LG Polls: ONELGA Chairman Disowns Name Before Tribunal
A mild drama ensued, yesterday, at the resumed hearing of the Rivers State LG Election Petitions Tribunal on a matter involving the Chairman of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, Hon Vincent Job of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and Mr Bright Abali, chairmanship candidate of the ADC, as the chairman allegedly disowned his middle name ‘Nwaobakata’.
Job appeared before the three-man tribunal led by Chief Magistrate Rita Ogugwo, for the second time after he was docked at the witness box for cross-examination following his evidence-in-chief, last Monday, in Port Harcourt.
Abali of the ADC, who contested in the last April 17 Local Government Elections in ONELGA had dragged the ONELGA council boss, Hon Vincent ‘Nwaobakata’ Job, who was the PDP chairmanship candidate during the election to the tribunal, praying the tribunal, among other things, to sack the chairman because of alleged irregularities in his name and credentials submitted for the election.
He said that Mr Vincent ‘Nwaobakata’ Job, was not the same person as Mr Vincent Job as well.
During cross examination, last Monday, Abali told the tribunal that Vincent ‘Nwaobakata’ Job was not eligible to contest the election, because of disparity in his documents, adding that he was not a registered voter.
However, when the matter resumed, yesterday, under cross examination by the petitioner’s Counsel, Hon Vincent Job told the court that the name, ‘Nwobakata’, was his middle name but added that he does not make use or bear it.
But he accepted that over time, he had sworn affidavit of Change of Name but could not exactly say the time and where the copy of the affidavit was at the moment.
“My name is Vincent Job, and I do not bear the name ‘Nwaobakata’ in any of my dealings, even though it is my middle name. I am a very clever person, and I have not missed or lost any of my documents”, the ONELGA boss submitted.
When asked by the petitioner’s counsel to tell the tribunal where the affidavit was, the year and the office he submitted it to, he replied, “I don’t know, I can’t remember again”.
The petitioner’s counsel had moved an application for a short adjournment on the matter to mandate the respondent to go back home and bring the affidavit to the court.
He added that the affidavit would prove that the ONELGA boss used the name under contest even from his primary school days.
He further applied to the court to tender certificate award given to him recently, which bears the name, ‘Nwaobakata’, saying that he was relying on points of law with regard to Evidence Act, Section 4.
Responding to the application, counsel to the respondents, opposed the application because the alleged certificate which the petitioner’s counsel wanted to tender was computer print-out, and not a certified true copy.
He added that the application was a negation to the provisions of Section 84, and 83, Sub-Section 3 of the Evidence Act, and urged the tribunal to jettison the application.
In her ruling, the Chairman of the three-man panel, Chief Magistrate Rita Ogugwo dismissed the application on the grounds that the alleged certificate being relied upon by the petitioner’s counsel was presented to the chairman after he had been sworn in as council chairman as well as during the pendency of the matter before the tribunal.
She later adjourned the matter to today for continuation.
By: Amadi Akujobi
Judge Warns Against Text Messages In EFCC’s N5bn Suit
Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court, Abuja, has warned those sending him private messages in the N5 billion suit filed by the EFCC against Sen. Stella Oduah and others to desist from intruding into his privacy.
Justice Ekwo gave the warning on Monday during the hearing of the matter.
The judge made this known after counsel for Oduah (1st defendant), Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, and lawyer to Crystal Television Ltd (7th defendant), Ogbu Onoja, SAN, informed that moves were ongoing to resolve the matter without going through trial.
The judge then said: “Somebody has been breaching my privacy on this matter by sending me messages concerning this matter saying it is part of a concerned group.
“I will send security agencies to fish him out. You cannot be intruding into my privacy.”
Justice Ekwo, who condemned the act, said his records were public documents that could be assessed by anybody after the public laws had been complied with.
Responding, prosecuting lawyer, Hassan Liman, SAN, who appeared for the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), also condemned the act.
He said even if the person was a party in the suit, he had no right to communicate with the judge.
Earlier, upon resumed proceeding in the matter, Liman told the court that the matter was slated for formal arraignment of the defendants pursuant to the order made in the last adjourned date.
He said he was ready to proceed.
But Ikpeazu said there were applications they planned to file and that they felt discussion should be had on this with the prosecution.
Onoja, who represented the 7th defendant, also informed the court that his client had approached the anti-graft commission and paid almost 95 per cent of the money alleged in the case.
“We are waiting for the commission’s response and almost about N80 million is remaining,” he said.
Liman admitted that it was true that counsel for the 7th defendant wrote to the EFCC, seeking for the discontinuance of the matter.
“I confirm also that Mr Ikpeazu spoke to me this morning,” he said.
The lawyer, who said that the matter was filed since 2020 said though he agreed that there was reconciliation move, he however argued that the defendants must take their plea once the matter had been filed in court.
“The money we are talking about is over N7 billion,” he added, saying it was not such amount Onoja was making allusion to.
Liman said though a letter had been written, he said the commission had not even considered it, despite making the payment.
He admitted that the delay in the prosecution of the matter was not the court’s fault.
“I urge my Lord to order them to take their plea,” he prayed.
Justice Ekwo, who said he was ready for the arraignment, said it would be better to dialogue with the defendants and if that failed, the trial could commence.
He consequently adjourned the matter until June 15 for report or commencement of trial.
Recall that the EFCC had sued Oduah, former Aviation Minister, alongside Gloria Odita, Nwosu Emmanuel Nnamdi and Chukwuma Irene Chinyere.
Others include Global Offshore and Marine Ltd, Tip Top Global Resources Ltd, Crystal Television Ltd, Sobora International Ltd and others.
The senator, who currently represents Anambra North Senatorial District at the National Assembly, was scheduled to be arraigned on alleged N5 billion fraud and financial misappropriation while she served as minister during President Goodluck Jonathan government.
In the 25-count charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/316/2020, they are accused of conspiracy, money laundering and maintaining anonymous bank accounts with a commercial bank.
RSHA Elects Amaewhule As Speaker
The Rivers State House of Assembly has elected former House Leader and the lawmaker representing Obio/Apkor constituency 1, Hon. Martin Amaewhule as the speaker of the 10th Assembly.
The House also elected the lawmaker representing Gokana constituency, Dumle Mao, as Deputy Speaker.
Amaewhule was elected yesterday after the 10th Assembly was proclaimed by Governor Siminalayi Fubara through a nomination by the lawmaker representing Okrika Constituency, Linda Somiari Stalwart and seconded by Major Jack of Akuku-Toru Constituency.
The Speaker in his speech, shortly after the oath of office, promised a top class Assembly that will come up with legislations that will stand the test of time.
Amaewhule commended members for voting him and assured them of a new assembly that Rivers people will be proud of.
He, thanked Governor Fubara for proclaiming the Assembly and also the immediate past governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for his developmental strides in the state.
He also thanked the staff of the Assembly for assisting in the business of government.
Amaewhule is currently serving his fourth term as a legislator and was unanimously voted for by all members present.
The governor had earlier dissolved the 9th Assembly based on the constitutional provision as contained in the 1999 constitution as amended.
By: Ike Wigodo
Terrorism: Tinubu’s Charges Security Agencies On Synergy
President Bola Tinubu has charged security agencies in the country to share information in order to combat the negative effects of terrorism.
He said that hoarding such resources would be counter-productive in the fight against the menace.
The president stated this last Monday, during a tour of the new office of the National Security Adviser and facilities at the National Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in Abuja.
He said his administration recognised the relationship between security and economic revival, prosperity and development.
Tinubu said that terrorism is a global phenomenon that must be tackled with all resources in order to eliminate completely.
“If we as Nigerians are looking for economic revival, prosperity and development, then we have to give priority to security.
“What I have seen here is a demonstration of intelligence efforts to counter-terrorism. This must be backed by knowledge.
“Counter-terrorism that is not backed by knowledge and intelligence is not going to be of any service to any nation. We are going to work on that together.
“The effort of the entire armed forces of this country must be put together in a way that there will be one single focus on securing the country,” he said.
Tinubu, who described the tour of facilities at the new ONSA building as very important, said his administration would provide necessary support to the nation’s security architecture.
In his remarks, the NSA, retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, thanked the president for making the visit his first engagement outside the Villa.
He said: “It reinforces his commitment, dedication and inflexible rigidity to ensuring that the security misfortunes of Nigeria and by extension the sub-region are overcome within the shortest possible time.”
Monguno pledged the total commitment and dedication of ONSA to ensuring that the president realises his promises to the people on security.
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