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Imo Guber Verdict: Recuse Yourselves, PDP Tells CJN, Others

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has told the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad that he, for the sake of fairness, should recuse himself from the hearing of the review application on the Imo State governorship election petition.
The main opposition also demanded that six other justices of the Supreme Court, who delivered the earlier judgement that sacked the its candidate, Emeka Ihedioha as the Imo State governor January 14, recuse themselves.
The party said the Justices who should not be involved in the matter again are Nwah Sylvester Ngwuta, Justice Olukayode Ariwola, Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Justice Amina Adamu Augie, and Justice Uwani Musa Abba Aji.
The Supreme Court has fixed, today for the hearing of the application for review in its judgement that saw Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC), declared winner of the state’s governorship election
The PDP made its decision known in a letter to the CJN, dated February 14, 2020.
The letter was signed by PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, and National Secretary, Senator Ibrahim Tsauri.
The party made the demands on the grounds of likelihood of bias and the need to ensure fair hearing, adding that it was to ensure that fairness and justice is not only done, but also seen to have been done.
The letter said in part, “As a follow up to our earlier call on all members of the panel to recuse themselves, we have now sought to formalise that request or demand.
“We hereby request that the seven persons that heard the case earlier recuse themselves from participating in the consideration of this new application.
“We are not unmindful of the fact that a litigant cannot dictate to the court the panel that should hear its case. However, due to the extraordinary circumstances and the nature of this case, we think that our request is a fair one that meets the justice of the case.
“Consequently, we feel it as our patriotic duty to hereby humbly request that your Lordship constitute a different panel of this great court (other than the one that delivered the judgement) for the purpose of hearing this application.
“Your Lordship would recall that a panel of Hon. Justices of the Supreme Court presided by your good self on Tuesday the 14th day of January, 2020, delivered judgement on the above appeal.
“Your Lordship may further recall that on February 5th, 2020 the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) filed an application praying that the judgement of 14th January, 2020 be set aside on grounds of nullity of the judgment, among other grounds.
“The judgement sought to be set aside has generated so much misgiving not only among lawyers but in the general polity as a whole because of the uncertainty it has introduced into our electoral jurisprudence, its potential for crisis in our democracy, the irreconcilability of the calculations contained therein and their resultant effect.
“At the heat of the moment, the party addressed a press conference and expressed its displeasure and disagreement with the judgement, and called on the Justices that heard the case to recuse themselves during any possible future review of the case that may come before the court, the party even went further to ask the President of the court to even resign.
“As a follow up to our earlier call on all members of the panel to recuse themselves, we have now sought to formalise that request or demand. We hereby request that the seven persons that heard the case earlier recuse themselves from participating in the consideration of this new application.
“My Lord, our request is founded on Section 36(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which guarantees fair hearing to every citizen or entity in the determination of his rights or obligations.
“Furthermore, the time honoured and tested principles of natural justice, particularly that no man shall be a judge in his own cause is particularly relevant to this solemn request.
“Allegation of bias or likelihood of bias goes to the root of fair hearing. Denial of right to fair hearing is a logical consequence of bias in any proceeding before a court or a tribunal.
“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as Amended (Constitution) guarantees the right of an individual to fair hearing. An individual’s right to fair hearing includes the right to have his/her rights and obligations determined by an independent and impartial tribunal.
“The above is clearly enshrined in Section 36 (1) of the Constitution, which provides as follows: ‘In the determination of his civil rights and obligations, including any question or determination by or against any government or authority, a person shall be entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court or other tribunal established by law and constituted in such manner as to secure its independence and impartiality’
“The right to an independent and impartial tribunal is a major factor in determining if fair hearing has been observed by a court.
“The relevant question on the issue of bias is what an ordinary man on the street would think about the fairness of the proceedings conducted by judges accused of likelihood of bias.
“We may even be wrong on the allegations made against the learned justices of the Supreme Court that sat on the case in question. We may have been bitter about the clearly observed inadequacies in that judgment, but this is now beside the point.
“The relevant question is: can any reasonable person who heard the press conference and several protests by the party, the Civil Society Organisations and Nigerians generally, all over the country, including foreign embassies, the involvement of even the international community, feel that the same panel that has been the subject of these allegations, rightly or wrongly by the Party, can sit and deliver impartial justice on the same case on review? We think not.”
Meanwhile, the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP0, yesterday, claimed that the Supreme Court was misled in sacking Emeka Ihedioha as the governor of Imo State.
This is even as the party said there were facts not tabled before the apex court before it went ahead to declare the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Senator Hope Uzodinma winner of the governorship poll.
The National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, who stated this in an interview with a select team of journalists in Abuja, yesterday, said the PDP and Ihedioha would avail the justices of the facts at its sitting in the nation’s capital today.
Secondus said it was wrong for Uzodinma to claim that the time within which the court was permitted to entertain the case which emanated from election petition had passed.

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I’ll Provide Solid Representation, If Elected -Banigo

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Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, has assured the people of Abua/Odual Local Government Area that she would provide undivided representation if voted into the Senate in 2023.
Banigo gave this assurance when leaders and critical stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party had a meeting with her, at the Government House in Port Harcourt to map out campaign strategies, yesterday.
The deputy governor said, she was excited that the meeting was held for the stakeholders to understand themselves, to ensure the party wins at the elections in 2023, adding that by the grace of God the local government area would be better than what it is now, if she emerges as the Rivers West senator.
In a related development, the Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, who is the Rivers West Senatorial District Candidate of the PDP in the upcoming polls, has also met with leaders of the PDP in Ahoada East Local Government Area, where she urged them to reach out to their constituents and encourage the collection of PVCs.
“We must realize that with this new Electoral Act, the votes will surly count, as this 2023 election is not going to be like the previous elections, there will be a difference, people should not be afraid to pick up their cards and vote, they should not be lackadaisical about it, they should keep their cards safe and on the day of election they should come up and cast their vote, because this time every vote will count”.
She said the campaigns would be unit based and urged them to reach out to those in their units.
“Make sure you have unit executives in each of the wards, so we can have a door to door campaign”, Banigo said.
In his remarks at the meetings, the Vice Chairman of the Rivers West Senatorial District of the PDP, Dr. Nname Robinson Ewor, said there is a need for members of the PDP to go out and establish their presence in all units’ wards and constituencies, stressing that the nature of this upcoming election would be different from previous elections.

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Ariolu, Others Welcome Ex-Deputy Guber Candidate To PDP

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Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council, Barrister George Ariolu, has led other party faithful, including Chairman of PDP, Ward 6, Kingsley Nna; Chairman of PDP, Ward 9, Collins Wobo Chukwu; and Obio/Akpor PDP Secretary, Kingman Ogbonna; to receive a bigwig and stakeholder of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Rumuogba in Ward 6, Chief Williams Igwe, into the PDP.
Receiving the former Deputy Governorship Candidate of the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) at the Obio/Akpor PDP Secretariat, Rumueme, Ariolu expressed delight over his decampment from the APC to the PDP, describing it as an indication that the party was waxing stronger.
Ariolu, who was greeted with euphoria by the LGA PDP Chairman, Chidi Amadi, who also welcomed the former deputy governorship candidate at the secretariat, promised to work closely with Igwe to build the party ahead of the forthcoming election.
He pointed out that the foundation of the PDP was built on togetherness, stating that collectively, the party would achieve more.
Ariolu thanked Igwe for wholeheartedly accepting to come back to the party.
According to him, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has separated governance from politics following his relentless battle to promote the interest of Rivers people.
Also speaking, Chairman of the PDP in Obio/Akpor, Chidi Amadi, said the reception of Igwewas a fulfilment of an age-long dream, and a welcome development for members of the party, expressing joy over the event.
He further commended Ariolu for his strong support and leadership towards the sustenance and growth of the party.
In his remark, Chief Williams Igwe affirmed his loyalty and commitment to the PDP in its quest to oust the APC and fix the broken state of the country’s socio-economic and political fabrics.
He described the reception as a homecoming for himself and his supporters who would be formally received at a formal event which would be organised by the state party chairman, adding that PDP remains a major political party which will unite the nation.
He added that his decision to defect to the party was well-thought-out, and called on others to join hands with the Rivers State Government to rebuild the socio-economic fortunes of the state.
According to him, he believed that it was time for him to cross over to join hands with the Rivers State governor in moving the state forward.
The former Deputy Governorship Candidate was also received by PDP Chieftain, Barrister Temple Ejekwu; Obio/Akpor PDP Woman Leader,Gloria Wonodi; Barrister Kelvin Akani; and members of Obio/Akpor PDP Executive.

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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NNPC Posts N674bn Profit

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) has declared a profit after tax of N674billion for the financial year ended December 31, 2021.
The profit represented a growth of 134.84per cent when compared with N287billion profit in 2020 which was recorded under the old Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), NNPC Ltd, Malam Mele Kyari, said this at a news conference, yesterday, in Abuja.
“NNPC progressed to a new performance level, from N287billion profit in 2020 to a N674billion profit after tax in 2021 climbing higher by 134.8per cent year on year profit growth,’’ he said.
Kyari also said that it recorded an increase in total assets from N15.86trillion in 2020 to N16.27trillion in 2021.
Speaking on the group’s financial position, Kyari said the corporation’s total liabilities decreased by 8.3per cent to N13.46trillion during the review period from N14.68trillion in 2020.
The GCEO said its shareholders funds position rose N2.81trillion representing 144per cent year-on-year.
“The performance would have been greater if the operations in the year under review were free from incessant vandalism, crude oil and products theft, among others.
“Details of the performance of NNPC and the respective subsidiaries as well as that of National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) will be published on our website www.nnpcgroup.com for stakeholder’s perusal.
“We look forward to achieving greater performance to support our growth aspirations and to create more value for our stakeholders as we drive full commercial operations under NNPC Ltd.,’’ he said.
He recalled that in September 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the publication of the 2020 NNPC Group Audited Financial Statement, in which NNPC declared a profit after tax of N287billion for the first time in 44 years.
Kyari said that in spite of the challenging operating environment, it strongly believed that the corporation had the potential to sustainably deliver better value to it esteemed shareholders.
He said it sought to become a dynamic global energy company of choice to its customers, partners and over 200million shareholders comprising of all Nigerians.
Kyari noted that the corporation in 2019 rolled out deliberate policies and initiatives aimed at reducing costs and eliminating losses while adopting technology to entrench transparency, accountability and performance excellence (TAPE) across its various functions.
He said the NNPC had recorded significant improvement over the past three years, turning up the curve from losses to profits.

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