Justice Ahmed Mohammed of a Federal High Court in Abuja, has struck out a suit by the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, against the Attorney-general of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), over his rumoured presidential ambition.
The order striking out the suit followed a notice of withdrawal filed by Emefiele.
The court held that Emefiele had the right to file the notice of withdrawal, adding that the notice of discontinuance was valid.
At a resumed sitting on Monday, Emefiele, through his counsel, S. Maliki, informed Justice Mohammed of the notice of discontinuance, which he said had been filed and served on the defendants in the matter.
Maliki, holding the brief of Mike Ozekhome, SAN, said they had Emefiele’s instruction to withdraw the suit.
“Pursuant to the instruction of the plaintiff (Emefiele), we filed a notice of discontinuance dated and filed May 16, 2022.
“The said notice of discontinuance was served on all the defendants on May 16, 2022, which proof of service is before your lordship,” Maliki said.
The lawyer said all the defendants except the 4th and 5th defendants filed a counter affidavit in response to the plaintiff’s amended originating summons, after the notice of withdrawal had been served on them.
He prayed the court to discontinue the suit and make an order striking it out, since parties did not join issues, citing Order 50 of the rules of the Federal High Court.
Lawyer to the 4th defendant, John Aikpokpo-Martins, however, opposed Emefiele’s withdrawal notice, and urged the court to dismiss the suit with N1.5 million cost.
But counsel to the 2nd and 3rd defendants, Chris Nevo and T. J. Adi respectively did not object to the withdrawal notice.
However, Nevo asked the court to award a N1million cost against Emefiele.
In the originating summon marked FHC/ABJ/CS/610/2022, the CBN Governor among other reliefs, prayed the court for, “A declaration that the provisions of secticn 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 (as amended), which are inconsistent with the provisions of section 137(1)(g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered), which and have been declared so by a court of competent jurisdiction cannot be relied upon by the Defendants to disqualify the plaintiff from contesting an election to the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or from contesting or participating in the parties’ primaries, or other convention or congress for election to the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, scheduled for 25th February, 2023.
A declaration that by the provisions of section 84(3) of the Electoral Act, 2022, a political party cannot by its constitution, guidelines or rules impose any criteria, measures or conditions, nomination, qualification or disqualification criteria, for any aspirant or candidate including the plaintiff herein in its primaries during its convention or congress for nomination of its candidates for election besides those criteria as prescribed under sections 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 177 and 187 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).”
Senate Wades Into CJN, S’Court Justices’ Feud
The Senate has waded into the disagreement between the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, and justices of the Supreme Court.
Fourteen aggrieved justices of the apex court had, in a widely circulated letter to the CJN, accused him of neglecting their welfare, not carrying them along in managing the affairs of the court, the deteriorating condition of services generally, and the state of the litigation department.
Speaking at plenary on Wednesday, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the legislature must be interested in what is happening in the judiciary with a view to finding solution to any of its issues.
He therefore mandated the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters led by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti) to wade into the issue.
He said: “We must have interest in what is happening in the judicial arm of government with a view to bringing solution to the issue.
“Our Standing Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters should get involved and find out what the real issue is so that the National Assembly can help out.”
Voter Registration: INEC Insists On June 30 Deadline, Denies Extension
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has denied extending the deadline of the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), describing the report that it has agreed to extend the deadline by 60 days as false.
Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Electoral Matters, Aishatu Jibril Dukku, had while briefing lawmakers told members during a plenary session on Wednesday that the Commission had agreed to extend the CVR by 60 days.
“The Committee held a meeting with INEC yesterday (Tuesday) and they agreed to extend the CVR, all our resolutions were approved,” she said.
But responding, Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, clarified that the Commission has not announced an extension of the CVR deadline.
The exercise, which was meant to end on June 30, has been greeted by calls for an extension. Also, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had stopped INEC from ending the exercise until all eligible voters had been registered.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has faulted media reports associating it with the extension of the ongoing CVR.
The House spokesperson, Benjamin Kalu, said it was untrue that the shift of the INEC voter registration was announced on the floor of the House on Wednesday.
Flanked by the chairman of the House Committee on INEC, Hajia Aisha Dukku, he said the decision on the shift is left to Prof Mahmoud Yakubu-led INEC to take.
Kalu acknowledged that INEC may not be able to adhere to the recently adopted motion of the House, which demanded an extension of the exercise by two additional months in view of the extant provision of the electoral amendment Act and the 1999 Constitution as amended.
He reiterated the resolve of the House to ensure that eligible voters are not disenfranchised in the 2023 poll.
Dukku expressed optimism that INEC would heed the call for an extension.
Fear Grips APC Over Gale Of Defections, Adamu Runs To NASS
Following the primary elections conducted in different parts of the country by political parties, a gale of defections has hit the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), causing the party serious concern.
APC national chairman, Sen Abdullahi Adamu, on Wednesday described the mass defection of members of the party to other political parties as unfortunate and worrisome.
Adamu made this comment to newsmen after he met with the APC Senate Caucus at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja.
He said: “It is an unfortunate development when it happens, but this is the season for all manner of behaviour in the political space. And Nigeria is not an exception.
“In every election year, this kind of thing gives cause for stakeholders to sneeze. This is what we are experiencing. Nigeria is no exception and the APC is no exception.
“I don’t give a damn what is happening in other parties. I care about what is happening in our party, but you and I know that it’s not just in the APC that is having this experience; because we are the ruling party, yes our problems are more prominent in the public glare.”
He stated that every responsible leader will be concerned worry about losing one member, not to talk of two. At the moment, we are faced with the stark reality of that problem and we are committed with my colleagues in the National Working Committee (NWC) to face the problems squarely and see the problems are solvable, and we will solve them,” he said.
But despite the defection the party has been suffering in recent weeks, yesterday three senators belonging to the APC resigned their membership.
The lawmakers are Senators Ahmad Babba Kaita (Katsina North), Lawal Yahaya Gumau (Bauchi South), and Francis Alimikhena (Edo North).
Whilst Babba Kaita and Alimikhena defected to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, Gumau, on the other hand, defected to the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
Two senators from Bauchi and Imo States have resigned their membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) respectively.
The lawmakers are Senator Dauda Jika – representing Bauchi Central and elected on the platform of the APC, and Senator Ezenwa Francis Onyewuchi – representing Imo East Senatorial District, who was elected on the platform of the PDP.
Both senators, in separate letters addressed to Senate President Ahmad Lawan, conveyed their decision to resign their membership of the APC and PDP, and to join the Labour Party (LP) and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), respectively.
The APC lawmaker, Dauda Jika, said he was moving to the NNPP whose ideals are in line with his political aspirations.
Onyewuchi, on his part, said defecting to Labour Party would nable him to participate fully in the “movement for a new Nigeria.”
Wednesday’s defections bring the number of APC Senators to 66, with members of the minority parties standing at 43.
The minority parties in the Senate at present are five in number as of Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022.
They are the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Young People’s Party (YPP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), and Labour Party (LP).
Meanwhile, A former Minister of Aviation and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, has raised the alarm that 22 Senators of the ruling party were at the verge of leaving the party for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over their inability to secure re-election tickets in the just-concluded APC primaries.
The Tide source reports that the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, had at separate sittings of the Houses lamented the inability of many lawmakers to secure their return tickets for the 2023 elections.
Chief Fani-Kayode, however, on Wednesday took to his verified social media handles, saying the threat by the aggrieved Senators was a serious matter and something must be done to avert the mass defection.
He added that many party members have expressed concerns over the development even as he called on the national chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, and national secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore, to quickly wade in by reaching out to the affected lawmakers.
The former Minister wrote: “22 APC Senators are threatening to decamp to PDP because they have been denied the tickets to return to the Senate.
“This is serious and something must be done to prevent it.
“Many are concerned and we urge our able National Chairman and National Secretary to reach them. We cannot afford to lose them.”
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