Proceeding at the Kano State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal took a fresh dimension, yesterday, as Kano State Governor, Abba Kabiru Yusuf, closed his case with a single witness against the earlier number of witnesses listed.
Recall that the second and third respondents, the governor and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), listed 450 witnesses before the tribunal to defend their victory against the petitioner, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The petitioner is challenging the first respondent, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for declaring Yusuf as the winner of the March 18, 2023, governorship poll in the state.
The APC is asking the tribunal to overturn the victory of Yusuf, because he was not a duly registered member of the NNPP as his name was not in the NNPP membership register submitted to INEC before the election.
At the resumption of tribunal yesterday, Yusuf’s witness, who is the Secretary to State Government (SSG), Dr. Abdullahi Baffa Bichi, claimed that the governor is a bonafide member of the party.
Earlier, counsel to the governor, R.A Lawal (SAN) presented the evidence the witness deposited on oath, where the witness declared that Yusuf won the governorship election, having polled 1,019,602 votes against his closest rival, Dr. Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna of All Progressive Congress (APC) who scored 890,705 votes.
“The second respondent is a bonafide member of the NNPP with registration number: NNPP/HQ/KN/GWL/DS/001. The membership card was issued by the national body of the NNPP through the state chapter via the local council chapter through the ward chapter which was signed by the national and ward chairmen,” Bichi said.
During the cross-examination, the counsel to the petitioner, Offiong Offiong (SAN) challenged the witness to confirm before the court that he acted as State Returning Agent for the second (Yusuf) and third (NNPP) respondents during the state collation at INEC headquarters, Kano.
Offiong also asked the witness to confirm the pictures of the NNPP party agents on the documents presented before the court.
Responding to Offiong’s questions, the witness, Bichi disclosed that the rules and regulations of the election do not require the list to have pictures but rather a photo ID pursuant to Section 9 Sub C of the Electoral Act.
“I acted as returning agent for the second and third respondents, at the state headquarters of INEC, and not at the local council. State Returning Agents of INEC collated the results from all the local councils at the state coalition centres.
“As a State Collation Agent, I received the summaries that were read by the State Returning Agent of INEC Gubernatorial Election. The results are only relevant to me as agent of the party if and when the state returning agent of INEC had accepted them as the full reflection of the result of the gubernatorial election of that particular local council.
NEDC Distributes Palliatives To People With Disabilities In Borno
The North East Development Commission (NEDC) has commenced distribution of palliatives to people living with disability in Borno State.
During the exercise on Saturday in Maiduguri Metropolitan Council, the Managing Director of the Commission, Mr Mohammed Alkali, said the gesture was in line with the commission’s mandate.
Alkali, who was represented by the NEDC Coordinator for Borno, Mr Mohammed Umaru, said the exercise started with the people with disability in Maiduguri metropolitant and would be extended to their members in the 26 LGAs of the state.
“What we are doing here today will also be done in remaining 26 LGAs of Borno.
“It has also commenced or has been done in other north east states as part of measures to ensure that everyone is given a sense of belonging in line with the NEDC mandate”, he said.
Responding, the Chairman of people living with disability in Borno, Mallam Mohammed Abubakar, thanked the commission for the gesture and assured of the leadership’s commitment to ensure fairness in sharing the 50 bags of rice and 50 cartons of spaghetti to its members in the metropolis.
Abubakar urged other organisations to emulate the gesture by the commission in reaching out to vulnerable groups in their support to victims of insurgency at this critical period.
Tribunal Upholds Gov Alia’s Election
The Benue State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Makurdi on Saturday upheld the victory of Governor Hyacinth Alia of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 18 Governorship Election.
Delivering the judgment, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Ibrahim Karaye, held that the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to entertain pre election issues raised by the petitioners, Titus Uba and PDP.
Karaye, who read the unanimous judgment, stated that only the Federal High Court had the exclusive jurisdiction to entertain issues bordering on pre-election matters.
He further said the petitioners’ case was also an abuse of court processes because the same case was filed by the petitioners before the Federal High Court Abuja Division and its judgment was not challenged by the petitioners.
He said the petitioners lacked locus standi to challenge the nomination of the 2nd and 3rd respondents by the 4th respondent since they were not members of the 4th respondent.
Justice Karaye further said that the petitioners failed to prove their allegations of forgery against the 3rd respondent before the tribunal.
He said the 2nd and 3rd respondents were qualified to contest the March 18 Governorship Election and therefore, dismissed the case.
The petitioners, Titus Uba and the PDP, had dragged the respondents, INEC, Hyacinth Alia, Dr Sam Ode, and the APC before the tribunal, challenging their declaration by the INEC.
The petitioners argued that the 2nd and 3rd respondents, Gov Alia and Dr Ode, were at the time of contesting the election, not qualified to contest the March 18 Governorship Election.
They averred that the 4th respondent – the APC – did not follow the provisions of the law in the nomination of the governorship and deputy governorship candidates.
They also alleged that the 3rd respondent had presented a forged certificate to the 1st respondent, INEC, therefore, should be disqualified.
They therefore, prayed among other things, for the nullification of their election and declare the petitioners as winners of the election, having scored second highest lawful votes.
They also contended that having not qualified to contest the election, their votes should be declared invalid and certificates earlier issued to them by INEC be withdrawn.
The Tide’s source reports that the petitioners in the suit did not challenge the result of the March 18 Benue Governorship Election but qualifications of the candidates.
However, the respondents in their counter arguments, urged the tribunal to dismiss the suit in its entirety as it was an abuse of court processes.
The respondents stated that the Federal High Court Abuja Division, had before the election, delivered judgment on the same matter which was filed by the petitioners but they did not appeal the judgment till date.
They also said the issues raised were all pre election matter and only the Federal High Court had the exclusive jurisdiction to entertain same.
The 2nd and 3rd respondents clearly stated that since the prayers sought by the petitioners were all pre-election matters, the petitioners case was status bar and should be struck out.
They said the petitioners lacked locus standing to challenge the nomination of candidates of other political parties as they were mere meddlesome interlopers.
PDP Chieftain Makes Case For Culture, Tradition Maintenance
A Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State, Prince Dotun Babayemi, has called on traditional rulers and other relevant stakeholders not to allow culture and traditions to go into extinction.
Babayemi gave the advice in Osogbo on Saturday to commemorate the Olojo festival celebration slated to hold between Septwmber 29 and October 2 in Ile-Ife.
The Tide’s source reports that Olojo festival is an ancient festival aimed at celebrating the remembrance of “Ogun”, god of iron, who is believed to be the first son of Oduduwa, progenitor of the Yoruba people.
Babayemi said relevant stakeholders in Yoruba land should rise up to rescue the culture and traditions as well as the language of the race from going into extinction.
“We have to go back to the days of yore because our known valued ethos and mores are fast ebbing.
“Sadly, these are already taking tolls on our value system as reflected in the moral decadence pervading our society today.
“It is sad that gradually our culture is being submerged by modernity/ civilisation and this portends a great danger for the future of the culture and traditions of Yoruba race.
“Unless everyone rises up to rescue this avoidable cultural eclipse, the future of our culture and traditions will be in jeopardy”, he said.
Babayemi, who is also a former PDP governorship aspirant in the state, congratulated the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja ll, sons and daughters of Ile-Ife across the world on the celebration of the Olojo festival.
He said the constant celebration of the festival would not make the coming generations to lose touch with the history of the race, thereby rekindling cultural renaissance.
“I want to sincerely congratulate our highly revered traditional ruler of Ile-Ife, Ooni Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja ll, and the good people of the ancient town home and abroad on the celebration of Olojo Festival.
“Sincerely speaking, unless we sustain the tempo of celebrating our culture in Yoruba land in the challenging face of modernity/civilisation, coming generations will lose touch with our history.
“Moreso, we are blessed with relics, artefacts and other cultural events worth celebrating”, he said.
The party stalwart urged custodians of Yoruba cultures and traditions to ensure cultural engagements that would continually ingrain the needed values in the subconscious of the younger generations.
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