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APC Convention Under Threat, Aggrieved Party Members Cite Ruling Against Buni



APC Convention Under Threat, Aggrieved Party Members Cite Ruling Against Buni
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APC Convention Under Threat, Aggrieved Party Members Cite Ruling Against Buni

Crises caused by parallel state congresses of the All Progressives Congress may stall the party’s national convention scheduled for December, The PUNCH has learnt.

Aggrieved APC members in Delta, Osun, Akwa Ibom and Ekiti states, in separate interviews with The PUNCH, faulted a plan by the party’s national interim committee to recognise executive councils endorsed by incumbent governors or highest political office holders in non-APC states.

They, therefore, vowed to continue with suits filed against the national interim committees as well as the ward and local government congresses.

Some of the aggrieved members, particularly Ekiti State stakeholders, specifically referred to the Supreme Court judgment on the Ondo State governorship election, which they said declared the Mala Buni-led committee illegal.

The crises in the party worsened on Saturday when opposing groups organised parallel congresses in Ogun, Osun, Kwara, Lagos, Kano, and Akwa Ibom states. In Ekiti and Delta states, the APC chieftains boycotted congresses supervised by the teams sent by the national interim committee.

The PUNCH had on Monday reported that the interim committee planned to recognise congresses attended by incumbent governors in APC states and highest political office holders in non-APC states.

Commenting on the development, aggrieved APC members in Ekiti State said that the legal action that they instituted against conduct of the July 31 ward congresses was suffice for the local government and state congresses as something could not stand on nothing.

The aggrieved members, under the aegis of Ekiti APC Stakeholders Forum had in August, in a suit number FHC/AD/CS/21/2021 filed at the Federal High Court, Ekiti State Division, dragged the state APC to court, calling for outright annulment of the ward congresses, which they, among others, said did not hold and a declaration that the ward congresses were “unconstitutional, illegal, null and void”.

The Secretary to the forum, Femi Adeleye, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said the national caretaker committee was not recognised by law.

Buni’s committee not recognised by law, its activities will be declared illegal – Ekiti group

He, therefore, expressed hope that the court would declare all its activities including ward, local government and state congresses illegal.

Asked whether the stakeholders would go to court to stop the party’s national convention, Adeleye said the suit already filed by the group against the national interim committee was all-encompassing.

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He stated, “You cannot build something on nothing. What would bring about state congress would be from ward congress to local government congress and then state congress, nothing was done in the ward, nothing was done in the local, so where did they derive the state?

“That is why we are in court, we went to court to say no ward congress was held. We don’t need to go to court again over the exercise, which was a waste of time, we are already in court and the court is all-encompassing.

“Even the national caretaker is not recognised by law. When the court decides, all they have done will become a nullity.

“The aggrieved party members had already gone to court on the ward congress issue and joined Mai Buni alongside. The people that went to court are those that obtained forms and wanted to contest from their various wards but were not allowed to contest.

“Among others, they are in court that the national caretaker committee based on the Supreme Court pronouncement regarding Ondo State governorship election. They are in court to say that the national caretaker committee being there is illegal since it is not in the APC constitution.

“They are saying that the APC constitution is very clear that you cannot be in executive position and hold party position. As governor of Yobe State, the court says that he cannot be in the party executive. One must go for the other,” he said.

Although there was no parallel congress in the state, Paul Omotoso emerged the chairman at the congress attended by the state Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, but boycotted by party chieftains including a presidential aide, Babafemi Ojudu and Senator Adedayo Adeyeye.

Keyamo-led group heads for appeal court

In Delta State, a group in the APC led by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN, who is also the chairman of the party’s leaders’ council, said it would proceed to the Court of Appeal to challenge the judgment a Federal High Court, Asaba.

The APC Secretary Delta North, Mr Victor Sorokwu, in an interview with The PUNCH, said, “We are planning to appeal the case as the court declared on Thursday last week that it had no jurisdiction to entertain the matter, adding that the case was an internal affair of the party

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The group had taken the Mala Buni-led caretaker committee to the Federal High Court over the conduct of the party’s congresses in the state. It said it was not part of what it called the kangaroo congresses organised by a group loyal to the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Omo-Agege, on Saturday.

Sorokwu warned the national interim committee against recognising the congress organized by the Omo-Agege group. He said, “For us in Delta, the issues surrounding the congresses in Delta are still as they were unaddressed.” According to him, leaders of the party have agreed on consensus executive councils from ward to the state levels.

He stated, “We would not recognise any other executives other than the consensus executives put together by the leaders and stakeholders. We have already in court against Buni -led caretaker committee after series of petitions.”

Asked if his group would approach court to seek nullification of the Osun state APC congress, Kolapo Alimi, the Legal Adviser of The Osun Progressives, a faction within Osun APC enjoying the backing of Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola, explained that the only case instituted by the group was against the ward congress.

He said the faction had challenged the ward congress in a suit FHC/Os/cs/38/21 pending before an Osogbo Federal High Court, expressing confidence that, if the group secured victory in the matter, its local and state congress would stand.

Alimi said, “We are already in court in respect of our Ward congress. We are not challenging anything relating to the national convention. If we win that case, technically, our local government and state congress will stand.”

National body should expect death of APC in Akwa Ibom, if its decision is not the best –Ewang
On his part, an APC chieftain in Akwa Ibom State and former military administrator of Ogun and Rivers states, Capt Sam Ewang (retd.), warned that the party would die in the state if best decisions were not taken.

He stated, “They are many ways of doing things and whatever the national body chooses to do should be the best and if not the best, they should expect the death of the party in the state. What I am trying to do is for the party to win elections in the state.

“As the APC Elders’ Forum chairman in the state, I said from the beginning that whatever decision we take should come from the elders’ forum at every level. If it is at the ward, the ward elders should produce the results.

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“However, if this is at variance with what the national body said, the party should take responsibility. But I believe that the party will not make that mistake. They should listen to elders of the party in the state. They must listen to elders of the party in Akwa Ibom State. I am the chairman of the Elders Forum and what the elders have said is what I am standing for.”

Stakeholders will decide our next line of action – Kwara APC faction
The Kwara State faction of the APC loyal to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said it would submit the list of its officers to the party headquarters on Monday or Tuesday.

The Vice Chairman of the faction, Chief Sunday Oyebiyi told The PUNCH correspondent that “the report of our congress will be submitted to the national secretariat of the party tomorrow. I don’t think the party will reject the report of the 22 or 23 states where parallel congress was held.

Asked on the next line of action that the faction would take should if its list of executive is rejected, Oyebiyi said, “If such happens, the stakeholders would meet and decide the next line of action. “

We carried national secretariat along in our congress – Lagos4Lagos

A group within the Lagos chapter of the APC Congress, theLagos4Lagos said it carried the national secretariat of the party along and it was aware of its recently concluded state congress.

The spokesman for the group, Mr Seun Soyinka, said this on Monday, in a chat with one of our correspondents on the phone.

He said, “In fact, everybody is aware of it. Anybody that is saying there was no parallel congress in Lagos State is just deceiving himself. Parallel congresses were held everywhere and everybody knows. I am sure the national body will settle what is going on.”

Soyinka added that the Lagos4Lagos congress reflected the wishes of the people as opposed to imposition of leaders. Also the faction chairman of the APC in the state, Sunday Ajayi, who spoke with one of our correspondents, also said the national headquarters would not allow the group to leave the party.

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Anambra Election: Court Dismisses Suit Challenging Soludo’s Victory




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




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




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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