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Bayelsa Guber Race: Court Orders INEC To Include PDP Candidate

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There was wide jubilation yesterday in Barrister Seriake Dicksons’ camp following an Abuja court’s order directing the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to include his name as a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in next month’s governorship election in Bayelsa State.

Last week, the electoral body released a total of 35 names representing different parties for the election without naming any person in the PDP, because of what it called “litigation”.

However, Dickson approached the Abuja court for remedy and an interim injunction directing INEC to include his name was obtained.

Justice G.K. Olotu gave the order following an application for “judiciary review by way of mandamus” in terms of the reliefs set out in the statement of facts that accompanied the application.

Justice Olotu after hearing the submission of Barristers F. N. Nwosu and Obinna Mbuka, counsels for Hon. Dickson in a 17 paragraph affidavit restrained INEC from further removing or excluding the applicant and his deputy, John Jonah as duly nominated candidates of PDP from contesting the February election in Bayelsa State.

The order according to the court is given under rule 34(5)(3) of the Federal High, and thereafter adjourned the case to January 26 for hearing.

Immediately the news filtered in Yenagoa, there was a wild jubilations among PDP supporters in Dickson’s camp. A party stalwart described the situation as positive development in the efforts to bring change to the state.

But in his reaction, Chief Timpre Sylva, described the order as “strange, despicable, and untenable.” An Abuja Federal High Court granted the order late Wednesday night under an unusually heavy police presence, which compels the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to publish the name of Mr. Seriake Dickson as Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the February 11, governorship election in the state.

The governor  on INEC to challenge the “immoral, ungodly and pathetic” court order obtained by fraud in the dead of the night.

Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Doifie Ola, Sylva said the order and the processes leading to it were “a grave insult to the integrity of the judiciary”.

Governor Sylva noted that prior to the events of Wednesday, he had instructed his lawyers to do a permanent search at the court registry to monitor the judiciary in case his adversaries were up to any tricks. Through the search at the registry, his lawyers found the pendency of a suit filed by Dickson against INEC requesting for an order of mandamus to compel the electoral commission to publish his name as the PDP candidate for the 2012 gubernatorial election in Bayelsa State.

He explained that when the finding was brought to his attention, he instructed his lawyers to file a joinder, as an interested party, requesting a stay of proceedings on the suit, pending the determination of the motion for joinder.

Sylva observed that on Wednesday, 17 January, both parties were in court until 6.30pm, and about that time, the registrar of the court called the lawyer to Dickson into the chambers. The governor’s lawyer was not invited, but he followed them into the chambers. In the chamber, the judge, Mrs. Olotu, pointedly told his lawyer that she did not invite him, but the lawyer insisted he was an interested party in the matter and deserved to be there.

The governor noted that at this point, the judge threatened his lawyer with armed policemen, saying if he did not go away, the police would be instructed to throw him out forcefully. Out of respect for the institution of the judiciary, Sylva’s lawyer left the judge’s chamber, but he remained in court till 9pm, when about 100 policemen were brought into the court premises to forcefully chase out the lawyer and other sympathisers of Governor Sylva.

Sylva said he later learnt that 15 minutes after the police action, after his lawyer and supporters had been chased out, an order was granted by the judge.

Sylva is aware that what Dickson sought was an ex parte motion for relief to compel INEC to put his name as PDP candidate. But the judge went ahead and granted not only the leave to compel INEC to publish the name, but also the mandatory order to compel INEC to put Dickson’s name as the PDP candidate.

The governor observed that in so doing, Justice Olotu determined the substantive relief sought by Dickson at the ex parte stage, which meant that INEC was not heard, his application for stay was not heard, and the relief Dickson was seeking had been heard at this preliminary stage.

“It is sad that on these matters that are awaiting determination at the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, a judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria will go ahead to hear and give a ruling,” Sylva observed.

Governor Sylva observed that there was enough material before the court to show that the subject matter of Dickson’s application was a matter of litigation at the Supreme Court. He interpreted the Justice Olotu’s action as sitting on an appeal that is before the Supreme Court

Sylva sees the speed with which the matter has been determined as a clear pointer to the fact that the judge was interested not only in justice but in some other special interests.

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Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity

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Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.

The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).

Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.

It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.

Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.

Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.

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Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments

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President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.

The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.

According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.

He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.

Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.

The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.

He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.

On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.

He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.

“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.

“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.

“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.

”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.

“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.

“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.

On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.

On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.

According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.

The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”

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Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari

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Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.

The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.

Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.

He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.

He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.

“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.

“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.

“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”

He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.

This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.

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