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Candidates’ Swap: INEC Advises Agrieved Aspirants To Go To Court 

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has advised aspirants of different political parties who felt marginalised during the just-concluded primaries to approach any Federal High Court for redress.
INEC’s National Commissioner of Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, who appeared on a television programme on Monday morning, gave the advice while answering questions on the fate of Senate President, Ahmad Lawan of Yobe North Senatorial District and immediate past Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa North West Senatorial District in the 2023 elections.
Recall that while Senator Lawan was battling for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential ticket, Bashir Sheriff Machina was declared the winner of the Yobe North Senatorial District primary election.
However, Machina has threatened to go to court to reclaim his mandate as the APC sent the name of Lawan to the electoral body for clearance.
Recall also that Akpabio had won the re-run initially won by Obongemem Ekperikpe Ekpo who reliable sources confided in The Tide source had withdrawn for Akpabio in line with the provision of the Electoral Act, 2022.
However, Okoye said he had not come across the names of candidates submitted by political parties, though viral report has it that the APC at national level had replaced the name of Machina with that of Lawan.
From INEC’s explanation, Lawan or any individual in his position is left at the mercy of the aspirants who have been legally and constitutionally nominated by their political parties.
Okoye said that the Commission monitored and has the reports of all the senatorial and House of Representatives primaries, adding that properly nominated candidates must write to INEC with a sworn affidavit, asking for a fresh primary, which would be conducted within 14 days before a replacement can be made.
He further advised Machina and others whose mandates have been taken from them to approach a well-constituted court of law to seek redress since INEC already has the reports from the primaries.
“I completely agree with you that someone who has not contested party’s primary should not be in a position to be nominated as party’s candidate,” Okoye said.
“But now the Independent National Electoral Commission is not in a position as at now to make a determination in relation to what you’re saying or to make a determination in relation to whose name was submitted by a political party.
“The Commission monitored the primaries of different political parties. Their senatorial and House of Representatives primaries and we have our reports. So if somebody emerged from the party primary and someone else’s name is submitted, it is the duty of that particular individual to utilise Section 285 of the Constitution, Section 84 and 29 of the Electoral Act to seek redress in a constituted court of law.
“Moreover, what the law provides is that at the end of this nomination process, if any of the candidates that have been properly and constitutional nominated withdraws in writing and sworn affidavit that the ‘political party that nominated me must and shall conduct fresh primaries within the period of 14 days and then make such replacement.’
“Then the person must do this through a letter submitted to the political party that nominated him with an affidavit indicating that he or she has voluntarily withdrawn. So that is the state of the law as at today,” he stated.
Section 84(14) of Electoral Act, 2022 says Notwithstanding the provisions of this Act or rules of a political party, an aspirant who complains that any of the provisions of this Act and the guidelines of a political party have not been complied with in the selection or nomination of a candidate of a political party for election, may apply to the Federal High Court for redress.
But, the caveat for candidates is enshrined in 84(13) of the Act which stipulates Where a political party fails to comply with the provisions of this Act in the conduct of its primaries, its candidate for election shall not be included in the election for the particular position in issue.

 

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2023: ‘Unknown Persons’ Stole My Academic Certificates, Tinubu Tells INEC

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The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has told the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that his academic certificates were stolen by unknown persons while he was on self exile.
Tinubu, a former Lagos State Governor, was one of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) Chieftains who fled the country under the regime of the late General Sani Abacha.
Abacha had clamped down on academics, activists and other technocrats opposed to his regime.
In his sworn affidavit in support of his nomination form for the office of the president, Tinubu said he “went on self exile from October 1994 to October 1999 (and) when I returned and discovered that my property including all the documents relating to my qualification and my certificates in respect of paragraph 3 above were looted by unknown persons.”
While Tinubu skipped information regarding his primary and secondary education in the INEC form, he, however, said he attended University of Chicago between 1972 and 1976, where he obtained B.Sc in Economics.
He also said he had B.Sc in Business and Administration, as well as certificate in Public Account.
Tinubu’s latest claims appear to contradict his previous election submissions, especially in 1999, when he ran and won the Lagos State governorship election.
He had said then that he attended St Paul Children’s Home School, Ibadan, between 1958 and 1964; while his secondary education was at Government College Ibadan (GCI), between 1965 and 1968.
Following a backlash, the former governor withheld his primary and secondary schools academic records when he recontested in 2003.
He had claimed that from Ibadan, he proceed to Richard Daley College, Chicago, from 1969 to 1971.
He finally said he attended both Chicago State University and the University of Chicago.
All the submissions were, however, challenged as fraudulent by a prominent Nigerian lawyer, late Gani Fawehinmi.
Fawehinmi, who argued the matter up to the Supreme Court, which dismissed the case on technical grounds.
In his forms, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, presented the Master’s degree he obtained in 2021, as his highest educational qualification.

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PDP Chieftain Hails Aduda’s Emergence As Senate Minority Whip

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A chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Honourable Hellen Taiwo-Adebakin, has congratulated Senator Philip Tanimu Aduda on his emergence  as Senate Minority Whip
Adebakin, while rejoicing with the Senator said, Aduda’s elevation was a great honour for the good people of the FCT that he represents, who daily yearn for effective inclusion in the affairs of Nigeria.
Hon Adebakin, Secretary of the former and current ex-National ex-officio members of the PDP also described the new feat attained by the Senator as a product of loyalty and consistency to the PDP.
“I am using this opportunity to rejoice with one of our leaders in PDP, Senator Philip Aduda over his emergence as the Senate Minority Whip. Your elevation to this enviable position was a product of hard work, commitment to legislative duties and loyalty to the party. I pray to God Almighty to continue to guide as you assume this position,” Adebakin said.
She, therefore, urged him to continue to be a good ambassador of the party, stressing that the Senator will move to a higher position in the Red Chamber when the PDP returns to power at the centre in 2023.

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Senate Lauds Gbajabiamila’s House Leadership As Speaker Turns 60

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The Senate has lauded House of Representatives’ Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila on his 60th birthday.
The Senate gave the commendation in a statement by its spokesman and Chairman, Media and Public Affairs Committee, Senator Ajibola Basiru in Abuja.
The statement reads: “The upper legislative chamber, Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria wishes to congratulate an outstanding achiever, an astute legal light, a man of exemplary social standing and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Right Honorable Olufemi Hakeem Gbajabiamila on his 60th birthday.
“Achieving this major milestone – a perfect 10, six times, over which you have attained calls for recognition and celebration; especially having achieved so much for yourself, the society and the nation.
“The Senate recognises you as a man of good upbringing and a well-bred personality who had traversed the universe in search of education and had achieved so much in your chosen legal career before making outstanding pursuits in legislative politics.
“Your services as an extraordinary lawmaker have been impeccable rising from being a member of the House of Representatives to becoming the minority leader, majority leader and then holding the prestigious position of the Speaker of the elite Assembly”.
“Your being one of the two longest-serving members of the House of Representatives also calls for all accolades that can be showered on you today.
“You have surely had many adventures in life but we still see you travelling farther to further stabilise the Nation’s polity and we pray for long life and good health for you as all things get better with age for you.
“While we rejoice with you, we hope you will have an amazing birthday. Congratulations!”

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