Osun Election: PDP Demands Immediate Reconstitution Of Tribunal

Osun Election: PDP Demands Immediate Reconstitution Of Tribunal

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan (file)

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called for the immediate reconstitution of the Osun State governorship election petition tribunal.

In a statement on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, the opposition party warned that any further delay would jeopardise the course of justice in the matter.

It noted that the disbanding of the panel, if not quickly addressed, would send a bad signal on the integrity of the judiciary.

READ ALSO: Osun PDP Supporters Protest Over Alleged Disbandment Of Election Petition Tribunal

“We invite Nigerians to note that in our lawful effort to reclaim our stolen mandate, PDP duly filed its petition on Tuesday, October 15, 2018, in accordance with section 285 (6) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which prescribed that judgment must be delivered on or before 180 days,” the PDP said.

It added, “While the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was served, the APC and its candidate [allegedly] evaded service.

“Consequently, the PDP on Wednesday, October 17, 2018, applied for substituted service, which was slated for hearing today, Thursday, October 18, 2018, only to be informed that the panel has been disbanded on Wednesday without any reason and without providing a new panel to hear our matter.”

The party told the President of the Court of Appeal that disbanding the panel without setting up a new one would be “a deliberate attempt” to prevent the PDP from serving the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, as well as meet the constitutional 180-day timeframe for the determination of the case at the tribunal.

“Election petition matters are sui generis, with specific timeframe allotted to various stages up to the final determination,” it said.

“The failure to set up a new panel to timeously hear our application for substituted service on APC and its candidate smacks of a shenanigan to deny our party full justice in the matter.”

The PDP, therefore, urged the President of the Court of Appeal not to bow to pressure and avoid acts that are capable of dragging the reputation of the judiciary in the mud.

It also called on concerned individuals and relevant organisations to rise against any force working against justice in the land.

Alleged Fraud: EFCC Insists Akinjide’s Case Be Heard In Lagos

Alleged Fraud: EFCC Insists Akinjide’s Case Be Heard In Lagos

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday insisted that the N650 million alleged fraud case it instituted against a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mrs Jumoke Akinjide, and two others must be heard at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court.

The anti-graft agency said motions filed by Akinjide’s co-accused, Senator Ayo Adeseun and Mrs Olanrewaju Otiti, seeking the transfer of the case to the Ibadan Division of the Federal High Court was unmeritorious and should be dismissed.

Arguing the counter affidavits filed by the commission against the two motions, counsel to the EFCC, Nnaemeka Omewa, maintained that the defendants’ rights of being charged in a court within 40km radius of where the alleged offence was committed has been upheld with the filing of a charge against them at a Federal High Court in Ibadan.

He added that all the defendants were also duly arraigned at a Federal High Court in Ibadan before Akinjide’s petition to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul-Kafarati, led to the transfer of the case to Lagos.

“Investigation of this case was done in Lagos and the prosecution has followed the Constitution in arraigning the defendants in Ibadan before the first defendant petitioned the Chief Judge for the transfer of the case to Lagos”, Omewa said.

The prosecution counsel stated that Section 98 (1) (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) equally forbids the Chief Judge from transferring a case in which the prosecution has already called its witness.

He then urged the court to dismiss the motions and continue with the hearing of the case.

Arguing his client’s motion, Adeseun’s lawyer, Micheal Lana, told the court that every ingredient of the case took place in Ibadan.

He disclosed that his client was not aware of the petition written by Akinjide to the Chief Judge seeking the transfer of the case to Lagos.

“The second defendant (Adeseun) had never asked that the matter should be transferred to Lagos and his consent was never sought by anyone in that regard,” Lana said.

“Everything needed to defend this case including the polling agents in the 1,955 polling units of the senatorial district of my client were scattered across villages in Oyo State. The defendant has no means of bringing those witnesses to Lagos.”

The same point was also canvassed by Otiti’s lawyer, Akinola Ayodeji.

Ayodeji was, however, particular about the fact that he had filed a motion seeking the transfer of the case to Ibadan prior to the re-arraignment of his client in Ibadan.

He said, “We filed our motion before the re-arraignment immediately after the matter was transferred to Lagos.

“The third defendant (Otiti) has 65 witnesses spread over six of the nine local governments covered by the senatorial district in which she contested the election in Oyo State.

“The witnesses to be called are within these six local governments and it will cost a lot of money to bring them to Lagos,” the lawyer told the court.

Ruling on the motions was reserved till November 9.

On January 16, the three defendants were re-arraigned by the anti-graft agency before Justice Muslim Hassan on a 24-count amended charge of alleged N650 million fraud.

Osun PDP Supporters Protest Over Alleged Disbandment Of Election Petition Tribunal

Osun PDP Supporters Protest Over Alleged Disbandment Of Election Petition Tribunal

Some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State on Thursday stormed the premises of the state high court, raising an alarm over the alleged disbandment of the 3-man election petition tribunal.

The panel was set up to adjudicate complaints arising from the conduct of the September 22 governorship election.

When Channels Television arrived at the court premises, it was observed that the doors leading to the courtroom were under lock and key while the registry of the election tribunal was also shut.

One of the counsels to senator Ademola Adeleke, the PDP candidate, Mr Niyi Owolade, told journalists that they came for the hearing of an application on substituted service but were told by court officials that the panel had been disbanded.

Owolade said “We filed our petition on Tuesday, 16th of October and we tried to effect service to the three respondents, namely INEC (1st), Gboyega Isiaka Oyetola (2nd) and APC, being the (3rd) respondent.

“While we were able to serve the 1st respondent, the 2nd and the 3rd respondents declined service. So, we brought an application here yesterday for substituted service. The application was to have been heard 9.00 am today (Thursday), but we were surprised when we heard that the panel had been disbanded. What is even more surprising is the fact that you have disbanded and you have replaced.

“We all know that election petitions are swis generis. Our 180 days starts on the 16th of October, which was the day of filing, Section 285, Sub-Section 6 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as Amended is clear about. So, judgment is to be given on or before 18th of April, 2019, I mean the final judgment.

“But, if you have 180 days which has commenced and we cannot effect service which the law allows (of which order we would have gotten today has been denied), we are surprised that the President of the Court of Appeal saddled with the responsibility of empanelling election tribunal has not deemed it fit with greatest respect to her, to have put in place a new panel simultaneously. We are surprised that we don’t have a new panel yet. We hope that would be done soonest”.

When contacted to speak on the matter the court registrar, Lawrence Arojo, declined to speak to the press.

Entrepreneur Advises Youths To Seek ‘Greener Pastures’ In Nigeria

Entrepreneur Advises Youths To Seek ‘Greener Pastures’ In Nigeria

An Entrepreneur from Edo State, Aigbe Omoregie, has advised youths to seek greener pastures in Nigeria rather than through illegal migration to other countries.

He said this during a town hall debate in Benin City, the Edo State capital on Thursday while addressing issues around migration, human trafficking and jobs.

Omoregie believes it is possible for youths to become successful in their home country Nigeria regardless of their backgrounds.

Sharing his personal experiences, he says it is better off to work hard in Nigeria than choose to face the hardships that come with illegal migration.

He said, “There Is no hope anywhere, other than the one you create for yourself. There is no greener pasture anywhere than the one you create for yourself. Whatever your life will eventually become is what you want it to be.

“The Europe and America we are talking about, I have travelled around these places but each time I go out there, our people living there end up serving me for the period I’m around. I didn’t make my money there.

“As a matter of fact, after graduation from school, I travelled abroad to relocate but three weeks after, I discovered that the place was not meant for me. I could not see myself running from pillar to post because of the police.

“I could not subject myself to the level of dehumanization and humility that was associated with the fact that I was a foreigner so after three weeks, I came back home and started all over again. I started a company called intercontinental paint with just N18,000.

“From N18,000 in 2006, we’ve been able to grow the company to where it is today, to the extent that last year, we were recognized by the United Nations, we have branches in a lot of states in Nigeria. We have a branch in Uganda to serve the whole of the East Africa region and we are still busy expanding.

“Now the question is, what is the difference between me and you or every other person who wants to go to Europe today? There’s no difference.

“The only difference is that I decided to stay put and build something. There is no free meal anywhere and Europe is much more difficult than Nigeria. America is much more difficult than Nigeria”.

President Buhari Meets With Security Chiefs, CDS Absent

President Buhari Meets With Security Chiefs, CDS Absent

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday met with the security chiefs in Abuja.

The President presided over the Security Council meeting held at the Presidential Villa.

Briefing State House correspondents on its outcomes, the Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, said the meeting focused on security issues, especially as they concern election violence.

He assured Nigerians that the security agencies would remain unbiased and work hard to ensure the general elections in 2019 are free and fair.

The police boss disclosed that the Council also noted with concern the proliferation and stockpiling of weapons by some disgruntled elements in parts of the country.

He added that the meeting discussed the attempt by some notable personalities to put pressure on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) through demonstrations.

The security chiefs were led to the meeting by the Minister of Defence, Brigadier General Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd).

However, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, was absent.

President Buhari Meets With Security Chiefs, CDS Absent

Security chiefs who attended the meeting include the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, and the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas.

Also present are the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, and the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mr Yusuf Bichi, among others.

Government officials also in attendance are the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari; Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr Boss Mustapha; and the National Security Adviser,  Major General Babagana Monguno.

President Buhari Meets With Security Chiefs, CDS Absent

What We Are Doing To Tackle Illegal Migration – Edo Commissioner

What We Are Doing To Tackle Illegal Migration – Edo Commissioner

Edo State Commissioner for Youths and Special Duties, Mika Amanokha, has explained how the state government is addressing the issues of illegal migration and human trafficking in the state.

Mr Amanokha gave the explanation during a special programme organised for youths by Channels Television in partnership with Deutsche Welle, The 77 Percent on Thursday in Benin City, the state capital.

“The problem is on the street; the solution cannot be allowed to remain on the street,” he said.

“Since we (the Godwin Obaseki administration) came in, the first thing we needed to do was to own up that this problem exists; what do we do?

“Before now, no government has ever accepted that this problem exists. So the starting point is agreeing that there is a problem and coming together to find solutions to it, and that is what we are doing,” the commissioner explained further.

He described the youths in the state as young people who are intelligent, full of energy, as well as very ambitious.

Amanokha, however, said, “When the space is not enough to accommodate them, they tend to push their way through. They tend to create or look forward to those greener pastures, whether real or not.”

Mr Mika Amanokha

“That is what the human traffickers take advantage of,” he added, stressing that those who dare the Mediterranean or and the desert are strong and not weak people.

The commissioner believes the problem of illegal migration and human trafficking is based on several factors.

According to him, the situation is so serious that even young lawyers who should be in court and doctors that are meant to be attending to patients in the hospital are trapped in foreign countries.

In this regard, he said the state government has come up with various policies to tackle the threat of illegal migration in Edo.

Amanokha said the issues do not require a token approach but a holistic approach – institutional approach.

“One from the institutions, it is very important to note that it is not to say ‘I have gone through this school, I am a graduate of agric’ and at the end of the day you cannot practice agriculture,” he said.

He added that this led to the closure of the Benin Technical College by the government which he said was being remodelled as the government seeks international accreditation for the institution.

The commissioner disclosed that the government also shut down the College of Agriculture, saying the curriculums were being reviewed to reflect the modern day requirements of labour and practice.

He explained that the remodelling was in line with the Federal Government’s drive for self-feeding, saying it would create a lot of employment opportunities for the youths.

Amanokha concluded that these were some of the major steps taken by the government to address illegal migration and human trafficking in the state.