Defeated candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the November 16, 2019 governorship election, in Kogi State, Musa Wada, has listed a total of 259 witnesses to give evidence at the tribunal where he is challenging the outcome of the election.
Wada and his political platform, PDP are contesting the outcome of the election that returned Yahaya Bello of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as the validly elected governor of the state, before the state governorhship election tribunal in Abuja.
But in the petition filed in December 2019, the petitioners attacked the credibility of the polls alleging that it was riddled with irregularities, fraud and other acts that were not in compliance with the Electoral Act.
The petitioners who joined the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Yahaya Bello and the All Progressives Congress (APC) as relevant parties, further alleged that the outcome of the polls did not reflect the actual votes cast at the election.
It is Wada’s prayer that the three-man panel of the tribunal headed by Justice Kashim G. Kaigama, declared that Governor Bello was not duly elected and/or returned by a majority of lawful votes cast during the election.
Besides, the petitioners are also seeking a declaration that neither the second nor the third respondent scored the majority of lawful votes cast at the election to the office of the state governor.
They are therefore, praying the tribunal to issue an order nullifying the Certificate of Return issued to Bello by INEC and in addition, issue an order nullifying the entire governorship election conducted in the state by reason of substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the constitution and extant Electoral Act 2010 (As amended).
At the pre-hearing sitting which held on January 30, the court, after listening to parties adjourned till Monday for hearing proper on the pre-hearing applications.
When the court resumed, several applications were moved by parties while some were withdrawn without objection by the opposing party.
However, due to the fact that one of the motions was not ripe for hearing, the tribunal had extended the pre-hearing period till Thursday this week to conclude all pre-hearing applications.
The 14-day period stipulated by law for pre-hearing motions is expected to lapse today, having started last January 30.
The court, however, invoked the power vested on it by law to extend the period by one day. It also reserved rulings on the applications moved to a date to be communicated to parties.
Before adjourning the matter till Thursday, parties also took time to agree on the number of witnesses to be called as well as documents to be tendered in evidence.
Bayelsa Assembly Committee on Environment To Curb Unlawful Sand Dredging Activities.
With various complaints and pettitions by communities impacted by the activities of illegal sand dredging and mining in the Bayelsa State, the state House of Assembly has organised a public hearing on a bill to regulate the operations of sand dredging to ensure that the environment is not adversely impacted on.
The bill tagged ” Regulation of Sand Dealing and Dredging Operations Bill 2019″ according to the House Committee on Environment is aimed at gathering inputs from experts, technocrats and the public in order to formulate a people-friendly bill that will serve the best interest of Bayelsans.
The House Committee Chairman on Environment and member representing Nembe Constituency one, Hon. Ebi Ben Ololo noted that the public hearing became necessary on the need to remediate the environment and tackle the challenges posed by sand dredging operations in the state.
” The importance of this bill cannot be overemphasized because it can save lives. You are aware a number of times so many communities and their representatives have sent pettitions to this House, specifically the Chairman House Committee on Environment as per the environmental degradation that has taken place as regards the illegal sand dealing and dredging activities in various communities all around the state”, he said.
“With those number of complains and pettitions we thought it wise to put up a bill to take care of those issues. Most important thing is that we all know that public hearing is a mechanism by which parliamentary Committees obtain information, deal with the information obtained and also exchange views with experts and the public so as to fine-tune whatever bill there is for the public hearing to come up with a top class bill that will be people- friendly and also save lives of the people in Bayelsa”, he added.
” Lots of suggestions, contributions, opinions and interactions have been made as regards this very important bill, like we have assured the representatives of the various groups that we will go back in our committee, look at those very important areas where they have suggested and also fine tune the bill. So that in no distant time we will come up with a very formidable bill that will stand the test of time. That the people will benefit from”, Ololo reassured.
He lauded participants for their insightful contributions and opinions during the public hearing, promising that the Committee would do justice to come up with a bill that would meet the expectations of Bayelsans.
In her contribution, House Chief Whip and member representing Yenagoa Constituency 2, Hon. Ebiowu Koku Obiyai lamented the deliberate connivance between communities and the sand dealers, warning that if nothing is done to regulate the activities of sand dredgers Bayelsa communities will be eroded away.
The House Whip also expressed concerns on the activities of companies carrying out dredging business near bridges and sued a delibrate efforts by all in order to save the bridges from collapse.
By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.
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