The Nigeria Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (NINAS) has urged the Federal Government to suspend the 2023 general elections, citing the shortcomings of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The group, in a statement yesterday, signed by Otunba Shade Olukoya for the Ilana Oodua; Prof. Yussuf Turaki (Middle Belt); Tony Nnadi (South-East) and Dr. Rotimi Olokodana (South West), noted that the step was to discourage the continued operationalisation of the document.
It also called for a formal announcement by the Federal Government that it had received the constitutional grievances and sovereignty dispute declared by the people of South and Middle-Belt.
The group, in a five-point proposition, equally demanded an official commitment of the government to the “wholesale decommissioning and jettisoning of the 1999 Constitution as the basis of the federation, as was done by the government of apartheid-era South Africa in 1990.”
The coalition sought also for formal initiation of a time-bound transitioning process to midwife the emergence of fresh constitutional protocols by a two-stage process in which the constituent regional blocs would at the first stage, distil and ratify their various constitutions by referendums and plebiscites, and in the second stage, negotiate the terms of federating afresh as may be dictated by outcomes of the referendums and plebiscites.
NINAS equally asked for a formal invitation to the people of the South and Middle-Belt to work out and enthrone a transitional authority, “which shall specify the modalities for the transitioning process, including the composition and mandate of the transitional authority, as well as the timeframe for the transitioning and other ancillary matters.”
The statement reads: “As indicated in the five-point proposition by NINAS, the successor constitutional arrangements, dictated by the Self-Determination Right of the Peoples of Nigeria, shall be ratified by referendums and plebiscites, to be undertaken during a period of transitioning that would commence from the point at which a formal announcement is made suspending preparations for further national elections under the repudiated 1999 Constitution.
“As we prepare to commence the practical winding-up processes for, and orderly retirement of the 1999 Constitution, let us remind ourselves that everything we currently lament in Nigeria flows from the 1999 unitary constitution, whether it is the killings going on everywhere in Nigeria, the general insecurity, the seizure of all economic assets, including oil and gas, the ports and other maritime assets, solid minerals, gold and the monumental corruption we see.”
It added: “Nothing will get better in Nigeria under this unitary constitutional order, no matter who gets to power.”
“Let us also remind ourselves that whether we seek regional autonomy, resource control or outright exit from Nigeria to become an independent sovereign state, the first order of business is the decommissioning and easing out of the 1999 Constitution, then a transitioning process during which referendums, plebiscites and negotiations for fresh Protocols will be undertaken as indicated in the NINAS five-point proposition.”
The group restated that the “source from which the woes and miseries of Nigerians flow is the 1999 Unitary Constitution of Nigeria, while the life of the 1999 Constitution is renewed and reinforced once every four years by general elections.”
Sokoto Guber: PDP Loses At Tribunal
The Sokoto Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has affirmed the election of Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto as the duly elected governor of the state.
The three-man panel led by Justice Haruna Msheila in its ruling dismissed the petition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and its candidate, Saidu Umar challenging the victory of the APC and its candidate, Ahmad Aliyu in the March governorship election.
In a unanimous judgment, the Tribunal Chairman, Justice Haruna Mshelia, said the Petitioners were unable to prove the six grounds formulated in the petition.
He said the grounds bordered on alleged ineligibility for Aliyu and Gobir to contest, falsification of certificates, variation of names, election frauds and non-compliance with electoral guidelines.
Msheila said the petitioners were unable to prove the allegations beyond reasonable doubt as required by law, saying 70 per cent of exhibits were out of context because they relate to State Assembly elections conducted on the same dates.
According to him, to prove forgery two different documents of persons needed to be presented while the variation of names issues was a settled Supreme Court provision.
He said three subpoena witnesses were not tenable as they were not makers of the documents from the alleged primary school while the other 28 polling units agents testified could not identify themselves along with their roles.
The Tribunal Chairman said the alleged 138 polling units frauds were not adduced to indicate substantial non-compliance of the elections marred the election outcome.
Mshelia added that the tribunal dismissed all the preliminary objections on competency to institute the case by the respondents as the petitioners duly linked the grounds in the petition.
He dismissed the petition for lack of merit and failure to prove the allegations by the petitioner.
Tribunal Upholds Kefas’ Election As Taraba Governor
The Taraba State governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Jalingo, yesterday, upheld the election of Agbu Kefas of the Peoples Democratic Party,(PDP) as the governor of the state.
The three-man panel headed by Justice G.A Sunmonu dismissed the petition jointly filed by the New Nigerian Peoples Party, NNPP, and its governorship candidate in the March 18, 2023 election, Professor Yahaya Sani, on the grounds of lack of sufficient evidence.
NNPP, and its gubernatorial candidate, had earlier filed a petition before the tribunal seeking the cancellation of the election which they alleged was characterised by irregularities.
Another relief sought by the NNPP and its guber candidate was for the tribunal to order a fresh election in the state.
The party also alleged non-compliance with the electoral Act 2022, as a major reason for its demand for the cancellation of the election.
The party, which also alleged that the incumbent governor of the state was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes cast, earlier urged the tribunal to nullify the certificate of return issued to the governor by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Delivering judgment, the panel unanimously ruled that the petition filed by both NNPP and its gubernatorial candidate lacked merit.
The three-man panel, collectively dismissed the petition, stating that the petitioners failed to justify the relief they sought.
Elated by the judgment, the Deputy Governor, Aminu Alkali, called on the NNPP and other opposition political parties in the state to join hands with the incumbent governor to move the state forward.
Also overwhelmed by the judgment, the counsels to the PDP, applauded the panel for the judgment.
Though the counsel of the NNPP could not be reached at the time of filing this report, a chieftain of the party who spoke with The Tide source, said he was hopeful that the party will appeal the judgment.
Nigeria@63: Lawmaker Urges Patience, Says Tinubu Won’t Disappoint Nigerians
The lawmaker representing Okitipupa/Irele Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Jimi Odimayo has called on Nigerians to exercise patience with the administration of President Bola Tinubu, assuring that salvation was near.
Odimayo who gave this assurance in a statement issued through his Director of Media and Publicity, Mr Kayode Fasua, noted the apparent hardship in the land, and drew a comparison in the allegory of labour-room pains and the subsequent joy in strapping a newborn baby.
Odimayo said “We all must reflect on how we got to this sorry pass as a nation, counting from the year of our independence in 1960 till date: how democracy was aborted for many years through military interventions and how we are again back on track trying to improve on our democratic skills.
“However, in spite of various hiccups ranging from maladministration to corruption and other unpatriotic practices, we should renew hope, especially now that a good leader with verifiable antecedent in the person of President Bola Tinubu is in the driver’s seat.
“Ours can be assessed in the allegory of labour room pains that must be experienced during childbearing, before the mother beams with smiles at successful delivery; and that is what obtains now in the attempt by President Tinubu to right many wrongs and put Nigeria on the path to political and socio-economic greatness,”
While urging Nigerians to exercise patience and team up with all arms of government to achieve desired results, the lawmaker also called on political officeholders to tighten their belts and bend to work as justification to the electorate’s mandate.
According to him, the ballot box is the nemesis for all political leaders who failed in their vow to deliver the dividends of democracy.
“The last general elections held up many lessons for the political class, that unlike in the past, the level of voters’ awareness has risen stunningly in geometric proportions, as the people are mostly no longer for vote-buying and rigging, but are determined to scrutinise the qualities of candidates seeking their votes,” he stressed.
Odimayo similarly assured the people of his Okitipupa/Irele constituency and the entire Ondo State citizenry that he had designed various empowerment programmes and had stepped up various social infrastructural development lobbies, all of which will start manifesting soon.
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