The Supreme Court, yesterday, sacked the governor-elect of Bayelsa State, David Lyon and his Deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo.
The apex court, in a unanimous decision by a five-man panel of Justices led by Justice Mary Odili, held that Degi-Eremieoyo presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
It held that the Form CF 001 Degi-Eremieoyo submitted to INEC for the purpose of the November 16, 2019, governorship election in the state, contained false information of fundamental nature.
Justice Ejembi Eko, who delivered the lead judgement, reinstated the November 12, 2019, judgement of the Federal High Court in Abuja that disqualified Degi-Eremieoyo from participating in the governorship poll.
The apex court held that since Degi-Eremieoyo shared a joint ticket with the governor-elect, his disqualification invalidated their nomination by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Consequently, it ordered INEC to immediately withdraw the Certificate of Return that was issued to them, and issue a fresh one to the party that secured the second highest number of votes and got the required constitutional spread in the election.
The judgment followed an appeal that was filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), its governorship and deputy governorship candidates in Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri and Lawrence Ewhruojakpo.
Reacting to the Supreme Court ruling which nullified the election of Bayelsa State Governor-Elect, David Lyon and his Deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, congratulated the party over the ruling, and described the verdict as victory of democracy and rule of law over impunity and tyranny.
Ologbondiyan, in a tweet, wrote: “Congratulations to the PDP family.”
Reacting to the judgement, Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Diran Odeyemi, said the development is a confirmation of the truism that indeed, the judiciary remains the last hope of the common man.
According to him, judges sitting in other election disputes have a lot to learn from the Justice Mary Odili-led panel which directed the issuance of a certificate of return to the PDP governorship candidate, Senator Duoye Diri, adding that courage is what distinguishes a great judge in the pack.
“We want to salute the Justices for upholding the rule of law. They have demonstrated that there are still good judges in our country. We won the election and the learned justices have now proven that.
“I heard that some people are saying we should forget Imo now that we have gotten Bayelsa but that is not the way to go. What we are asking for in the case of Imo is a review of the apex court’s judgment and we know there is a window of hope that the right thing will be done.
“We congratulate our governor-elect and we are looking forward to working with him in his quest to further consolidate on the legacies of the outgoing governor,” he said.
Similarly, following the sack of Bayelsa governor-elect, David Lyon and his Deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo by the apex court, the presidential candidate of the PDP in the last general elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, said that Nigerians are solidly behind Supreme Court in their verdicts.
Atiku, who congratulated Senator Douye Diri, the newly declared winner of Bayelsa gubernatorial election, advised the apex court to show consistency in its judgments.
Atiku opined: “I received the verdict of the Supreme Court, declaring the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the Bayelsa state gubernatorial elections, Senator Douye Diri, as the duly elected Governor of the state, with gladness.
“Senator Douye Diri had cause to visit with me before the elections and received my blessings and counsel. I am fully satisfied that he has what it takes to make Bayelsa the ‘glory of all lands’. His intellect, personality and character, are a credit to Bayelsa and the PDP.
“I congratulate Senator Douye Diri and his running mate, Mr. Lawrence Ewhrujakpor. I also felicitate with the Peoples Democratic Party. The Lords Justices have given us another opportunity to show Nigerians that power belongs to the people, and we must make good use of this opportunity.
“I call on all the people of Bayelsa to make peace with the recent past and embrace the future together, united in the mission to transform the state into a haven of peace and prosperity.
“Finally, I urge the Supreme Court to show consistency in its judgments and find the resolve to always deliver just-judgments no matter whose ox is gored. The people of Nigeria are behind the apex court in whatever they do to free themselves from the dominance of dictatorial forces.”
In his reaction, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike called on the Federal Government to warn the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to stop making inflammatory remarks capable of destabilising the country.
Wike also berated the APC national chairman for saying that there will be no swearing-in of the PDP candidate in Bayelsa State, saying he has no such powers.
He said: “The Federal Government should warn Oshiomhole to stop making remarks that will destabilise Nigeria.
“What he is doing in Edo State is not proper, and he should not bring it to the rest of the Niger Delta.”
He said that Oshiomhole lacks the power to make pronouncements after the Supreme Court has ruled on the Bayelsa matter.
“Who is Oshiomhole to determine who has spread in a state? Supreme Court has made a ruling. It is unfortunate for Oshiomhole to come forward to say that nobody will be sworn in”, he said.
He said that Oshiomhole was making unguarded statements because he has lost the support of APC governors; hence he wants to curry favour through careless talks.
He said: “It is most unfortunate what Oshiomhole is doing because he wants to retain his position as national chairman. APC governors have rejected him, that is why he is struggling to prove that he is fighting for the party.
“He is making statements as if he owns the country. This is the same way he is carrying on in Edo State fighting the governor.
“He believes that he has the forces to cause crisis. He is arrogating powers to himself, which is not good”, he said.
Wike described Oshiomhole as a man who preaches one thing, then goes ahead to practise a different thing.
He said the situation in Edo State has exposed Adams Oshiomhole as a godfather who once preached against godfathers.
He said Oshiomhole would not be allowed to destroy the Niger Delta, adding that the rule of law must continue to prevail at all times.
Also, the Delta State Governor, Sen Ifeanyi Okowa, congratulated the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the Supreme Court ruling sacking Bayelsa governor-elect, Mr David Lyon and his running mate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, in Asaba, Okowa described the ruling as a welcomed development for the PDP and its candidates in the governorship race, Senator Douye Diri and Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpor.
He stated that his confidence in the Judiciary had been rekindled by the didactic ruling of the apex court.
He urged PDP and the governor-elect to take steps to reconcile all stakeholders in Bayelsa in order to strengthen the party for future elections.
“The news of the Supreme Court ruling on the Bayelsa governorship election came to me with joy, because we have been writhing in pain on the loss of Bayelsa to the APC in the last governorship election in the state.
“We are happy because the Supreme Court has once again restored the confidence of the people in the judiciary.
“This victory is a clarion call on the party and the governor-elect to take steps to reconcile all aggrieved party members who defected or worked against the party in the November16, 2019 Governorship Election in the state.
“This is very important, because there is need to rebuild the confidence of the people in our party, going forward,’’ the governor said.
“On behalf of the government and people of Delta, I congratulate our great party, the PDP, on the victory at the Supreme Court.
“It is my prayer that God will usher in a new lease of life for Bayelsans as a new administration takes over in the state.
“I also congratulate my brother Governor, Hon Seriake Dickson, for a successful tenure in office”, he added.
Nonetheless, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has declared its readiness to act on the Supreme Court judgement sacking Bayelsa State Governor-elect, David Lyon, and his deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo but cannot do so now.
Reason: It is yet to get the court order sacking the APC candidates, who would have been sworn-in today.
The INEC said it would act on the judgment of the Supreme Court directing it to withdraw the Certificate of Return it issued the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress APC in Bayelsa State, Chief David Lyon.
INEC, however, said it was yet to be served with a copy of the judgment as at Thursday afternoon.
“I am not sure the commission has been served with the judgment of the Supreme Court yet. I will keep you posted”, Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi said.
Also, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Barrister Festus Okoye said the commission would check its record to see which party came second in the election with a view to issuing its candidate a Certificate of Return.
He said INEC would carry out the judgement of the Supreme Court.
“We would do that when we get the judgement of the Supreme Court so that we would know clearly what the Supreme Court want us to do and we would carry it out”, he said.
Lyon polled 352,552 votes to defeat his closest rival and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Duoye Diri, who scored 143,172 votes.
Few days to the election, the PDP and its candidate secured a court order disqualifying Degi-Eremieoyo but the appeal court cleared the APC candidate to run.
However, the Supreme Court, Thursday, held that the Form CF 001 Degi-Eremieoyo submitted to INEC for the purpose of November 16, 2019, governorship election contained false information of fundamental nature.
Justice Ejembi Eko, who delivered the lead judgement reinstated November 12, 2019, Judgement of the Federal High Court in Abuja that disqualified Degi-Eremieoyo from participating in the governorship poll.
The apex court held that since Degi-Eremieoyo shared a joint ticket with the governor-elect, his disqualification invalidated their nomination by the APC.
Consequently, it ordered INEC to immediately withdraw the Certificate of Return that was issued to them and issue a fresh one to the party that secured the second-highest number of votes and got the required constitutional spread.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa & Albert Ograka, Asaba
NAFDAC Alerts On Fake Chloroquine 250mg Tablets
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), yesterday, alerted Nigerians on the circulation of falsified Chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets.
In a statement the Director-General of the agency, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, said the NAFDAC was notified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of the circulation of the tablets in Cameroon.
“The falsified Chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets were manufactured by Jiangsu Pharmaceutical Inc, Astral Pharmaceutical, New Bhupalpura, China.
“The tablets manufactured by these companies has no Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) and are in packs of 1000 tablets.
“The use of the falsified Chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets may result in treatment failure and could even cause death,” she warned.
She also said that the labelling information on the falsified Chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets manufactured by Jiangsu Pharmaceutical Inc, China is labelled with fake NAFDAC No.: 028060.
“The Astral Pharmaceuticals, New Bhupalpura, China is labelled with fake NAFDAC registration No. 0587612 and advised the general public to be aware of this drug.
“All importers, wholesalers and retailers are hereby cautioned to desist from illegal importation, distribution and sale of falsified Chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets.
“NAFDAC has strengthened its surveillance in all ports of entry to prevent illegal importation of the falsified Chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets.
“The agency has also heightened surveillance in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to prevent distribution and sale of this falsified drug.
“Healthcare providers and other members of public are advised to be vigilant and contact the nearest NAFDAC office with any information on the falsified Chloroquine,” she said.
She called on anybody in possession of the falsified Chloroquine to submit it to the nearest NAFDAC office, and advised the consumer to report adverse events related with the use of the medicine, or call the agency toll free lines: 0800-1-NAFDAC and 0800-1-623322.
Buhari Orders Distribution Of 150 Trucks Of Seized Rice To Masses
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered distribution of 150 trucks of rice seized by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to the 36 states of the Federation.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this while fielding questions from journalists at a news conference in Abuja, yesterday.
The news conference was on the fiscal stimulus measures in response to COVID-19 pandemic and oil prices fiscal shock.
Ahmed said the seized trucks of rice had been handed over to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management for onward distributions to Nigerians.
She added that in addition to this, the president had also approved distribution of grains from strategic grain reserves across the country.
The minister stated that as part of the effort to support the farmers, the president also approved reduction of the price of fertilizer from N5,500 to N5,000 per bag.
She added that this was another measure to give subsidy to farmers in view with the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic.
According to her, more measures will be taken to provide broader benefits to the citizens.
“We don’t want to rush and announce measures that will end up benefitting only a few of the segments. Our interest is to make sure that as much as possible a lot of Nigerians are productive and have liquidity in their hands.
“This will help to increase the consumption thereby assist to improve the economy.
“This is not something we will announce in a hurry without consulting with the central ministry and also without consulting with the key participants in the sector,” she added.
The minister noted that the emerging health and economic risks resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and decline in international oil prices posed existential threats to Nigeria’s economy, healthcare system, national security, as well as the lives of the citizens.
She emphasised that extra-ordinary measures would be required, as the situation evolved, to address these challenges.
Despite NMA, TUC’s Resistance, FG Insists On Chinese Doctors
An 18-member strong team of Chinese medical experts will be arriving soon with “globally scarce supplies” to support Nigeria’s fight against the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
This is coming days after the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) rejected the invitation by the Federal Government of a Chinese medical team to help Nigeria in its Coronavirus response.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this, yesterday in Abuja, at the Presidential Task Force (PTF), briefing on COVID-19 in the country.
“On Friday, April 3, I announced that a team of Chinese medical experts will arrive. They are expected to arrive Nigeria in a few days with a consignment of globally scarce medical supplies, to augment government efforts and build capacity to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The donation by Chinese Companies in Nigeria, includes Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), medical consumables, over one million surgical masks for health workers and even ICU ventilators, valued at over $100,000, all sourced in the face of global scarcity of these items.
“In addition, Chinese medical experts, comprising doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians and public health managers will share their knowledge, skills and real-life experience of fighting COVID-19 with Nigerian personnel to strengthening management of COVID-19 cases, especially with regard to critical care,” he said.
Ehanire said that this initiative would greatly build the capacity of hard-working and resourceful Nigerian Healthcare workers at the forefront of fighting COVID-19.
“The much needed PPEs and masks will protect our frontline workers and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the line of duty.
“We have a window of opportunity to strengthen our own response mechanism through lessons learned from any country that has had the experience and can provide hands-on demonstration of dealing with the outbreak and give the Nigerian clinical workforce the opportunity to share global best practices,” he explained.
The minister disclosed that the government has also identified additional treatment centres.
“We are working with the African Union to develop a continental response.
“A Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 response has been developed and an African Task Force on Coronavirus (AFCOR) set up to coordinate preparedness and response efforts in the continent,” he noted.
He explained that since the last briefing, they have activated two additional laboratories for COVID-19 testing at the Defence Reference Laboratory, FCT and Biosafety Level-3 Laboratory Lagos.
The minister disclosed that in the coming month, they intend to expand further to more laboratories with capacity to test for COVID-19.
Earlier, Chairman of the Presidential Task Force for the Control of COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, said that the lockdown was not punitive.
“It is meant to prevent the escalation of the virus spread. We will review the lockdown by the end of the week and make recommendations to the President,” he said.
Mustapha, who is also Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), said that last week, the United Nation Secretary-General singled out Nigeria for commendation for it efforts in restricting the virus.
He said that one major support that has attracted public commentaries was the offer by CCECC.
Mustapha noted that CCECC is a Chinese company that would be importing about 256 equipment and items in different quantities.
According to him, these include 1, 300,000 medical masks, over 150, 000 pieces of assorted personal protective equipment as well as 50 medical ventilators.
The SGF said that the company had also proposed to sponsor public health experts to help strengthen the Nigerian public health capacity and advice on processes and procedures.
He clarified that all countries of the world seek for and received help in the fight against COVID-19.
“The support coming from China is a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative by CCECC, a company with total value of infrastructure contracts worth $10billion in Nigeria.
“The professionals that have been invited from China are public health specialists and medical engineers that will support Nigeria’s capacity in managing the pandemic on advisory basis when necessary, while drawing from the experience of the Chinese.
“In no way shall there be case management and interface with patients.
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