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INEC has no power to sack me, says ex-Cross River REC

The immediate past Cross River State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr. Frankland Briyia, on Wednesday, said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) lacked powers to unilaterally sack him.

Briyia said his preliminary investigations revealed that the report that he was sacked by the commission was fake saying that he only resigned his appointment to join partisan politics and participate in the forthcoming governorship election in Bayelsa State.

Speaking at the secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Yenagoa, Briyia said he was at the party office to inform the officials that he was a registered member of the party and intended to contest the forthcoming poll.

There were reports that INEC sacked the former REC for using its premises in Cross River to declare his membership of the APC.

But Briyia said: “No, INEC did not say so. INEC never meant to say so. I officially and legally resigned my appointment and INEC will attest to that. Let me state this. The REC is nominated by the President and the President sends the nominees to the Senate.

“The Senate screens them and if they’re found worthy confirms them and sends them to the President and the President eventually gives them appointments. The moment the appointment is given to the REC and the REC does anything wrong, INEC will investigate and sends its reports and makes its recommendation of what will happen to the REC whether he will be disciplined or not to the President.

“If the President and his team actually investigate and if he sees that what the REC has done actually contravenes the code of conduct, he will send the report to the Senate. The Senate will debate it, if the two-third majority of the Senate finds what the REC wrong, the Senate will rectify it and send it back to the President.

“It thereafter the President only, can sanction the REC. I have contacted INEC headquarters and the news about my sack is fake news. INEC said they didn’t say a thing like that. I’m sure you have watched or maybe read INEC publication, you won’t find anything like sack because I resigned officially.

“My departure created a vacuum and in INEC tradition the moment there’s no REC the administrative secretary takes over, that was what INEC meant. INEC doesn’t mean that I was sacked. So, don’t misquote INEC”.

Briyia said he had mapped out robust programmes for Bayelsa adding that if he became the governor of the state he would focus on human capacity and infrastructural development.

He said the people of the state were generally unemployed lamenting that most of them could no longer go to school.

The aspirant observed that civil servants were not re Irving their full salaries while most pensioners were languishing without their pensions.

He said: “I came because the good people of Bayelsa state called me to come and contest the gubernatorial election. We have insecurity in this state and insecurity has so many factors that cause them.

“When we identify those factors, we intend that God helping us after the gubernatorial election, we are going to turn this state around for the betterment of everybody that’s living in this state, whether you are indigenes or non-indigenes.

“Some of you have traveled out of this state. Ebonyi state and some of them were created the same time with Bayelsa. if you travel to Ebonyi state you will see infrastructural development. I was in Ebonyi state in January last year and I passed through some of those states that were created the same time with Bayelsa state.

“As a matter of fact, Bayelsa state is the list developed, in terms of human capacity and infrastructural development. Bayelsa state is the smallest and wealthiest of these states. That was the reason they asked me to come and contest because they found worthy and capable of turning this state around”.

APC, Lawan urge Nigerians to be steadfast in nation building

Senate President Ahmad Lawan urged Nigerians to be steadfast in the process of nation-building, as they join the rest of the world to celebrate the Eid-el-Kabir.

Lawan in his Sallah message enjoined Nigerians to always remember their shared heritage and destiny of national greatness and be guided by the Nigerian spirit of firm confidence as they tackle the contemporary challenges of nation-building He also congratulated Muslims from Nigeria who joined their brothers and sisters in participating in the rites of the Hajj in Saudi Arabia.

Muslims, he stressed, should remember the purpose of the celebration, which is to commemorate the trials and triumph of Prophet Ibrahim.

“I urge all to take inspiration from the exemplary virtues demonstrated by Prophet Ibrahim through his sacrifice, patience, steadfastness, generosity and obedience to Allah’s command and constituted authority.”

The Senate president is currently in the Saudi Arabia on pilgrimage.

Similarly, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has asked Nigerians to shun disruptive and divisive utterances and actions emanating from some unpatriotic quarters lately.

The party in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said that in the spirit of the Sallah celebration, Nigerians should learn to exhibit the pan Nigerian spirit anywhere they find themselves.

“As we celebrate the Sallah feast with family, friends and loved ones, Muslim faithful and indeed all Nigerians are implored to show love to neighbours and cater for the less privileged around us,” he said.

He added: “In our national life, Eid ul-Adha is a reminder for us to make our individual and collective sacrifices for the well-being, unity, peace and development of our dear country, Nigeria.

“We must therefore shun the disruptive and divisive utterances and actions emanating from some unpatriotic quarters lately.

“In our private capacity, official duties, wherever we find ourselves, we must all exhibit the pan-Nigerian spirit. We should embrace our country’s diversity and harness it for good. We must see every Nigerian as a brother. We should take advantage of his strength, help him with his weakness. That is the only way we can grow as a country.”

APC fabricated lies to discredit Jonathan – Timi Frank

Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Timi Frank Saturday disclosed how the leaders of the party fabricated lies in 2015 to sabotage the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

With the rising incidence of killing, violence and insecurity nationwide, Frank disclosed that Jonathan managed security challenges in the country better than the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He made the disclosure in a statement he issued Saturday, claiming that many lies were fabricated against Jonathan that made his re-election impossible.

Frank made the call in a statement he issued yesterday, claiming that many lies were fabricated against Jonathan that made his re-election impossible.

He said unless Nigerians preferred to continue in pretence, Jonathan managed security challenge in the country well compared to what is being witnessed now under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He acknowledged that all Nigerians made a wrong choice of electing Buhari, though there were things the Jonathan administration should have done better.

He, therefore, called Nigerians “to beg former President Goodluck Jonathan for wrongly voting him out and sabotaging his government. I must confess that as an APC figure in 2015, we fabricated many lies against Jonathan.
“However, I have publicly apologised to him. Other Nigerians, especially the pastors, Imams, traditional rulers and other opinion leaders should beg for forgiveness too.

“It is obvious now that insecurity in our Nation has gone out of hand. The challenge was limited to a zone under Goodluck Jonathan but presently no state, including Buhari’s home state is secured.

“Under Jonathan, Fulani herdsmen were using stick. But they now carry AK 47. Under Jonathan, lives of Nigerians were more important despite the challenges but under Buhari, cows are more important than lives.

“There was democracy and rule of law under Jonathan. But it is now rule of force and impunity. Under Jonathan, National Assembly were active and working, but it is now a rubber stamp.

“Under Jonathan, Nigerians abroad were relocating back home but under Buhari Nigerians are running away. Under Jonathan Nigerians are respected all over the world but that has since gone under Buhari.

“Under Jonathan, Nigerians were crying in tears. But now Nigerians are crying in blood. Under Jonathan, there was freedom of speech, but that has long gone under the APC administration.

“Under Jonathan, poverty, hunger and unemployment were not as bad as it is today. Under Jonathan Nigeria was a United Nation but sentiments have taken over now. As it is now, all the institutions of government that were working well under Jonathan have all been blackmailed and politicised.”

On these grounds, Frank called on all Nigerians, who betrayed Jonathan to come out publicly and apologise to him, thereby appealing to Jonathan on behalf of Nigerians “to forgive Nigerians and bless the nation against the evils that have pervaded the land.”

He, also, urged all religious leaders, traditional rulers and all Nigerians who directly or indirectly worked against Jonathan’s government to ask for forgiveness before it is too late.

He added that Nigerians should ask the APC administration what happened to the $1 Billion ECA money removed to fight insecurity in Nigeria.

He equally charged all Nigerians “to support a peaceful revolution to take back Nigeria to the good old days from the hands “evil men in power.”

Kano APC suspends Jibrin, recommends his expulsion

The All Progressive Congress (APC) in Bewaji local government area of Kano state has suspended Abdulmumin Jibrin, a member of house of representatives.

According to a statement signed by Suleiman Gwarmai, chairman of the APC in Bebeji, the lawmaker representing Bebeji/Kiru federal constituency, Jibrin was suspended over alleged anti-party activities.

Gwarmai said the decision was arrived at following a recommendation by a seven-man committee which was constituted after the party received a petition against Jibrin.

“Upon a petition received by the APC executive committee of Bebeji Local Government, a seven-man committee was inaugurated to investigate all the issues raised by the petitioner, the statement read in part,” he said.

“After a thorough investigation, the committee submitted its report and recommendations to the Local Government executive which subsequently met and adopt as follows: That having confirmed various anti-party activities by Hon. Abdulmuminu Jibrin Kofa which was found contrary to some provisions of the party’s constitution, ranging from article 21, paragraph A (ii) (V).

“And (Vii) the executive committee adopted the report and hereby suspended Hon. Kofa with immediate effect for 12 months.

“That the executive committee also adopted the committee’s recommendation urging the state Executive committee to recommend to the national executive the immediate expulsion of Hon. Abdulmuminu Jibrin Kofa from the party for various offenses.”

APC warns Atiku against posing as shadow president

The All Progressives Congress has accused the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, of making public statements on issues constitutionally reserved for the duly elected head of government or his designees.

The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, said Atiku as a former Vice President ought to understand the workings of the government.

Likening his action to felony, the party warned him against making such utterances in the future, saying security agencies would not be prevented from doing their work irrespective of the class of anyone that committed the act.

The statement said, “As a Party, we would have thought that Alh Atiku, who in the past occupied such high office as the country’s vice president, would clearly understand the workings of government, particularly as it bothers on national security, foreign policy and our international engagement.

“We have noted Alh Atiku’s incessant habits of releasing statements on public issues as if he were an alternative President of this country and with a clear intention to undermine President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC-led government.

“In recent times, Alh Atiku has demonstrated lack of regard for the sovereignty of the office of the President and Nigerian government through condescending statements. He has made several of such statements regarding the activities of the Nigerian military, issues of national security, and international relations.

“The latest of such statements is the one he made on the emergence of Mr. Boris Johnson as Prime Minister of Britain even when our duly elected President, who has the responsibility of making an official statement on such matter, has made the position of our country known.

“We note with serious concern that Alh. Atiku has been throwing himself around as a shadow President of Nigeria. We would like to state clearly that such position could only be found under the parliamentary system; it does not exist under the Presidential system of government that we practice in Nigeria.”

The APC advised Atiku to note that being a candidate for an elective office, including that of the President, did not confer on him a sovereign status.

“Alh. Atiku’s continuous portrayal of himself as a shadow President under our system borders on felony and makes him a patent impostor.

“There can only be one democratically elected and legitimate government at a time in this country. That clearly is the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“It is important to remind Alh. Atiku that issues of national security, foreign policy and international engagements are not matters to be exploited to achieve mischievous political ends

Supreme Court sacks Adamawa APC Rep for skipping NYSC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sacked Mustapha Usman, an All Progressives Congress (APC) member of the House of Representatives, representing Yola South/Yola North/Girei Federal Constituency of Adamawa State, for forging documents and not participating in all processes leading to the election.

The five-man panel of the court, led by Justice John Okoro, ‎held that Usman did not participate in all the stages of the election.

He therefore ordered that the person who came second in the election and met the constitutional requirements, should be issued certificate of return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Supreme Court held that, besides the fact that Usman forged his credentials, he also did not participate in the National Youth Service Corps scheme.

Election Tribunal: Galadima testifies against Buhari, insists he’s still an APC member

Buba Galadima, a spokesperson for the Atiku Campaign Organisation, says he is still a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He made this statement while speaking at the presidential tribunal sitting in Abuja.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had, on Monday, presented Buba Galadima, as its witness.

During cross-examination, Wole Olanipekun, the APC’s counsel, asked Galadima why he was no longer on good terms with the president.

In response, he said he supported Buhari’s presidential ambition in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 because he believed Buhari as qualified to lead the country.

He said bad governance has made him change his mind about Buhari’s competence.

“I’m still a member of APC. I have not been sacked. We are in court. I don’t want to be subjudice,” he said, adding he is the chairman of the Reformed APC, even though it is not a registered party.

“I’m not a member of PDP, but we have a memorandum of understanding with the PDP to produce God-fearing, good and educated leader.”

PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, are challenging the February 23 election in which Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was declared winner.

Galadima was formerly an ally in the Buhari camp and was one of the nine signatories that signed the merger agreement to form the All Progressives Congress.

He was called to the witness stand at the proceedings, after Livy Uzoukwu, PDP’s lawyers, tendered some result sheets from four local government areas of Kano state.

Adams Oshiomole, the APC chairman, also attended the sitting for the first time since the sitting began on June 10.

Before now, Uche Secondus, the PDP chairman and Peter Obi, the party’s vice-presidential candidate, had attended proceedings at different times.

Atiku had tendered 26,175 exhibits against the election.

In a statement through Paul Ibe, his spokesman, Atiku had said the exhibits include result sheets from polling units, wards and local governments in eight states namely Katsina, Kebbi, Borno, Jigawa, Gombe, Bauchi, Kaduna and partly Kano.

He claims that the results show that he won the election.

Buhari held hostage as infighting rocks APC leaders – PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says there is infighting within the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the presidency.

In a statement on Saturday, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP spokesman, alleged that the infighting is about positions.

Ologbondiyan described the APC as a sanctuary of “power mongers and looters.”

“The bitter fighting and hostilities in the presidency is as a result of the confusion that had enveloped the APC and the Buhari Presidency over the brazen stealing of the presidential mandate that Nigerians freely gave to the PDP and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar in the February 23, presidential election,” he said.

“The vicious fight for positions as ‘booty’ of a stolen mandate further exposes the APC and the cabal in the Buhari Presidency as power mongers who are only interested in power grabbing, treasury looting and plundering of our national patrimony and not in the welfare of Nigerians.

“Nigerians watched as a faction within the power-grabbing APC, in a loud protest in our nation’s seat of power, Abuja, earlier in the week, listed the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, Mr. President’s cousin, Mamman Daura and his long-standing friend, Isa Funtua as members of the said cabal that have appropriated the Presidency and held President Buhari hostage.

“In a counter-protest, the supporters of the cabal had also accused a prominent APC governor of a north-west state and his ‘brother’, who is a prominent former minister and former governor of a south-south state, as those fanning the embers of discord in the presidential villa to achieve their desperate ambition for power in 2023.”

The PDP spokesman said the alleged infighting is a confirmation of Buhari’s “incompetence and leadership failure.”

“The harsh reality is that, with the situation at hand, there is no hope in sight for our nation under the APC and the Buhari presidency,” he said.

“Nevertheless, while the PDP stands with millions of Nigerians in the determination to retrieve our stolen mandate at the appropriate judicial panels, our party finds it ludicrous that in the face of herculean challenges confronting us as a nation, the concern of the APC and Buhari Presidency is the sharing of ill-gotten electoral booty.”

Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, has not commented on the claims as at of the time of filing this report.

Botched appointment: How APC chieftains moved against Adedayo

The sack of Dr. Festus Adedayo as special adviser, media and publicity to the President of the Senate came after prominent loyalists of President Muhammadu Buhari and especially the Office of Vice President Osinbajo and supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) moved against him, PRNigeria has reported.

According to the quasi-government information clearing platform, the agitation for Adedayo’s removal was spearheaded by a horde of pro-APC loyalists on various social media platforms.

They cited the columnist’s history of anti-government rhetoric, pointing out that it was inconsistent with the ideals of the ruling party.

Recall that a group known as APC stakeholders, on Thursday morning, had accused the Senate President of rewarding President Buhari’s enemies, after Lawan retained some aides of the immediate-past Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.

At a protest march, Abu Andrew, spokesperson of the group, noted that the appointments were “glaring” reward to people who have insulted Buhari.

He said: “No doubt, the appointments are glaring reward for people who have not only insulted the person of President Muhammadu Buhari, but also severally maligned the integrity of the office he occupies.”

However, it was uthoritatively gathered that the massive pressure mounted by some influential APC South West politicians, and powerful individuals in the Presidency compelled Sen. Lawan to immediately reverse the appointment of Mr. Adedayo.

A credible source in the Presidency, who observed how the high-wire intrigue played out, said that even some elected legislators of Yoruba extraction vehemently kicked against the appointment.

The source said the pressure mounted on the Senate President since Tuesday afternoon when the news of Adedayo’s appointment broke, till yesterday afternoon, was quite immense.

He added that Senator Lawan was summoned to Presidential Villa to explain why he should offer such a delicate job to someone who is known to be an irrepressible critic of Buhari and APC.

“Several forces conspired to oust Mr. Adedayo, due to his style and writing antecedent. They were not just pleased that someone who ‘mercilessly’ vilify Mr. President will be invited to come and work for a distinguished politician in the APC central government,” he said.

The source, however, said the ‘Number Three’ citizen did not consider trivial factors such as ethnicity, religion or even party affiliation before picking Adedayo.

“He (Senator Lawan) had first conducted an interview among celebrated Nigerian journalists. He did not just wake up and appoint Mr. Adedayo. One thing those who kicked against Adedayo’s nomination failed to understand is that the Senate President finally settled for Adedayo because of his track record of performance as a one-time media aide to three former governors under PDP and APC in South-East and South-West respectively.

The Senate President took into cognizance the much-espoused criteria of competence, merit and diligence to work, before picking Adedayo, an erudite journalist,” the source added.

PRNigeria

APC committee recommends expulsion of Ex-Zamfara gov, national deputy chairman from party

The five-member Disciplinary Committee set up by the All Progressives Congress (APC) has received a report and evidence of alleged anti party activities against its Deputy National Chairman (North) Lawal Shuaibu.

The Zamfara State Executive Committee of the APC submitted the report to the committee on Tuesday in Abuja.

The committee also received report against the former Governor of Zamfara, Abdulaziz Yari, on his alleged role in the 2019 electoral misfortune of the APC in the state.

The Zamfara APC Publicity Secretary, Mohammed Bakyasuwa, who led other officials of the party to the APC National Secretariat to submit the reports, made it available to journalists.

According to the report, the duo allegedly breached Article 21(a) 2014 of the APC Constitution as amended.

“We are going to prove that we are not just bragging, and we mean it, we have drawn the battle line with Yari’s group.

“We have realised that the two men were behind the misfortunes of the party, and we need to expel them to prepare for the challenges ahead,” he said.

The APC Zamfara Chairman, Surajo Garba, blamed the party’s misfortune on the action of the two men.

“By this letter and for the above reason, we the executive council of the APC in Zamfara have firmly resolved to expel Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Yari and the Deputy National Chairman (North), Lawal Shuaibu, from the party.

“The attitude and conduct of the personalities have brought APC in Zamfara to a state of disrepute and a clear flagrant disobedience to party,”he said.

NAN further reports that the five-member panel of the Supreme Court justices, in a unanimous judgement on May 25, declared that APC in Zamfara had no candidates in the 2019 general elections.

This, it explained, was because the party failed to conduct recognised primaries in accordance with party rules.

In the lead judgment by Justice Paul Galinji, the court held that all votes cast for the APC during the general elections in Zamfara were “wasted votes”.

He, therefore, declared that all political parties with the second highest votes in the elections and with the required spread, were elected to various elective positions in the state.

The APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomole, however, stressed that the Supreme Court declaration amounted to imposing total strangers on the people of Zamfara.

He said the right thing the court should have done was to call for a repeat of the elections if the party fell short of electoral laws.

(NAN)

We have no reason not to deliver , says Oshiomhole

Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says the ruling party has no reason not to deliver on its electoral promises.

Oshiomhole was speaking on Tuesday following the emergence of the party’s preferred candidates as winners of the national assembly leadership poll.

The candidates anointed by the party and President Muhammadu Buhari swept the polls which held on June 11, at the national assembly.

Ahmad Lawan, erstwhile majority leader, emerged senate president, after polling 79 votes to defeat Ali Ndume, who got 28 votes — both men are from the APC.

For the deputy senate president position, Ovie Omo-Agege, Delta-central senator, polled 68 votes to defeat Ike Ekweremadu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and immediate past occupier of the position, who had 37 votes.

In the house of representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila beat Umaru Bago, both of the APC, to emerge speaker while Idris Wase of the ruling party was elected deputy speaker of the house — unopposed.

The APC had wanted Lawan as the third citizen in 2015 but ex-Senate President Bukola Saraki manoeuvered his way and emerged as senate president.

Like Lawan, Gbajabiamila was the preferred candidate of the APC in 2015 but Yakubu Dogara, who was then of the APC, had teamed up with the PDP to defeat him.

The executive and legislative arms had a severed relationship in the 8th assembly with the presidency blaming the legislature for some of its failures.

Speaking after the polls, Oshiomhole said the party will now have no excuse not to deliver on its three cardinal promises — security, anti-corruption and improved economy.

According to him, now, “we can’t say we are being blocked by the parliament”.

He said it was the “mischief” of 2015 the party was trying to correct, “and I am happy that it has been settled.”

“Nigerians with their eyes open gave the APC the executive, they also gave us overwhelming majority in the two arms of the National Assembly,” Oshiomhole said.

“And I think in doing that they also expect that this time around, APC would have no excuse not to deliver.

“We can’t say we are being blocked by the parliament; parliament is ours and those who don’t believe in change cannot be entrusted with the challenge of managing the change.

“And that is why I said we must give the position of responsibility to those who believe in our change agenda. So today, that has been translated.

“We now have no excuse not to deliver on security, not to deliver on the economy and not to deliver on prosperity because that is what the ordinary man voted for and they are our constituents.

“You can just imagine how I feel like a mother who has been carry babies and now, we are on the verge of delivering twins in the two chambers of National Assembly.

“So we must exercise our rights with a sense of responsibility and the ultimate objective must be to what extent does these actions impact on the welfare of the Nigerian people.”

Buhari, APC, INEC urge tribunal to dismiss Atiku, PDP’s petition

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday prayed the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to dismiss petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar against his Feb.23 re-election.

Buhari made the prayer through his Counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, in a motion adopted and argued on Tuesday before Justice Mohammed Garba-led five-man panel in Abuja.

Olanipekun submitted that the petition was fundamentally defective, adding that his client won the presidential “square and clear’’.

He explained that the allegations advanced by the petitioners were mere theoretical assumptions that could not stand the test of critical legal debate.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the tribunal also entertained the president’s motion that sought to effect amendment on the identities and addresses of counsel representing him.

Another of Buhari’s application seeking to mandate the tribunal to entertain all interlocutory motions before the commencement of proper hearing of the main petition was also adopted and argued.

Similarly, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) asked the tribunal to dismiss the petition brought by PDP and Atiku against a “flawless’’ election that won by Buhari.

Mr Yunus Usman, SAN, Counsel for INEC said that the electoral commission would standby the declaration of the second respondent (Buhari) as winner of the Fbe.23 presidential election.

Usman said the petition challenging the outcome of the exercise was “misguided’’, adding that the allegations of fraud made against the electoral body was “mischievous’’.

NAN reports that INEC’s application challenging the jurisdiction and competence of the tribunal to entertain the petition.

Usman further urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition as the petitioners failed to include the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, as a co-winner in the election.

“ The failure of the PDP and Atiku to include Osinbajo’s name as party should not be overlooked because whatever affects the president affects his running mate,’’ Usman said.

NAN also reports that three other interlocutory motions filed by the All Progressive Congress were argued and dispensed with.

Chief Lateef Fagbemi, SAN,  Counsel for the APC had urged the tribunal to strike out 18 paragraphs of the petition with frivolous assumptions among other prayers.

He submitted that the competence of the petition was questionable, adding that it would soon become a mere “lame duck’’.

Meanwhile, Dr Levi Uzoukwu, SAN, Counsel for the petitioners prayed the tribunal to discountenance all the arguments canvassed by the respondents, describing INEC’s position in the matter as “unusual”.

The presiding judge, therefore, fixed June 13 for the petitioners’ motions to be heard.

Shuaibu’s call for Oshiomhole’s resignation splits APC NWC

The call by the Deputy National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, that the party’s National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, should resign due to alleged incompetence has polarised members of the party’s National Working Committee.

The demand made by Shuaibu was said to have come to some members of the NWC as a shock, while another faction in support of Shuaibu’s action was said to have expressed satisfaction with the letter.

It was gathered that the leakage of the letter to the media a few hours after it was received by Oshiomhole was said to have infuriated a faction of the NWC loyal to the former Edo State governor.

A member of the NWC, who spoke with one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity, also said it might be difficult for the party to discuss Shuaibu’s letter since it was not directed at either the party or members of its NWC.

He said if the letter had been sent to the affected NWC members, President Muhammadu Buhari, the governors elected on the platform of the party and members of its National Executive Committee, then the party might have no option but to either ask Oshiomhole to respond to issues raised in the letter or be suspended.

“But as it is, the letter was not directed at the party. It was a mere personal correspondence between the chairman and his deputy. So, it is not our business,” the source added.

But he said there were other members of the NWC that shared the views expressed by Shuaibu.

He said, “There are other members of the NWC that shared the views expressed by the deputy national chairman. As it is now, we have a polarised NWC and it is difficult for a party that is just forming a government for another term.

“Apart from that, remember that we are going into a crucial second term and we need to also go into the National Assembly with one voice, otherwise we may play into the hands of the opposition political party, the Peoples Democratic Party.

“That is the problem we are facing now. We are not sure if the disgruntled officers and members of the APC will support our choices at the National Assembly.”

In his letter calling on Oshiomhole to resign, Shuaibu had claimed that the former Edo governor lacked the composure to lead the APC.

Shuaibu said the APC under Oshiomhole had become badly fractured in virtually every constituency in the country and was fast losing the goodwill it enjoyed before Oshiomhole’s emergence.

The letter dated May 27 and delivered to Oshiomhole on May 28 was titled “APC: Its fortunes versus misfortunes, time to act.”

Shuaibu stressed that he wrote the letter in his personal capacity with very deep heart and high sense of responsibility, as a critical stakeholder in the APC project.

He said he had no choice but to write the letter after realising that the APC project “I sincerely believe in with all my heart” was failing under Oshiomhole.

The former National Secretary of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria accused Oshiomhole of running the party like his private fiefdom without recourse to party’s organs and structures.

Besides, he alleged that many decisions attributed to the NWC were personally taken by the national chairman without any formal meeting with members.

He stated, “It is expected that for every decision credited to the party, it should be the result of a meeting where resolutions are passed by the working committee.

“It is also expected that policies by the party are always alI-inclusive and never one-sided and to cap it up, no unilateral decisions should be made to represent the opinion of the National Working Committee, the National Executive Committee or even the least, the National Caucus. The national chairman cannot assume the powers of the National Working Committee.

“The last congresses in states, unfortunately, represented a complete lack of knowledge, let alone of experience on how due process in political electoral process is adhered to.

“The National Working Committee is saddled with the responsibility of recommending guidelines for every electoral process and appointing committees that will embark on conducting primary elections for every constituency and submit report and thereafter an appeal committee will attend to complaints and petitions and also submit its report to the NWC.

“The National Working Committee is then expected to perform the duty of the final adjudicatory body on each electoral matter and from there you have the final list of candidates.

“The national chairman cannot, in any circumstances be the chairman of any committee, be it screening committee or any other committee contrary to what you did. The chairman presides over the meetings of the National Working Committee in which each matter disposed of by any appeal committee is examined and decision reached.

“If the national chairman should chair any of these committees, what if there is a complaint about his own conduct, who do you send your petition to? He cannot be a judge in his own matter!”

Shuaibu said the electoral fortunes of the APC had dwindled because of the leadership style of Oshiomhole, whom he accused of conducting the NWC meetings at a private residence instead of the party’s national secretariat.

He added, “We had 23 states in 2015, but after the 2019 elections we lost seven states! We also had 60 senators in 2015 at the end of the elections; we now end up with 57 senators in 2019! You were not brought in to lose election. It is absolutely unacceptable!

“What this entails is that for any senator to become a presiding officer he needs to go and kneel down before the PDP senators and beg for support! And to make things worse, you announced that the APC will not allow any PDP senator to be appointed as committee chairman except the committees statutorily meant for the opposition members of the Senate. That is never the tradition of the legislature anywhere! The legislature is the house of collaboration and lobby and you can never succeed with hostile approach, you must lobby to seek for cooperation of members across party divides.

“If you don’t know, you have made the situation worse than it seems. Try and use your calculator and you will find that as at now, if anybody, backed by the PDP members, wants to become the Senate President, all he needs is the support of only six APC senators to win the election on the floor of the Senate! Chairman, strategies are not announced on television, they are discussed at caucuses.”

Shuaibu pointed out that the maturity exhibited throughout the 2015 political rallies by the APC, together with the aura of the party’s presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, attracted massive goodwill for the party, and the value addition to that, were unquantifiable.

These, he said, were lacking in the 2019 elections under Oshiomhole.

He stated, “Under normal circumstances, when you take over as a project manager, it is expected that you bring to bear your wealth of experience to the new job which will be seen in your capacity and capabilities as value addition.

“In a political party like the APC, you are expected to also introduce a new approach to strategies through committees that will work and submit recommendations to you towards improving on the current fortunes of the party.”

Shuaibu added, “It is my honest opinion that your ability to ensure this party flourishes is deficient as you lack the necessary composure and you also don’t possess the capabilities and the requisite experience to run a political party.

“The respect the APC was commanding among its members and sympathisers has been completely eroded, while the goodwill has equally evaporated with the type of attitude of threats to members you deploy, including senior members such as governors, senators, ministers and other government officials whose functions do not fall within your jurisdiction.

“As I know, the relationship between the party and government are cooperation and collaboration to ensure that government programmes are implemented in line with the party manifesto, but not shouting and giving marching instructions to government officials on television screens or on the pages of newspapers, and more often than not, they call your bluff and make you look helplessly unimportant in the scheme of things.”

Breaking: Speakership: Plaintiff withdraws suit against Gbajabiamila

The plaintiff in the suit filed against the eligibility of Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila to contest for the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the 9th National Assembly has withdrawn the suit.

The plaintiff, Philip Undie, in a letter titled: Authorization To File My Withdrawal From Suit Number: FHC/ABJ/CS/539/2019,” said he honourably discontinued the suit following the emergence of more facts indicating that the first defendant in the suit he filed, Gbajabiamila, has no criminal record in the United States.
Undie said in the letter dated May 27, 2019 and signed by him: “It is important I honourably discontinue the suit following the emergence of more facts indicating that the first defendant in the suit, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, was cleared of no criminal conviction in the state of Georgia or any other part of the United States of America in a letter dated August 30, 2010. I am also in possession of an order of the Federal High Court, Abuja dated May 22, 2018, delivered by Justice Abdu-Kafarati in favour of Femi Gbajabiamila.”

The plaintiff had in a suit he filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja challenged the eligibility of Gbajabiamila to contest for the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the 9th National Assembly.

Gbajabiamila is one of the leading candidates for that position since the results of the last general elections were released.
In the suit, other defendants apart from Gbajabiamila are the House of Representatives, Attorney General of the Federation and the All progressives Congress.

In the suit, Undie accused Gbajabiamila of being convicted in the state of Georgia in the US on February 26, 2007.
Apart from the letter of withdrawal, the plaintiff also in a press statement he personally signed said the suit was filed in his innocent belief that Gbajabiamila ought not to be allowed to contest for the position of speaker based on the initial information at his disposal.

Undie in the statement said: “The suit was filed in my innocent belief that the first defendant, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila ought not to be allowed to contest for the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives based on information then at my disposal that he had been criminally convicted by the Supreme Court of the State of Georgia, United States of America.
“Since the matter was filed at the Federal High Court, I have come into possession of more facts on the alleged criminal conviction which show beyond all doubt that the basis of the suit is found on misinformation and misrepresentation of facts.

“One of the documents I now have is a letter dated as far back as August 30th, 2010 issued by the State Bar of Georgia, the body involved in this matter and which regulate legal practice in Georgia, United States of America, indicating that the first defendant, Femi Gbajabiamila has no record of criminal conviction in the State of Georgia or any part of America. In fact, the letter state s categorically that Femi Gbajabiamila ”is currently an active member in good standing of the State Bar of Georgia.

“In addition, I am also in possession of a copy of decision of Federal High Court, Abuja in suit FHC/ABJ/CS/501/2015 decided by Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati in favour of Gbajabiamila on May 22,2018 as the plaintiff in that case was un able to diligently prosecute the case.

“The suit in reference was based on the same facts as the one in which I am now the plaintiff. In view of the above therefore, I which to honourably announce my decision to immediately discontinue and terminate the suit I initiated at the Federal High Court, Abuja against Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila (1st Defendant); House of Representatives (2nd Defendant); Attorney-General of the Federation (3rd Defendant); All Progressives Congress (4th Defendant).”

BREAKING: Supreme Court declares PDP candidates winners in Zamfara elections

It was a lucky day for the Peoples’Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria’s main opposition party, as the Supreme Court on Friday morning declared all its candidates winners of governorship, National Assembly, and State House of Assembly of the Zamfara state general elections.

The PDP came a distant second in all the elections which saw the All Progressives Congress (APC)  winning all the seats and even producing a governor-elect.

Moreover, PDP was not a party to the suit before the Supreme Court. It was the internal wrangling within APC over primary elections that got to the court, but in a surprising judgement, the Apex court declared the Party that came second the winners.

n th elections of all the candidates of th All Progressives Congress Zamfara State in the 2019 general election

Delivering a unanimous judgment of the five-man panel led by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, the apex court declared the the first runners-up as the winners.

Justice Paul Adamu Galinje, who read the lead judgment upheld the decision of the Sokoto Division of the Court of Appeal to the effect that the APC did not conduct any valid primary elections in the state and as such had no candidate for any of the elections in the state.

He declared that the votes polled by the APC candidates in the elections as wasted, adding that the party and the candidates with the second highest votes and the spread in the various elections were the valid winners.

All the three appeals challenging the judgment  of the Sokoto D‎ivision of the Court of Appeal were dismissed by the apex court in three judgments on Friday.

The judgments centre on the governorship, state House of Assembly and the National Assembly elections conducted in Zamfara State on February 23 and March 11, 2019.

APC candidates, including the outgoing governor of the Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, who was elected to the Senate, had won most of the offices contested for in the 2019 elections with the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidates, placing first runners-up in the polls.

Facebook’s revelation has exposed APC, Buhari – PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) of using Facebook as a platform for weakening the growth of democracy in Nigeria.

The main opposition party said Facebook’s revelation detailing the manipulations and disinformation in the 2019 general election are indications that Buhari and APC will go as far as any length to sustain power, no matter who gets hurt.

Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP’s national publicity secretary, said this in a statement.

He said Buhari and his party did not only make effort to negatively change the perception of Nigerians against Atiku Abubakar, PDP presidential candidate, but also resorted to accusing Atiku with false claims to divert attention.

He added that such effort will result in nothing, as Nigerians are more aware of the evils of the APC administration.

“Our party notes that there are more damning  revelations against the APC, not only on its rigging of the general election, but also on how it is working against our nation, which will come to light at the appropriate time,” the statement reads.

“The APC, which engaged in manipulation to foist itself, will do anything, no matter how vile, to sustain itself in office, not minding the social, economic and collateral damages such could cause our dear nation.

“It is, however, to say the least, despicable that in their desperation to hold on to power at all costs, President Buhari’s handlers and the APC engaged in this sneaky disinformation, internet lies and smear campaigns against the PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

“The Facebook’s revelation exposes how President Buhari, in his claimed integrity, allowed the enlisting of criminals, hackers and Internet fraudsters in the desperate attempt to manipulate the views of Nigerians against Atiku Abubakar.

“The scheme failed as Nigerians had already made up their minds to do away with the incompetent, deceptive, vindictive and corrupt APC administration.

“The APC has now commenced a renewed plot to engage in fabricated security accusations against the PDP and our presidential candidate in another desperate stunt to play the victim and divert attention from its endless election manipulations, all in the ill-fated attempt to demonise the PDP, hoodwink Nigerians and confer legitimacy on the outcome of the rigged election.

“Since the Facebook’s revelation, the Federal Government and the Presidency have suddenly gone dumb, having been exposed and shown in their true colours.”

Four Speakership contenders step down for Gbajabiamila

The route to the Speakership of the 9th House of Representatives seems to be getting smoother for Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Surulere, Lagos State).

Four of his co-contestants for the position have pulled out of the race for him but two others are still in the contest with him.

The battle for the Senate Presidency remains a three-way affair for Dr. Ahmad Lawan, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Danjuma Goje and a former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume.

Sources said Idris Ahmed Wase (Plateau), Abdulrazak Namdas (Adamawa), Aliyu Betara Mukhtar (Borno), and Yusuf Yakubu Buba (Borno) have stood down their ambition for Gbajabiamila who is favoured by the APC hierarchy for the job.

Umar Mohammed Bago (Niger) and John Dyegh (Benue) are yet to withdraw from the race.

Although Wase has been adopted for the office of Deputy Speaker, he faces a fresh hurdle from the camp of outgoing Speaker Yakubu Dogara which is demanding the slot for a Christian candidate.

But some members-elect are insisting that religion should not be a factor for Wase because, according to them, there had been a Christian-Christian mandate in the House in the past.

They said merit and capacity, rather than religion, should be the overriding factor.

Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the withdrawal of the four ranking Reps for Gbajabiamila is a fallout of ongoing negotiation between the Gbajabiamila camp and critical stakeholders in the chambers.

A source called it a major breakthrough in the quest to install Gbajabiamila as the next Speaker.

The four have also agreed to join forces to work for Gbajabiamila whose party (APC) has over 226 of the 360 members-elect.

Gbajabiamila, who also has associates in PDP, needs about 181 votes (if there is a full house of elected members) to emerge as Speaker.

A well-placed source said: “So far, the campaign for the office of the Speaker is taking a good shape for Gbajabiamila with the withdrawal of these four heavyweights from the race.

“We are however not taking things for granted. There is a little relief in the APC camp because the PDP appears not keen any more for the office of Speaker because of the intense lobbying from Gbajabiamila’s friends, associates and strategists.

“About three weeks to the election of principal officers, most PDP lawmakers-elect are still awaiting directive on who to vote for. Instead of losing out, some of them have decided to align with Gbajabiamila to be in good stead for the House politics.

“Notwithstanding, the campaign team of Gbajabiamila has sustained its outreach by paying more attention to his sterling legislative qualities than sentiments around his recommendation for the office by the party.

“We have spent quality time to clarify the godfather allegation being circulated to prove that Gbajabiamila is a cosmopolitan candidate.”

On Umar Mohammed Bago and John Dyegh who are still in the race, another source – a returning Rep – said: “The APC and its leaders at all levels are trying to prevail on these two candidates to step down. We will still take advantage of the next three weeks to lobby them accordingly.

“We are hopeful that they will defer to the APC and concede the slot to Gbajabiamila.

“Alternatively, if all entreaties fail, we will go ahead for outright election between Gbajabiamila and the two candidates. We know their limit but we are only appeasing them to have a united House.

“Take the case of Bago, he does not enjoy the backing of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello and all members-elect from Niger State. His best bet is to face the reality of the futility of his aspiration.

“In the case of John Dyegh, he is the only elected member of the House from Benue State. Where does he draw his electoral strength from? We cannot afford to ignore him but he has not come to terms with the pervasiveness of the ongoing intrigues in favour of Gbajabiamila.”

Responding to a question, the source admitted that although Wase has been adopted for the office of Deputy Speaker, he faces a fresh hurdle from the camp of outgoing Speaker, Yakubu Dogara which wants a Christian for the position.

“Some forces are trying to give religious colouration to the race for the office of Deputy Speaker to stop Wase but the parliament is not made for such sentiments,” he said.

“We are always broader in our perspectives. Of the 12 Speakers we have had six were Christians and six were Muslims. They all came on merit without religious imputations.

“The Deputy Speakers so far have been eight with five Muslims and three Christians without animosity. Many political factors, including zoning by parties, interplay more than ethno-religious indices. We hope those promoting religious division in the legislature will stop it.

“Wase has sacrificed by stepping down for Gbajabiamila despite the fact that he is also a strong candidate for the Speaker slot. We will not allow mischief-makers to whip up religious sentiments.”

The Nation

Gbajabiamila: I have comfortable lead to become speaker

Femi Gbajabiamila, majority leader of the house of representatives, says he has a “comfortable lead” to become speaker in the 9th assembly.

Addressing journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, Gbajabiamila who spoke through Abdulmumin Jibrin, his campaign spokesman, said his support cuts across party lines.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) which is expected to produce the next speaker had endorsed Gbajabiamila as its choice for the position.

He was also endorsed for the position in 2015 but was eventually beaten to it by Yakubu Dogara.

Gbajabiamila said he is also consulting with his colleagues in the APC who are in the race with the hope to win them over before the election.

He said: “Now we have the numbers to win the election on June 10. We have applied different kind of modules to weigh our numbers. In all the instances we have applied, we have arrived at a very comfortable number that will win us the eleciton. We have gotten all the numbers we require.

“We also have large number of members from PDP and other opposition parties. Femi and (Mohammed) Wase are foing to run all inclusive house. We believe we will get PDP and others to join the train.

“If not for the fact that we have to keep our guards, we would have asked my colelagues to go and sleep and come back in June, that victory is ours. But we are not taking anything for granted.

Jibrin said Dogara who is of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is also being lobbied to ensure a “common ground”.

According to him, “we are also lobbying the incumbent speaker. We appreciate the value he can bring on board. He has a support base and controls a particular bloc of the house.

“We have opened up negotiations with him and we are pretty sure because of the love he has for this parliament, we will reach a common ground.”

9th Assembly: APC clears Lawan, others to consult PDP colleagues

All Progressives Congress (APC) National Assembly members on Sunday got the nod to negotiate with the opposition in their bid for principal positions in the Ninth Assembly.

It is democratic to do so, the party said in a statement signed by National Publicity Secretary Lanre Issa-Onilu, who stressed that the party has nothing against its members seeking cooperation with other legislators as it is confident that they will not betray the party.

There has been reports of Senate Leader Ahmad Lawan, who has been adopted for Senate President, holding meetings with members of the opposition, but Issa-Onilu said that Lawan was adopted by the party for the position in the first place because of his ability to carry everyone along, which is needed for such a position.

He also said that the party will announce its zoning arrangement for the National Assembly leadership in the coming days.

The statement reads: “We are inundated with reports of our members in the National Assembly holding consultations with members of the opposition over the election of leaders into the Ninth National Assembly. Let me state that our party has no objection to such consultations.

“It is a normal democratic practice world over to stretch hands across the divides.  And contrary to some media reports, the actions of our members do not contradict the party’s position. APC has a comfortable majority in both chambers. Therefore; we have the number to produce the leadership.

“But democracy recognises the importance of the opposition, especially when you do not have two-third, which would be required at some very critical situations. For us as a ruling party, we understand that a stable and peaceful National Assembly would enhance our capacity to deliver more for the people of Nigeria.

“So, the party is not averse to negotiation by Senator Ahmed Lawan and our other senators-elect working to fulfil the position taken by our party.

“It is important to note that one of the key considerations for adopting him as the party’s candidate for the Senate presidency is his ability to carry everyone along. On top of that, the party has confidence in him not to compromise the progressive ideology of APC. So, clearly, Senator Ahmed Lawan is capable of conducting his negotiations within the prism of APC’s objectives.”

On zoning and the leadership of the House of Representatives, Issa-Onilu  assured Nigerians that the party will put to rest ongoing agitations and “will soon release the zoning arrangements for the principal positions of the incoming Ninth National Assembly.

“The party will also make its position clear in the coming days on the principal positions in the House of Representatives,” the party’s spokesman said.

He said that the nationwide consultations being championed by the Senate Leader and Leader of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila, who is seeking to become the Speaker of the Green Chamber, were in line with the party’s policy of inclusiveness.

According to him, national interest is guiding the ongoing rapprochement between APC’s candidates and members-elect from the opposition.

Issa-Onilu said: “It is just part of politics and in a democracy, consensus is a key element. To have a smooth sail in the National Assembly, you don’t go to the floor pretending that the opposition parties do not exist.

“Even if the opposition parties cannot defeat you, in the spirit of national interest, you must work with them. We want to run a government of inclusiveness, we need every party.

“We will support every effort by our candidates for principal offices in the Senate and the House of Representatives to carry elected members from the opposition along.

“As long as we can, we will keep our members-elect united to present common candidates to lead the National Assembly. The fact that we are saying that we can go it alone is not the same thing as saying that the opposition does not matter.

“We have the numbers to achieve our aim but we have to ensure comfort for the opposition too. Unlike in the past, what we are pushing before the 9th National Assembly is a national interest agenda.

“We want them to see our candidates within the prism of the national agenda we are pursuing.”

The Senate Leader at the weekend had audience with more senators-elect from PDP.

He was busy selling his vision of a united Ninth National Assembly.

A PDP senator-elect said: “Actually, Lawan met with us to seek our support. He tried to make a few clarifications which boosted our confidence in him.

“It is not a party affair at all. It is left to individual senator to decide who to vote for.”

Atiku denies hiring US lobbyist, blames APC for ‘fabrication’

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has denied hiring a US lobbyist firm to advance in his bid to take over power from President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement on Wednesday, Atiku, a former vice-president, said the reports of the alleged contract is a handiwork of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Atiku is at the presidential election tribunal to challenge the declaration of Buhari as winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

According to a report by Centre for Responsive Politics (CRP), Bruce Fein, former justice department official and his firm Fein & DelValle PLLC registered as foreign agents of PDP and Atiku on March 24.

The report said the firm is expected to “encourage Congress and the executive to forbear from a final declaration and recognition of Nigeria’s February 23, 209 presidential election until outstanding legal challenges to the initial government of Nigeria assertion that incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari was the victor are impartially and independently resolved by the supreme court of Nigeria without political or military influence, intimidation or manipulation.”

But in the statement issued on his behalf by Paul Ibe, his spokesman, Atiku dismissed the report as “total fabrication” by the APC, adding that it “didn’t come as a surprise to us because lying has become their only bragging rights of competence.”

The statement added that “since Atiku resisted pressure not to go to court, the APC has been behaving like a cat on hot bricks because the outcome of the 2019 elections has exposed and shattered the facade of their dubious integrity.”

“The APC are behaving nervously like a thief living under the fear of being exposed and shamed; they are now using fake news against Atiku instead of focusing on defending themselves in the court,” the statement read.

“For a party that has broken the worst record in election rigging, the APC doesn’t have any iota of integrity to be taken seriously by anybody.

“Atiku’s court case has become their biggest burden because it exposes their integrity as a sham, and instead of defending their stolen mandate in court, they are now using fake news to divert public attention from the historic electoral heist they have committed against Nigerians.

“No amount of diversionary propaganda and fake news campaign by APC will stop Atiku Abubakar from continuing the court action he started to reclaim the stolen mandate.”