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Imo Verdict: CSO Alleges Use Of Same Panel To Review Judgement

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A civil society organisation (CSO), Concerned Nigerians Group (CNG), yesterday, alleged that the Supreme Court was making moves to use same panel that gave the judgment on the Imo State Governorship Election in favour of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Hope Uzodinma, to review the same judgment, tomorrow.
This alleged move by the apex court was contained in a statement signed by the Convener, CNG, Comrade Deji Adeyanju, who also called for holistic review of the judgment.
According to Adeyanju, “CNG berates the apex court for putting itself in a position where citizens would now have to question its judgment, making the revered institution to been seen by Nigerians as fallible”.
It would be recalled that Supreme Court had sacked the main opposition candidate, the PDP in the 2019 general election in Imo State, Hon Emeka Ihedioha, and replaced him with the ruling APC’s candidate, Senator Hope Uzodinma.
The statement reads in part, “We have been reliably informed that the Supreme Court is going to use the same panel that was used to carry out the injustice in the first place to review the judgment.
“They’ve decided to fix both Zamfara and Imo review on Tuesday so they can strike a political balance, and no amount of political correctness and expediency can solve the injustice done in Imo where the Supreme Court awarded votes that do not exist to the APC.
“How can the apex court explain how it awarded votes to Hope Uzodinma of APC beyond the number of registered voters and accredited voters in the election?
“The Supreme Court relied on the supposed fake result sheets that had only APC and PDP on the results sheets when 70 political parties contested the election.
“The attempt of the apex court to redeem its image by gifting the opposition in Bayelsa State will still not correct the injustice done in Imo. The irreducible minimum the Supreme Court can do in ensuring that justice is done in Imo is to ensure that the mistake done by the judges be corrected, especially as regards the numbers that are not adding up.”
According to the statement, Senator Hope Uzodinma, who came a distant fourth with 96,458 votes with no clear chances of being declared winner, was surprisingly declared winner by the Supreme Court.
“In the election, INEC had declared Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner with 273,404 votes, ahead of Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance (AA) with 190,364, and Ifeanyi Araraume of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) with 114,676. In a distant fourth was Hope Uzodinma of the APC with 96,458”, it added.
However, the Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma has filed a preliminary objection to challenge the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to review its January 14 judgement that brought him to power.
In a motion he jointly filed with the All Progressives Congress (APC), Uzodinma, maintained that the apex court has lost its powers to hear and determine any application relating to the governorship election that held in Imo State on March 9, 2019.
Consequently, he urged the court to dismiss the fresh application that was filed by ousted governor of the state, Emeka Ihedioha and the PDP, which is seeking to set aside the judgement that declared him as the valid winner of the Imo governorship contest.
In the objection dated February 6, which Uzodinma filed through his team of lawyers led by Mr. Damian Dodo, SAN, he contended that Ihedioha’s application, “being a proceeding relating to or arising from election of a governor is barred by effluxion of time”.
According to him, “The application constitutes an invitation to the Supreme Court to sit on appeal over its final decision.”
Uzodimma and APC further argued that: “Having delivered its final decision on the 1st and 2nd Respondents’ Appeal No. SC. 1462/2019 between Senator Hope Uzodinma & Anor v Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha & 2 Ors, the Supreme Court has become fuctus officio and divested of jurisdiction over the same subject matter.
“Order 8 Rule 16 of the Supreme Court Rules 2014 prohibits this Honourable Court from reviewing its judgment once given and delivered, save to correct clerical mistakes or accidental slip.
“The judgment sought to be set aside having been given effect by the inauguration of the 1st Respondent/Objector as governor of Imo State; this Honourable Court lacks the jurisdiction to grant the prayer sought”.
Besides, Uzodimma stated that Ihedioha’s application “constitutes an abuse of court process” and “is against public policy”.
He insisted that the application seeking to restore Ihedioha amounts to an invitation for the Supreme Court to indulge in an academic exercise that was merely directed as gaining answers to hypothetical questions.
Uzodinma contended that the apex court ordered that a Certificate of Return should be issued to him forthwith and that he should be sworn-in immediately, stressing that the order had since been made effective by his inauguration as the governor of lmo State.
He, therefore, asked the court to invoke Section 6(6)(a) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended and dismiss Ihedioha’s quest to invalidate the judgment that brought him to power.
Meanwhile, the apex court has fixed February 18 to hear the motion Ihedioha filed to set aside its judgement that removed him as Imo State governor.
A seven-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, had in a unanimous decision, declared that Senator Hope Uzodinma of the APC was the bona-fide winner of the Imo governorship election.
The CJN-led panel, in its judgement, noted that valid votes that accrued to Uzodinma from 388 polling units were illegally excluded during the computation process.
It held that if the excluded votes were added, Uzodinma, who was the appellant, would have secured majority of valid votes cast at the governorship election.
Consequently, it ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which was the 1st Respondent in the matter, to immediately issue a fresh certificate of return to Uzodinma who initially came fourth in the governorship election.
Ihedioha, had in the five grounds he raised in his appeal, insisted that the Supreme Court lacked the jurisdiction to declare Uzodinma governor in the absence of any proof that votes ascribed to him met the mandatory geographical spread.
In his brief of argument, Ihedioha contended that: “This Honourable Court did not have the jurisdiction to declare the 1st Appellant/Respondent as elected in the absence of any proof that the votes ascribed to him met the mandatory geographical spread stipulated in Section 179 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“This Honourable Court did not have the jurisdiction to declare that the 1st Appellant/Respondent met the constitutional geographical spread without providing in its judgment the reason(s) for that conclusion”.
He argued that the panel had no jurisdiction to hand victory to Uzodinma “in an election petition which was based on two inconsistent and mutually exclusive grounds”.
He drew attention of the apex court to the fact that one of the grounds of the petition Uzodinma lodged against the outcome of the Imo State governorship election, was that he (Ihedioha) was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the election, “the implication of which is that the majority of votes cast at the election were valid”.
He said the second ground was that the election was invalid for non-compliance with the Electoral Act, “the implication of which is that the election be annulled”.
Besides, Ihedioha argued that the CJN-led panel failed to consider a subsisting judgement of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal that dismissed Uzodinma’s petition.

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CJN Advocates Training Of Judicial Officers On Road Safety Cases

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Worried by the rising rate of road traffic deaths and injuries in the country, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has advocated for the training of judicial officers on how to handle road safety cases.
Justice Ariwoola disclosed that the proposed training would be organized in collaboration with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and the Nigeria Judicial Institute (NJI) for judicial officers at all levels.
The CJN made the disclosure in Abuja at the 11th edition of the Kwapda’as Samson Rangna’an Dongban (KRSD) Foundation, annual conference.
KRSD is a non-profit organisation founded by the President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, committed to creating healthy, safety and secure road conditions and practices for road users.
It was founded in memory of her son, Samson, who lost his life in a road crash 11 years ago.
Justice Ariwoola explained that the training would not only aimed at reducing road traffic fatalities in the country, but will help report more cases on the support of victims of road traffic crashes.
He said, “My concern primarily will be the training of judicial officers on the issues pertaining to road safety cases, particularly from the lowest level of the judiciary, magistrates, and the high court.
“The training will help judicial officers bear in mind the effect of road safety cases on victims and of course, families, and dependants.
“With the Road Safety Corps, KRSD foundation, and in synergy with the National Judicial Institute, the training will be organized and judicial officers at various levels will be properly trained.”
Meanwhile, the CJN has pleaded with the general public to always assist victims of road traffic crashes by being their brother’s keepers.
“I will plead with the general public to be up and doing in providing assistance to victims of road traffic crashes. Many at times, if immediate attention is provided, the victims might not die. I plead with us all to be our brother’s keepers,” he said.
Statistics from the Federal Road Safety Corps and the National Bureau of Statistics show that between 2013 and 2020, no fewer than 41,709 persons have lost their lives to road crashes.
In her speech at the event, the Founder of the foundation, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, called for the establishment of a non-medical trauma management centre for victims and relatives of the victims.
The President of the Court of Appeal disclosed that an estimated number of 6,000 people die in the country from road traffic crashes and many sustain serious injuries.
While advocating for an urgent victims’ support programme, Justice Dongban-Mensem stated: “We aspire to set up a victim’s Trauma Centre to counsel the victims to restore their emotional equilibrium in addition to medical care.
“We advocate that the victims of road crashes who are in non-governmental organisations should be engaged in the management of support measures in road crashes issues,” she said.
The jurist further expressed the need for more emphasis on capacity building and public enlightenment, noting, “One of the major contributing factors to the high rate of crashes on our roads is the attitude of drivers to road safety generally and which again touches very significantly on the issue of driver-attitude, poor education and a dearth of information.”
She equally emphasised the need for an urgent review of the National Road Safety Policy and safety development plan to reduce traffic fatalities in the country.
While disclosing that the foundation was set to prevent at least 50percent of road traffic deaths and injuries, she noted that road safety is a demanding business not only for the government agencies but requires extensive private corporate participation.
“Sustained investment/ support from authorities, private organizations, and international financing for the activities of indigenous non-governmental organisations should be purposefully pursued.
“More direct investments for road safety development in low and middle-income countries should be the top priority in the Global Plan Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030,” she pleaded.
At the sober event occasioned by the demise of her late son, Prince PaekeShepnaan, were the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice OlukayodeAriwoola, President Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, former Aviation Minister and Corp Marshal, Chief OsitaChidoka, representative of the Acting Corp Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Mr.DaudaBiu, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and other road safety stakeholders.

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‘4,130 Cancer Cases Diagnosed In Rivers’

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A renowned Haematologist with the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), Dr. Wobo Emmanuel, said over 4,130 cancer cases have been diagnosed in Rivers State.
Wobo said out of the figure diagnosed, over 313 cases are blood diseases in patients.
He said the total figure of the cancer cases represents about 7.7percent of blood cancer disease in the state.
Wobo stated this while presenting a paper on Epidemiology and Pathogenesis of Acute Leukaemia during University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) monthly Grand Rounds.
The hospital Grand Round is aimed at highlighting the challenges, breakthroughs and ways forward in tackling the challenges in the UPTH.
Wobo, who doubles as a Senior Resident Doctor in the Department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion, UPTH and Lecturer 2, College of Health Science, UNIPORT, said the result was obtained through a 10-year studies carried out by experts both in Rivers State University of Teaching Hospital (RSUTH) and data collected.
“We run a cancer registry in the hospital and every cancer diagnosis made is registered in a period of 10 years”.
He noted that 80percent of adults are prone to Acute Leukaemia, while 10-15percent are in children in the country.
He called on Nigerians to go for medical checks on their health statues as he called on government to assist the hospital with appropriate investigation materials, equipment to enhance the treatment of cancer diseases in the hospital.
“We need molecular testing materials to enhance cancer disease treatments in UPTH.
“Cancer diseases, the expert said, could be acquired through genetics factor or environmental in the life of patients”.
Also speaking, Head of Department (HoD),Haematology, UPTH, Dr UchechukwuOkite, said cancer cases could come in a life of patients in different forms such as eyes problems, arthritis and swollen goitres (neck).
Okite said the aim of the department’s Grand Rounds was to present the challenges in managing Acute Leukaemia to the hospital community.
The HoD listed gas flaring, radiation, genetic, smoking as possible risk factors to acquiring cancer diseases.
Earlier, Chief Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC), UPTH, Prof Lucky Onotai, said the management of the hospital had earmarked 40percent of its budgets to acquire equipment for Haematology Department to enable them treat cancer cases.
UPTH, Onotai said, had also provided a standard building for the treatment of cancer.
The hospital, he further said, was determined to train and re-train its doctors, nurses and non-medical staff in the department to enhance adequate medicare delivery in the hospital.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Ayu’s Corrupt, Manipulated PDP Presidential Primary, Wike Alleges

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has accused the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Iyorchia Ayu, of obtaining the sum of N1billion in the guise of funding the party, but never remitted the money to the party’s account.
He emphasised that the PDP boxed itself into its current quagmire, saying that to disentangle itself, the remedies would include making sacrifices that engender inclusivity.
Wike spoke in Port Harcourt during a live media chat, last Friday.
“Will he (Ayu) deny the fact that he collected N1billion from Lagos? Let him deny, I will tell him who gave him the money. The money was given to him in Lagos. He met one of the presidential aspirants and told him that he is not sure these governors may want to sponsor the party. Let Ayu say no. I will even call some of the business men and how the money was arranged in Lagos. That money did not enter into the account of PDP.”
The governor, who accused Ayu of corruption, said he exerted pressure on some of the PDP presidential aspirants like Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, and former Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, to step down for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on the day of the convention.
“There’s nothing Ayu did not do for me not to emerge as the PDP candidate. Ayu did everything to manipulate the system to ensure that all the numbers did not add up.”
He said the call for the resignation of Ayu within the party was bordered on justice, fairness and equity.
According to him, “Development alone is not the only problem Nigeria has. Insecurity alone is not the only problem Nigeria has. Part of our problem is non-inclusivity of people, certain section believing they are being marginalised. Whether you like it or not, you must show that you have the capacity to bring everybody together.”
Wike disclosed that the PDP’s presidential candidate, AlhajiAbubakarAtiku, had during the meeting they held in London, promised to work out, within a week, modalities for the resignation of Ayu as national chairman, but never did.
He explained that after the one week that was promised elapsed, instead of returning back to them to state the challenges encountered, the presidential candidate decided to use the PDP Constitution as defence.
“You are talking about Constitution now, but you forget that the Constitution says there should be zoning of elective and party offices. You did not remember that Constitution says so. Now, is there nothing called expediency? Is there nothing called doctrine of necessity? Now, look at where we have found ourselves!”
He further added: “ab initio, the presidency ought to have been zoned to the South, you knew it. What you’ve done is to show how clever or smart you are. Now, there is crisis, you’re now falling back to that Constitution to say that there will be constitutional crisis. You cannot eat your cake and have it. You can’t.”
The governor noted that National Executive Committee (NEC) of PDP could take the decision now to accommodate the resignation of Ayu as the national chairman, and seek ratification at a convention later after the elections.
According to Wike, such decision would be for expediency purposes in order to allow for a southerner to become national chairman of the PDP.
“All we want is, now that you have given presidency to the North, let us (South) take our own chairman, because when they’re meeting for decision making, the presidential candidate seats there, national chairman seats there, the DG of campaign seats there; they take decision and come out and tell you to execute.
“Now, I hear the Board of Trustees (BOT) chairman is gone. Why did they put pressure on the BOT chairman to resign, and then, now you cannot put pressure on national chairman to resign? When I was trying to run as governor, I had a lot of crisis. But I had to let go certain things for us to be able to win election. The problem is that we have not won election, we are arrogant.”
Wike said those who were advising the PDP presidential candidate to ignore Rivers State votes don’t wish him well in the forthcoming general election.
“Anybody advising Atiku: that is a wicked man. I know those who are doing it. They don’t have electoral value in their own units. Some of them are from Edo. Look at their calculation. Buhari didn’t win in Rivers State, but Buhari won Lagos and Kano. Does Atiku have Lagos now?Does he have Kano? The only one he has, always had is Rivers, and you say ‘you don’t want them’.”
The governor specifically accused AlhajiAdamuMainaWaziri, who hails from Yobe State and lacks political relevance, as being one of those misleading the PDP presidential candidate.
“Has PDP won Yobe State? Now, what is his electoral value that he (Waziri) will bring to the table? Tell me; since 1999, we started this democracy, PDP has never won Yobe State, and then, you are going about, we will deal with him. We will sanction him.”
The governor said it has become imperative for the PDP to prove to Nigerians that it can be trusted with their votes, which would return it to power in 2023.
He cautioned the PDP against taking Nigerians for granted, saying they were already disenchanted with the failure of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.
Wike pointed out that the promise of hope by PDP to Nigerians must be seen from how it was able to resolve the current leadership imbalance and marginalisation among its members.
“You see, people take Nigerians for granted and that’s what PDP is trying to do. Because Nigerians are not happy with APC, therefore, we don’t want to do the right thing? You don’t do that!
“Rather, since we believe that APC government has not done well, then, we, as a people, who want to take over, should show more seriousness to Nigerians.
“It is we as a party that must show to Nigerians that we have integrity, that we are trustworthy to do what we have promised Nigerians that when we come, all these issues of marginalisation will be a thing of the past,”Wike said.

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