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Appeal Court sacks Mutfwang as Plateau gov

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Sunday sacked the governor of Plateau state, Caleb Mutfwang of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise Nentawe Goshwe of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the March 18 Plateau state governorship election.

Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, who led a three-member panel of Justices of the appellate court, while delivering the lead judgment, cited Section 177 of the Constitution, noting that the PDP did not validly sponsor Manasseh for the governorship election.

The panel held that the party violated the court order that a valid congress be conducted in the 17 local government areas of that state by conducting Congress in only five local government areas of the state, and as such, it is a nullity.

The court, while dismissing the decision of the Plateau state governorship election petition tribunal, held that the issue of qualification is both a pre-election and a post-election matter, contrary to the findings of the tribunal, which held that the appellant lacked the legal right to contest the validity of the respondent.

The court also noted that, under Section 134 of the Electoral Act, it is the sole right of a political party to sponsor its candidate having met the necessary requirements to do so.

While evoking Section 136 of the Electoral Act, the court ordered INEC to retrieve the certificate of return issued to Governor Mutfwang and issue a fresh certificate of return to Goshwe.

INEC had declared Mutfwang the winner of the March 18 governorship election in the state after he scored 525,299 votes to defeat 17 other candidates, including Goshwe, who polled 481,370.

Goshwe challenged Mutfwang’s election at the tribunal, claiming that the governor was not validly nominated and sponsored by his party (PDP) and that PDP has no structure to sponsor any candidate for the governorship election.

He equally alleged that Mutfwang’s election was not conducted in compliance with the Electoral Act, adding that the PDP candidate did not win the majority of lawful votes cast during the election.

However, in a unanimous judgment, a three-member panel of the tribunal headed by Justice R. Irele-Ifijeh dismissed the petition for lacking merit.

Not satisfied with the judgment of the Tribunal, the APC candidate appealed to the Court of Appeal, praying the court to declare him the winner on the grounds that the governor was not qualified to have contested the election because he was not validly sponsored and nominated by a political party, the PDP.

He also argued that the PDP lacked the structure and was not qualified to sponsor any candidate in the election.

The APC candidate also told the appellate court in his notice of appeal that there was over-voting and non-compliance with the 2022 Electoral Act during the 2023 governorship election in the state.

In arguing his appeal last week, lead counsel to the appellants, Prof. Goke Olagoke (SAN), urged the court to set aside the judgment of the tribunal and declare his client as the winner.

He told the court that the appellants’ case is that the 2nd respondent (Governor Mutfwang) was not qualified to contest the election because of lack of valid sponsorship by a political party, contrary to section 177 (C) of the 1999 Constitution.

Olagoke said his submission was predicated on various court judgments, including the appellate court’s decisions, adding that the court is bound to abide by the decisions for consistency.

But, in a motion dated October 30 but filed on November 2, 2023, the governor, through his legal team led by a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF), Godwin Kanu Agabi (SAN), urged the appellate court to strike out some grounds of the appeal for being incompetent.

He equally filed a notice of preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to adjudicate on the appeal.

Attacking the competency of the appeal, Agabi drew the court’s attention to the fact that the nomination and sponsorship of a candidate for election is purely an internal affair of a political party, which the court has no jurisdiction to inquire into.

He submitted that the word qualification used by the petitioner is misleading as the issue raised by the petition bordered on nomination and sponsorship.

After listening to submissions of counsel to both parties, the three-member panel reserved judgment in the appeal, which it delivered on Sunday, November 19.

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SDP Distances Itself From Protest At Lokoja INEC Office Accuses APC

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) has distanced itself from a purported protest that took place at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters in Lokoja, Kogi State.

Director General, New Media
MuriSam Campaign Council/SDP Isaiah Davies Ijele in a statement on Thursday noted that those causing trouble are not supporters of SDP but loyalists of the ruling party in Kogi State.

Ijele stated that SDP is a peaceful political party whose ideology revolves around peace and seeking justice through all known democratic channels.

“This is why the SDP is seeking redress through the court. So far, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been cooperative except the delay caused by one Mrs. Faith Kotso; the Commission’s legal head in lokoja.

” She deliberately delayed our forensic experts in lokoja from accessing and conducting the physical examination of the electoral materials, frustrated all our initial efforts and the process was opened and hijacked by hoodlums loyal to outgoing the present administration.

“As it stands, Yahaya Bello is proving to be the biggest threat to our democracy. Kogi state under Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello is in a state of anarchy. Both the tribunal and the election materials are no longer safe in Lokoja. If not for the timely intervention of the Nigerian Army, the INEC facility would’ve been attacked and all evidence would’ve been destroyed,” he stated

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Nigeria achieved in 24 years what took US 185 years – Akpabio

President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio said Nigeria achieved in 24 years a feat that took the United States 185 years to achieve.
In his address during the 2024 budget presentation by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to the joint session of lawmakers at the National Assembly on Wednesday, Nov. 29, he said, ex-Senators occupy strategic positions in the executive which made the two arms to foster a healthier relationship.

Akpabio said with former lawmakers running the executive, a cordial relationship between the two arms would not only be a must, but they will continue to walk hand in hand and see eye to eye.

Akpabio said: “Mr President, the United States of America has started democracy for about 247 years. But it was only when it marked its 185th anniversary that it succeeded in producing two former senators John F Kennedy and Lyndon B Johnson as president and vice president respectively.

“But within 24 years of our democracy, we have achieved what took the United States of America 185 years to achieve.

“Not only do we have two former Distinguished Senators serving as the President and Vice President of our dear country; we also have other alumni of this Assembly in positions of public trust: Secretary to the Federal Government, Senator George Akume; the Chief of Staff to the President, Rt Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, and other Senators in the Cabinet.

“Mr. President, Distinguished and Honorable Members, maintaining a cordial relationship with the Executive Arm has always been a requirement of the law, but now, given that our Old Boys now run the Executive, a good relationship with the Executive is a must.

“Never have we had so many bridges and connection points between these two arms of Government.

“So we will continue to walk hand in hand and see eye to eye with the Executive Arm while ensuring that the principles of separation of powers, as well as checks and balances as enshrined in our Constitution are observed in the overriding public interest.”

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Makinde Approves Appointment Of Special Advisers, Board Chairmen, Others

2023: Makinde, Oyo PDP leaders at loggerheads over support for Atiku

Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde has approved the appointments of Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants, Special Assistants and Board Chairmen across various portfolios, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

The appointments were announced in a letter signed by the Chief of Staff to the governor, Otunba Segun Ogunwuyi, dated 29 November 2023.

This is just as the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Sulaimon Olanrewaju, is to combine the role of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media with his current portfolio

The names and portfolios of the fresh appointments are as follows: Oloye Suraj Abiodun- Special Adviser (Education Intervention), Dr Nureni Aderemi Adeniran- Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB)
Dr Gbola Adetunji- Chairman, Oyo State Agency for the Control of AIDS (OYSACA), Alhaji Murtala Ahmad- Special Assistant (Community Relations) I, Arewa Community, Nwosu Innocent- Senior Special Assistant (Community Relations) 2, Igbo Community.

Saka Moshood Olawale- Senior Special Assistant (OYSIEC), Hon. Yemi Taiwo- Chairman, Oyo State Library Board
Hon. Rauf Adekunle- Chairman, Oyo State Pension Board, Hon. Dare Adeleke- Special Adviser (Federal Constituency Matter), Mr Rahman Abiodun Abdulrahim- Chairman, Education Trust Fund, Hon. Abiodun Awoleye Dada- Chairman, Oyo State Primary Healthcare Board, Rt. Hon. Atilola M.O.- Chairman, Oyo State Scholarship Board, Hon. Akinsete Olakunle- Special Adviser, Housing and Urban Development, Hon. Simeon Oyeleke- Special Adviser, Budget and Economic Planning.

Others are; Mrs Aderonke Adedayo- Special Adviser, General Intervention & Donor Agencies, Hon. Samuel Ademola Adejumobi- Special Adviser on Legislative Matters, Alhaji Omokunmi Mustapha- Special Adviser on Political Matters, Hon. Abideen Tokunbo Adeaga- Director General, Oyo State Signage and Advertisement Agency
Hon. Mufutau Ogunremi- Senior Special Assistant on Sustainable Development Goals, Hon. Ramota Agberemi Dabo- Senior Special Assistant on Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters.

Governor Makinde charged the new appointees to discharge their duties with dedication and loyalty to the state

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