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Politics (183)

Ifeanyichukwu Okonkwo is a trained Micro-biologist. He is a businessman and Human Right and Environmental Conservation Activist, a founder, Movement of Voice for Democracy (MVERS NIGERIA). He is not a lawyer but has taken the title of ‘legal engineer’. He is the only Nigerian that challenged the Justices of Supreme Court when they passed uncomplimentary remark on his person. In this interview with Ogbonna Casmir he said Nigeria legal education is in trouble because best brain best brains went to study medicine and engineering and left law for those who didn’t know trigonometry and who cannot solve quadratic equation. He spoke on President Buhari’s N6.8trillion Budget proposal for 2016.
Excerpts:
Do you see conspiracy in the detention IPOB leader, Citizen Nnamdi Kanu?
With federal government, that there is an unwritten conspiracy or tacit support for his continued incarceration by Igbo elite because the minute Nnamdi Kanu is released from federal persecution there will be a change in political chemistry in Igboland. That is what my mind tells me.
What makes you think so?
First of all look the movement whether you support it or not of the agitation project Biafra, a specific generation are majority of those born after 1970, there medium of mobilization is highly technical through the internet and social media. Their loyalty to their cause is not something that you can say somebody received gratification, is not like hiring a crowed and most of their communication has being argumentative which the elite in Igboland have not tried to give them answer which they are agitating for because every agitation for Biafra is an indictment of the collective leadership in Igboland in the last 20yrs. Our political elite have not been able to stand up to demand full citizenship, they compromise group interest for personal success and that is the only issue that is firing Nnamdi Kanu’s movement. Eighty percent (80%) of the support group of that movement are resident outside Nigeria. Federal government will have serious issue trying him anyway, on issue of law if you asked that the man have committed treason; opinion can never amount to treasonable felony. Section 39 of our constitution will come to his rescue.
An American frayed Nigeria Bar Association for the conspiracy of silence over the continued detention of IPOB leader despite the unconditional release order of a court of competent jurisdiction. Do you thinking there is a conspiracy on the part of NBA?
Nigeria Bar Association is an elitist Bar. Is a bar of the same political class that is in government, not a bar built on any philosophy? So I don’t want to compare Nigeria Bar with other commonwealth country bar because our bar is not build on philosophy of emancipation of good governance or equal justice. Remember that corruption in an election in Nigeria is purely something that you will say that Nigeria bar has not being able to absorb themselves of corruption. Is just recently that they are trying to give vote to ordinary members of the bar to vote in an election. It has being an occultist, and elitist group that have aligned itself with the government from the day one. No one arrived to be president of the NBA without the influence of those in power. They are not the type of proactive bar that is independent that one will see social justice. So you may be asking too much because myself I am a victim, when the Supreme Court of Nigeria called me a crook when I have no pending matter before the court. I took the Supreme Court justices to court and not even one member of the NBA stood up to condemn what happened on 29th January, 2009. So you have to learn how to fight, I have to fight to get justice. So you don’t be expecting anything too from NBA, because is an elitist bar, a bar that made up of the same class of politicians that are dominating the polities of Nigeria. You cannot expect them to fight their co-traveler.
What is your opinion about the rule of law, as it regard the subsequent disobedient to court orders by the federal government?
First of all you must remember that before 1979 constitution that the Nigeria judiciary was part of the executive arm. It was the 1979 constitution that gave the judiciary its first independent and if you look at the headship of that institution, there have been people who some of them have never fought any case in court, they rose through the rank some their name have never been reported in any law case that they have fought, they rose through the rank. So the issue of rule of law in Nigeria you need more activists not more lawyers to get into government so that we can respect the separation of power.
How do you reconcile that court gave order for unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu from over two months detention by DSS, and the federal government refused to obey the order. Instead in its try and error methods slams treasonable charge and arraign him before the same court it refuses to obey its order. Do the court have jurisdiction to entertain the case when its previous orders have not been obeyed?
The issue of jurisdiction is hinged on the constitution. Is not an issue that is hinged on the charge alone, the personality, the crime and who have the power to prosecute the crime. There is no judgment in favour of Kanu that he should not be arraign in any court yet, but what is happening will tell you about the death of the Nigeria lawyer this understanding of the rule of law, remember the office of the Attorney General of the Federation is the office that is prosecuting Kanu. That office is made up of very incompetent lawyers because if they are not incompetent from day one they will know why Kanu is being held and why he has to be brought to court. They cannot be forum shopping, they cannot be try and error you file this charge today you withdraw you now want to come back with another one. So, but the only issue they are enjoying is there is no court that ban them arraigning Nnamdi Kanu yet. What I am saying is shame to Nigeria lawyers because the ordinary people may not be able to understand what I am saying but the lawyers themselves know what I am saying because I know the workings of the law. What is happening is an indictment on the ministry of justice including the AGF. This is a shame that they cannot seat down, study a case, formulate charges and go to court. That is each time they said that they have charge so, so and so person to court by EFCC, I am laughing because I know that is the beginning of the man gaining his freedom. They will come with 1000 charges and non will hold. They don’t even know the limit of arraigning charges on accuse people. I challenge Nigerian lawyers let them come out and argue with me because individually all the charges, if you pick-up the average Nigeria law report you will see the porosity of the intellectual emptiness of the legal profession in Nigeria. I say it without prevarication the porosity of mistakes. No lawyer have ever lost a case, it is the clients that lose cases. Remember the case a lawyer went and filed a criminal notice of appeal for our brother Uwazurike and it was struck out and is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and he is still working in the street parading self learned in law. Is it not enough for his name to be strike out from the list of lawyers?
So what we are seen is that Nigerians must be more proactive, don’t leave the law for the lawyers. I keep saying it every Nigeria must learn to read the constitution and I have been telling people that the greatest undoing in Nigeria is that people who fail mathematic became lawyers. Kanu have no judgment in his favour that he should not be arraigned but all this trial and error will tell that legal education in Nigeria is very serious in need of reconstruction because lawyers that cannot even understand a charge and all the ingredient of a charge and wants to arraign somebody in the court and all you hear is ‘as court pleases’ and we come back. The judge is not there to fight your case. Who tell you that under the constitution you cannot defend yourself? There is no rule of law that is not base on facts and facts must be presented before the court. You don’t place law before facts and if you know the facts you don’t need to know the law because the facts will resolve 80% of the issue. So, this is every serious dilemma in Nigeria. The judiciary in Nigeria has to attract the best brain because the best brain in Nigeria didn’t study law that is why we are having problem. Some of best brains went to study medicine and engineering and left law for those who didn’t know trigonometry and who cannot solve quadratic equation. They were not the best mind and this is the problem the country will continue to have until we change that stance.
You said that you are a legal engineer in an interview published in one of the national daily. What do you mean?
It is after thinking that you apply up. Nigeria lawyers apply up before thinking from my science background resolution of problem start with understanding the formula and there approach, signs of disease before you can deal with the chemistry and chromatography of resolving issue. That is why we need brilliant ones should be lawyers, so that you don’t suffer people who are in the court. If you go to court you see judgment that will be 30pages full of rubbish and issues are not resolved. How can a judge be seating down reading judgment for 2hours, are you telling me that all issues in the case contesting in that court cannot be resolved and find out within five to ten minutes judgment is delivered on the core issues that are in dispute between the parties, this is the problem. We don’t even criticize them but I criticize them because I know the law.
What is the possible prospect we are going to get in 2016 considering the economic downturn as the oil price continue to fall at the international market?
There is no hope. You cannot be doing the same thing over and over again and expect different result even though the architect might not be different. The basic issue of problem solving is to eliminate obstacles. President Buhari says he is fighting corruption I am asking him, is corruption he is fighting is just $2.1 billion allocated to the security adviser to the president, an office not known to Nigeria law, is it the fight for corruption? It cannot be the fight for corruption. The road map to fight for corruption is the distribution and enjoyment of the wealth Nigerians cannot justify and how to repatriate and punish those people. You will be seating down hearing a judge of a court making an order that the person who will be the sponsor of a bail for an accuse person will be a civil servant serving or retired who own property not less than N200 million in Abuja. If any person will qualify to come to do that, that person should be in jail because there is no civil servant in Nigeria that earn N20 million annually, how can you own a house without a mortgage and you call that justice and you are clapping. We have a serious issue is fundamental and political class in Nigeria are brink of architectural engineering to achieve social equilibrium in Nigeria is difficult. We have a culture of praying; that is why you can see Rev. Mbaka have to go and embrace Buhari in the presidency. What is his constituency? All these are part of the rubbish that is going on in Nigeria. What is his constituency that he was partisan and has gone to embrace him? These are issues that are going to confront us in 2016, if you want to be a priest you will be a priest and if you want to be a politician you will be a politician.
What is your take on the N6.8 trillion budget estimates for 2016 fiscal year?
The president said that 2016 budget is non-oil budget that is that the targeting of money would not be based only on oil export but they are going to look internally to tax and rest of them. I want the president to tell Nigerians who in Abuja have paid property tax for a city that is developing faster than Texas. It is when you collect property taxes in Abuja you should be able to fund education in Nigeria. The only tax the federal government collects is for the uniformed troops, other uniform services and civil servants in Abuja, but other than that who else will pay tax rather than to the states. FIRS cannot collect personal income tax for the state, so if we are looking for money and federal government on the road network which the federal government is controlling in the south-east; Onitsha – Enugu, Enugu – Port-Harcourt and Port-Harcourt – Owerri roads, they are owing the contractors not less than N600 billion and budget of the ministry of work is something above N300 billion and they are telling us they are doing zero budgeting. How many amount have they allocated to clear the debts on these roads for a how many years and what percentage of work will be done on these roads if we are expecting anything new. Already the minister for work has told us that we are going back to tollgate. Since British left us, we have not reclassified roads in Nigeria, why should federal government be in-charge of interstate roads. Nothing new and nothing will happen, is just like owing a contractor N30 billion and you give him N2 billion, he will go back and paid interest in his bank and continue to buy new cars and nothing will happen. I don’t know what anybody is expected. We should look inside; the members of national assembly don’t have the dexterity to even criticize this budget. We need people to now begin to ask question this is why our budget has become a yearly ritual. The last government budget in Nigeria was not implemented up to 30% while are we deceiving ourselves before you know it professors in economics is telling me that it is a beautiful budget when you are talking that we want the country restructured why are we creating big government.
Most of the network roads and other existing infrastructures were constructed by the military regime. What is happening under our democracy?
There were new roads, they had money and during the regime they plan those roads one of the roads was paid for. It was on proactive bases that government will plan, but now they want zero budgeting; so for zero budgeting in every year you look at what you can accomplished and put money into it, but they have not been able to tell us: for example I tell people that nothing will happen in the south-east roads for this yuletide, did you see any construction work in any of our roads to make it motorable, nothing because the government don’t have the vision. The political parties are not centered or hinges for development, our politicians are not thinking all these budgets are being drawn by people in the planning department in the ministry. President Buhari was government in seven months for seven months; he couldn’t draw up a budget.
Posted On Thursday, 31 December 2015 01:34 Written by

Some residents of Zaria, Kaduna State, and neighbours of the leader of the Shi’ite sect, Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, yesterday launched a campaign to get the group banned.

Citing alleged hardship caused them by members of the sect over the last 20 years, the Zaria residents said they have had enough.

Their spokesperson, Alhaji Idris Mohammed Baba, told reporters in Kaduna that Shi’ite members routinely hold people in Zaria and Sabon Gari local government areas of the state hostage and tend to run a parallel government in the country.

They claimed that last May, the sect declared 24 youths persona non grata for challenging their activities in Gyellesu community where Zakzaky resides.

According to him, “My experience with Shiite followers is disastrous and terrible. At a point Shi’ite boys threatened to kill me. We are happy over the military action against Shi’ites movement in Zaria because we have fresh air now blowing in our areas.”

He added, “As a community, we wrote letters to the government about the activities of Shi’ites but no single action was taken. We no longer report Shi’ites to police because they will never honour police or security invitation.

“These Shi’ites are an authority unto themselves; they don’t respect the authorities, the security agencies and so on.

“We are Muslims but we discovered that Shi’ites activities are contrary to Islam. They carry dangerous weapons and openly molest innocent people in our areas. Human rights groups should also look into our pains by the sect members.”

Also speaking, another resident, Alhaji Saidu Garba, said the activities of the sect have crippled the once booming economy of the area.

He said: “After El-Zakzaky was released from detention in 1999,he came and settled in Gyallesu. Since then there is no peace in our area. We thank Allah for touching the heart of government and the military for liberating us from Shi’ites untold hardship.”

Posted On Sunday, 27 December 2015 16:48 Written by
  • Accuses some PDP members of working against his interest

The Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Monday Igbuya on Sunday hailed Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, saying “the governor is on course and determined to turn the state around”

“God places people in authority and when you challenge any man in authority, you challenge God. Notwithstanding the economic challenges, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa deserves commendation” he said.

He also described the April 11 House of Assembly Election in Sapele Constituency as the toughest in his political career.

Igbuya who spoke at the thanksgiving service of Rhema Place Ministries in Effurun, Uvwie Local Government said it was regrettable that that some politicians were pre-occupied with the politics of destruction.

The Delta Speaker who spoke seriously about the last House of Assembly election accused some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Sapele Local Government of engaging in acts inimical to the growth of the party in the state.

“Some members of our political family worked against my interest and the interest of our great party during the April 11, 2015 House of Assembly Election but i won the election. I also won at the Tribunal and the Court of Appeal” he said.

He appealed to Nigerians not to see politicians as idol worshippers.

“Power belongs to God and when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice. Not all politicians are idol worshippers. If God says you cannot occupy a position, there is no way you can achieve that”.

Using his life as a testimony and recounting how he challenged God before the election, Igbuya said God made his victory possible.

‘I am not the most intelligent person in Sapele. God made me a member of the Delta State House of Assembly. He also made me Speaker of the Honourable House”.

He urged Nigerians to be dedicated and always seek the face of God in whatever they are doing.

He also urged the people of the state to support Governor Okowa.

“Governor Ifeanyi Okowa will be governor for eight years. Pray for him always so that God can use him to make Delta State more prosperous” he added.

EBIRERI HENRY OVIE

08036977194

Posted On Monday, 07 December 2015 01:05 Written by

LAGOS — The crisis emerging from the death of Prince Abubakar Audu, the All Progressives Congress, APC’s candidate in the Kogi State governorship election last night took a new dimension as Mr James Faleke, late Audu’s running mate in the election formally asked the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to declare him winner of the election and name him governor-elect.

It was also learnt last night that the name of runner up in the APC governorship primary, Alhaji Yahaya Bello had been forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC as a replacement for Audu.

The running mate in the election, James Faleke, yesterday, raised strong objections to the development.

Faleke set his claim on the governorship in two letters to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and the APC on the fact that he had become governor-elect in the face of what he described as the unfortunate death of Audu. He thus cautioned his party not to fall into a trap set for it by INEC to field another candidate or go into a supplementary election.

His assertion was despite strong momentum in Abuja yesterday for Bello. Bello, it was learnt, was being projected by some elements in the party acting in concert with senior presidency officials.

Lobbyists root for Audu’s son

Meanwhile foot soldiers of the late Audu especially in the Igala-speaking Kogi East were also engaged in a strong lobby for his son, Mohammed Audu to replace the deceased politician on the ticket going into the supplementary election as ordered by INEC.

Audu’s votes died with him, says PDP; drags INEC to court

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP on its part as exclusively reported by Vanguard yesterday, at the end of an emergency caucus on Wednesday night laid its claim to the governorship on the fact that Audu’s votes had died along with him.

National leadership of the PDP, also, yesterday, dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to the Federal High Court over last Saturday’s Kogi State gubernatorial election.

In an originating summons filed by its lead Counsel, Chris Uche, SAN, the PDP is asking the court to declare its candidate and governor of Kogi State, Captain Idris Wada as the rightful winner of the election.

The summons read in part, “ We pray for the return of our candidate who at present polled majority of lawful votes and satisfies the constitutional requirements for return, or in the alternative a fresh poll without APC who at the moment cannot substitute their deceased candidate.”

Faleke writes INEC

Faleke’s two letters to INEC as exclusively obtained by Vanguard were directed by his lawyer, Chief Wole Olanikpekun, SAN.

In the letter to the INEC chairman, Faleke deposed among others that :
Although an unfortunate and saddening incident had occurred after the announcement of results of the election and subsequent pronouncement of INEC that the election was inconclusive.

The point must quickly be made that INEC’s wrong declaration of inconclusiveness of the election and ordering a supplementary election in 91 polling units was arrived at, according to the Returning Officer; on the basis that the number of cancelled votes outnumbered the number with which the candidate of APC led the candidate of the PDP.

With much respect to INEC and the highly distinguished chairman, the reasoning of INEC is non sequitur. While as at Monday 23, November 2015, INEC still insisted that it was not aware of Prince Abubakar Audu’s transition, however, INEC later on directed the APC to go and conduct another primary election to nominate its candidate for the supplementary election in 91 polling units. With much respect to INEC, this new directive as well, is unfounded, both legally and constitutionally.

It can also not be reasonably or rationally defended. Our client is of the opinion that INEC is inadvertently prompting an avoidable political and legal crisis. What INEC should do is to obey, respect and comply with the letter, spirit, intendment and tenor of the constitution, by not only declaring APC as the winner of the election, but by also declaring our client as Governor-elect.

May we draw Mr. Chairman’s attention to the clear and mandatory provision of section 68(1)(c) of the Electoral Act to the effect that any result declared by Returning Officer shall be final and binding, and can only be reviewed or upturned by an Election Tribunal. In effect, the results already announced by INEC are binding, not only on all the parties, but also on INEC itself.

We want to believe that INEC is not unaware of the binding decisions of our appellate courts on this issue.

Furthermore, by the provision of section 181(i) of the constitution, our client, who was the deputy governorship candidate or the associate of Prince Abubakar Audu at the already concluded election constitutionally and automatically becomes the governor-elect of the state.

With much respect, INEC has no discretion in this matter. May we advise, most humbly, that INEC should not confuse this situation with what is intended in section 33 of the Electoral Act because the situation on ground has nothing to do with changing or substitution of the name of a candidate before election. In fairness to INEC, it had already announced the results of the election, and as at the time it so did, it honestly claimed ignorance of the death of Prince Abubakar Audu.

In law and logic, no new candidate can inherit or be a beneficiary of the votes already cast, counted and declared by INEC before that candidate was nominated and purportedly sponsored.

Assuming without conceding that INEC is even right to order a supplementary election, the votes already cast, counted and declared on Saturday and Sunday, 21 and 22 November 2015 were votes for the joint constitutional ticket of Prince Abubakar Audu and our client.

Therefore, no new or supplementary candidate can hijack, aggregate, appropriate or inherit the said votes. Assuming further, without conceding that supplementary election in 91 polling units can hold as being suggested by INEC, it is our client who should be the automatic candidate of the party, since APC cannot conduct primary election for the supplementary election in 91 polling units.

Chairman sir, this is a rather simple and straight forward matter which does not need any delay, foot dragging or procrastination. It is a constitutional imperative.

Put in other way, INEC has a bounden duty to declare our client the winner of the election. Any attempt to conduct any supplementary election in any unit whatsoever and howsoever will amount to INEC breaching and flouting the constitution and our client would definitely challenge it.

…writes APC too
In the letter to the APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Olanipekun, again writing on behalf of Faleke rehearsed the same arguments as put forward to INEC, even as he added that the party should not allow itself to be distracted.

Concluding, he said:

“Arising from the foregoing, our client enjoins the APC not only to support him at actualising the mandate already given to the party under the joint ticket of himself and the late Prince Abubakar Audu, but to also distance itself from the ‘Greek gift’ offer being made by INEC, to wit, that it is allowing the APC to conduct a fresh primary election to nominate a candidate for a supplementary election in 91 polling units, where only about 25,000 PVCs are available; whereas the APC is already leading, by the announced results, with over 40,000 votes.”

APC out with Audu’s death — PDP

Meanwhile, the PDP in a statement confirming the deliberations of its national caucus insisted that the death of Audu, the APC’s running mate has inevitably put the party out of the governorship contest.

The party insists:

That with the death of its candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu, the APC has legally crashed out of the governorship race as no known law or constitutional provision allows the substituting of candidates, once the ballot process has commenced.

That with the unfortunate death of Prince Abubakar Audu, the APC has no valid candidate in the election, leaving INEC with no other lawful option than to declare the PDP candidate, Capt. Idris Wada as the winner of the election.

The party also:

lNotes that the combined reading of the provisions of the constitution and Electoral Act does not in any war whatsoever support the substitution of candidates for election in the middle of the ballot process.

Notes that if APC is allowed to substitute its original candidate, then the party would have fielded two separate candidates in the same election, a scenario that is completely alien to our electoral laws and to any known democratic norms and practice world-over.

Observes that the APC, fully aware that it has no case before the law is now orchestrating confusion in the polity with a view to diverting attention from its glaring incompetence and failure of governance.

The party also demanded the immediate resignation of the chairman and all national commissioners of INEC and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mallam Abubakar Malami for purportedly deliberately misleading INEC into arriving at the unconstitutional decision of allowing APC to substitute its candidate in the inconclusive election.

The PDP warned that the AGF, INEC and APC were creating a scenario where a loser in a primary will patiently wait for the winning candidate to finish election and then have him either poisoned or assassinated before the final collation of results.

Group asks INEC to reverse self

Meanwhile, a group, known as the Concerned Voters in Kogi State has called on INEC to reverse its stance that the governorship election was inconclusive.
Spokesperson of the group, Abdulkareem Jimoh also rejected the invitation by INEC to the APC to present another candidate to replace Audu, saying, “We reject in totality, the decision of INEC in declaring the election inconclusive.

This decision is not only unpopular, but it is against the natural law of justice and fairness, as the number of votes scored and recorded in the just concluded election gave APC a clear victory.

“It is on record that, in the disputed 91 units, only 35,785 voters collected their PVC and are eligible to vote as against the 49,000 registered voters, claimed by INEC.

“We want the electoral body to convince us, how the outstanding 35,785 eligible voters in the said 91 units could upturn the over 41,000 margin already recorded in favour of APC”.

Posted On Friday, 27 November 2015 19:11 Written by

There was high turnout of voters as accreditation for the Kogi gubernatorial elections began across the state on Saturday morning.

On a drive from Lokoja to Odu Ogbogaya, the home town of Governor Idris Wada who is also the PDP candidate, it was observed that people were all ready for accreditation to start as early as 7.30 am.

Meanwhile, there was high turnout of voters of voters at Odu Ogbogaya ward 001 where Governor Wada is being expected for accreditation.

The governor was yet to show up as at 11 am when this report was complied.

However, it was observed that there were minor hitches with the accreditation as the card readers kept rejecting some fingers.

Also, the security presence is very low and electoral officials are finding it difficult to control voters who are on three long queues.

Sea of cameramen and journalists are waiting for Wada to show up for accreditation at his Odu Ogboyaga ward 001 polling unit.

The governor’s expansive mansion is just about 500 metres to the polling unit.

Posted On Saturday, 21 November 2015 18:43 Written by

On Monday October 26, 2015, the Delta State Governorship election tribunal sitting in Asaba with Justice Nasiru Gummi as Chairman, delivered its much anticipated verdict in the case of our Party and Candidate, Olorogun O'tega Emerhor's challenge to the declaration of Dr Ifeanyi Okowa as Governor of Delta State in the April 11 2015 governorship election in the state.

Those who have been following the fireworks of the legal proceedings of the tribunal and indeed all progressive Deltans and Nigerians were shocked at the unexpected verdict and wondered out quite loudly how the PANEL managed the trick of pulling Okowa/PDP from the jaws of a loss and to award them victory in the circumstances of the case!

Although we as a Party had given our initial reaction where we generally condemned the verdict as a grave injustice and an assault on the rule of law, we had refrained from going into the specifics of the case until we are fully acquainted with the facts of the untoward ruling. Having now obtained the certified true copy of and thoroughly reviewed the unfortunate ruling of the tribunal, we can now react as follows:

1) We condemn in the strongest of terms, the unfortunate judgment of the Justice Gummi panel and denounce it as a grave travesty of justice and a major set back to the rule of law and the ongoing regime of the dismantling of impunity in our electoral process!

2) Justice Gummi delivered a judgment that can only be described as cunning, patronising and insulting to discerning legal minds! The judgment fed on deception, pretenses and subterfuge! Generally, the panel pretended to uphold the core case of the petitioners but went ahead to somersault against them. This they did by wittingly and pretentiously accepting and ruling as follows;

a) That INEC has powers to make guidelines for the elections including the designation of Card Readers for mandatory use in the elections.

b) That the non use of card readers and/or non compliance with INEC guidelines is sufficient ground to prove non compliance with the Electoral Act which is a firm ground for cancellation of an election as is the plea of the petitioners!

3) In spite of the above rulings which ORDINARILY appear FAVORABLE to the PETITIONERS, the PANEL went ahead to play DEFENCE on behalf of the RESPONDENTS! The three (3) respondents, Okowa, PDP and INEC in their pleading and witnesses statements before the panel, had admitted an argued that "INEC guidelines were mere instructions and the use of card readers was ultra vires to the Electoral Act, that the card readers failed during election operation and that they resorted to manual accreditation and lawfully so as that is what is recognised by the Electoral Act."

The star witness of the 1st respondent and secretary to the state government, Hon Agas was on record to have stated this position in his disposition and verbal testimony where he further confirm the fact that the respondents resorted to manual accreditation upon the failure of the card readers!

How come then did the panel held that " no evidence was adduced to show that manual accreditation took place"? In law, do you require further evidence to substantiate an admitted fact? To further HELP the respondents, the panel went on to dismiss Hon Agas crucial admission and evidence as hearsay! Wonderful!

Panel helping respondents to expunge evidence of non compliance with INEC guidelines/ electoral law! HOW ON EARTH THE PANEL ARRIVE AT THE CONCLUSION THAT NO MANUAL ACCREDITATION TOOK PLACE IN DELTA STATE ELECTIONS? CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? This must be the N3 billion Question!

4) Going further to HELP the respondents, the panel went on to DISCREDIT the certified card readers accreditation report admitted as exhibit from INEC when it ruled that " THERE IS UNCERTAINTY AS TO WHETHER THE ADMITTED CARD READERS ACCREDITATION REPORT CAPTURES ALL OF THE ACCREDITED VOTERS"! How did the tribunal arrived at this ruling? The respondents NEVER at anytime pleaded nor canvassed this position.

The panel claims that petitioners' subpoenaed INEC ICT witness Mrs Abimbola oladunjoye agreed under cross examination that " it could be PROBABLE for accredited voters for upload to the server in abuja to still be outstanding as at May 29, (six clear weeks after the April 11 elections) when the server was shut down".

The same witness was, however, categorical in her recorded testimony that the state offices where constantly supervised by INEC head office to ensure that all data were uploaded, that in the case of Delta, there is no shred of evidence or communication to indicate that any such data upload was outstanding as the time the server was shut!

Yet, it was more appealing to the panel to latch on the word "PROBABLE" and rule that the certified true copy of card readers accreditation report as at August 13th that showed accreditation figure of 715,392 as against only Okowa scoring 724, 680 was POSSIBLY INCOMPLETE and may, therefore, not be relied upon to cancel Okowa's election! AMERICA WONDER!

5) Not stopping there, the panel dug deeper and went for the jugular of the petitioners' case. The petitioners had through its star witness Barr Ore Ohimor, testified and placed before the tribunal an analysis of over voting being a comparison of card readers accreditation per polling units and form EC8A results from the same units.

This analysis which was admitted as an exhibit showed over voting in 1,847 polling units or 61% of the 3, 329 polling units across the 25 local government areas of the state as captured in the accreditation report! Over voting in 61% of polling units? And what did the panel do? In order to HELP the RESPONDENTS further, the panel dramatically decided to ruled to EXPUNGE Barr Ohimor's analysis from the tribunal proceedings! And why? That the fatal analysis was only front loaded with the reply of the petitioners to the respondents and ought to have been front loaded with the original petition! WHOW! TECHNICALITY UPON TECHNICALITY!

6) Ultimately, the panel had to contradict itself to provide the FINAL HELP to the respondents! The respondents have argued for the dismissal of the petitioners' case on the point of law that only one of the petitioners signed the petition. The petitioners relied on the appeal court case of IBRAHIM V SHERIFF ( 2002) which was the subsisting legal position that allow any one signatory to sign unbehalf of all petitioners. The respondents, however, resorted to a recent case of BALOGUN V AKPATASON ( August 2015 ) decided after the petitioners' case has been instituted!

The PANEL, knowing they where about to take a risky plunge first tried to wet the grounds! Now hear the panel " ......although if we HAD an OPTION as to which to adopt between Balogun v Akpatason and Ibrahim v Sheriff, we would certainly have PREFERRED Ibrahim v Sheriff because we FEEL it ACCORDS with what is FAIR and JUST in the circumstances of the petition...." So what did the panel rule? Your guess is as good as mine! They rule for the respondents against their FEELING of what ACCORDS with what is FAIR and JUST!

As you can see from the foregoing, the petitioners lost the case to the PANEL and NOT Okowa and PDP! Which is why they should be mindful of their celebration which shall be very short live! APC Delta state roundly REJECTS this evil judgement which was clearly PROCURE by means other than legal! This is a daylight robbery with too many finger prints left behind. Our legal teams already have our instructions and we will surely meet Okowa and PDP and test this robbery at the appeal court! APC SHALL LAUGH LAST!

In the meantime, we will like to use this opportunity to appeal to our APC party faithfuls, supporters and well wishers to be calm and be of high spirit! The end of PDP 16 plus years of misrule in Delta is insight! Please be reminded that as we are about to turn the corner, it may appears to get tougher; that it truly gets darkest before dawn!

Also please be comforted and assured that at the Supreme Court, it shall be the same court that will decide the fates of Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Delta State! At that point, it will be: ONE COURT, SAME FACTS, SAME JUDGEMENT! No Shaking! VICTORY IS NEAR!

GOD BLESS APC!
GOD BLESS DELTA STATE!
GOD BLESS NIGERIA!

Signed:
(PROPHET JONES ODE ERUE)
Chairman
APC Delta State Chapter.

Posted On Monday, 02 November 2015 00:15 Written by

The Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Ovwigho Igbuya on Monday congratulated Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa for his victory at the Tribunal. He also praised the judiciary for remaining the protector of the oppressed.

In a statement issued in Asaba by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Henry Ebireri, the speaker described the April 11 governorship election as the fairest and freest in the history of the state.

“Your victory at the Tribunal shows that the people of Delta State clearly authorized your candidature. “It also shows that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man’’ he said.

He commended Okowa for running a transparent and accountable government and also placing the state on the world map for good, growth and development.

Igbuya who also praised the governor for the pragmatic steps taken to address the problems in the various sectors, the development of democratic culture and stable polity, the creation of jobs for the people and the elevation of politics beyond the mundane levels of wrangling, greed and selfishness, said the governor in the last six months focused on administering the State, with the fear of God and for the good of the people.

““Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa is a caring governor. He believes in merit and places top priority on the welfare of the people. He has relentlessly pursued a vigorous policy for provision of social facilities and infrastructure” he said.

Emphasizing that God threw up Governor Okowa to develop the state, the speaker urged the governor to keep up the good works.

He enjoined Chief Great Ogboru and Olorogun O’tega Emerhor to support Governor Okowa in transforming the state.

“There is no victor, no vanquished” he said

The speaker, who further thanked the people for the confidence reposed on Okowa, said the governor would continue to deliver dividends of democracy to them.

“With your continued support, understanding and cooperation, Okowa will firmly expand on the gains recorded so far” the statement said.

The Tribunal dismissed the petitions of the Labour Party (LP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidates in the 2015 governorship election, Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru and Olorogun O’tegha Emerhor.

Delta Speaker praises Amori

The Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Ovwigho Igbuya on Saturday praised the judges of the National and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba for upholding the election of Senator representing Delta Central senatorial district, Chief Ighoyota Amori.

He also praised the distinguished member of the Nigerian senate for his extraordinary leadership, accessibility to his constituency and support for Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.

“Chief Ighoyota Amori is a senator that is focused on his job” he said.

In a statement issued in Asaba by his chief press secretary, Mr. Henry Ebireri, the speaker said the victory of Amori at the tribunal was a great happiness for the entire people of the senatorial district.

“Amori’s victory is both historic and spectacular. It is the triumph of democracy and a clear sign of the trust and confidence that the people of Delta Central have in him”.

Labeling his victory as a great milestone in the development of the Urhobo nation, Igbuya applauded the judges for keeping Delta Central firmly on the road to development,

He commended the people of Delta Central who gave Chief Amori the mandate to articulate, defend and espouse their interests in the senate.

“Chief Ighoyota Amori is a blessing to the Urhobo nation, a reliable and dependable representative and a politician who is leading creditably with the interests of the masses as priority” the statement said.

Igbuya who also congratulated his colleagues urged National Assembly members from Delta State to continue to collaborate with the state government to enhance even and speedy development of the state.

South – South Journalists pledge support to Delta Speaker

Media practitioners of oil and gas producing areas of Nigeria have pledged to cooperate with the Delta State House of Assembly Speaker, Rt. Hon Ovwigho Igbuya.

They also praised Hon. Igbuya for bringing about a more dynamic way of administering the affairs of the Delta State House of Assembly.

The professionals who paid courtesy call on Mister Speaker in Asaba lauded him for his good work in the state, particularly the positive impact on the communities in the oil and gas producing areas.

The media professionals who also acknowledged the Speaker’s leadership qualities, his strategic roles in the development of the state and his immense contributions to the development of the oil and gas producing areas, especially the timely passage of the DESOPADEC Amendment Bill and other steps so far taken said they would continue to pray for the success of the Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration.

“It goes to show that the House under your dynamic leadership is determined to bring smiles to oil and gas producing areas of Delta State”

The journalists while describing Hon. Igbuya as a personification of selfless service to Delta State congratulated him for his victory at the Tribunal.

They commended the Peoples Democratic Party government for its support and immense contribution to the development of the region, urging Deltans at home and abroad to join hands with the Speaker to strengthen the pillar of good governance.

During the visit, leader of the team, Prince Pere Botu briefed the speaker on the Programmes and the progress being made in the state. Discussions were also focused on the group’s work in other states.

EBIRERI HENRY OVIE

CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY TO THE SPEAKER

DELTA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY

Posted On Tuesday, 27 October 2015 14:25 Written by
STATEMENT TO THE SENATE BY SENATOR UDOMA UDO UDOMA ON THE OCCASION OF HIS
MINISTERIAL SCREENING ON 13TH OCT., 2015
I am delighted to be appearing today before this distinguished Senate. I recall with
very fond memories my two terms in the Senate as the PDP representative for Akwa
Ibom South. I feel privileged to have had that experience as the Senate is made up
of eminent Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in various walks of life, and
who are expected to play an important role in stabilising the polity. Being in the
Senate is a unique experience and I, indeed, consider my time in the Senate as truly
the highpoint of my career, which is why I bear the title with pride.
When I left this distinguished Senate in 2007 my intention was to concentrate on my
professional and corporate interests. And I have to say, with all modesty, that
things have gone well for me and I am now the chairman of two of Nigeria’s iconic
institutions; UAC of Nigeria Plc. and Union Bank of Nigeria Plc., as well as having
been able to play a part in helping my law firm to become one of the largest
commercial law firms in the country.
I was therefore quite surprised to have been invited by President Buhari to serve as
a Minister in his Cabinet since I have not been very active in partisan politics in
recent years. However, after careful consideration, I have decided to accept the
nomination for three reasons:
Firstly, I am inspired by the personal example of President Muhammadu Buhari. I am
impressed by his integrity, his abhorrence of corruption and his determination to
run a transparent and accountable administration. His commitment to get Nigerians
back to work thereby reducing unemployment; his resolve to tackle the current high
level of insecurity, particularly the menace of boko haram; his identification with
the common man and his desire to reduce the poverty and suffering of the masses; and
above all, his commitment to re-orientate the Nigerian value system: these all
resonate with me. And if he believes I can help him to fix our country, I am
flattered by his confidence in me and have therefore decided to answer his call. And
I intend, if my nomination is confirmed by this Distinguished Senate, to give my
very best in the discharge of what will be a very onerous responsibility,
particularly because of the times we are in.
The second reason I have decided to answer the call of Mr President is that I
sincerely believe, with all humility, that I have something to offer. I have had
extensive private sector experience in motivating and managing large numbers of
people, in setting objectives and meeting them, in cost management and driving costs
out of operations, and most importantly, in turning around moribund institutions. I
also understand the way public institutions work, having been the pioneer chairman
of the Corporate Affairs Commission, and more recently, the chairman of the
Securities & Exchange Commission, and I fully appreciate the very difficult
challenges involved in implementing the public sector reforms which will be required
to bring about the change Nigerians want. I have chaired a Presidential Committee
that examined the incentives required to stimulate private sector growth in the
economy. I have also chaired a Federal Government Task Force that extensively
 examined the reforms needed in the oil industry, and supervised the production of a
draft Petroleum Industry Bill for consideration by Government. And whilst a member
of this Distinguished Senate, I served, for some time, as chairman of the
Appropriation Committee, and subsequently as Senate Chief Whip. I will, therefore,
not be going into Government to begin to learn about the issues, and the problems.
In short, I feel ready and prepared to hit the ground running in tackling the
challenges inherent in trying to bring about change in the public sector, and to
bring about change in Nigeria. 
Finally, these are very difficult economic times for Nigeria. With the dramatic fall
in the prices of crude oil, public sector finances are under pressure. Many States
have difficulty in just paying salaries. The Naira is being buffeted; the values in
the Nigerian Stock Exchange have been seriously eroded and we have experienced
significant destruction of wealth as the economy continues to slow down. These are
very difficult times. Times in which all Nigerians of goodwill must come together to
work with Mr President to salvage the situation. The elections are over. We must now
all work together for the betterment of our country. As President Buhari said in
1983, ‘This generation of Nigerians, and indeed future generations, have no country
other than Nigeria. We shall remain here, and salvage it together’.   
Distinguished Senate President, distinguished Deputy Senate President, distinguished
Leaders of the Senate, distinguished Senators; it is for the reasons I have just
indicated that I appear before you this morning to seek your confirmation to serve
as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I will be pleased to answer any
questions you may have for me.
Thank you for your attention. 
Senator Udoma Udo Udoma
Tuesday, 13th October, 2015
Posted On Wednesday, 14 October 2015 00:18 Written by

By Nwaorgu Faustinus

Support for the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Oyegun mounted on Friday as prominent leaders of the party lauded his leadership qualities, describing him as “the most distinguished party chairman in the country”.

They said that the national chairman created the framework that brought about the victory of many APC candidates in the general election.

“Oyegun supervised the turnaround of the party by increasing its finances, building the operations and implementing the best ground game effort.

In a statement issued in Abuja by the Chairman of APC United Front, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa, the leaders dismissed the view of those calling for the resignation of John Odigie- Oyegun.

“His contributions to the development of the APC, Edo State and the country are impossible to estimate. He kicked out the long –ruling PDP. He provided Nigerians with a visionary, dedicated and people-oriented leadership that is currently putting in place measures to liberate the nation from PDP’s rule of poverty and oppression” the statement said.

The leaders praised the national chairman for his strategic roles in the recruitment, retaining of members, campaign fund raising, internal party governance, influence in candidate selections and in the development and promulgation of party policy,

The leaders who also thanked Nigerians at home and abroad for the confidence reposed on Oyegun, praised him for the pragmatic steps taken to address the problems in the party.

“Oyegun is an honest and highly effective leader. He has built a reputation anchored on integrity over the years. He is a fountain of quality advice, inspiration, encouragement and hope. He deserves the biggest thanks for being a team player and ensuring the growth of the party” the leaders added

Posted On Sunday, 28 June 2015 14:08 Written by

Three out of the four principal officers of the Senate assumed office on Thursday after the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, read their nomination letters from their respective zonal caucuses in the red chamber.

Saraki at the resumed sitting of the federal lawmakers, read out the letters addressed to him by the APC senate caucuses from the North-East, North-West and South-South.

He said the North-East Senate caucus had endorsed and nominated Senator Ali Ndume as the Majority Leader, while the North-West caucus adopted Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah as the Deputy Majority Leader.

He added that the South-South caucus members according to their own letter, adopted Senator France Alimikhena as the deputy whip.

Saraki was, however, silent on the Chief Whip because members of the South-West caucus which should produce a representative, did not write any letter.

He subsequently asked the Sergeant – at – Arms to lead the three principal officers to their respective seats and assume office immediately.

Our correspondent learnt that the South-West senators refused to write any letter because they claimed that the party’s decision as contained in its letter, was sufficient.

Attempts by the senator representing Zamfara Central Senatorial District, Kabiru Marafa, to make the Senate President read the letter from the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, containing lists of the principal officers, was again frustrated by Saraki

Marafa had cited Senate Standing Order 28 (1) and Constitution point of order Section 65, (1E), to drive home his arguments.

He said, “According to the provision, there should be a majority leader of the Senate who should be a senator nominated from the party with the highest number of senators.

“This point of order was raised yesterday (Wednesday) and another colleague raised another point of order distinguishing between the word, from and by, which was used there. That is why I am joining it with order 65 (1d) of the constitution.

“It says subject to the provisions of section 66 of the constitution. A person shall be qualified for election as a member of the Senate if he or she is a member of a political party and sponsored by the political party.

“Mr. President, there is a communication from the APC which is the party with the majority representatives in the Senate. However, for reasons best known to you Mr. President, you declined to read it yesterday (Wednesday ) on the floor of the Senate when your attention was drawn to the communication from the party.

“The constitution provision just cited, clearly put the party ahead of any other caucus from anywhere. Therefore, if the communication from the party, can so be regarded, I suggest that you, Mr. President cannot read any communication from any caucus because there is no caucus that is bigger than the political party.”

Marafa was immediately opposed by Senator Danjuma Goje ( Gombe Central ), who urged the Senate President to disregard his submissions because the same issue raised by him had been ruled upon.

He said, “Senator Marafa raised the same order yesterday (Wednesday) and the Senate President ruled that the issue had been discussed and should not be opened again. I don’t know why the issue is being reopened. This is contrary to the rules of the Senate.

“We are the highest law making institution in the country, if we cannot observe our rules, we don’t have any right to be making laws for the country. Therefore I will like Mr. President to stand by the ruling of yesterday (Wednesday)that the issue had been settled.

“Secondly, the issue of leadership within the chamber is our own responsibility as senators. We have been sponsored by political parties to come to the Senate. Nobody or law says the chairman of the party should appoint the Senate President.

“The law clearly states that we, the senators, should appoint our own leaders within the chambers. This is the first time this type of thing will be happening in the Senate since the return of democracy in 1999. Caucuses have been nominating their leaders and I have been participating.”

Saraki, as expected, ruled Marafa out of order, stressing that he had concluded on the issue during Wednesday’s sitting.

He said, “Let me refer to order 53 (6) which states that it will be out of order to attempt to reconsider any specific question upon which the Senate has come to a conclusion. This matter had already been raised and ruled upon… I will have to rule senator Marafa out of order.”

Ndume, who addressed his colleagues, explained that his job schedule included among others, leading the business of the Senate; managing legislative schedule; and liaising with committee chairmen.

He said, “I will not deceive myself. Every senator is more than qualified to lead the Senate. God normally chooses who He wants. Leading the Senate means that the success recorded is not going to be my own but for all of us.”

Ndume, after the Senate had concluded its legislative business of the day, announced an adjournment to July 21 to allow the ad-hoc committees on review of Senate finance and that of legislative agenda, had time to do their work.

Posted On Friday, 26 June 2015 01:18 Written by
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