The Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday, fixed September 27 to hear a suit filed by the Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa, a group, challenging the citizenship of former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
The plaintiff instituted the suit in 2019 challenging Abubakar’s eligibility to contest for president.
When the matter was called, counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Akinola Oladimeji told the court that he was not prepared to go on with the matter.
Oladimeji told the court that it was only on Wednesday that he got wind of the fact that the matter had been slated for hearing on Thursday since the next adjourn date known to him was September 20.
The judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, then sought to find out from the court registrar if parties had been informed of the date and the registrar responded in the affirmative.
The judge in a short ruling said that he was not happy that he gave a date for hearing which had become a subject of controversy.
He, however, adjourned the matter until September 27 and warned the plaintiff that it would be the last adjournment for his client.
The plaintiff, a civil society organisation in suit no. FHC/ABJ/CS/177/2019 is challenging the citizenship of Abubakar on the grounds that he was not born in Nigeria.
The plaintiff joined the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Attorney-General of the Federation as co-defendants in the suit.
The plaintiff formulated the following questions for determination by the court:
“Whether Section 25 of the Constitution is the sole authority that spells out ways by which a person can become a Nigerian citizen by birth.
“Whether by the provisions of Section 131(a) of the Constitution, only a Nigerian citizen by birth can contest for the office of the president.
“Whether by the combined interpretation of Section 25(1) (2) and 131(a) of the Constitution and giving the circumstances surrounding the birth of Abubakar, he can be cleared by the PDP and INEC to contest for the office of the president.”
The plaintiff held that if the answers to the questions were resolved in its favour, it should be granted the following reliefs, “A declaration that by provisions of Section 131(a) of the constitution, only a Nigerian citizen by birth can contest for the office of president.
“A declaration that by the combined interpretation of Sections 25 (1) (2) and 131(a) of the Constitution, and giving the circumstances surrounding the birth of Abubakar, he cannot be cleared by PDP and INEC to contest for president”.
The plaintiff also asked the court for any order which it may seem fit to make in the circumstances of the application.
However, Abubakar and the PDP, on which platform he contested the last election asked the court to dismiss the suit for lacking in merit.
In their notice of objection filed jointly, they insisted that the former vice president was a bona-fide citizen of Nigeria.
Abubakar also said that besides serving as Nigeria’s vice president from 1999 to 2007, he held many public and private offices, including serving as governor of Adamawa and was a commissioned officer of the Nigerian Customs Service.
He said his parents, grandparents and great grandparents were born in Nigeria and they lived, died as Nigerians and were buried in Nigeria.
He told the court that the suit was filed in bad faith in an attempt to malign his person and integrity.
Abubakar also objected to the plaintiff’s right to challenge his nationality, arguing that it failed to show the interest it had above other citizens of Nigeria to be entitled to approach the court on the issue.
Anglican Bishop Hails Wike’s Support For Church
Ebirien stated this during his pre-retirement press briefing at the diocesan church headquarters in Port Harcourt, yesterday, as part of activities marking his retirement and pulling out from Anglican priestly ministry as well as to mark his 70th birthday celebration, tomorrow.
The bishop, who is the sixth diocesan bishop of Niger Delta, said that the governor, through his generosity and support to the diocese, renovated the Nyemoni Grammar School, Abonnema, making the school one of the best schools in the state.
“God used Governor Nyesom Wike to renovate the Nyemoni Grammar School, today is among the best.We thank him for his love, also his Deputy, Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo, who is a member of diocese. They have shown us love and support”.
Recounting his 12 years’ achievement as the bishop of the diocese, Ebirien disclosed that prominent of his flagship programmes include yearly Sunday school conference, continuous training and re-training of pastors and the clergy, planting of new churches as well as giving scholarship to indigent members of the church, among others.
“We are committed to spiritual development through the revival of the Sunday school conference. The number of people we confirmed was over 5,000;we admitted many into mother’s guild, teach people Bible and prayer ministry.”
The out-going bishop, while commending members and the clergy for the support given to his family in the past 12 years, advised them to let brotherly love that has bound the church together continue, adding that what took the church to its present height was love.
“Bring the little you have for the work of God. Recognise Him as your helper, be appreciative and grateful”, he said.
Ralph urged members of the church not to be aloof in political participation but be active players in the polity.
“Get your PVC so as to vote credible men that will be God-fearing and help the church, irrespective of your party affiliation during the next elections”.
The bishop in company of members of the clergy and the leadership of the church, paid his last episcopal visit to the Port Harcourt Children Home, and Our Saviours’ Hospital owned by the church,where he donated food items, and also prayed for the inmates.
By: Akujobi Amadi
Lagos To Partner Firm On Digital Economy
According to Sanwo-Olu, this partnership will help upskill youths and train them to seize employment opportunities in tech industries globally.
He disclosed this while paying a visit to the business stand of the company during the Lagos Employment Summit organised by the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, recently.
“The Lagos State Government is scaling its intervention in critical areas of the economy. As part of that effort, we are rejigging the activities of the LSETF to broaden its impact in terms of strengthening the productivity of businesses and entrepreneurs”, he said.
He noted that the platform will offer an impressive proposition and solutions that meet the expansive needs of the active segment.
The also said that it will help businesses to raise productivity level by leveraging the skills of a wide range of freelancers while also creating new job opportunities for the teeming youth segment.
The Chief Executive Officer, TERAWORK, Femi Taiwo, who spoke during a break out of the summit themed, ‘The Future of Work: Gig Economy’, said the gig economy is the locus of shared prosperity in the 21st century.
Taiwo, also pointed out that it can be expanded to drive economic growth if appropriate national policies are formulated and implemented.
PH City Marathon: Over 3000 Athletes To Run, Saturday
Take off point is scheduled be Forces Avenue, by Christ Church, back of SPAR shopping Mall, in Port Harcourt, by 7:00am.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Tidesports, on Saturday, shortly after athletes collected their numbers of participation , at Las Mall Hotels and Resorts, Rumukalagbor, the Chief organiser of the event, Goodluck Azunwena, said all arrangements had been concluded for the event on Saturday.
According to him, over 200 volunteers, have indicated interest to ensure that the race was successful, adding that various medical outfits, doctors, road safety officers are fully prepared, as health talks was also delivered to athletes.
“ The crowd was really overwhelming today. Honestly we are really impressed with the turnout, that means many athletes were waiting for such event.
As I speak, so many volunteers have indicated interest to work with us, private hospitals have also pledged to give out their ambulances and doctors to be on ground that day. We have also contacted the road safety, police and other security agents to ensure a hitch-free race” Azunwena said.
He advised athletes not to take the competition like a do or die affairs saying that they should exhibit what sports stand for, that is unity, friendship and love.
Speaking, one of the intending competitors, Jude Nwanaopara, a footballer, said he is optimistic to win the race, in spite of the fact that this would be his first time to compete in a long distance race.
According to him, if he comes up top he will use the money to solve his personal problems.
“ I am optimistic that I will win the race being a sportsman, but I must say that this is my first time to enter such competition.
“I have self prophecy that I am going to win” Nwanaopara said.
Another competitor, student, Victor Okoro, said he was inspired to go for the race following his walking skill.
He explained that he had been looking for such opportunity to run marathon race to showcase his talent, saying that he is happy that what he was looking for will happen in Port Harcourt.
“ I have the belief that I will win because I have been walking from school to my house for three hours , which is more than that 16 kilometer,” Okoro said.
By: Tonye Orabere
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