The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its Governorship candidate, Isah Ashru will today ask the Kaduna State Elections Petition Tribunal to cancel a total 515, 951 votes which it contended were unlawfully added to the total votes cast during the March 9 poll.
The tribunal had fixed Aug. 19 for adoption of final written addresses by counsel in the governorship election case.
A certified copy of the document to be adopted by the PDP was obtained by newsmen on Sunday in Kaduna, yesterday.
In the document, the PDP is asking the tribunal to declare Ashiru as the validly elected governor of the state by majority of lawful votes cast.
The petitioners had called 135 witnesses out of the 685 they assembled to prove massive rigging, ballot stuffing and other irregularities during the poll as contained in their petition.
In their final written addresses, the petitioners alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had added 391,741 votes to Nasiru El-Rufai of APC and a total of 124, 210 unlawful votes to the PDP through wrong or double entry on the result sheets.
The PDP and its candidate contended that declaring El-Rufai winner by INEC was illegal as he did not score majority of lawful votes cast.
The PDP through its legal team of Emmanuel C. Ukala SAN, Donald Denwigwe SAN, Chief Ferdinand O. Orbih SAN, Elisha Y. Kurah SAN and 14 other counsel said a deduction of 391,741 votes from 1,045,427 scored by El-Rufai and 124,210 from Ashiru’s 814, 168 votes will give victory to their candidate.
The counsels further argued that after the deduction of the alleged unlawful votes, Ashiru will be left with 689,958 lawful votes, while El-Rufai will have 653,686 votes.
The petitioners averred that evidence of their witnesses has demonstrated that there were “improper entries in the polling units results, wrongful collation of entries in the ward collation results including unstamped and un-authenticated votes and void or invalid votes were credited to the parties”.
They further argued that a total of 4, 235 votes were wrongfully credited to El-Rufai on form EC8A while 256 votes were also wrongfully entered for Ashiru.
In another polling unit 45,478 votes arising from unstamped result sheets were unlawfully credited to El-Rufai, while 9,655 votes were equally credited to their candidate.
Also 6,840 unlawful votes arising from improper collation figures were entered for El-Rufai while 1,098 vote were credited to Ashiru.
” Some 391,188 void and unlawful votes were also credited to El-Rufai while 113,001 votes were equally credited to the PDP in other polling units in the state,” the petitioners argued.
The party also submitted that it had produced enough material evidence of substantial irregularities to enable the tribunal declare its candidate winner of the March 9 governorship election in Kaduna State.
The PDP cited several authorities in the written address, alleging that INEC, El-Rufai and the APC did not demonstrate the required evidence to counter the relevant materials as well as oral and documentary evidence by their witnesses.
Kogi Poll: APGA Guber Candidate Wants Probe Of N10bn Project Fund
The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance in Kogi State, Sheik Ibrahim Jibril, has urged the National Assembly to thoroughly investigate the N10. 069 billion presidential funds for projects allegedly executed by the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello.
Sheik Ibrahim who kicked against the release of the money urged the National Assembly to discharge their duties with the fear of God and the interest of the people of Kogi State, saying the National Assembly should insist on seeing the projects for which Governor Yahaya Bello is requesting the fund.
He said the last N30billion bailout funds to the state were not used for the purpose of paying salaries, noting that a probe into how the money was spent will be instituted if APGA assumes office after the election in the state.
The APGA governorship candidate questioned the timing of the fund request and noted that it would not be out of place to accuse the governor of planning to use the money for purchase of votes having realised that he is bound to lose the election.
He claimed that it was obvious that APC and the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari did not care about the welfare of the people rather they are more interested in foisting an incompetent and non-performing Governor on the people.
He stressed that ordinarily, such financial initiative ought to be a source of joy to the Kogi people “but for the incompetent leadership of Bello who also has a penchant for diverting public funds.”
Huge Cost Of NASS Maintenance Worries TUC
Rivers State chapter of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), has called on the Federal Government to reduce the costs of governance in the country, noting that it cost the country billions of Naira to maintain the National Assembly alone.
The State TUC, chairman, Austin Jonah who spoke when he appeared as guest on a live Radio programme in Port Harcourt monitored by The Tide stated that the cost of governance in Nigeria is very expensive and not attainable.
Jonah further said the federal government will have enough funds to pay the minimum wage when they reduce the salaries and allowances of political office holders.
“Look at the welcome pack of the National Assembly members. N4.6 plus billion for accommodation and furniture. A Senator is going home with about N10million, while the member of House of Representatives is taking N9million plus.
“If you calculate with 360 persons in the House of Reps, plus 109 in the Senate, that is about 469 people and they have severance gratuity. They have so many things they are going home with plus their salary. You see, if you look at governance and cut down expenditure in governance this money, they have already taken the money that are talking about.
“They have taken it in the sense that they want to increase communication tax, such as that every call you make you pay tax, sms you pay tax, data you pay tax and even cable Television,” Jonah lamented
The State TUC chairman said what the labour union negotiated with the Federal Government was not the minimum wage but consequential adjustment.
“What we were negotiating was the consequential adjustment. Now from N18, 000 to N30, 000, the difference is N12, 000, which is 66 per cent. That 66 per cent was what we negotiated. By right we are not supposed to negotiate.
“If you trace the history of minimum wage in Nigeria, it started in 1981 during the Alhaji Shehu Shagari Government. Whenever you finish with minimum wage, the consequential adjustment is based on the percentage of the difference.
“The first minimum wage presented by the NLC was N300, but at the end of the day N125 was agreed,” he said.
NASS Promises Better Funding For Nigerian Army
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume and his House of Representatives counterpart, Mr Abdulrazak Namdas, have promised to ensure adequate funding for the Nigerian Army in the 2020 budget.
They made the promise on Saturday in an interview with newsmen during the Passing Out Parade (POP) of 78 Regular Recruits Intake at the Depot Nigerian Army, Zaria, Kaduna State.
They said that the army needed to be adequately funded to be able to effectively tackle the prevailing security threats in the country.
Ndume, who agreed that the N100 billion proposed for the defence in 2020 budget was inadequate, said that the committee on army was looking at how to help to enhance the funding.
He said that the national assembly was aware of needs of the army that needed to be provided to enable its personnel to perform their duties effectively.
“We are going to do something despite the fact that the resources are scarce but security is first and everybody has agreed to that.
“We are looking at the budget critically to place our priorities right so that the right things will be done first.”
Namdas said that the joint committee had embark on fact finding tour to army formations across the country and realised that the army had challenges.
According to him, they are really on ground, they have done so much and now that the National Assembly is considering the budget we can appropriate for the army.
“We will see how we can be able to adjust and see how that can be able to cope with the challenges at hand,” he said.
Namdas also disclosed that a motion to provide for special funding for the armed forces was currently being considered on the floor of the House of Representatives.
He added that the armed forces could not be adequately funded only by the budget, adding that there was need to look beyond the budget to finance the operations of the armed forces.
“That motion has been taken and we are looking to it and by the special grace of God, even after the budget we will look for special funding for the armed forces generally,” he said.
The Depot Nigerian Army on Saturday graduated a total of 4832 regular recruits who would be deployed to various formations of the army.
Similarly, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, urged the graduating soldiers to always uphold the oath of allegiance they had taken to defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
Olonisakin also tasked them to display total loyalty while pledging that the prevailing security challenges would soon be over through the commitment of the military.
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