A Makurdi high court presided over by Justice Augustine Ityoyiman will on July 11 rule on the application brought before it by counsel to the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomhole in the libelous suit instuted against him by Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom.
Governor Ortom had dragged the APC National Chairman to court over a press conference in which Oshiomhole is claimed to have made libelous statements against the Benue Governor.
When the case came up Friday, counsel to Ortom, Samuel Irabor, who appeared in court with two witnesses, told the court that he was ready to go on, but that he was served with a motion on notice on Thursday by the counsel to the APC National Chairman, to which he has responded.
However, counsel to Oshiomhole, Festus Jumbo, told the court that the application is praying the court to strike out the suit for failure of the governor to join the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Vanguard Media Limited, publishers of the Vanguard Newspaper, and other print and social media platforms in the suit.
Responding, Irabor told the court that the case can be decided between Governor Ortom, Chairman Oshiomhole and the APC without joining the NTA, Vanguard Media and various social media platforms.
He told the court that Oshiomhole has owned up to the allegation and said he sourced his information from third parties which included leaders of Benue State APC and a NGO, but added that the names of the said APC leaders were not stated.
He argued that since Oshiomhole had pleaded justification and fair comment, there was no need to drag the NTA and Vanguard Media into the matter.
Governor Ortom’s counsel contended that the issue for determination was in regards to allegations by Oshiomhole and APC against the governor to the effect that he had a hand in the death of the two catholic priests, and claims of mismanagement of bailout funds in Benue State as alleged by Oshiomhole in his press conference of July 27, 2018.
He prayed the court to dismiss the application and award cost against Oshiomhole for wasting the time of the court as they are already done with pre-trials and the business of the day was the hearing of the substantive suit, which he is ready with his witnesses.
After listening to the submissions of the lawyers, presiding Judge Ityonyiman fixed July 11 for ruling on whether NTA and Vanguard Media should be joined in the suit, award cost or to continue with the substantive case.
A’Ibom Rerun: PDP, Ekpeyong Dare Akpabio
Following the ruling by the Appeal Court in Calabar Cross River State, ordering a rerun of the National Assembly elections in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, the Peoples’ Democratic Party as well as the Senator representing Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District, Senator Chris Ekpenyong have expressed optimism to come out victorious in the rerun.
Ekpenyong and the PDP who said they were never daunted with the ruling of the Appeal court challenged Godswill Akpabio to, first of all, resign his position as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and face a rerun, adding that they would defeat him in the polls as they ‘did before.’
The Appeal Court in Calabar on Saturday cancelled the National Assembly elections in Essien Udim Local Government Area, one out of the ten local government areas that constitute the Akwa Ibom North-West Federal constituency due to reported cases of irregularities and violence.
The court added that election results in the other nine local governments remained valid, leaving Akpabio to scout for 38,056 votes in that local government to upturn the victory of his opponent, Senator Ekpenyong.
Results obtained from the other nine local government, excluding Essien Udim Local Government Area showed that Senator Chris Ekpenyong leads with 114, 973 votes while Akpabio has 76,917.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had said that only 19,455 voters were accredited in Essien Udim local government area.
Meanwhile, the PDP State Publicity Secretary, Ini Ememobong in a statement on Saturday described the Appeal court judgement as an opportunity to widen the margin of victory for the PDP.
According to him, “We welcome the judgement of the Court and hereby indicate our preparedness for elections, as this will provide an opportunity for us to widen the margin of victory against Rt. Hon. Emman Akpan, Senator Akpabio and the APC. We are expectant that the Senator will very soon tender his resignation from his ministerial office to meet us in the campaign field, as the law demands.
“Our party urges the general public to ignore the false stories being peddled by members of the opposition, APC, about the judgement- which specifically ordered a rerun in Essien Udim Local Government Area alone. It is on record that the margin of victory currently outstanding is in tens of thousands of votes, which has not been affected by the judgement of the court.”
Dogara Harps On Patriotic Leadership
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has stated that only patriotic citizens at the helm of affairs can save the nation from its series of challenges.
He stated this on Saturday at the 8th and 9th convocation ceremonies of Achievers University, Owo, Ondo State where he was honoured with PhD and subsequently installed as the second Chancellor of the private university succeeding Senator Bode Olajumoke who was installed January 28, 2012.
The federal lawmaker noted that those who are not preoccupied with their parochial ambitions could rescue the nation from the socio-political and economic challenges.
Dogara said: “Nigeria needs true patriots -those who will place premium on the pursuit of freedom rather than the pursuit of personal happiness. This is true if Nigeria would be a great country, especially now that demagogues who are immune to the norms of established society litter the political landscape.”
Meanwhile, the best graduating students in the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 are Sofowora Erioluwa and Jolapamo Titilayo respectively.
Out of the 400 graduates who graduated from 15 departments, 22 of them had First Class, 217 got second class upper division, 130 second class lower division and 31 had third class.
Other personalities honoured with PhD are Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Mrs Olusola Momoh, vice chairman of Channels Television and Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah.
The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Samuel Ibiyemi charged the Federal Government to give the private universities access to research grants like their public counterparts.
Bayelsa Poll: INEC Boss, NYSC DG Warn Corps Members
The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu and Director-General, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, have warned corps members looking to serve as INEC ad hoc personnel at the November 16 Bayelsa State gubernatorial election to play by the electoral laws.
Yakubu urged them to avoid actions that may undermine the integrity of the election.
He stated this yesterday in Yenagoa while addressing corps members during a sensitization forum.
The INEC boss also disclosed that adequate security has been provided for all Corps members and Corps lodges in the state during and after the election.
Mahmood, who described Corps members as the most reliable, dedicated and committed electoral officers promised prompt payment of all Corps members’ entitlements through their bank accounts.
NYSC DG, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim said the involvement of Corps members in the country’s electoral system has added more credibility to previous elections.
He described Corps members, as patriotic Nigerians on national assignment that deserve proper welfare from every Nigerian.
‘Be neutral and non-partisan because NYSC would not tolerate any Corps member that violates the Electoral Act’, he said.
General Ibrahim also advised them to be security conscious and look for escape routes in case of emergency.
“Be courteous when dealing with the electorates, caution yourself when provoked and ensure that your phone is fully charged with enough call cards during the election.
‘Run for your dear lives in case of any emergency and don’t endanger your safety’, the DG added.
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