Lawyers for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and those for the party, yesterday, argued that they would rely on three grounds to get the Supreme Court to overturn President Muhammadu Buhari’s last Wednesday victory at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.
Atiku and his party had said they would be challenging the unanimous judgement by the five-man tribunal that confirmed Buhari’s victory at the February 23 presidential poll.
The former vice president went to the tribunal seeking to overturn the victory of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who was running for a second term in the February 23 presidential poll.
His petition did not succeed for failing to prove allegations of irregularities against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Buhari and the APC, the tribunal declared in a judgement that lasted for over eight hours, last Wednesday.
In a unanimous judgement delivered by Justice Mohammed Garba, the five-man panel held that all the five issues raised by the petitioner against the respondent were not proved.
But shortly after the verdict, Atiku and the PDP vowed to go to the Supreme Court to challenge the decision, but did not give the date their appeal would be filed.
Section 134(3) of the Electoral Act, 2010 provides that an appeal from the tribunal would be heard and disposed of within 90 days from date of the judgement.
Arguing their case, Atiku’s lead counsel, Levy Uzoukwu, SAN, said there were a number of grounds upon which the appeal would be successfully challenged.
Uzoukwu said that contrary to the position of the tribunal that you don’t need to attach copies of certificates listed, the INEC Form CF001 clearly states that you must attach evidence of qualifications before you swear to an affidavit.
He added that the chairman of the tribunal also erred by his statement that “for Army to say so, it could be inferred that he submitted his certificates upon his enlistment. Interestingly, none of the three respondents raised that point in the trial. So, the court generated that, and that would tell you the extent the justices went.”
“Just look at the issue of the server, which has now thoroughly embarrassed them; the presiding justice unequivocally said the existence of the server was not proved. Now, the second justice, who gave the second judgement said that the petitioners recklessly hacked into the server and shamelessly presented the material to the court. This completely contradicts what the presiding justice said.
“That is not all, Justice Oseji came from another angle and said that the petitioners proved the issue of the server, and agreed with us that server is a storage device, which a computer is and that the INEC relied on our case and called no evidence. So, I just don’t understand.”
Another fundamental one, where we indicated that the areas put together, where elections did not take place, the total number of voters nullified the difference of the votes between Atiku and Buhari, they didn’t say one word on any of that.
“In this one, we subpoenaed the INEC, which brought Form EC40G, where on its own tabulated areas, election did not take place and the registered number of voters came to 2.7million, where elections were cancelled. We tendered this and addressed it copiously.
“We also tendered what they published on their website. I think that one was 2.6 million, where they organised supplementary elections for National Assembly, and elections were cancelled. It took place simultaneously with the presidential. Accreditation was also simultaneously by the same parties.
“At the point of voting, you go to the box for National Assembly. So, you cannot say that for presidential, election took place and for National Assembly, election did not take place in the same polling unit.
“We addressed all these issues. But they cleverly departed from it and not a word on it, and moved on as if nothing happened.
“We are going to articulate all these in our Notice of Appeal. We have 14 days and they have not given us the judgement because they said they were going to correct some errors,” he said.
Also speaking about the intention to challenge the judgement, counsel to Atiku, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, said several things were wrong with it, among which he said were poor evaluation of evidence, non-evaluation of evidence, misplacement of exactly what the case of the petitioners is, and the fact of provisions of the Electoral Act being misinterpreted and misapplied.
“At the Supreme Court, there will be seven very good heads that will hear the appeal from here. There is no question about that; we will appeal the judgement,” he said.
The Minister of State for Niger Delta and one of the lawyers to the APC, Festus Keyamo, SAN, did not respond to calls and text message to him over the matter.
But one of the lawyers to Buhari, Sam Ologunorisa, SAN, said the appeal was expected, but added that it would help to enrich the country’s law.
“As lawyers, our opinions on issues of law and evaluation of facts arising therefrom are bound to differ. The presidential election petition and the issues so distilled will generate this type of reaction as the stakes are high.
“In all, our legal jurisprudence is bound to be richer and I hope the political class will learn one or two lessons and initiate appropriate reforms to deepen our democracy.”
Also, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said the party was confident of winning at the Supreme Court.
Speaking to newsmen, yesterday, Ologbondiyan said the Supreme Court would dwell on the substance of the case and deliver justice.
“There are two levels of courts and we believe that the tribunal took over the responsibility of the respondent counsel by shopping for the cases they didn’t make. That is the position of our party, which was changed to law and jurisprudence.
“We believe that when we go to the Supreme Court, which is the highest court, we will take another look at the substance of the five issues the tribunal claimed to have addressed, and we believe that they would do justice on all the issues,” he said.
Similarly, the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku, has confirmed that his team and that of the party were working together to challenge the judgement.
Atiku’s special adviser on media, Paul Ibe, told our source in a telephone interview, yesterday, that his boss and PDP’s legal team were studying the judgement before taking the necessary action at the apex court.
Asked whether Atiku or his camp had confidence of winning at the Supreme Court, Ibe simply replied, “Let’s get there first. We are on the road. This is not about Atiku, it is about Nigeria and Nigerians. It is about our future and the need to reset our destiny. It is about creating jobs and making Nigerians better.”
Adding his view to the argument about going to the Supreme Court, a former director-general of the Nigerian Law School, Prof Tahir Mamman, said it was within the right of Atiku and the PDP to appeal against the decision of the tribunal.
He explained that the cost element of the petition may not be a problem for Atiku.
“It is okay if he appeals, but whether or not his appeal succeeds is a different matter. Nobody tried to predict what the Appeal Court would do earlier. But overall, if you look at the unanimous judgement of the court, it is a landmark decision; very comprehensive. All the issues were taken within the prism of the requirement provisions of the Electoral Act and the Evidence Act,” he said.
But Jibrin Okutepa, SAN, faulted the tribunal’s decision, saying it erred by claiming that the petitioners dumped electoral materials on the tribunal by not leading evidence through the makers.
“It is a misapplication of the principle in Duriminya v. C.O.P (Supra) to expect the petitioner to come and read afresh to the court the same evidence already contained in the exhibits, which were tendered and received without objection. The tribunal erred seriously by failing to see that forms EC8A and EC8B are statutory forms complete on their own as to their source and purport, and which cannot, therefore, be equated with ordinary documentary exhibits.
“It is, therefore, my contention that there is a need for our courts to reconsider their stand on the issues of who can tender certified true copies of public documents and the weight to be attached to it and the arguments that unless documents tendered are demonstrated, courts should regard them as dumping. If court cannot look at documents tendered and interpret the man making meaning out of it, then what is the duty of the court?” he queried.
Another lawyer, Abeny Mohammed, SAN, however, advised both parties in the matter to obtain copies of the judgement and study them before determining the next course of action.
A former Kaduna State governor, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, described the decision by Atiku to head to Supreme Court as the right decision, saying Buhari did same years back.
The elder statesman also said it was in the interest of Nigerians for the matter to go to the Supreme Court because that would show everybody that there is justice in the country.
“I think his decision to go the Supreme Court is right. He should do it for his own sake because he feels aggrieved. That is one. Secondly, even his competitor, Buhari, went up to the Supreme Court when he had the same problem. So, why can’t Atiku also go?
“Thirdly, it is even in the interest of Nigerians for the matter to go up to the Supreme Court because that will show everybody whether there is justice or not. The Supreme Court is supposed to be more articulate than the tribunal; therefore, it can do more justice.
“Finally, the outcome of the Supreme Court will enable Nigerians to know more about the law. Of course, in addition to this, I, therefore, say also that for me as an individual politician, there is no different between the PDP candidate, Atiku and the APC candidate, Buhari,” he said.
The Director, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Ms. Idayat Hassan, toeing the line of Balarabe Musa, also argued that the tribunal, having given its reasons for the decision, the petitioner, Atiku and the PDP have a right to exhaust all remedies, and that is why they are going to the Supreme Court.
“However, the most important thing to happen is that our electoral jurisprudence must change. The burden of proof on the petitioner to prove his case may lead to the defeat of justice in the long run. We have to reach a point where it shouldn’t just be “he who asserts, must prove,” but also those who claim to have conducted elections must prove that they did it within extant regulations,” she said.
On his part, the Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said the country was running a constitutional democracy, and under constitutional democracy, the courts must be obeyed.
“Whatever the feelings of any aggrieved party, they have to accept the verdict of the court, and if they strongly believe that they have a case, they can proceed to explore other democratic and legal means. We will not encourage anybody to do anything that is not within democratic norms.
“I think this is not really good because President Buhari’s victory was not challenged in 2015, and now in 2019, his election is being challenged, which means that there may be infractions in the conduct of the election. We appeal to Nigerians to remain calm and for President Buhari to face governance. He should also caution his aides, supporters and officials from making derogatory remarks or mockery of opponents.
“We should face governance now. The only thing that would ameliorate the disaffection of the people who felt otherwise is for Buhari to put tangible programmes that would deliver good governance and job security for the people. The president should be focused and make the anti-corruption efforts succeed,” he said.
Declare Emergency On Roads, Senate Tells FG
The Senate, yesterday, asked the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on federal roads across the country.
The lawmakers made the request during yesterday’s plenary at the National Assembly in Abuja.
The Senator representing Cross River South Senatorial District in the Senate, Gershom Bassey, raised a motion on the deplorable state of federal roads in Nigeria.
Bassey also informed the Senate that the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has failed to remit the five per cent user charge of fuel pump price to the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), as stipulated in the Act for the rehabilitation of federal roads.
The Senate ordered its committees on Petroleum and FERMA to investigate the alleged non-remittance of funds by PPPRA for the rehabilitation of roads in the country.
The Senate’s plea comes eight months after Nigeria president Muhammadu Buhari signed an Executive Order allowing the private sector to build Federal Government roads in the country.
The Executive Order 007 2019, signed by Buhari, is on Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme.
The order was to allow private companies to construct major roads across the country and be paid in the form of tax credit.
However, the Chairman, Governing Board of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Mr. Tunde Lemo, yesterday said that Nigeria loses about N1trillion annually due to loss in man-hour as a result of bad roads and traffic delay.
Lemo disclosed this at an end of the year stakeholders’ meeting at the International Conference Centre in Abuja with the theme “Road Maintenance and Reforms: Legal and Institutional Framework”.
He said the numbers are staggering and called for emergency action in the road sector.
According to him, if the budget cannot achieve this because of other conflicting needs, it is imperative that the development and management of the road sector must be funded from alternative sources.
He said, “It is becoming clearer that legislation of a more enabling environment is required for an effective and productive management of the road for meaningful national socio-economic growth.
“It is a well-known fact that 80 per cent of travels in Nigeria are carried out on the roads including heavy duty. You then understand why the roads go bad now and again. In other climes the rail shoulders the bulk of it. 90 per cent of these are done on federal roads, thus the federal roads constitute the spine of the Nigerian road network to effectively evaluate the productive management of the Nigerian road therefore, one needs to evaluate the effective management of the federal roads. With only about 10, 000 km of federal roads in good state, and about 13, 300 and 11, 600 in fair and bad states, respectively.
“In any square kilometre area in Nigeria only 210 metres of roads are available for travel, irrespective of the conditions of the road. For smooth comfortable and timely travels, however, the density falls to 0.01km per square kilometre meaning only 10 meters of travel in every one-kilometre area.
“Clearly, this is unacceptable and needs to change. Funding for Nigerian roads is less than one per cent of the GDP, against three per cent GDP minimum spending threshold. The World Bank recommends minimum threshold of three per cent. In Nigeria we barely achieve a third of that,” he said.
He said effective roads can be guaranteed through a careful blend of many factors which include requisite capacity, capabilities, governance, accountability and controlled political influences as well as sound fiscal and funding policies.
These factors are critical to the optimal management of national road network for most effective impact on social economic growth, he said.
“It is the responsibility of road agencies to develop operational procedures of monitoring national road networks for needful interventions as at when due. Such road agencies retain the mandate to create and manage requisite administrative, operational and financial structures of the effective discharge of these activities.
“An effective road management practice is that which executes most productively, these activities within the constraints of the society of which it operates. Whereas the more advanced economies have developed reliable methodologies for constructing, monitoring and intervening on their road networks for optimal serviceability, the developing economies of the world, on the other hand, struggle to achieve these for a number of reasons. It is in this context that this stakeholders’ forum is convened in a bid to collectively reflect on Nigeria’s position vis-à-vis FERMA’s productivity, possibilities and promises,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Governor of Ekiti State, Governor Kayode Fayemi has said shortage of funds forced the federal government to stop states from rehabilitating Federal roads.
Fayemi gave the clarification in Ado Ekiti, yesterday, at a colloquium tagged: ‘Building a Sustainable Economy Through Values Orientation and Innovative Thinking’, marking the first year of his second term in office.
The governor said he would have loved to fix some of the federal roads in the state but for the stringent warning from the Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola, that there won’t be refund on such interventions.
Speaking particularly about the collapsed Ureje bridge along Afe Babalola University during a flooding a couple of weeks ago, Fayemi said: “I would have loved to do some of these roads but the Federal Government said leave our roads alone.
“They made it clear that if any state rehabilitates any road, there won’t be refunds and this is because there is no money.
“This year, Federal Government budgeted around N250billion for roads. If the government is to complete Lagos-Ibadan, Kaduna-Abuja and Kaduna-Kano expressways, it will cost a sum of N500billion out of about 36,000 kilometres of roads waiting for rehabilitation”, he said.
However, Senator representing Ekiti North Senatorial District, Olubunmi Adetumbi and former minister of sports, Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi, have advised the country to redistribute its wealth and foster entrepreneurial education, to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor citizens.
They said, though very large numbers of the youths are educated, but disclosed that the education curriculum must be critically rejigged to ensure that the right education are given to graduates.
Adetumbi, who was one of the discussants, said there must be need for the states of federation to be innovative and think of how to increase the internally generated revenues through public-private partnership to build and sustain the economy under a corrupt free atmosphere.
“In order to build a sustainable economy, there must be a partnership between the government and the people. The major problem of our economy is poor environment and growing businesses, which Ekiti didn’t have in good numbers and once business environment is bad, then the economy will continue to be repressed.
“Ekiti has a poverty rate of 57 percent .This should be a concern to us all. Our unemployment rate is 14 percent, second highest in the South-West. Ekiti has no reason to be poor or has high unemployment rate, because of good atmospheric and soil conditions it has.
“Governor Kayode Fayemi has started with youth entrepreneurship and we have to build on that to turn around the economy of this state and it has to be accompanied with value reorientation among our youths.
“Value reorientation is very important. But the greatest influencers now are politicians and that is why we as leaders must be careful and be good leaders. We must be careful with the ways we live our lives, because we are the greatest influencers in the society”.
Adetumbi advised Ekiti to key into the concept of digitised land registry, describing the initiative as best way to generate revenues for any state.
The former minister of sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, regretted that the wealth of Nigerians are concentrated in the hands of few people, which he said signposted the level of inequality in the system.
“Even President Muhammadu Buhari while declaring open the Nigeria’s Economic Council in Abuja recently emerged the first President in the country to bring the issue of inequality to the front burner of national discourse.
“The president said the wealth of the nation is concentrated in the hands of a few from five states of the federation. In inequality, Nigeria was ranked 157, making it the most unequalled country and the poverty capital of the world. The GDP does not show the reality of our state of economy.
“The issue now is, when the rich people are flying around in private jets, which isn’t wrong; let us help the poor to be able to travel to their villages on good roads.
“We are talking of education and our youths are going to schools, we must also ruminate on the kind of education that will make our youths relevant, which I believe is by embracing entrepreneurship”, he said.
Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja
Nigeria’s Debt Hits N25.7trn, Rises By N3.3trn In One Year
The nation’s total public debt rose by N3.32trn in one year to N25.7trn as at the end of June 2019, the Debt Management Office said yesterday.
The Federal Government owed N20.42trn as of June 30, 2019, while the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory had a total debt portfolio of N5.28trn.
The debt stock is made up of N8.32trn ($27.16bn) external debt and N17.38trn borrowed domestically, according to the DMO.
The nation’s public debt, which stood at N22.38trn as of June 2018, increased to N24.39trn in December 2018 and N24.95trn in March 2019.
The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria noted last month that the rising public debt was one of the headwinds to the nation’s growth prospects.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said in August that the country did not have any debt challenge but a challenge with generating sufficient revenue.
“There is a lot of insensitivity around the level of our debt.
“I want to restate that our debt is not too high — what we have is a revenue problem.
“Our debt is still very much within a reasonable fiscal limit.
“In fact, among our comparative countries, we are the least in terms of borrowing,” she had said.
INEC Expresses Fears Over Bayelsa Guber Poll
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned the actions and utterances of political actors were likely to militate against peaceful conduct of the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa State.
The National Chairman of INEC, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, who spoke, yesterday, when he visited the office of the Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council in Yenagoa, said unguarded actions and utterances of politicians could lead to the breach of peace during electioneering, voting and collation of results.
Mahmood, who was accompanied by senior officials of the commission and security agencies led by the Zone 5 Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Dibal Yakadi, also complained about the use of armed thugs to disrupt the voting and the collation processes.
Describing Bayelsa and Kogi as the most difficult states to conduct major elections, Mahmood further said the commission was further bothered about the ugly trend of voting buying insisting that democracy should not be on sale in the open market.
He said the commission was deploying 10,000 ad-hoc employees in different parts of Bayelsa for the exercise, adding that INEC would not allow anybody to attack them.
Addressing the council led by the Amayanabo of Twon Brass, King Alfred Diette-Spiff, the INEC boss said: “We have a few areas of concern.
“The first one is action and utterances likely to lead to the breach of the peace during electioneering campaign, during voting on the Election Day and during the collation of results.
“In 2015, up to the eight local government areas in Bayelsa State, we conducted elections conclusively and made declaration of results only in one local government area, Kolokuma-Opokuma.
“I have been asking all my friends in Bayelsa, what makes Kolokuma-Opokuma thick?
“Today, I have the opportunity finally to actually visit Kolokuma-Opokuma and I was in Kaiama and the staff assured us that just as it happened in 2015, it will happen again.
“Next is the recurrent problem where some unscrupulous actors follow voters to polling units with money on Election Day to induce them. It is called vote buying.
“Our democracy cannot be on sale in the open market. The citizens should be allowed to vote for whoever they choose in the Election Day.
“We appeal to you to continue to speak to politicians and their supporters on peaceful conduct during the campaign process and beyond”.
On why all eyes would be on Bayelsa and Kogi, Mahmood said: “First, this will be the first major election since the 2019 general election in Nigeria.
“What lessons have we learnt since the conduct of the general election that will help us to improve on the forthcoming governorship election?
“Secondly, Bayelsa and Kogi are not easy states when it comes to conducting major elections particularly governorship election.
“The challenge is particularly in terms of the terrain, and therefore, it has an impact on electoral logistics.
“But another great challenge is the attitude of the political class which has become a source of concern to the commission”.
The professor also said that the House of Assembly election would hold in Brass Constituency 2 in Brass Local Government Area on the same day scheduled for the governorship election.
Mahmood said the commission was ready to conduct peaceful, free, fair, credible and conclusive election in Bayelsa and appealed to the traditional rulers to make suggestions and contributions that would change the narrative in Bayelsa.
Ditte-Spiff commended INEC for seeking the advice of the traditional rulers in the state and appealed to the commission to prevail on security agencies to reduce military presence during the election.
Addressing Mahmood, he said: “The military presence in the last election was too much.
“They were brought here by one or two candidates. They also after the election eliminated one or two persons.
“You will need to appeal to the army in particular to try to contain their men so that they would not go off the handle and scare people away from the polling units. One or two areas are not approachable.”
Meanwhile, the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad has approved the request of the former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief Ndutimi Alaibe for the transfer of his suit against the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), flag bearer of the party, Senator Douye Diri over the disputed September 3 governorship primaries of the party in the state.
The presiding Judge of the Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, Justice Jane Inyang, while announcing her decision to accede to the directive of the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, said the decision was based on the request of Chief Ndutimi Alaibe, dated September 27, 2019 and received by her Court on October 10, 2019.
According to her, Chief Ndutimi Alaibe’s letter did not question the credibility of the Federal High Court but expressed security concern in the state, “I hear by transfer the case”
The decision of the court, which came as a surprise to the defendant’s counsels elicited protest over the alleged secrecy and perceived ambush.
The National Legal Adviser of the PDP and counsel to the party, Emmanuel Enoidem (Esq), the Counsel to the 4th and 5th respondents, Chuks Oguru (Esq) kicked against the request of Chief Timi Alaibe, while the counsel to Senator Douye Diri, Barrister Chiemezie V.C. Ihekweazu declined comments.
Emmanuel Enoidem, while speaking with newsmen after the court session said, “We came in this morning only to be told that the matter has been transferred due to a letter by Chief Timi Alaibe. We are a bit taken aback at the turn of events and not because we are afraid of the case in Abuja. This is a man who wants to be governor of Bayelsa State and not the governor of the FCT or any other state in Nigeria. And if he is running from Bayelsa, I am afraid what kind of governor the person will make.”
“So, apart from the inconvenience such transfer may cause, we were told this morning. When the matter came up on the 2nd and slated for Friday, 18th, and later 15th. We were surprised. But for a man who wants to be governor of the state and running away on account of insecurity, what will happen to millions of Bayelsa people residing here? Instead of coming to confront the issue of insecurity he is alleging in his letter, he is running away. This is not how to be a good governor.”
The Counsel for the 4th and 5th defendants, Barrister Chuks Oguru, also complained that the letter of Chief Timi Alaibe, “Court matter is not done in the way of Robin Hood method is to lie in wait for innocent wayfarers. We should have been put on notice. We find the method of the plaintiff objectionable because parties are not allowed to go forum shopping.
“If you are sure of your facts, you go to court and argue your case. Anywhere they take us to, we will meet them with concrete facts for facts, jurisprudence for their law and we will match them constitutionality for their own constitutionality. Anywhere they go in Abuja or even the House of Lords, we are very prepared because we are sure of our grounds. You know the nitty-gritty of the case is that the plaintiff wants to torpedo the entire primary election that produced the 2nd defendant, Senator Douye Diri as the flag bearer of the PDP.”
But the lead Counsel of Chief Timi Alaibe, Barrister Ayodele Adedipe, said the decision for the transfer of the case to Abuja was the decision of the plaintiff and that he expressed security concern about the matter being heard in Yenagoa, “and the CJN found merit in his concern and direct the presiding Judge and acceded to the request”
Adedipe described the comments by the defense counsels as diversionary and petty.
“ The point here is that the plaintiff said he had confidence in the judge and sited an example of the incident where a Federal High Court was invaded sometime ago because of that he said. Let us have the legal battle on a neutral ground where people can come to court and lawyers can advocate without fear. And when people come and play to the gallery over the decision, I don’t have much comment on that.”
Alaibe, who approached the Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa in a suit numbered FHC/YNG/CS/99/2019, also included as defendants the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Douye Diri, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and Embeleakpo Alale for himself and representing the elected local government chairmen, vice-chairmen and councillors of the PDP allowed to be delegates at the elective state congress of the PDP in Bayelsa State held on September 3, 2019.
Also joined in the suit as defendant is Doubra Kumokou, for himself and on behalf of the three ad-hoc delegates allowed to be delegates at the elective state congress.
Alaibe is seeking, with an application, for cancellation of the result of the primary election based on cited procedural flaws.
The suit, which was filed in pursuant to Order 3(9) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2019, seeks answers to questions bordering on obvious non-adherence to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Electoral Act 2010, the People’s Democratic Party Constitution and Election Guidelines, by the state chapter of the party in the conduct of the ward congresses, inclusion of local government council officials in the delegates list and the procedure for inclusion of three ad-hoc delegates.
Citing specific sections of relevant laws and guidelines, Alaibe is asking the court to examine the entire processes that resulted in the primaries and rule in his favour in the light of violations committed in a desperate move to impose a pre-determined hand-picked candidate on the people out of 21 aspirants.
It would be recalled that the Timi Alaibe’s Campaign Organisation had raised objections against what it described as crass disrespect for legal procedures and party guidelines in the build-up to the conduct of the governorship primary election by the state chapter of the PDP.
The objection covered open disobedience to the party constitution and electoral guidelines and the manner in which ward congresses were conducted; among others.
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