The legal team of the Chief Cyril Ogodo led executive of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Delta State, have threatened to initiate a contempt of proceedings against the national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole and anyone who violates the order of the Federal High Court, sitting at Asaba for parties to maintain status quo pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit before it by the Ogodo led executive.
The team in a statement while reacting to comments by the legal adviser of the Jones Erue led executive, E.V. Onojeghuo that no order restraining the APC and its chairman (Oshiomhole) was made by the court, maintained that the order was very clear and unambiguous. APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole
The statement which was signed by Fred Olokor Esq., noted that the Federal High Court sitting in Asaba indeed restrained the APC from submitting any list of candidates from Delta State to INEC for the 2019 general elections until the substantive suit is resolved, saying,
“Let it be known that anyone who violates the clear orders made on the 17th of October, 2018 stands the risk of having contempt proceedings initiated against them.”
The statement by the team reads: “Our attention has been drawn to the erroneous and mischievous interpretation being given to the clear and unambiguous order made on the 17th of October, 2018 by Honourable Justice Toyin Adegoke of the Federal High Court, sitting in Asaba in the suit brought by Cyril Ogodo & 2 ors Vs. Adams Oshiomhole, APC & Ors that all parties maintain status quo pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
“At the resumed hearing of the case, Counsel to the Plaintiffs (O. J. Oghenejakpor, Esq.) who had filed a Motion on Notice to restrain 1st and 2nd Defendants (i.e APC and Oshiomhole) from submitting any list of candidates from Delta State to INEC other than the list of candidates that emerged from the Cyril Ogodo led executive’s primaries, which was duly served on all the Defendants, urged the Court to hear the motion on notice.
But because the Defendants served counsel to the Plaintiffs their processes which included preliminary objections in court on the 17th of October, 2018 the motion was not moved. “In a bid to diligently prosecute the case, the plaintiffs’ counsel applied for a stand down for a few hours to respond to the preliminary objections filed by the Defendants and served in court.
The stand down was granted. And before the resumption of hearing after the stand down, the Plaintiffs’ counsel was able to file his response to the preliminary objections and was ready to argue the said preliminary objections and the substantive application.
However, because the Defendants main aim in court was to stall the hearing of the case, they vehemently argued that they were not ready to respond on points of law orally.
They insisted on filing a reply and applied for an adjournment of the case.
“When it was clear that the Defendants counsel’s intention was to stall the hearing of the case, the Plaintiff Counsel called upon the court to preserve the res in the matter which is to restrain the APC from submitting any list of candidates from Delta State to INEC for the 2019 general elections except candidates that emerged from the Cyril Ogodo anchored primaries.
“The court then inquired from the Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) if any list of candidates had been submitted to INEC as at 17th of October, 2018.
. The INEC counsel confirmed to court that no list of candidates for Delta State have been submitted to INEC yet. “At this point the Honourable Judge ordered that all parties should maintain status quo.
The clear meaning and intent of the status quo, therefore, is to preserve the res by ensuring that no list of candidates is submitted to INEC until the determination of the substantive matter.
“This was why the judge ordered for accelerated hearing and fixed November 1st and 2nd 2018 for the hearing and determination of the case.”
“It is therefore pedestrian and mischievous for anyone to suggest or argue that the Federal High Court in Asaba did not restrain APC from submitting any list of candidates for Delta State to INEC.
“The counsel to the 1st and 2nd Defendants (APC and the APC National Chairman) was in court and clearly understood what the order meant. Counsel will thus be unduly exposing his clients to the risk of contempt proceedings if he allows them to be misled by the mischievous interpretation of the Prophet Jones factional Legal Adviser as is being circulated in the media,” he added.
Declare Buhari’s Seat Vacant, Owuru Urges Court
The candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the last presidential election, Chief Ambrose Owuru, has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to declare the seat of President Muhammadu Buhari vacant.
Owuru, who was among the four petitioners that went to tribunal to challenge Buhari’s re-election, in his fresh suit, sought for an order to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from “undertaking or planning any other election into the office of the President”, in 2023.
The Plaintiff, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/480/2021, maintained that Buhari is “an unlawful President that is illegally occupying the Presidential seat”.
It would be recalled that Owuru and his party, HDP, had in an earlier appeal they litigated up to the Supreme Court, insisted that the Justice Mohammed Garba-led Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, erroneously dismissed a petition they lodged against the return of Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as winner of the presidential election that held on February 23, 2019.
They specifically prayed the apex court to sack Buhari on the premise that he emerged through an illegal process.
According to the Appellants, INEC, failed to follow condition precedents stipulated in the Electoral Act, when it unduly postponed the presidential election that was originally fixed for February 16.
The HDP claimed that its candidate, Owuru, secured over 50million votes in a referendum that was conducted by both electorates and observer networks that were dissatisfied with the unilateral postponement of the presidential election by INEC.
However, in a unanimous decision, a five-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mary Odili, struck out the appeal for constituting “a gross abuse of the judicial process”.
Meantime, in the fresh suit, Owuru and his party argued that their suit against Buhari at the Supreme Court was inconclusive.
The Plaintiffs argued that the case was fixed outside the 60 days period that was allowed by the law.
Owuru asked the court to declare him the authentic winner of the last presidential poll, as well as, to issue an order for his immediate inauguration to take over from Buhari.
He prayed the court to declare that he is entitled to serve out a tenure of 4 years after his formal inauguration.
More so, the HDP presidential candidate, aside from asking for Buhari’s immediate removal from office, equally prayed the court to compel him to refund all salaries, allowances and emoluments he collected while he unlawfully stayed in office as President.
Owuru also asked the court to give an order that salaries, allowances and emoluments be paid to him from May 29, 2019, when he ought to have been sworn in, till date.
The Plaintiff further applied for, “An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Respondents by themselves and acting through their agents, servants, privies and or proxies howsoever from any further organizing, undertaking or planning of any other election into the office of the President of Nigeria or any such other Presidential Election interfering, harassing and or disturbing the Applicant adjudged acquired right as unopposed and unchallenged winner of the original scheduled and held the February 16 Presidential Election thereof until the 1st Applicant unserved constitutional four years term of office is served pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit by this honourable court”.
Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the matter were Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, and INEC.
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the matter to be heard.
World Bank Report Exposes Buhari’s Lies, PDP Affirms
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the report by World Bank that 7 million Nigerians have been pushed into poverty in the last year, has clinically belied the integrity posturing of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The opposition party said the World Bank report came in the face of the recent claims by President Buhari that his administration has lifted over 10 million Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years.
The PDP asserted that the report by the World Bank has further vindicated its position that President Buhari runs an uncoordinated and clueless administration that thrives on lies, false performance claims, deceit, and perfidious propaganda.
The statement added that, “Nigerians can now clearly see why the APC and President Buhari’s handlers are always in a frenzy to attack our party and other well-meaning Nigerians whenever we point to the poor handling of the economy and on the need for President Buhari to always be factual on pertinent issues of governance in our country.
“Unfortunately, it indeed appears that Mr. President enjoys living in denial while watching millions of Nigerians go down in abject poverty, excruciating hunger, and starvation as our country now ranks 98th out of 107 in Global Hunger Index under his watch.
“Otherwise, why would Mr. President claim that his administration has lifted over 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty while official figures even from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show worsening poverty rate with 142.2% growth in food inflation and over 82.9 million Nigerians being unable to afford their daily meals due to the failure of the administration to take practical steps to grow and protect the food sector?
“Under President Buhari, Nigerians are now subjected to the worst form of poverty and hardship, with collapsed purchasing power, occasioned by a voodoo economy management that has wrecked our productive sectors and pummeled our naira from the about N167 to a US dollar in 2015 to the current over N500 per dollar.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. President will choose to always bandy fictitious figures and false performance claims, when he has, in a space of six years, destroyed our national productivity and reduced our country to a beggarly nation, a laughing stock and object of pity among the comity of nations.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note President Buhari and APC’s similar false performance claims in other critical sectors, including power, transportation, road infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, security, aviation among others, where the Buhari administration has been bandying fictitious figures with no tangible project to point at.
“Our party counsels President Buhari, his handlers as well as their party, the APC, to note that Nigerians have seen through their deceitful clams.
“The PDP, once again, urges Mr. President to end his false performance claims and get more competent hands to manage the economy before every Nigerian is turned into a street beggar.”
Amnesty Kicks As FG Pushes Social Media Regulation
Amnesty International has strongly opposed the call by the Nigerian Government to regulate the use of social media and online broadcasters.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had urged the House of Representatives to include regulation of Twitter in the National Broadcasting Commission Act.
The minister made the call at the public hearing on a bill to amend the NBC Act organised by the House Committee on Information.
“I will want to add, that specifically, internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have responsibility to monitor content— including Twitter,” he said.
Reacting, Amnesty International, in a tweet via its Twitter account, yesterday, kicked against the motion.
It noted that when social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the internet and limit access to social media.
It further noted that criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“When social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the Internet and limit access to social media.
“Criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“Regulating social media in Nigeria could be easily abused to punish critics of government policies and actions, and anyone who asks difficult questions could find themselves liable for ‘diminishing public confidence in the government.’
“Seeking a law to prohibit abusive, threatening and insulting behaviour is open to very wide interpretation. This section would pose a threat to critical opinion, satire, public dialogue and political commentary,” the statement added.
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