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Ekiti Assembly Leadership Change, Rape Of Democracy – Ajulo

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A Constitutional and Human Rights lawyer, Dr Kayode Ajulo, has described the impeachment of the Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Gboyega Aribisogan, as a glaring rape of democracy and an intentional violation of the rule of law.
Ajulo, in a statement signed by him, also, joined the league of leading legal luminaries in Nigeria to condemn the recent controversies over the leadership of the Ekiti State House of Assembly.
He said that “political players in Ekiti State should not allow selfish personal interests that brewed the sad commentary coming from Ekiti State constitute a great disservice to the State’s enviable records and indelible marks of honour to national building and development of the likes of Aare Afe Babalola, Chief Wole Olanipekun, Femi Falana, Dele Adesina, Dayo Akinlaja and other eminent citizens of the State.
Recall that the Ekiti State House of Assembly had on Tuesday, 15th November, conducted an election to choose a new Speaker following the demise of the erstwhile Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Funminiyi Afuye, on October 19, 2022.
The election had two members of the Assembly contesting and one Hon. Gboyega Aribisogan won and was duly sworn-in, having polled 15 votes as against the 10 votes of the other contestant, Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba.
However, the new Speaker was reportedly impeached and suspended with six others on the 6th day after swearing-in, even before he could start acting in his new role and the candidate who had contested against him, Olubunmi Adelugba, was announced the new Speaker.
Ajulo, who hailed Aare Afe Babalola, Wole Olanipekun, Femi Falana and other notable legal professionals from the State following their collective stance on the allegedly controversial change of leadership in the Assembly, also described the event as “a glaring rape of democracy and an intentional violation of the rule of law.”
The legal luminaries from the state, which include Aare Afe Babalola, Chief Wole Olanipekun, Dele Adesina, Olu Daramola, Femi Falana, Dayo Akinlaja, and Gboyega Oyewole, had described the event as “an act of illegality”, adding that the election that produced Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba was “unconstitutional and ridiculous”
They noted that election into the position of the Speaker of House of Assembly dictates that the present occupant of the office must be accorded fair hearing before being removed from the office, saying the alleged suspension and stoppage of the salaries of the Speaker and six other members of the House were misplaced, illegal, illegitimate, null and void.
Ajulo, in the statement, described the position of these foremost lawyers as a just fight to strengthen democracy and uphold the laws of the country, saying impunity is detrimental to the development of a nation.
“ You cannot underestimate the unmatchable contributions and services of these notable men to the development of legal profession and general growth of this country. “I have had the privilege of working with almost all the 6 of them. They do not engage in frivolities and their integrity is intact.
“They possess enviable track records in the legal profession and national development that precede their names. “ All of them had, at one time or another perfectly resolved more complex national issues. So, you do not expect them to fold their arms while this is happening at the backyard.
“It may be understandable if such a scenario had happened in some of the unsettled States of the country, but it is totally unthinkable to expect such in a peaceful, sophisticated , civilized, educated, egalitarian, land that parades Professors and notable men who have contributed to the development of this country in no small measure and don’t expect a strong reaction.
“I commend these noble jurists for their collective stance on this sheer and gory impudence on the symbol of democracy in their State, Ekiti.
“Delibrate violation of the rule of law must not stand in Ekiti State or anywhere else.”
Ajulo, therefore urged other notable figures in the legal profession to join in the call to end deliberate violation of the constitution of the country.

 

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2023: BVAS Won’t Fail, INEC Assures Following Mock Accreditation

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The Chairman of the Independent National Elec-toral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has said that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, machines have never failed and will not fail Nigerians at the 2023 general elections.
Yakubu said this in Abuja on Saturday while assessing activities at polling units in the Federal Capital Territory where mock accreditation of voters was held using the BVAS machines.
“In the two polling units we have visited so far, there is no report of failure; the machines have performed optimally and this is the report we are getting so far nationwide.
“We have also made contingency arrangements like we will do on election day, that there is a spare machine in case, and in the unlikely event of a malfunction we will be able to respond and fix the machines’’, he said.
Yakubu explained that from the mock exercise witnessed, it took less than 30 seconds to accredit a voter, adding that this was the report INEC was getting from all the selected polling units nationwide.
“The speed is good and also the authentication is good.
“The BVAS has never failed anywhere,’’ he stressed.
Yakubu said also that no incident of failure had been recorded and INEC was hoping and praying, having worked very hard, that on February 25 and March 11, the machines would also perform optimally.
He assured that accreditation and electronic transmission of results would be done seamlessly during the elections.
“I would not like to comment on the Osun issue because it is a matter in court and is sub-judice.
“However, in every situation the Commission learns, carries the experience from what has happened to improve the processes for the next election.
“We have learned some lessons from what happened and one of the lessons is to be able to transmit the accreditation data,’’ he said.
Yakubu also assured on Saturday that in the forthcoming general election, INEC would transmit both the results on election day and the accreditation figures simultaneously so that the two would rhyme.
He said INEC created a new Uniform Resource Locator on its Results Viewing Portal where both the accreditation and results could be viewed.
“We are going to transmit both the accreditation figures and the results on election day”, he added.
“We are giving assurance to Nigerians that on Election Day, both the accredited data and the actual votes cast will be transmitted simultaneously and accurately,’’ the INEC boss stressed.
Yakubu said the mock exercise was organised to further test the integrity of the machines to be used on election days.
He said it needed to test the machines in the field ahead of the election bearing in mind that this was the first time of deploying the machines nationwide.
He explained that for the mock exercise, INEC identified 436 polling units nationwide on the equality of states and on the basis of two local governments per senatorial district.
Four polling units were used in each local government area where the exercise held, making a total of 16 polling units per state.

 

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Appeal Court Receives 600 Pre-Election Cases – President

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Monica Dongbam Mensem, President of the Court of Appeal, says the court has received over 600 pre-election cases.
Dongbam-Mensem spoke last Friday when Samuela Isopi, an ambassador with the European Union, led a delegation to her office in Abuja. She said the court started receiving the pre-election appeals in November 2022, noting that more were trickling in.
“The court received over 600 pre-election appeals in the 20 divisions of the court from November to date and more appeals are still being filed,” she said.
“Over 60 panels were set up in the various divisions to hear and determine all pre-election appeals filed. Mindful of the pressures under which the honourable justices are working, some experienced registrars of the court were empanelled to summarise the decisions so far made and distribute to the various divisions to avoid conflicting decisions”, she added.
While commending the delegation for the visit, Dongbam-Mensem said the work of election observers played a role in the nation’s electoral reforms.
“Pertinent to state that the role of these observer organisations has greatly impacted the resolve to review the 2010 Electoral Act. The 2022 Electoral Act has introduced laudable innovations to strengthen our democracy and ensure credible elections. The Court of Appeal has reviewed, developed and expanded the scope of working materials for judges,” she said.
She, however, said insufficient funding has affected the operations of the court. “In preparation for delivering its constitutional mandate, the court is faced with numerous challenges which include but are not limited to paucity of funds.
“To effectively manage the tribunals, deployment of ICT equipment and the need for continuous training of support staff with a view to enhancing their capacities and powers to effectively drive the electoral adjudication process.
“Permit me to state that the court is in a dilemma, we have just 21 days to the general election and the special intervention fund to conduct the election petition tribunal is yet to be released,” she said.
“It is expected that by now, provisions would have been made for the procurement of necessary materials and equipment needed for the smooth running of the various tribunals.
“Also, we ought to have organised further training for honourable justices, members of the tribunals and secretariat staff but we cannot due to paucity of funds. We are hopeful that these challenges will be soon addressed before the conduct of the general election.”

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Units Mobilisation, Key To PDP’s Victory In Rivers – Wike

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As part of measures to ensure total victory for all candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State in the forthcoming general elections, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has emphasised the need for effective mobilisation at the various units to sensitise voters on where to cast their votes.
The Governor also stated that the conduct of the election through electronic accreditation and transmission of results will check the tendencies of ballot box snatching by election riggers and called for vigilance on the part of the electorate to ensure that their votes count.
The Governor who gave the charge during the Rivers State PDP campaign rally at Akinima Town in Ahoada West LGA last Tuesday, urged the people of Ahoada West to vote massively for candidates of the PDP in Rivers State to attract more developmental projects to the area.
Governor Wike also took a swipe at the national leadership of the PDP for showing no concern to the plight of the people when  the LGA suffered a devastating flooding, stating that there was no moral justification for the national leadership of the PDP to seek the vote of the people.
Similarly, the Rivers State PDP campaign team led by the Rivers State Governor held it’s rally in Port Harcourt LGA last Wednesday. Speaking at the rally which held at the Elekahia Primary School field in Port Harcourt, Governor Wike expressed dismay over what he described as the compromising security situation in the state and accused the Rivers State Police Command of aiding instigators of electoral violence.
The Rivers State Governor urged the Police and other security agencies in the state to act statutorily,  professionally and apolitically to safeguard the state from a break down of law and order, orchestrated by some political actors in the state, noting that the Rivers State Government would not hesitate to deploy the Neighborhood Security Watch to protect the state from sliding into lawlessness.
On Thursday, the Rivers PDP campaign train moved to Degema LGA to canvass for the votes of the people. Governor Wike disclosed that his administration has executed many developmental projects in the area in appreciation of the overwhelming support of the people to his administration.
He pointed out that  Degema will experience more developmental transformation when they elect Siminialayi Fubara as the next Governor of the state, and urged the people to vote for all PDP candidates in the state in the forthcoming general elections.
Governor Wike also used the event to clarify why the Rivers State Government cancelled its earlier approval of the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium for  the use of the PDP Presidential Campaign rally, stating that the decision was to protect the facility from being vandalised.
Okrika LGA also, on Friday, hosted the Rivers PDP campaign rally. Addressing the mammoth crowd of party faithful at Comprehensive Secondary School, Ibaka  Town, Governor Wike said Okrika would have proper recompense for their mandate in terms of developmental projects when they vote for Siminialayi Fubara as the next Governor of the state and also elect other PDP candidates in the state.
The Governor expressed concern over the pains associated with the new naira re-design policy on the masses, stating that some cabal was behind the anti-people policy, and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to reconsider the policy to save Nigerians from the  stress and hardship inflicted on them.
The Rivers PDP capped its campaign rally for the week under review at Opobo/ Nkoro LGA on Saturday. Speaking at the event, Governor Wike who described Sir Siminialayi Fubara as a seasoned administrator and technocrat who will not fail Rivers people, urged the people of Opobo not to undermine the opportunity of having their son as the next Governor of Rivers State.
He therefore urged the people of Opobo to vote for Fubara and other candidates of the PDP in Rivers State.

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