The European Union (EU) has restated its commitment towards engendering and strengthening Nigeria’s democratic governance.
The EU stated this at the end of a two-day retreat for Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria, EU-SDGN, partners in Lagos, pledging to further deepen its engagement with youngsters, women, and persons with disabilities, through its partners.
Remarking further, the EU noted that while there were some positives and good achievements in the just concluded general elections, there were also some issues that needed to be addressed henceforth.
The six EU-SDGN component areas include Support to INEC; Support to the National Assembly and the Judiciary; Support to Political Parties; Support to Media; Support to Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities and Support to Civil Society Organisations.
In his remarks, the European Union’s Programme Manager for Democracy and Rule of Law, Laolu Olawumi, elucidated that the retreat considered the interventions of the partners in the last 12 months with a view to understanding what worked and what didn’t work, identified the challenges encountered, and charted better ways to address them.
Olawumi, while underlining the importance of introspection on the just concluded elections, also urged the EU-SDGN partners not to lose sight of states such as Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo who will be having elections in just over 100 days.
She stated that “Over the last 12 months, we have had an intense work plan where different members of the EU-SDGN cohort have been delivering several activities and technical support to critical stakeholders that we have jointly identified.
“The retreat, therefore, sought to see whether the interventions that we have planned for the next couple of months would help us address the challenges that we have seen in the period leading to the elections, and the immediate aftermath of the election.”
Elucidating further she pointed out that the retreat developed an opportunity for all the partners to discuss their intervention areas, the precise actions they undertook during the elections and what the cohort considers the critical issues that needed to be addressed moving forward.
“In terms of what we are doing around capacity building, one thing to really highlight is the fact that the EU-SDGN programme is Nigerian-led and is mainly implemented by civil society organizations. And that in itself, is our way of contributing and building the civil society space in Nigeria.
“How do we provide a platform with which civil society can better engage with the government and build capacity to ensure that they are focusing on the issues, and they are operating within an environment that helps them properly harness the voices of ordinary Nigerians, and better serve the needs and the will of Nigerian people?
“Within the government, we are working with the electoral management body, trying to provide technical assistance. We are also working with the judiciary through our training and our engagements with Judges, as well as other officers of the court.
“We are also working with the media to promote a conducive legal environment for media to operate and for the Broadcasting Commission to also efficiently promote pluralism in the media and civic space.
“Of course, I think it’s very important to stress here that we have Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo state elections in just over 100 days from now. And so, the priority is to build trust with the Nigerian public by ensuring that those elections are conducted in a way and manner that further instils confidence in the electoral process in Nigeria,” she added.
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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