The Supreme Court Wednesday declared Senator Douye Diri as the duly elected governor of Bayelsa State.
The court, in a unanimous judgment, upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal, Abuja shortly after it dismissed the six appeals seeking the nullification of Diri and his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo’s election, following the withdrawal of the appeals by lawyers to the appellants.
Those that applied and withdrew their appeals on Wednesday were the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP), Alliance for Democracy (AD), its governorship candidate, Owei Woniwei, Liberation Movement (LM), its candidate, Vijah Opuama, as well as the Accord Party (AP).
After the withdrawal of the appeals, the seven-member panel of Justices of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, dismissed the appeals and upheld the election of Diri as Bayelsa State governor.
The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division had, in a judgment on October 2, upturned the judgment of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that nullified Diri’s election.
The appeal court had voided the majority judgment the tribunal delivered on August 17, which ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct a fresh election in the state within 90 days.
The tribunal’s decision was based on the ground that INEC unlawfully excluded one of the registered political parties, ANDP, from the state governorship election held on November 16, 2019.
While two members of the panel at the tribunal, Justices Sikiru Owodunni and Yunusa Musa, upheld ANDP’s petition, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo, gave a dissenting judgment that upheld Diri’s election.
Dismissing the petition for being statute-barred, Justice Sirajo said there was evidence that ANDP was disqualified from the election for fielding an ineligible candidate.
He noted that the party nominated an underage deputy governorship candidate, who admitted that he was 34 years old, instead of the 35 years stipulated by the constitution.
Dissatisfied with the majority judgment of the tribunal, Governor Diri, his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and INEC separately lodged appeals to set it aside.
In its judgment, the appellate court panel led by Justice Adzira Mshella, held that the majority verdict of the tribunal that invalidated Diri’s election was perverse and “contemptuous of the law”.
Justice Obande Festus Ogbuinya, who read the lead judgment of the appellate court, held that the tribunal wrongfully evaluated the petition of the ANDP and thus reached an unjust conclusion.
The court said there was enough evidence before the tribunal to prove that ANDP nominated underage candidates for the election in breach of sections 177, 182 and 187 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
The court also said INEC had in two separate letters, dated September 13 and September 27, notified the ANDP that it made invalid nominations.
It held that as of February 26 when it filed the petition at the tribunal the case of ANDP had become stale.
The court also ruled that the issue of disqualification of candidates, a pre-election matter, could only be entertained by a regular court and not a tribunal.
The court also dismissed appeals that were lodged by candidate of the AD, Woniwei; LM, Opuama, and Accord Party, Ebezimo Diriyau.
Updated: Postpone visit to Kano, Ganduje advises Buhari over fuel, new naira anger
Governor of Kano State, Abdulahi Ganduje, has made a request to President Muhammadu Buhari to put on hold his planned visit to the state.
Ganduje’s reason, according to a statement by his media aide, Abba Anwar, is to avert possible embarrassing breakdown of law and order by the ordinary citizens over the complications arising from the fuel scarcity and scarcity of the newly redesigned naira.
Ganduje was quoted to have stated this before some professionals who visited him at the Government House on Friday.
He was quoted as telling his visitors, “As we are waiting for this important visit, we find ourselves in this situation, which puts citizens into untold hardship. For security purposes, we wrote to the Presidency that President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Kano be postponed.
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“We got an acknowledgement copy of the letter. People are really suffering because of this policy.”
Among the visitors were said to be two serving senators from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Barau Jibrin and Kabiru Gaya, 20 members of the House of Representatives and 30 legislators from the State House of Assembly.
The governor quoted as saying that it has become difficult to transact businesses even with the Point of Sale (POS).
The situation is said to have led to many traders closing their businesses.
“This problem affects all of us.Therefore, our voice must be heard in all nooks and crannies. We are a commercial hub. As such, our position must be loud and clear,” Ganduje said.
The governor also reportedly called for an extension of the deadline for returning old naira notes.
“There are no banks in most of our rural communities. How these people get new naira notes is of great concern. Just look at what is happening in our urban areas; people go and spend hours upon hours in banks without any assurances of getting the new notes,” Ganduje lamented.
I’m alive by God’s grace, I saw many colleagues during civil war fall before me – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has recounted a part of experience during the civil war in which he saw many people including his colleagues die right before him.
He also revealed how he ran away from home to join the Nigerian army to escape family pressure of getting married.
The President revealed this during a visit to the Emir of Daura, Faruk Faruk, after inaugurating two roads in Katsina State.
A presidential aide, Femi Adesina, highlighted Buhari’s narrative of his battle during the Nigerian Civil War and some personal challenges faced as told by the President duy the visit.
The statement read, “President Buhari said that he secured his first job early after school to manage a co-operative in Daura, but had to escape and join the army when there was pressure that he should get married.
“I told Governor Aminu Masari the story of how I left Daura to join the army. That was how God planned it. We make choices in life, but eventually destiny is before God.
“I was at the war front during the civil war, and saw how many died. Some fell right beside me. God kept me.
“Many bridges were blown just before we arrived at some places, and after we crossed. I arrived at some places to see bodies of my own colleagues that we were fighting together. I am alive today only by God’s grace.
“This opportunity to serve the nation comes from God. All over the world, Nigeria is known for its diversity, with different religions and cultures.
“We are also known because we have a huge population of millions of people. For the President of Nigeria, at this time, to come from Daura is the grace and mercy of God.”
Buhari also told the emirate that he would return and settle in Daura after handing over on May 29, 2023.
Alabi remains Lagos CP, no new commissioner appointed – PPRO
Lagos Police Command says no new police commissioner has been appointed for the state.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Benjamin Hundeyin, disclosed this in a statement, in reaction to reports that a new CP had taken over the command.
According to him, the command has been inundated with requests for clarification on the status of the commissioner of police in the state.
“We wish to state categorically that the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State is still CP Abiodun Alabi,” he stated.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no Commissioner of Police has been posted to Lagos State. Members of the public are therefore urged to disregard fake news making the rounds that a new Commissioner of Police has been deployed to Lagos State Police Command.
“It is hoped that this clarification would halt the barrage of calls to officers of the command which has resulted in needless distraction and waste of valuable time.
“The Lagos State Police Command will keep residents and the good people of the state updated whenever the need arises.”
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