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Imo senatorial seat: Court restrains INEC from recognizing Ararume as winner

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An Imo State High Court in Owerri has issued an order of interim injunction to the independent national electoral commission restraining it from recognizing Senator Ifeanyi Ararume as the winner of the December 2020 Imo North Senatorial candidate of the All progressives Congress (APC).

The injunction also restrains INEC from issuing Ararume a certificate of return or any other instrument in his favor in respect of the said election pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice in the suit.

According to Justice E.O Agaba of the Owerri High Court, this followed an application by motion exparte brought to it by The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), one Mr. Kelechi Soribe a member of the Imo State working committee of APGA, and five others against Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, INEC and the APC.

This latest injunction comes few hours after a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a certificate of return to Ifeanyi Ararume based on the result of December 5, 2020, Imo North Senatorial bye-election, having been declared as the valid candidate of the All Progressives Congress.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo who delivered the judgment ordered INEC to issue the certificate of return within 72 hours.

According to him, with regard to the Appeal Court judgment in Abuja, the third defendant (Chukwuma Ibezim) remained disqualified.

The Judge held in a judgment that Senator Ararume remains the authentic candidate of the APC and should be declared the winner of the election.

Earlier, Justice Taiwo dismissed the Preliminary Objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain Senator Ararume’s suit filed by the APC and Chukwuma Ibezim.

Justice Taiwo, who described the application as “an attempt to arrest the judgment,” dismissed it for lacking in merit.

Ararume had, through his counsel told Justice Taiwo Taiwo to invoke the judgments of a Federal High Court and that of an Appeal Court to disqualify Ibezim and declare him as the rightful candidate for APC.

Prior to the bye-election held on December 5, 2020, Ibezim and Araraume had fielded themselves as APC candidates.

Tunde Falola, who is the Counsel to Senator Ararume told journalists after the court ruling that the judgments of the High Court and later the Court of Appeal have conclusively disqualified Ibezim and therefore he cannot claim to be an aspirant or candidate in the Imo North Senatorial election.

In opposing Senator Ararume’s suit, APC had told the court that it never fielded him for the December 5, 2020, senatorial bye-election for Imo North Senatorial District of Imo State.

The party had, insisted that Senator Ararume lacked the locus standi to lay claim to the candidacy and urged the court to dismiss his suit.

Senator Ararume then dragged INEC, APC, and Mister Ibezim before the Federal High Court praying for an order to compel INEC to recognise him as an APC senatorial candidate in the election won by the party.

He claimed that Ibezim, having been disqualified by a Federal High Court on account of supplying false information to INEC to secure clearance and same disqualification having been upheld by the Court of Appeal in Abuja had knocked off Ibezim from laying any claim to the outcome of the by-election.

But, the APC, through its counsel, Osho Daudu asked the court to discountenance Ararume’s claims insisting that his name was never forwarded to INEC but that of Chukwuma Francis Ibezim.

The counsel submitted that a Federal High Court judgment delivered in Owerri, Imo State which erroneously conferred locus on Ararume had been voided by Supreme Court and cannot confer any advantage on the plaintiff.

Emma Osayomi, representing Ibezim, in his own submissions, said that his client has approached the Supreme Court to challenge his disqualification on account of variation in his name.

The counsel argued that as at the election day, the name of his client was on the INEC list and not that of Ararume and urged the court to dismiss Ararume’s claims and hold that Chukwuemeka Ibezim remains the APC candidate.

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Aregbesola kinsmen dissolve faction, seeks members’ reintegration into Osun APC

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Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola

The Osun Progressives (TOP), a faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun State loyal to former governor and Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has disbanded to pave way for the reintegration of aggrieved members.

Speaking at a press conference, yesterday, former speaker of the House of Assembly, Najeem Salaam, said the resolution to dissolve the faction was to allow them to restructure the party for true progressives.

He said the step became necessary because of the trajectory and the electoral misfortune the party suffered in the July 16 governorship election that led to their loss and resolve for the way forward.

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“We are hereby dissolving The Osun Progressives (TOP) and the faction of the party associated with it to facilitate the unity of purpose that this time requires. For effective closure, we will have a truth and reconciliation forum within the party when fully restructured with the sole purpose of preventing any recurrence of the ugly past.

“We are therefore extending our hand of fellowship to everyone who is a progressive at heart and loves good governance in our party, in the other parties and independents who are hitherto not aligned to any party.

“Consequent to this, and to demonstrate our readiness for this leap of faith, I have the mandate of our leaders and members to invite other progressives in other caucuses in the Osun APC and other parties and like minds across the state to join us in this endeavor. This is a call for unity of purpose in our party and beyond. It is a call for burying the hatchet and working for the greater good and service to humanity through progressive governance,” he added.

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I’m the most investigated and most accused former governor – Tinubu

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Bola Ahmed Tinubu at Chatham House London

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has again provided an insight into his source of wealth.

Tinubu in an interview on BBC in London said he was the most investigated and most accused former governor yet nothing has been found on him.

Daily Trust reports that many Nigerians had challenged Tinubu to explain his source of stupendous wealth and this has been a recurring issue in the current electioneering for the 2023 election.

During the interview, he accused his critics of envy, explaining that he had a lot of investments which yielded profit.

Responding to the question on the corruption allegation, he said, “You got to know how to analyse and how to ask questions, not in the accusatory format.

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“Are they enemies of wealth, if they are not enemies of wealth, investments do yield. I have an example of Warren Buffet, one of the richest men in America and in the world. He started from stock buying. I inherited great real estate, I turned the values around.

“I am not denying my wealth, I was the most investigated, the most accused governor for eight years, up to 2007 and since I left the office, I am still there, I have not taken any government appointment.”

Asked on the allegation that he was taking a certain share of the revenue being generated in Lagos State where he governed between 1999 and 2007, he retorted, “Hey excuse me, share what? Have they proven it? IMF has investigated the record in Lagos. What is wrong with them? It is envy.”

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Apologise to Nigerians for Tinubu Chatham House embarrassment, PDP tells APC

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The Peoples Democratic Party has taken a swipe at the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, over his performance at the Chatham House in London on Monday, where he delivered a lecture but delegated some members of his team to respond to questions from the audience.

The PDP’s Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organization, which described the outing as disgraceful, asked the Tinubu’s handers to apologise to the nation and stop embarrassing their principal.

It said Tinubu failed to perform the simplest of tasks required of a person desiring to lead the world’s largest black nation.

Spokesperson for the Atiku-Okowa presidential campaign group, Kola Ologbondiyan, said this in Abuja, on Monday.

He said, “Nigerians including supporters of the APC Presidential Candidate were thoroughly embarrassed to watch Asiwaju Tinubu who earlier showboated with a scripted speech went blank on the world stage in tragic display of emptiness and inability to personally address questions that were put to him on economy, security and other challenges facing our nation.

“Our Campaign finds it very appalling that a candidate aspiring to be the President of a nation as complex as Nigeria exhibited an embarrassing inability to coordinate his own thought process to the extent that he could not personally think through issues and address them but had to direct questions put to him including those on his health and policies to others to answer.“

Ologbondiyan further said, “Asiwaju Tinubu has confirmed to Nigerians and the world that he has no business contesting the 2023 presidential election; that he is grossly incompetent, completely unprepared for leadership and intends to transfer the onerous task of leading our nation to proxies and a cabal that did not seek votes from Nigerians.

“Of course, Nigerians cannot afford to have a President who cannot take responsibility to lead but intend to shift burden to others apparently to find scapegoats to blame for his inevitable failures.

“The APC presidential candidate ended up becoming a butt of international joke as he could not provide any lead on the critical issues of economy, security, youth development and foreign policies, despite notes passed to him at the event by his handlers.”

He advised Tinubu’s handlers to stop embarrassing him by always pushing him to make public appearances, even when they were aware of his incompetence.

Ologbondiyan said, “What Nigerians expect is for the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign to apologize to the nation and stop embarrassing their principal with poorly scripted appearances.

“Now that the APC Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Tinubu has confirmed his unpreparedness and lack of capacity on the world state, we urge that he should immediately collapse his campaign, stop wasting resources, go home and rest.”

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