Supreme Court affirms Diri as Bayelsa gov – Newstrends
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Supreme Court affirms Diri as Bayelsa gov

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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.

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BREAKING: Tinubu appoints new Head of Service

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Mrs. Didi Esther Walson-Jack

BREAKING: Tinubu appoints new Head of Service

President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of Mrs. Didi Esther Walson-Jack as the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoCSF), with effect from August 14, 2024.

According to a statement by Presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, on Wednesday night, Mrs. Walson-Jack was appointed as Federal Permanent Secretary in 2017 and had served in several Ministries.

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“The new appointee will take over from the incumbent Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, who is due to retire on August 13, 2024.

“President Tinubu, while thanking the outgoing Head of Service for her stewardship, tasks the incoming Head of Service to discharge her duties with innovative flair, integrity, and stringent adherence to the extant rules and regulations of the Civil Service of the Federation,” he added.

BREAKING: Tinubu appoints new Head of Service

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Gov Zulum begs Nigerians not to stage nationwide protests

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Borno State governor, Babagana Umara Zulum

Gov Zulum begs Nigerians not to stage nationwide protests

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State has appealed to residents of Borno and Nigerians to refrain from participating in the proposed nationwide protests slated for next month.

During a stakeholders’ town hall meeting held at the Government House in Maiduguri on Wednesday, Zulum emphasized the importance of engaging in constructive dialogue instead of protests, which he believes may lead to violence and distractions. He highlighted the severe impact of the 13-year insurgency conflicts on the state and noted that protests would not be the best approach to maintaining the relative peace currently being enjoyed in Borno.

“Any break of law and order will be a disaster for us. I am appealing to the people, not only of Borno State but all Nigerians, to shun any protests that will bring hardship to Nigerians. Let us engage in positive dialogues. The Federal and state governments are doing everything possible to reduce the hardships people face in Nigeria,” Zulum said.

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He stated, “The Government of Borno State and its people have been experiencing insurgency for the past 13 years, but now peace has gradually returned to Borno State, and we must maintain this peace.”

Zulum expressed satisfaction that many stakeholders had committed not to join the protests and assured that the government of Borno State would follow up to ensure these commitments are upheld.

The town hall meeting was attended by heads of security agencies, traditional rulers, the Network of Civil Society Organizations, Young Peace Advocates, the Nigerian Union of Journalists, and the Nigerian Bar Association. Other attendees included representatives from the Civilian Joint Task Force, the Christian Association of Nigeria, Jammatul Nasir Islam, student and youth groups, women’s groups, traders, people living with disabilities, and the Nigeria Labour Congress.

Gov Zulum begs Nigerians not to stage nationwide protests

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401 Osun LG caretaker leaders quit after S’Court judgment

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401 Osun LG caretaker leaders quit after S’Court judgment

Four hundred and one chairmen and members of caretaker committees running Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas in Osun State have all resigned their positions.

Those that resigned include; 69 caretaker chairmen and 332 caretaker members drawn from each of the 332 wards in the state.

Letters of resignation of the chairmen circulated on social media on Wednesday but a clear reason behind their resignation was not given.

In one of the letters seen by PUNCH, the caretaker chairman of Odo-Otin local government area, Okuku, Adewale Adeyinka, said he was quitting office to pursue other opportunities to serve his people.

The letter addressed to Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, dated July 17, 2024, partly read,  “It is with a sense of duty and respect for our democratic principles that I write to tender my resignation from my position as Chairman of the Caretaker Committee for Odo-Otin Local Government, effective immediately.

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“As I move on to pursue further opportunities to serve my people, I want to assure you that the good work we have started will not end.

“I remain committed to supporting the growth and development of Odo-Otin Local Government in any capacity I can.”

When contacted for comment on Wednesday, the immediate past chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria in Osun State, Sarafadeen Awotunde, said all the 69 caretaker chairmen and 332 members drawn from different wards across the state have resigned their positions since the Supreme Court has declared them as illegal office occupants.

Asked to confirm the resignation of the 332 caretaker members and the chairmen, Awotunde said, “Since we already called them caretaker, I don’t think there is any appropriate word to use than that they resigned. Nobody sacked them.

“Caretakers have temporary time to spend. It means their time is over. If you look at it critically, you will see that the Supreme Court has given a verdict. So whatever is called caretaker now is illegal. So, there is nothing like a caretaker in Nigeria again.”

In Osun State, there are 30 local government areas, 32 local council development authorities, 6 area councils and one administrative office.

The last set of caretaker committee chairmen and members were appointed by Adeleke in August 2023 and their tenure of office was extended by 6 months in February 2024.

401 Osun LG caretaker leaders quit after S’Court judgment

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