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Supreme court strikes out Buhari, Malami suit on Electoral Act

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The Supreme Court has struck out the suit by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, seeking to void the provision of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022.

The provision, included in the amended Electoral Bill signed into law by President Buhari on February 25, 2022 bars political appointees from voting or being voted for at conventions of political parties.

The provision stated, “No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.”

Buhari later wrote the National Assembly to delete the section, with claims that it was unconstitutional as it will stop political appointees from exercising their constitutional rights to contest for elections.

Malami had approached the Supreme Court after the National Assembly failed to accede to the President’s request to delete the provision.

In a judgment on Friday, a seven-member panel of the apex court, headed by Justice Musa Dattijo Mohammed, was unanimous in holding that Buhari, having participated in the making of the law by assenting to it, could not turn around to fault its provisions.

The court, which upheld the objections raised by the National Assembly and other defendants against the suit, declined to determine it on the merit but declared that the Supreme Court lacked the jurisdiction to hear it and that the suit was an abuse of court process.

Justice Emmanuel Agim, in the lead judgment, held that it was an attack on the democratic principle of Separation of Powers for the President to seek to direct/request the Legislature to make a particular law or alter any law.

“The President lacks the power to direct the National Assembly to amend or enact an act..it violates the principle of separation of powers.

“There is no part of the Constitution that makes the exercise of legislative powers subject to the directive of the President,” the court said.

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PDP postpones NEC, caucus meetings as Atiku/Wike rift deepens

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Nyesom Wike and Atiku Abubakar

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has postponed its National Executive Committee (NEC) and National Caucus meeting, following the protracted rift between its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike.

The meetings of the two critical organs were originally scheduled to hold tomorrow and Thursday.

A statement by the PDP National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, said the postponement was due to “unforeseen circumstances”.

He said new dates for the meetings would be announced in due course.

Although the secretary did not disclose the “unforeseen circumstances” that warranted the postponement, party sources said the decision was informed by a hardline position taken by the Rivers State governor in the ongoing effort to reconcile him with Atiku.

Among other demands, the Wike camp has called on the National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, to step aside and allow one of his deputies from the South to take the office.

The demand is being made in view of the fact that the PDP presidential candidate, the chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) and the National Chairman are all from the North.

A source said the invitation extended to Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu by Wike to commission projects in Rivers State ruffled some feathers in the top party hierarchy of the PDP.

According to the source, Wike’s decision to invite the Lagos State governor, who is of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), to commission projects in a PDP-controlled state, was meant to spite the party leadership.

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Wike had on July 8, received three APC governors – Governors Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and Sanwo-Olu – a few days after Atiku announced Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate.

PDP stakeholders are said to be uncomfortable with the latter-day hobnobbing of the Rivers governor with APC chieftains, especially close allies of the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Wike was reportedly favoured by some highly placed PDP stakeholders and powerful interest groups for the party’s vice presidential slot.

But Atiku on June 16, announced Okowa as his running mate, against a recommendation by a selection committee, which tipped Wike for the position.

Atiku had won the May 29 PDP presidential primary with 371 votes while Wike came second with 237 votes.

Underate Rivers at your peril, Wike warns

Wike yesterday vowed that anybody undervaluing his state’s political capability would be taught a painful lesson in 2023.

He spoke in Port Harcourt during the inauguration of the Orochiri-Worukwo (Waterlines junction) Flyover by Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

According to him, the dynamics of contemporary politics had made it unpopular to just gift votes away without the assurance of derivable benefit for the people.

Wike said: “If you say Rivers State does not matter, Rivers State will tell you that you don’t also matter at the appropriate time. If you don’t like us, we will not like you. If you like us, we will like you.

“Nobody will use our votes for nothing. Our votes will matter and Rivers State must benefit from anybody that we are going to support.

“Politics now is no longer just voting for somebody; it is about what you will do for the people of Rivers State.”

He said it would be difficult for any conspirator to upset the voting pattern of Rivers State and support for the PDP.

The governor added that those who looted the treasury of the state would not be supported to become Rivers State governor.

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He said: “Those who looted the treasury of the State will not come here to be governor of Rivers State and I have challenged them.

“I am fully in charge. I am not that kind of governor people will go to Abuja and hold meetings against. I am fully in charge here.”

Wike also berated a columnist, Mr. Yemi Adebowale over an article titled, “Wike, a Governor Possessed By Spirit of Flyovers.”

He said the writer goofed on claims the governor was building flyovers at the expense of pension gratuities, salaries and promotion arrears to civil servants.

He further explained that the invitation of the Lagos State Governor was not the first time persons of other political parties were urged to inaugurate projects in Rivers State.

Sanwo-Olu, who inaugurated the flyover, commended Wike for his strong commitment to the delivery of physical infrastructure in Rivers State.

He said: “I would like to specially commend my brother, Governor Wike, for his strong commitment to the delivery of physical infrastructure in Rivers State, a commitment that has been recognized by all and sundry, and which has earned him the appellation of ‘Mr. Projects’ within and outside Rivers State.”

Sanwo-Olu said though he and Wike belonged to different political persuasions, the invitation extended to him sent a very strong message that politicians and political leaders, could come together across political and ideological divides, for the good of the people.

He said: “There is also a strong message being made today about expanding our capacity to play politics without bitterness. This symbolic gesture by my friend and brother is one that should become standard practice across Nigeria.

“There is also a lot that we can learn from one another, and experience that we can translate from one part of the country to the other.

Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Dakorinama George-Kelly said the project had been completed on schedule with specified quality.

He said: “The project has an overall length of 840 meters and the overall cross-sectional width of 17.6meters, 7.3 meters on each lane. It has a one-meter walkway on both sides and two meters of media. We have a total asphaltic pavement area of 29000 square meters.”

The Nation

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2023: INEC Denies Recognising Lawan, Akpabio As Senatorial Candidates

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Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has denied reports that it succumbed to pressure from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) by backdating documents to recognise Senate President Ahmad Lawan, and former Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio as senatorial candidates.

National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Festus Okoye, said this on Tuesday in Abuja.

There have been controversies after Bashir Machina won the APC ticket for Yobe North Senatorial District, while Udom Ekpoudom won the party’s primary election in Akwa Ibom North-West.

The two primaries were monitored by INEC officials.

Okoye said the attention of the commission was drawn to an online report that it doctored, backdated and certified documents to accommodate Lawan and Akpabio.

“Nothing can be further from the truth. As evidence of the alleged role played by the commission. A certified true copy of Form 9C uploaded by their political party and received by the Commission on 17th June 2022 when the nomination portal closed was presented,” he said.

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The INEC official said that for clarity, the Form EC9 (submission of names of candidates by political parties) is the form uploaded by parties on the INEC nomination portal, and is clearly indicated on the title of the Form which was received on 17th June 2022 when the portal closed.

He also said publication of the personal particulars of nominated candidates was done a week later and that the forms of the two personalities (Lawan and Akpabio) in question were not published by the commission.

Okoye said, “The decision of the commission triggered legal action which are still ongoing. It therefore defies logic and common sense to go around and submit doctored documents purportedly recognising the duo as candidates when the matter is clearly sub-judice.

“As part of the ongoing case in Court, a law firm requested the commission for a Certified True Copy (CTC) of the Form EC9 submitted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) as its candidate for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District which we are duty bound to oblige them under the law.

“The form was certified on 15th July 2022. If minimum care has been exercised by the promoters of the story, they would have seen the two stamps of the commission bearing different dates on the form. It is this form that is now misconstrued as INEC’s endorsement.

“For the record, the commission has not recognised any of the two personalities as a senatorial candidate. We call for responsible reportage as against the unwarranted attack on the commission and its officials over a matter than can be easily fact checked.”

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Yoruba elders to Tinubu: your victory in 2023 certain

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Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu

Yoruba elders yesterday threw their weight behind the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

They said the former Lagos State governor is eminently qualified to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in next year’s election, assuring that he will make a difference as a leader.

To the elders, Tinubu has the pedigree and antecedent, having served credibly as a senator in the Third Republic and two-term governor of the Centre of Excellence.

The elders, under the aegis of the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), said Tinubu’s efforts at stabilising democracy in Nigeria were enough to earn him victory in 2023.

The council stated this in a communiqué after its quarterly meeting in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

The communiqué was signed by its Chairman, Mr Francis Akinikawe; Secretary, Chief Clement Fadipe; National Treasurer, Aremu Akindele and National Welfare Officer, Mrs Funmi Jabaru.

Also yesterday, the Southwest APC unfolded a comprehensive reconciliation plan for the six states in a bid to ensure unity and cohesion ahead of next year’s polls.

The APC Campaign Organisation spokesman and Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, said Tinubu’s qualities and achievements make him an easy candidate to sell to the electorate.

Speaking on Arise TV programme, he described the APC flag bearer as a political and economic trailblazer and builder of men.

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A political group, the ‘ROT Like Minds,’ held special prayers in Lagos at the weekend for Tinubu’s success at the poll.

‘Tinubu a detrabalised Nigerian’

YCE described Tinubu as a destabilised Nigerian and a good leader, who ran an all-inclusive government during his tenure as Lagos State governor.

The group maintained that as the chief crusader of democracy in Nigeria, Tinubu stands for justice, fairness and national cohesion.

YCE said it was optimistic that Tinubu would tackle the myriad of problems facing Nigeria if elected president.

It added: “We believe that you are capable of leading the nation despite challenges of insecurity, economy downtown, and we know you can turn the nation for the better.

“We want the world to know that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a phenomenon in the world of politics.

“We are not against anyone’s group or aspirations but all we are saying is that Asiwaju is the right person for the job.

“He is the best man for the job at this period while our support for his candidacy’s burn out of his starling performances and track record of achievements over the years as fishers of men with just and equitable management of men and re-distribution of the available resources under his watch at every given opportunity.”

A political group, the ‘ROT Like Minds,’ on Sunday held special prayers in Lagos for the success of the APC presidential candidate and Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The coordinator of the group, Mr Jimmy Akinboro, chaired the joint Islam and Christian special prayers.

Akinboro explained that ‘ROT Like Minds’ organised the prayers to seek spiritual intervention for the ambitions of Tinubu and Sanwo-Olu.

He said: “The group believes that Tinubu’s presidential ambition will become a reality by seeking the blessings of God.

“Tinubu is a trusted and tested leader who has touched lives and redefined leadership in and out of political positions.

“This is not the first time that this type of programme is being held.

“We have embarked upon this prayer session in honour of our principal and our mentor.

“This is because he has unfolded his ambition to become the president of the country by the grace of God.

“We are his foot soldiers and we are his loyalists. All of us have come under the banner of this group to organise this Christian and Muslim prayer session.

“We want to hand over all our affairs to God so that He can guide us and grant our request.

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“This is so that Tinubu can become president to continue to do what he knows how to do best, which is developing people and developing society.”

Southwest APC unfolds peace plans

The Southwest APC has unfolded what it described as a comprehensive reconciliation plan to foster unity and harmony in the six states ahead of the 2023 polls.

The Zonal Executive Committee, led by Isaacs Kekemeke, urged warring chieftains, particularly in Ogun, Osun and Oyo states, to sheathe their swords, show decorum and exhibit maturity.

The reconciliation agenda being proposed will encompass the setting up of ad-hoc committees to listen to grievances and visit by selected party elders and officers to the chapters to encourage aggrieved chieftains to subscribe to a truce.

Southwest governors are also expected to play a role in the efforts of the zone to put its house in order.

Kekemeke, who is the National Vice Chairman (Southwest), urged the gladiators to jettison personal interests for the collective interest of the party to triumph in the region at this critical time.

He urged the opposing camps in Ogun, led by Governor Dapo Abiodun and Senator Ibikunle Amosun, to cease fire and allow peace to reign in the chapter.

Kekemeke has also dissociated the zonal chapter from the aggrieved governorship contender in Oyo State, who has defected to other parties to contest.

The rift between Abiodun and Amosun deepened at the weekend as both leaders were locked in confrontation over the 2019 poll.

While Amosun said the governor was rigged into office because he never won the election, Abiodun returned the salvos, saying that the senator should desist from playing God.

Supporters of the governor and senator have also been engaged in a curious media war that has embarrassed the zonal and regional leadership of the party.

Also, in Osun, supporters of Governor Gboyega Oyetola and Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola do not see eye to eye.

While the Aregbesola camp has called for the removal of Gboyega Famodun as chairman of the chapter, the governor’s camp said Famodun, who was properly elected during the state congress, cannot yield his position to Lowo Adebiyi, who belongs to the Aregbesola camp.

In Oyo, a post-primary crisis has ensued, following the emergence of Senator Teslim Folarin as governorship candidate.

An aggrieved aspirant, Adegoke Adelabu, has defected from the chapter to contest for governor on the platform of the Accord Party.

Also, the other two camps opposed to the candidate have not shown proof of any readiness to team up with him as the race is gathering momentum.

Party supporters who were confused over the protracted crises in the three chapters have urged the zonal leadership to urgently intervene to nip them in the bud.

Kekemeke said in a statement yesterday that there is no alternative to reconciliation and peace.

He said: “The Zonal Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress in the Southwest has observed the brewing misunderstanding between some respected leaders/elders of our party in Ogun state.

“We grant that misunderstandings and quarrels are an essentially inevitable part of life and human organisations.

“However, it should be understood by all party compatriots that the Southwest zone can not afford any form of a dispute to fester; not at this time when all hands must be on deck to secure resounding electoral victory for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and all other candidates of the party in the Zone during the forthcoming 2023 general elections.

“The party in the zone has already initiated actions to ensure that this family misunderstanding and others elsewhere in the Southwest are amicably resolved.

“I appeal to their Excellencies: Governor Abiodun and Senator Amosun to in the name of God and the interest of the party in the zone sheath their swords and direct their supporters to cease henceforth from making public statements that will further divide the party in Ogun state and the zone.

“I urge all party faithful in the state to remain steadfast, rest assured that, our party will emerge stronger and better.”

THE NATION

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