclusive breastfeeding among mothers to enhance infant’s development.
She also urged the government to enact laws to support breastfeeding and promote breastfeeding campaign to achieve nutritional balance.
Also speaking, Mr Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Chairman, Senate Health, Secondary and Tertiary Committee, said that the six months’ maternity bill at the Federal level had reached the third reading.
Oloriegbe said that the National Assembly was amending and introducing bills to enhance maternal and child health.
The lawmaker, who encouraged stakeholders to promote breastfeeding and invest in it, said it was also a way of human capital development.
Mr Innocent Ifedilichukwu, Advocacy, Campaign and Policy Manager, Survive Programme, Save the Children, called on governments at all levels to increase funding for various nutrition programmes.
Ifedilichukwu said that nutrition was key to human development thus the need for government to build and equip crèches in all offices so working mothers could be close to their babies for effective breastfeeding.
Ms Karina Lopez, Nutrition Adviser, Save the Children Nigeria, said that mothers should be discouraged from feeding their babies with any form of liquid or solid except breast milk within the first months of their existence.
This Lopez said this would lead to good nutrition for healthy development of babies.
She said that the webinar was organised as part of activities to mark the 2020 World Breastfeeding Week with the theme “Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet.’’
Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
Kaduna govt spends N16 bn on security in 5 years – El-Rufai
El-Rufai, who made the disclosure at a meeting with the Council of Emirs and Chiefs, on Tuesday in Kaduna, explained that the money was used to support security agencies and acquire technology and infrastructure to fight insecurity in the state.
The governor noted that the money would have gone into developmental projects if the people had chosen to live in peace.
He therefore, called on all the traditional rulers to help persuade people to choose to live peacefully, and address misleading narratives on current communal conflicts in part of the state.
He noted that, part of the misleading narrative on the current crisis in Southern Kaduna, was the false claims of genocide and land grabbing.
The governor emphasised that the claims had no basis whatsoever.
“As governor, I authorize any traditional ruler to please tell the media about any inch of land within their domain that has been forcibly grabbed or illegally occupied by anybody or group and I assure you that security agencies will be there the next day to flush them out.
“But as far as I know – and I receive security reports every morning, there is no such incidence that the State government is aware of.
“But we don’t know everything, you know more than us because you are closer to the communities, so please report where indigenous people have been displaced by bandits or anyone else”.
El-Rufai assured that goverment will continue to support security agencies to restore calm in the affected communities.
“To make this sustainable, we call on the traditional institution to collaborate with the security agencies to expose and report criminals in their communities.”
He assured the Council, that the government would review and upgrade the chieftancy system, to protect the traditional leaders from administrative and executive arbitrariness.
The governor added that a new law would be enacted to protect the traditional institution and ensure that, before any emirate or chiefdom is created, “it will pass through the State Assembly where the representative of the people will have the opportunity to vote and support it before it is done.”
“The reform will also seek to amend the traditional institution as an enabler of inclusion in the diverse communities.
“It will place the Chiefs and Emirs in charge of geographic areas not tribes or ethnic groups, making them the leaders of everyone that lives within their domain.
“It is our intention in this law, to specify the functions of traditional leaders and provide for situations under which traditional rulers can be deposed not just because the governor wants to depose the person he doesn’t like”.
On his part, the Chairman of the Council and Emir of Zazzau, Dr Shehu Idris appreciated the government for its support of traditional institution in the state.
He also commended government’s efforts in the fight against banditry and other forms of criminalities, especially in taming the recent killings in some areas in southern Kaduna.
Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
FG to resume Digital Switch Over roll out – Lai Mohammed
The Federal Government says it will “very soon’ resume the roll out of Digital Switch Over (DSO) – a transition from analogue to digital television broadcasting – across the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed stated this on Tuesday in Lagos at a ceremony to unveil the new amendment to the 6th Edition of the Broadcasting Code.
Fielding questions from stakeholders at the ceremony, the minister said the DSO suffered some set back which led to a hold after it was launched in six states.
He reiterated the commitment of the government to spread the massive benefits of digital television to the people, stressing that it was the fastest way to create jobs.
The minister assured the stakeholders that they would hear from the government on the resumption of the DSO roll out in the coming weeks.
Mohammed also told the stakeholders that government had been implementing policies and programmes to reposition the creative industry.
He said one of the major recommendations of the Post COVID-19 Initiative Committee on the Creative Industry chaired by ace comedian, Ali Baba was a restructure of the industry.
The minister reassured that the government would soon set up a committee on the implementation of the recommendations to move the industry forward.
The Minister also reiterated government’s commitment to assist the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria in securing the N10 billion Nigeria Media Intervention Fund from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)
Obaseki’s “MEGA” manifesto will address post-COVID-19 economic shocks in Edo – Aide
Osagie gave the assurance in a statement, a copy of which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Benin on Tuesday.
He said: “Our manifesto is alive to the challenges of today and the future, with specific policies and programmes tailored to reflate and stimulate the state’s economy.
“This would task our resolve to restart the economy even as we push for an economic stimulus package to resuscitate businesses, sustain livelihoods and hold the economy together.
“In essence, our focus would be on supporting businesses with low interest loan facilities; strengthening the productive sector by prioritising the Edo Production Hub Initiative and pursuing more impactful policies in the agricultural sector.”
He said the reforms in the Edo State College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Edo State College of Education would be sustained under Obaseki’s second tenure.
The special adviser said the administration would source for more partners to pull in resources to groom youth in the state for global competitiveness.
“We will leverage on our assets at the Edo Innovation Hub to migrate more of our people, especially workers and businesses to the digital space, because much of human activities will be done online going forward.
“We will increase investment in the health care system while ensuring the statewide rollout of a responsive and well-managed health insurance scheme.
“Obaseki is an economist and an expert in resource management.
“He will not rely on consultants to know what economic policy can fittingly address the state’s several socioe-conomic challenges,” he added ( NAN)
Edited By: Ejike Obeta (NAN)