The governorship election petition tribunal in Cross River State has upheld the victory of Governor Prof. Ben Ayade of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 9th governorship elections.
In his ruling on the petition tagged EPT/CAL/Gov/1/2019, Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Josiah Majebiyesterday at Moore Road, Calabar, said that the first and second grounds of the petition were irreconcilable and mutually exclusive.
He said that in the first place, the petitioner had failed to seek redress within the legally specified 14 days allowed for complaints. The tribunal strongly disagreed with the petitioner that he was wrongfully excluded by the second respondent, INEC, stressing that much of the grievances expressed in the petitioner were pre-election matters which his tribunal has no jurisdiction to entertain.
Such matters include nomination, withdrawal and exclusion from contesting election. “Any disputes within a given political party which stands election before actual election such as nomination or withdrawal or exclusion are pre-election issues. Our mandates don’t cover them. Therefore, such are ineffective grounds. We therefore strike them and such others out for incompetence.”
The tribunal also held that there were multiplicity of litigations by interested parties of the APC regarding the governorship election which complicated the petition.
The judge said they have carefully considered the applications, written addresses and counter responses by the respondents, and have overruled many views of the petitioner as lacking in merit and gross abuse of court processes.
He maintained that the petition is academic, hypothetical, and frivolous adding that, “the petitioner’s allegation that he was excluded from the election yet he scored valid votes of 131,161 takes his petition contradictory.
“Having painstakingly and profoundly looked over the submissions and considered several legal authorities, we hereby reject entire evidences given by the petitioner, and dismiss the petition as lacking in merit. We resolved the matter in favour of the first respondent.
“Consequently, we herbye declare that Prof Benedict Ayade was duly elected on 9th March, 2019 as the governor of Cross River State”.
It would be recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had declared Ayade winner of the March 9th governorship election.
Owan-Enoh had approached the tribunal seeking to cancel the outcome of the election on the grounds that he was wrongfully excluded from participating in the election.
Edo Guber Poll: Crisis Of Confidence Tears APC Apart
A crisis of confidence is tearing the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State apart as countdown to the governorship election in the state, slated for next year commences.
The Tide reports that bigwigs in the party are no longer seeing eye-to-eye, raising fears over the chances of the APC in the high-stakes governorship election, billed for August next year.
Speaking on the development in an interview with our correspondent in Benin yesterday, a chieftain of the APC, retired Gen. Charles Airhiavbere, raised the alarm over what he described as “heightened crisis and tension in the party’’.
He said that the APC in Edo had witnessed series of threats, brigandry and actions capable of destroying the fortunes of the party in the upcoming governorship election.
Airhiavbere cited situations, where according to him, APC leaders’ homes have been threatened by some interests in the state.
“We condemn these acts. They are unacceptable to genuine leaders of the APC in Edo State.
“We use this opportunity to also condemn the attack at the residence of our National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole by thugs.’’
Airhiavbere, who contested the governorship primaries in 2016 with the incumbent Edo governor, described as sad, the current political turmoil in the state’s chapter of the APC.
“The crisis originated from the fact that the trio of Gov. Obaseki, his deputy, Mr Philip Shaibu and the Secretary to Government, Mr Osarodion Ogie were sponsored into office by Oshiomhole.
“But today, the three men have vowed to dethrone Oshiomhole as the leader of the APC in Edo State.
“But let me state categorically that we will not allow them to embarrass Oshiomhole.
“He remains the leader of our party in Edo State just as Mr Lawrence Okah remains the authentic state secretary of the APC.
“Let me warn Obaseki that he met us in this game of politics and he should know that he has no monopoly of violence.
“We are only playing it cool because he has perfected plans to defect to the Action Alliance. So his intention is to destroy the APC in Edo State.
“But I don’t think we will fold our arms and allow him destroy this party.
“We will meet him fire for fire, energy for energy and word for word,” Airhiavbere said, alleging that the governor’s plan was “to cow everybody in his bid to get a second term ticket.’’
But reacting to Airhiavbere’s outburst on a looming crisis in the state, the Commissioner for Information, Mr Paul Ohonbamu, described Obaseki as a humane, civilized and refined personality, who hates thuggery, lawlessness and impunity.
“Because of this, there has been a shift from the old order, where people constituted themselves into informal entrepreneurs of violence, intimidating people and extorting monies from them.
“So the governor stopped them, starting with the community development associations and all others.
“So, because of the innovative measures, people who are now losers both in the political market and economic space are now annoyed.
“As for Obaseki, you know he does not believe in thuggery or that violence should be employed as a primary weapon of interaction.
“There is nobody who is a thug around him. He does not want it. They are not comfortable with him because he has turned the thing around.
“That old system of diminutive accumulation of forcing people or of dominating people by force, he said no; that can no longer be and many of them have been dealt with on that ground.’’
Ohonbamu said that the governor’s policies were geared at liberating the Edo people from the stronghold of illiterate thugs and violence-inclined people.
PDP, Police Bicker Over Assassination Attempt On Dickson’s Aide
The Senator Douye Diri Governorship Campaign Organisation (SDDGCO) and the Bayelsa State Police Command have disagreed over an alleged assassination attempt on the Special Adviser to Governor Seriake Dickson on Youth Matters, Mr Boboleyefa Owoupele.
The Director of Media and Publicity of SDDGCO, Dr. Jonathan Obuebite said there was an attempt on the life of Owoupele but the police maintained that investigation did not point to that conclusion.
Obuebite in a statement while condemning the “curious release” of three suspected thugs of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who were arrested in connection with the assassination attempt described the decision of the police to release three suspects as worrisome and shocking.
Obuebite said the Campaign Office commended the police for the prompt response to the crime noting however that the police commander in charge of the squad that arrested the three suspects released them only to promise that they would be produced on request.
He said that the police action was ominous, distressing and brazenly partisan and called on the Inspector General of Police and the Bayelsa State Commissioner to investigate the scandalous release of the three suspected assassins.
He urged the IGP and the commissioner to give priority to the defence of the police image and integrity as a foremost law enforcement agency in the society by ordering the re-arrest and prosecution of the suspects who have been released under most questionable circumstances.
The Campaign spokesman said that it was a sad commentary on security maintenance that the police had not prosecuted the killers of the Government House Photographer and a PDP Ward Leader in Oweikorogha, Mr. Taribi Seidougha.
He urged the Commissioner of Police to speak out on the curious release of attempted murder suspects barely 12 hours after their arrest.
Rivers PDP Denies Sponsoring Anti-Amaechi Protest
Rivers state chapter of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has dismissed claims that it was supporting a planned protest against the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, saying it would benefit nothing from such exercise.
PDP State Publicity Secretary, Darlington Orji who made the denial while speaking to newsmen in Port Harcourt on Monday was reacting to accusations by a group, the Initiative for Transparent Strategy and Good Leadership, which alleged that N300million was released to three Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) to carry out the said protest.
Recall that President General of the Initiative, Chizi Enyi, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who made the allegation in Port Harcourt, alleging that the protest would be staged in Abuja, the nation’s seat of power.
Enyi further alleged that the protest which will take place in the coming days was being sponsored by the Rivers State PDP in collaboration with the Senator Magnus Abe faction of the APC with the aim of expelling Amaechi from the APC.
But speaking to The Tide, Orji described the allegation as false and baseless, noting that the Wike led administration had no- plan to support a protest against the former Rivers State Governor.
The State PDP spokesman further said the PDP was desirous of a viable oppositions in Rivers, noting that the said group is being sponsored by Mr. Amaechi himself.
“That group is being sponsored by Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi. PDP will lose nothing if APC comes together in Rivers State. We will even appreciate it more to put the government on check as a formidable opposition.
“Rivers State is PDP and PDP is Rivers State. PDP will have no interest or benefit nothing from putting people together, putting resources of about N300 million as being alleged together to go and sponsor protest against a man that has already lost touch with his political party and people of Rivers state.
“My advice to the public is for them to disregard such malicious rumour that is being sponsored by a group of individuals who are maybe seeking for relevance,” Orji stated.
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