Justice John Tsoho, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court (FHC) of Nigeria, yesterday, directed all judges currently handling pre-election matters to continue sitting during the vacation period until judgment is delivered.
Justice Tsoho gave the order in a new practice directions issued entitled: “Federal High Court of Nigeria Practice Directions (No. 2) 2020 made available by acting Information Officer of the court, Oby Catherine, in Abuja.
Our correspondent reports that the court’s annual vacation began on July 27 and would end on September 25.
Nwandu said the directive was in the exercise of the power conferred on the chief judge “by Section 254 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 (as amended) and pursuant to the provision of Section 2(10) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No.21) Act 2017, which amends the provision of Section 285 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) mandating all trial courts in every pre-election matter to deliver judgment within 180 days from the date of filing the suit.”
She said the salient provisions contained in the new practice directions are as follows:
“That these Practice Direction shall, save to the extent and as may otherwise be ordered by the Honourable Chief Judge, apply to all pre-election matters filed before the Federal High Court of Nigeria.
“Nothing in the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019 shall prevent a Judge of the Court from hearing a pre-election matter already pending before the Court, during the vacation period until judgment is delivered.
“(i) No petition shall be entertained against a Judge of the Court hearing a pre-election matter, save from a party on record in such matter.
“(ii) Where a party on record petitions as in (i) above, such petition shall be accompanied by an affidavit verifying the contents of the petition.
“(iii) the party shall cause same to be served on the Judge and all parties on record, notwithstanding that the petition is addressed to the Honourable, the Chief Judge of the Court.
“(iv) Where the petition is addressed to the Honourable, the Chief Judge, the proof of service of the advanced copies on all parties on record and the Judge concerned shall accompany the petition.”
According to Nwandu, the practice directions, made at Abuja and dated on Friday, July 24, 2020 also took effect from that same date.
Kano Tribunal Judgment, Slap On Constitutionalism, Rule Of Law -NNPP
The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) has described the judgment of the Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that nullified the election of Governor Abba Kabiru Yusuff as a slap in the face of constitutionalism and the rule of law.
In a signed statement made available to newsmen by its acting national chairman, Abba Kawu Ali, the NNPP said its candidate won convincingly in the March 18, 2023, election, which it described as free, credible, and globally acclaimed as a fair election.
He said the pronouncement of the 3-man tribunal is laughable and a pure miscarriage of justice, which is capable of eroding the confidence of the electorate in the judiciary.
He, however, called on the party’s supporters across Nigeria to remain calm as the party will appeal the tribunal’s judgement.
“The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) receives with utter incredulity and disbelief the judgment of the Kano State Election Petition Tribunal on the March 18, 2023, Governorship Election.
“The reported judgement nullified the free, credible, and globally acclaimed fair election of our gubernatorial candidate, Engr. Abba Kabiru Yusuf, and brazenly awarded the election to the APC candidate, Nasiru Gawuna.
“The Tribunal arrived at this unjust judgment by unfairly subtracting 165,663 votes from the governor’s tally to enable it to unfairly award the result to the candidate of the ruling APC.
“In doing so, the tribunal obviously affirms its belief that the vote tally of the APC candidate was sacrosanct.
“The judgment of the 3-man Kano State Governorship Election Petition is laughable and nothing but a pure miscarriage of justice.
“The decision of the Tribunal is a slap in the face of constitutionalism and the rule of law and is capable of further discouraging the electorate from having confidence in the judiciary.
“The NNPP recalls with regret that this Tribunal has simply replayed the unholy script of 2019 by overturning the will of the people and awarding results to those who evidently lost the election.
“The NNPP will appeal this most unfair judgement.
We call on millions of our supporters in Kano and in the rest of the country to remain calm and maintain peace. A lopsided judgment cannot stand on the altar of justice”, he said.
Ondo Assembly Moves To Impeach Dep Gov
Indications emerged on Wednesday, that members of the Ondo State House of Assembly have commenced the process of impeaching the state Deputy Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
This is coming following an emergency plenary session summoned by the House of Assembly on Wednesday, with heavy presence of security men at the Assembly gate.
The Tide source gathered that at least 23 lawmakers have already appended their signatures, supporting the impeachment notice against Aiyedatiwa.
A source disclosed that the Deputy Governor is under investigation for alleged gross misuse of office and might be eased out of office through impeachment.
According to the source, trouble started when Aiyedatiwa reportedly approved the sum of N300 million for the purchase of a bulletproof SUV for his personal use.
The source said the approval was allegedly given while the state Governor was recuperating in Germany and it was approved without the knowledge of the governor.
He said the Deputy Governor further complicated matters when he ordered that the N300 million should be sourced from the Palliative fund.
He said “This fund, provided by the Federal government, was intended to support states in addressing the needs of their citizens.”
The source said the impeachment proceedings underscore the Assembly’s commitment to accountability, even at the highest levels of state governance.
Further developments in this case were being awaited as the situation continued to unfold.
Bauchi Tribunal Upholds Gov Mohammed’s Election
The Bauchi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has upheld the victory of Governor Bala Mohammed in the March 18, 2023 governorship election.
Delivering the judgment on Wednesday, Chairman of the three-man panel of the Tribunal, Justice P.T Kwahar, dismissed the petition of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakr (rtd), who challenged result of the election.
The tribunal held that the petitioners failed to prove their allegations of non-compliance with the Electoral Act, electoral irregularities as well as bypass of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (B-VAS) machines in some polling units of Toro, Dass, Zaki, Itas-Gadau, Alkaleri, Bauchi, Tafawa Balewa, Ningi, Dambam and Ganjuwa Local Government Areas.The Tribunal held that there was no tangible evidence to show that the BVAS was truly manipulated.The judge explained that the witnesses brought by the petitioner presented evidence based on hearsay as they were not present at the polling units, “they have failed to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the APC candidate won the election.”
“This court therefore returns the second respondent as the elected governor of Bauchi state by the first respondent in the conduct of the governorship election of the 18th of March, 2023,” he held.
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