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AnambraDecides: Soludo, Deputy get Certificates of Return Friday

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AnambraDecides: Soludo, Deputy get Certificates of Return Friday
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AnambraDecides: Soludo, Deputy get Certificates of Return Friday

Anambra Governor-elect Professor Charles Soludo and his Deputy will be presented with Certificates of Return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday

The Certificate will be presented at the Commission’s office in Awka, the state capital.

The Commission, in a statement by National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said the Anambra poll was conducted under the most challenging circumstances.

The statement further revealed that the Commission has commenced preliminary review of the efficiency of the new technology introduced for the election

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It added: “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) met today Thursday 11th November 2021 and conducted an initial review of the Anambra Governorship election. The Commission is awaiting the reports of all officials deployed for the election for an in-depth review of the processes.

“However, after the supplementary election in Ihiala Local Government Area on Tuesday 9th November 2021 and before the process was concluded, the Commission commenced a preliminary review of the functionality of systems, particularly the newly introduced Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).

AnambraDecides: Soludo, Deputy get Certificates of Return Friday

“The system performed two functions on election day. First is the accreditation of voters using both the fingerprint and facial authentication.

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“Secondly, it snaps the polling unit level result sheets and uploads them in real-time to the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal. This aspect of the BVAS functionality performed optimally such that by the early hours of Sunday morning, results from 4,987 (88.5%) out of 5,634 polling units had been upoladed for public view.

“While still in the field, our ICT team responded to the identified glitches in the accreditation of voters and corrected them. Consequently, in the Ihiala supplementary election, there were no reported incidents of BVAS malfunction. We will carry out an in-depth examination of the system, review reports from accredited observers and the media and respond to all identified challenges ahead of the next major Area Council election in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), holding on 12th February 2021.

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“We shall again test run the system in the bye-election (s) that may arise before then. The Commission remains convinced that despite some glitches experienced in Anambra State Governorship election, the deployment of technology in elections is better than the best manual process”.

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Anambra Election: Court Dismisses Suit Challenging Soludo’s Victory

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Anambra Election: Court Dismisses Suit Challenging Soludo’s Victory
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Anambra Election: Court Dismisses Suit Challenging Soludo’s Victory

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday dismissed a suit seeking disqualification of former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo, as the governor-elect of Anambra State.

Justice Taiwo Oladipupo Taiwo in a judgment delivered in a suit instituted by two voters in Anambra, Adindu Valentine and Chukwuebuka Egwudike, described the suit as frivolous, irritating, baseless, and lacking in merit.

He accused the two plaintiffs of seeking to use the court as a tool to scuttle democracy. He awarded a punitive cost of N2 million against them to be paid to Soludo and his deputy, Onyeka Ibezim.

The plaintiffs – Adindu Valentine and Egwudike Chukwuebuka – had in the suit contended that Soludo provided false information in the affidavit (Form EC9) that he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and should be deemed unqualified to stand for election.

In the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/711/2021, the plaintiffs claimed that Soludo indicated, in the affidavit, that he was contesting the Aguata 2 Constituency seat when in fact, he was contesting the Anambra governorship seat and his deputy claimed to be contesting Awka constituency instead of Anambra deputy governorship.

Defendants in the suit are INEC, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Soludo and Ibezim.

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In their final submission, plaintiffs’ lawyers, A. O. Ijeri and Kelvin Okoko, had argued that having indicated the wrong constituency he was contesting, Soludo supplied INEC with false information, violated extant legal provisions, and ought to be disqualified.

“The constitution has made a state a constituency in relation to the governorship election, but in this case, the third defendant (Soludo) named Aguata 2 as the constituency he is contesting,” Ijeri said.

But in his judgment, Justice Taiwo held that the two plaintiffs failed woefully to establish how the alleged wrong in the constituency affected or misled them as voters and in any other capacity.

Anambra Election: Court Dismisses Suit Challenging Soludo’s Victory

The judge said that apart from the alleged wrongful disclosure of constituency, Soludo as the third defendant made it clear in other parts of his affidavit on oath that he was contesting the Anambra governorship election while Ibezim as the fourth defendant also indicated in other parts of his affidavit that he was contesting deputy governorship.

“From the processes filed in this suit and which I have carefully perused, the two plaintiffs did not convince the court on how they were misled by the information.

“No aspects of the 1999 Constitution as amended or any part of the Electoral Act 2010 compel 3rd and 4th defendants (Soludo and Ibezim) to name constituency as a condition for qualification to stand for election.

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“Lawyers as ministers in the temple of justice should always counsel politicians against rushing to court with frivolous suits that will achieve no purpose than to waste the precious time of the court.

“As a matter of fact, I am yet to come to terms with the purpose this suit is to serve. This suit is not reasonable.

“Giving false information is a criminal offence and proof of an allegation of supplying false information must be beyond a reasonable doubt.

“It is high time Nigerians come together to deepen democracy and not to use frivolous suits to stagnate it and this is in our own interest,” he said.

Justice Taiwo, who wondered the motive behind the suit, noted with dismay that apart from the alleged wrongful disclosure of constituencies, no other aspects of the laws were alleged to have been breached by Soludo and Ibezim including their educational qualifications.

Lead counsel to APGA and Soludo, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) had argued that the suit was without merit and that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear it.

Ikpeazu contended that error in an affidavit cannot be a basis to disqualify a candidate from an election, noting that the false information contemplated in Section 31 of the Electoral Act was criminal. in nature.

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He further argued that the false information claimed by the plaintiff was not among the grounds stated in the Constitution for the disqualification of a candidate.

“False information, as envisaged in section 31 of the Electoral Act is criminal in nature. Section 31 does not deal with error, but a deliberate effort to steal a match and to misrepresent.

“The contention that the 14 days required under Section 285(9) of the Constitution, should accrue from the date the first respondent (INEC) received those affidavits, has no supporting foundation,” he said.

Ikpeazu urged the court to uphold the preliminary objection filed by his clients and dismiss the case.

Lawyer to Ibezim, C. Mbaeri argued in a similar vein and prayed the court to uphold his objection and dismiss the suit.

Lawyer to INEC, Bashir Abubakar said his client did not file any process in the case and has elected to leave the decision at the discretion of the court.

Justice Taiwo however disagreed with Ikpeazu that the suit was statute barred as at the time it was filed while he also held that the court had jurisdiction to hear the case as he did.

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Anambra Election: 11 parties, candidates challenge Soludo’s victory in the tribunal

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Anambra Election: 11 parties, candidates challenge Soludo’s victory in the tribunal
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Anambra Election: 11 parties, candidates challenge Soludo’s victory in the tribunal

A total of 11 political parties and their candidates have filed petitions at the Anambra governorship election petition tribunal.

The parties and their candidates are challenging the victory of the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo.

DAILY POST gathered that the petitioners were able to beat the deadline for the expiration of the 21 days stipulated by the Electoral Act for the filing of petitions against the outcome of the Anambra state gubernatorial elections.

The political parties, between Monday and Tuesday, made the last-minute filing of their petitions as against expectations in some quarters that it would be a walkover for the Governor-elect.

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Secretary of the tribunal, Barr Surajo Gusau disclosed to our correspondent the candidates and political parties who have filed petitions.

Among the parties are; Sen Andy Uba of the All Progressive Congress (APC) who is calling for a declaration that he won a majority of the valid votes cast in the said election.

Court dismisses suit seeking Soludo’s disqualification as Anambra governor-elect

The Action Democratic Party (ADP) and its candidate, Prince Adam Ume-Ezeoke, in their petition prayed the tribunal for the nullification of the election on the grounds that the Bi-Modal Accreditation Verification System (BVAS) is not in the Electoral Act and the malfunctioning ultimately disenfranchised over 90 percent of the registered voters.

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Also, the candidate of the Accord (A), Dr. Godwin Maduka, and his party called for the nullification of the election on the ground of irregularities.

Other parties include the United Patriots, which petitioned the tribunal on the grounds of wrongful exclusion of the party name from the ballot calling for the nullification of the election as well as the Green Party and the Action People’s Party (APP) among others.

DAILY POST gathered that the three-man panel of Tribunal Judges is expected to arrive in Anambra State soon.

Special Adviser to Gov Wille Obiano on Political Matters, Barr Ifeatu Obiokoye told journalists that APGA is not losing sleep over the petitions.

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He said: “We shall take it as it comes and we are not losing sleep over those petitions and do not lose sight of the game plan of a particular party and petitioner by sponsoring some lesser political parties to go to tribunal and later withdraw from the suits and collapse into their benefactors at the end of the day.

“Our party the All Progressives Grand Alliance won the election and we are prepared to defend our mandate at the tribunal.”

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Umahi Presents 2022 Appropriation Bill Of ₦145.4bn To Ebonyi House Of Assembly

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Umahi Presents 2022 Appropriation Bill Of ₦145.4bn To Ebonyi House Of Assembly
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Umahi Presents 2022 Appropriation Bill Of ₦145.4bn To Ebonyi House Of Assembly

Governor David Umahi today presented 2022 Appropriation Bill and Budget estimates in the sum of One Hundred and Forty Five Billion, Four Hundred and Ten Million, Five Hundred and Ninety Seven Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy Three Naira, Forty Nine Kobo (N145,410,597,723.49) tagged “Budget of Latter Rain” to Ebonyi State House of Assembly Chambers, Nkaliki, Ebonyi State.

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