Senator Ogembe Hails Appeal Court’s Judgment On Ohiare’s Appeal

The senator representing Kogi Central Senatoral district, Senator Ahmed Ogembe has hailed the judgment of the appellate court seating in Abuja for throwing out Mohammed Ohiare’s appeal challenging his victory at the election petition tribunal.

The senator made the statement through his media aide on Saturday in Abuja, describing the ruling as a victory for democracy and his people.

“It is a great day and I am extremely elated. I want to appreciate the wisdom, courage and doggedness of the appellate court Judges in standing by the truth.

“Today, the mandate of our people has been validated and we give glory to God. it is a victory for democracy and for the people of Kogi central senatoral district,” Ogembe said.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja had earlier affirmed the victory of Senator Ogembe at the tribunal which upheld his election.

In a unanimous decision on Saturday, the three-man panel that sat over the appeal brought before it by Senator Mohammed Ohiare, held that the petitioner was not validly nominated by his party and as such could not claim to have been wrongfully excluded in the said fresh election as argued by his counsel.

The court, therefore, dismissed the appeal for lack of merit and upheld the lower court ruling in favour of the respondent.

Ogembe, however, reassured his people of his commitment and sincere determination to give them quality representation that they deserve, urging them to continue to stand by him.

“We will continue to do our best to ensure that the quality representation that our people deserve do not elude them.

“Am appealing to senator ohiare to take the court judgement in good faith, because he’s our brother.

“I am also appealing to our people to continually stand by us as they have always been while the tussle lasted”. the senator said.

He also thanked his associates and his party leaders for been supportive all through the trying time, promising never to let them down.

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As The Nyakos And Fintiri Appear Before Abuja Federal High Courts By Babayola Toungo

The former governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, and his son, Abdul-aziz, are currently facing trial at a Federal High Court in Abuja for different cases of alleged corruption.

The Nyakos and others are standing trial in a 37-count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office and money laundering to the tune of N29 billion preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as they are alleged to have at various times between 2011 and 2013, used five companies – Blue Opal Nigeria limited, Sebore Farms & Extension Limited, Pagoda Fortunes Limited, Towers Assets Management Limited and Crust Energy Limited to commit the alleged fraud.

As their trial continued, former acting governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri was also arraigned before an Abuja High Court on similar but different charges.

Mr. Fintiri was last month arraigned by the EFCC on a five-count charge bordering on money laundering.

He was said to have defrauded the Adamawa government to the tune of N970 million and 4.8 million dollars when he was the governor of the state for three months.

As is to be expected, each of the cases has been unique in hearing and other processes that will lead to the determination of the case.

In the case involving Abdulaziz Nyako, the court last month, ordered the EFCC to pay the sum of N12.5 million being exemplary damages in favour of the senator for unlawful freezing of his account and illegal detention.

This is because the judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, held while delivering judgment in the fundamental rights enforcement suit, that Senator Nyako, was detained in the custody of the commission in excess of the period prescribed by law.

The court in the same judgment also held that declaring the younger Nyako ‘wanted’ without evidence of crime is tantamount to a breach of his fundamental human rights by the EFCC.

Justice Evoh Chukwu of the Federal High Court Abuja in a similar vein blamed the EFCC for delaying judgment on former governor Nyako’s case.

This was after the counsel to Nyako, Yakubu Maikyau said they needed to study a document tendered by the EFCC counsel because it was voluminous before going on with the cross-examination which justice Chukwu sustained explaining that the document should have been served to Nyako’s counsel, Maikyau long before now, adding that the fresh document amounts to delay of judgment.

But before the conclusion of the case, Justice Chukwu who was handling the trial of the former Adamawa State governor and his two children as well as other major cases like the trial of former officials of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Sani Lulu, Taiwo Ogunjobi and others died.

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, then re-assigned the case to Justice Okon Abang following the death of Chukwu in June.

The case was initially scheduled to commence afresh by way of re-arraignment on July 7. However, the court could not sit due to the extension of the Eid-el-Fitri holiday announced by the Federal Government on July 5, further delaying the case as the EFCC will now have to re-arraign the former governor and his son before Justice Okon Abang on September 12, 2016.

Even as the matter has dragged due to no fault of the accused persons, it is pertinent to point out that the delay in dispensing with the case, which the late judge complained about is set to further aggravate with the processes, as the new judge handling the case needs time to appraise himself with the facts of the matter.

But of serious concern is another coincidence, having to do with the fact that the wife of the former governor, who is a step mother to the other accused person, who are both being arraigned, is also a judge in a federal High Court in Abuja.

Previous cases that are similar in nature have raised concerns in the past and it will not be out of place to ask certain questions if only to ensure a fulfillment of a vital requirement in the dispensation of justice, which is seeing that justice is not only done but seemed to be done.

Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last governorship election in Rivers State, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, not long ago raised an issue out of a similar coincidence when the wife of a former governor of the state, Justice Mary Odili, who is believed to be close to Governor Nyesom Wike, a party in a matter that went to the Supreme Court, was serving as a judge when the apex court delivered its judgment.

Peterside said “credible information” confirmed that Wike had met with the Supreme Court justices that sat on the matter at different places before the judgment was delivered stressing that Wike himself confirmed during his thanksgiving service that former governor of the state, Dr. Peter Odili, and his wife, Mary (a justice of the Supreme Court), were his advisers.

He said, “Despite my acceptance and temperate public comments on the verdict of the Supreme Court on January 27, 2016, Wike, by his unguarded utterance last Sunday, seems to give credence to the pervading doubt being expressed on the judgment in public space especially in the media”.

“For the record, in his speech at the church service, Wike probably forgot that he was on live telecast when he stated: ‘Let me thank our former governor, Dr. Peter Odili (husband of Supreme Court Justice, Mary Odili). He will call me midnight to tell me what to do….he will say go so so place.” I took all his advice, and here we are today.”

Though Wike reacted by saying Peterside was crying wolf and trying to incite President Muhammadu Buhari and the military against the governor and the people of the state, the point made by Peterside cannot be waved aside.

Parties usually feel uncomfortable if they notice any development that would erode their confidence in the impartiality of the courts and the court, when such issues are raised usually obliges in order to give a sense of justice to all.

It is to avoid such accusations and doubts in the judicial system that it becomes imperative to point out that having both Nyako and his son, tried before an Abuja Federal High Court when a member of their family is a judge within the same precinct should call for concern.

Not only that, but there is also the need to draw attention to the case of the former acting governor, Fintiri, coming in an Abuja Federal High Court for the same reason.

Fintiri it was who played a major role as speaker of the Adamawa State House of Assembly that led to the impeachment of Nyako in 2014.

If the coincidence in the case of Nyako and his son can be ignored on the basis that the facts of the case would speak for itself, that of Fintiri should bother any unbiased mind due to the no love lost relationship between him and members of the Nyako family.

It would therefore not be out of place to allay the fears of those who for good reasons harbor such concerns in order to deepen the faith of the citizenry in the judiciary.
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What International And Local Election Monitors As Well As The Courts Say About Akwa Ibom 2015 Governorship Poll

REPORTS OF INTERNATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTION MONITORS:

THE US GOVERNMENT: “We have seen the reports of violence and irregularities, particularly in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states. We hereby call on aggrieved parties to pursue their grievances peacefully in the judicial arena.”

THE EUROPEAN UNION: “The elections on 11 April 2015 were … marred by systemic weaknesses, misuse of incumbency, use of violence, and an increasingly pressured environment for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), especially in the south. The election day process appeared to be overall more efficient, however procedural shortcomings were prevalent and incidents of violence and interference were evident, especially in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states….Incidents of violence and interference were most pronounced in Rivers and Akwa Ibom…. On 12 April, INEC referred to “66 reports of violent incidents, targeting polling units, INEC officials, voters and election materials in 19 states in all geopolitical zones except for the North East.  Problems were most pronounced in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states where there are multiple credible reports of violence and interference, which warrant further investigation.”

NIGERIAN CIVIL SOCIETY:   “Information obtained from our networks of field observers and partners indicate the following: Numerous cases of electoral misconduct at polling units – 10 reports in Akwa Ibom. [There were] killings in Rivers State where seven people (including a police officer) were killed and in Akwa Ibom where three people were killed. The Situation Room hereby calls on INEC to urgently take steps to clinically scrutinise the final collated results from Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia against the polling unit results and make a reasoned judgment about them. The Situation Room also notes and condemns in the strongest terms the leading role played by prominent public political officeholders and other politicians as well as some INEC officials in encouraging and actively taking part in organized misconduct and disorderly behaviour that violated the sanctity of the electoral process and calls that action be taken to investigate their activities with a view to prosecuting and sanctioning them, if found culpable, under the law.”

EXCERPTS FROM JUDGMENT BY COURT OF APPEAL

AKWA IBOM GUBER POLL AS NIGERIA’S WORST:
“I chip in a word of warning. May this country never again experience the violence and thuggery found to have taken place in Akwa Ibom State during the Governorship elections held on 11th April 2015. Politics should never be so desperate that lives and decorum are sacrificed on the altar of winning at all costs. The descent into almost anarchy as occurred in this case must never again be allowed to take place. The supervising body, INEC, is charged at all times to remain on the side of truth and never be complicit in any subversion of due process.” Per OLUDOTUN ADEBOLA ADEFOPE-OKOJIE, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656c/2015 at page 58.

MUTILATION OF BALLOT, LACK OF COLLATION AND OVER-VOTING:
“Mutilation or alteration of a document has been held to seal the death for that document. In other words, it makes it worthless and lifeless to the extent of the mutilation. See ORJI V. DORJI TEXTILES MILLS (NIG.) LTD (2010) ALL FWLR (PT.519) 999 AT 1020. Again, documents which ought to be signed have not been signed or purportedly signed by persons who ought not to sign, cannot be relied upon and smacks of presumption of regularity in law. Pertinent also is Exhibit 317, the report of accredited voters in the election on polling unit by polling unit in the entire State, shows that the number of accredited voters was 437,128 while the alleged number of votes cast was 1, 222, 836. Further, the voters register reveals that the accredited voters were 448, 307 while the alleged votes cast was 1, 222, 836…. It is also trite that where over voting has been proved, the effect is to void that election.” Per  Per UWANI MUSA ABBA AJI, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656/2015 at page 28-29.
“The Tribunal in considering substantial non-compliance that necessitated the nullification of the results in the 18 LGAs at page 3791 of the records held in paragraph 4 therein thus:
“We did simple arithmetical calculation from the table of voters supplied in the petition in these Local Governments and arrived at a number of 566, 436 voters as those who were by rough estimate disenfranchised. Adding these figures to 89, 685 votes that the 1st Petitioner scored will close the gap between the results declared in favour of the 1st Respondent.” I wonder why the Tribunal could not show how it arrived at this figures. It is evident generally that by Exhibit 317, the total number of accredited voters is 437, 128 while the total figure of votes cast in the election is 1, 222, 836, thus establishing over-voting by documentary evidence. Also, that there were ballot papers muddling and mangling in bags. Where the court/Tribunal has nullified an election for non-compliance, the issue of proving disenfranchisement is a non sequitur and cannot stand.” Per UWANI MUSA ABBA AJI, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656/2015 at page 31.”
“From Eket Local Government  Area almost all ward results (Form EC8B) and the Local Government result sheet ( Form EC8C) were mutilated and there was no explanation for the mutilations in so many other Local Government Areas apart from the 18 there were so  many of these irregularities. There are overwhelming evidence suggesting  that there was no visible collation of results at the State Collation Centre which has impugned the integrity of the Final result in Form EC8D on which the 1st Respondent in the petition was declared and returned as the winner of the election. There was also evidence of over voting. INEC have said nothing on the fact of there being no collation of results at the State Collation Centre. This fact has very telling reciprocal bearing on the integrity of the election even at the 18 affected Local Government Areas.”Per EJEMBI EKO, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656A/2015 at page 28.
SIGNING OF MULTIPLE COLLATED RESULTS BY ONE AGENT
“In Uyo LGA, it is apparent by the reflection on Exhibits QQ1 – QQ11 that one Joseph Okon Peter signed Form EC8B in Wards 1,3,4,6,10 and 11. One Samuel Efiok Edem signed Form EC8B in Wards 5,7 and 9 and also signed Form EC8C as LG collection agent. All the signatures of Joseph Okon Peter is dated 12/4/2015 when it is true that the said result was collated on 11/4/2015. There are also mutilations and alternations of figures in (Etoi ward 4), (Uyo Urban 2, Ward 02), (Etoi 11, Ward 05), (Oku 11, Ward 02), (Ikono 11, Ward 09), (Uyo Urban 1, Ward 01), (Ofot 1, Ward 06), (Ofot 11, Ward 07).”  Per UMANI MUSA ABBA AJI, JUSTICE OF THE COURT OF APPEAL (JCA), in Appeal No. CA/A/EPT/656/2015 at page 22 – 23.

COLLATED RESULTS SIGNED BY PEOPLE OTHER THAN THOSE WHO SWEAR ON OATH TO BE AGENTS FOR THOSE WARDS
“In INI LGA, Exhibit HHH1-HHH9 show that those who signed as Ward collation agents in Form EC8B are different from those who deposed to be Ward agents. In Nkari, Ward 04, one Joseph Iseyen deposed to be witness statement on oath at pages 311- 313 of the 1st Respondent’s reply that he was the PDP Ward agent but one Hon. Godwin Akpan signed Form EC8B. In Odoro Ukwok,Ward 09, one Gabriel Asuiko deposed to WSO on pages 326-328 of the 1st Respondent’s reply that he was the PDP ward agent but one Moses Udo Solomon signed Form EC8B. In Iwere, Ward 05, one Ukpai Akpan Abia deposed to WSO in pages 314 – 316 of the 1st Respondent’s reply that he was the PDP Ward agent but one Iboro Nse Nnah signed Form EC8B. In Ikono North 2, Ward 07, one  Okon Asuquo deposed to WSO in pages 320 – 322 of the 1st Respondent’s reply that he was the ward agent but one Ayanime Idiasen signed Form EC8B.  In Ikpe II, Ward 02, one Richard Edikpo deposed to the WSO on pages 305 – 307 of the 1st Respondent’s reply that he was the Ward agent but one Akaniyene Ebong signed Form EC8B. In Itu Nbonuso, Ward 03, one Friday Akpan deposed to WSO on pages 308 – 310 of the 1st Respondent’s reply that he was the Ward agent but one Ekpeyong Ransome Daniel signed Form EC8B.  In Ikono North III, Ward 08, one Hon. Michael Etim Ekanem deposed to WSO  on pages 323 – 325 of the 1st Respondent’s reply that he was the Ward agent but  one Imoh Abam signed Form EC8B. In Nsuk, Ukwok, Ward 10, one Chief  Sunday Obiofin deposed to WSO on pages 329 – 331 of the 1st Respondent’s reply that he was the Ward agent but one Isreal Ufia Inyang signed Form EC8B.”  Per UMANI MUSA ABBA AJI, JUSTICE OF THE COURT OF APPEAL (JCA), in Appeal No. CA/A/EPT/656/2015 at page 24 – 25.

STANDARD OF PROOF:
“The proof beyond reasonable doubt standard envisaged for corrupt practices or electoral offences in the Act is geared towards not sentencing and convicting aspirants with their electorates but to produce winners ultimately in elections. I think where there is found to be overwhelming evidence of over-voting the standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt may not be necessary to prove the electoral offence that culminated into over-voting since election petition is a species of civil suit and not a criminal one.” Per UWANI MUSA ABBA AJI, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656/2015 at page 35 – 36.

PARTISAN UMPIRE:
“Exhibit 12 seems to expose the partisan role of INEC in the election which smacks of corrupt practice. The trial Tribunal believing that Exhibit 12 has content found that its significance cannot be overlooked. When Exhibits 12, 337 and 317 are taken together with other evidence of the Petitioners one gets the impression that INEC did what they did in the disputed election because they “had a close dealing with the sitting authority in the State.” Per EJEMBI EKO, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656A/2015 at page 13 – 14.

NON-COMPLIANCE WITH ELECTORAL ACT:
“Exhibit 317 is an INEC document. It is their report on the card reader accreditation. It indicated that only a total of 437,120 voters were accredited to vote on 11th April 2015. However, a total of 1,122,836 votes were said to have been cast at the election. That is 685, 708 votes more than the 437, 128 voters accredited to vote at the election. The evidence of Dw. 24 called to douse this fire does not seem to be a sufficient fire extinguisher. The Dw. 24 testified that the information’s from the Card Readers were still being uploaded. The question then is why would INEC declare final result and make return of the winner of an election when there was uncertainty whether, from the field, the total votes cast prima facie exceed the voters accredited? If the return was premature then a case of non-compliance with the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended, had in my view been established.” Per EJEMBI EKO, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656A/2015 at page 20.

“The issue of over voting, like the overwhelming evidence of there being no collation exercise at the State Collation Centre, are weighty enough to warrant INEC offering explanation since a strong prima facie case had been made that the election, as conducted,  was not in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act. As submitted by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, there are other cases of non-compliance with the Electoral Act which evidence abound in the Record.  They include cases of the same persons across different and diverse polling units and wards in different Local Government Areas signing result sheets or electoral forms. Those persons were not shown to be omnipresent at the same time in those various places. INEC had the evidential burden to satisfactorily explain these irregularities and incidents of non-compliance with the Electoral Act and INEC Guidelines etc that are capable of vitiating the election.” Per EJEMBI EKO, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656A/2015 at page 21

USE OF CARD READER; APC V. AGBAJE:
“I have studied both sets of regulations above, I do not see any conflict between the regulations in Section 10 (a) of the Guidelines which stipulate that accreditation shall be the verification of the PVC by the Card Reader and the requirement in Section 49(2) of the Act which stipulates that accreditation shall be by verification of the Register of Voters. Whether the verification be from an electronic data base, as the Guidelines state or from a physical register, the important factor is that the verification be from a Register, whether it is an electronic register or otherwise.” Per OLUDOTUN ADEBOLA ADEFOPE-OKOJIE, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656c/2015 at page 18.
“Indeed, in the case of APC v Kolawole Agbaje CA/L/GOV/751A/2015 relied upon by the Tribunal and the Respondents as authority for holding the Guidelines to be inconsistent with the Electoral Act, the Court never held the Guidelines to be in conflict with the Act. What Ogbuinya JCA held was the following:
“The evolution of the concept of smart card readers is a familiar one. It came to being during the last general election held in March and April, 2015 in Nigeria. On this score it is a nascent procedure injected into our infant and fledgling electoral system to ensure credible and transparent election. Specifically, it is aimed to concretise our fragile process of accreditation – the keystone of any suffrage. The concept, owing to its recent invention by INEC, a non legislative body, traces its paternity to the manual for election officials, 2015. Put the other way round, the extant Electoral Act as amended which predates this concept, is not its parent or progenitor. Since it is not the progeny of the Electoral Act, a ground in a petition fronting it as challenge to any election does not have its blessings,… section 138 (1) of it”.
This decision is not a denunciation but a commendation of the innovation of the Card Readers. The warning however by the learned Jurist is that the issue of Card Reader should not be the ground for challenging an election. This is however not the case in the Appellants’ Petition, where the primary ground is that the election is invalidated by substantial non-compliance with the Act…. The instant case does differ from the situation in APC v Agbaje Supra where the issue of the Card Reader was one of the grounds. As the Appellants’ Counsel submits, and I have no reason to disagree, even though this issue is not one of the Grounds, nothing precludes the Petitioner from alluding to the non-compliance with these Guidelines to buttress the grounds of their Petition. Per OLUDOTUN ADEBOLA ADEFOPE-OKOJIE, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656c/2015 at page 18 – 19.

BURDEN OF PROOF:
“From the state of the evidence before the Tribunal, the burden placed on the Appellant to prove the figures accredited by INEC on the date of the election was discharged, I hold, by the production of the Report from INEC (Exhibit 317) detailing the data of accreditated voters. The Respondents, however, failed to discharge the evidential burden which shifted on them to disprove the documentary figures produced by the Appellants, they being the party who, by Section 133 (2) of the Evidence Act would fail if no further evidence is adduced in rebuttal. The lower Tribunal, I thus hold, was in grave error to have placed on the Appellants the burden of proving the figures relied upon by the Respondents as showing supplementary accreditation. It was held by the Supreme Court in the case of Okoye v Nwankwo (2014) 15 NWLR Part 1429 Page 93 at Para G-H per Peter-Odili JSC that where the burden of proof has been wrongly placed on the wrong party, there is the likelihood of miscarriage of justice.” Per OLUDOTUN ADEBOLA ADEFOPE-OKOJIE, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656c/2015 at page 44.

“In the event that one takes the figures in the voters register, which the Respondents claim that they had recourse to on failure of the Card Readers, the total figure of votes accredited is 448, 307, short of the total votes cast by a whopping 674, 529 votes. Again, for the purpose of arguments, if one were to combine both the Card Reader and the Voter’s Register accreditation, the total is 885, 435, still short of the total number of votes cast. Indeed, the last two scenarios are in the realm of speculation, the Respondents, as held by me above, have produced no figures of accredited voters in rebuttal of the figures produced by the Appellants.” Per OLUDOTUN ADEBOLA ADEFOPE-OKOJIE, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656c/2015 at page 46.
“Whichever way one looks at it, the facts show that the votes recorded at the Governorship elections of April 11th, 2015 were far in excess of the voters accredited for that election. Where the number of votes cast at an election is more than the number of accredited voters, there is a massive irregularity, with the only conclusion being that the candidate returned as the winner did not secure the total number of votes cast. Per OLUDOTUN ADEBOLA ADEFOPE-OKOJIE, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656c/2015 at page 46.
“The case of Ucha v Elechi Supra relied on for proof of non compliance by production of evidence polling unit by polling unit, ward by ward, can thus not apply in a case as in the instant one, when the very foundation of the election is flawed.” Per OLUDOTUN ADEBOLA ADEFOPE-OKOJIE, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656c/2015 at page 47.
“It is my opinion that the Tribunal, having believed the evidence of PW33 without reservation and having seen in open court video clips (Exhibit 5 and 6) showing the locking of the gate at INEC should have proceeded to hold it proved that there was indeed no collation of results of the election in question and that votes were merely “allocated”. No finding on this important aspect was unfortunately made by the Tribunal. The evidence of PW33 on the failure of collation is not alone in this contention. Other witnesses also gave evidence of the lack of collation, not only at the ward and local government levels but also at the State level…. The lower Tribunal strangely made no mention nor drew any conclusions from this evidence. The question is, if there is no collation of results, can there be said to be an election? In the absence of any collation of results, the injunction that evidence should be produced by the Appellants from each polling booth by polling booth, as held in the case of Ucha v Elechi Supra, can thus not apply to a case, as in the instant, where there is clear evidence that there was no collation of results.” Per OLUDOTUN ADEBOLA ADEFOPE-OKOJIE, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656c/2015 at page 56.
Where there is no collation of results, there cannot be an election, I hold. Per OLUDOTUN ADEBOLA ADEFOPE-OKOJIE, JCA, in CA/A/EPT/656c/2015 at page 57.

OUR POSITION

Having clearly shown what happened during and after the governorship election as well as the position of the Court of Appeal on the poll, the Akwa Ibom League for Democracy hereby condemns in very strong terms the ongoing campaign on AIT by the Government of Akwa Ibom State meant to intimidate, discredit and misdirect the Supreme Court and Nigerians in general.
Nigerians are shocked that every day on AIT the Akwa Ibom State Government is frittering away scarce public funds by way of fabricated videos purporting to show how Udom Emmanuel and former governor Godswill Akpabio alone voted during the governorship election. We challenge them to show videos where the candidates of other parties voted also, as well as voting by such elder statesmen as former governor Victor Attah and Atuekong Don Etiebet, both of them life BOT members of the PDP at the time of the election.

At the tribunal, former governor Attah, Otuekong Etiebet, Bishop Samuel Akpan, governorship candidate of the Accord Party, and Umana Okon Umana, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, testified with video evidence and it was accepted by the courts that they did not vote because there were no elections in their wards and local government areas.

We have it on good authority that the ongoing TV campaign of calumny and threat directed at the Judiciary is coordinated by the Akwa Ibom State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr Uwemedimoh Nwoko.

We wonder when television became the court of law. Why did Nwoko and the government that he is advising on the issues of law not present the evidence at the Tribunal if they had any to show how credible elections held in Akwa Ibom State, contrary to the position of international and local election monitors that there were no elections in the state?

Nigeria should not be made a laughing stock before the international community.
The National Judicial Council should take appropriate actions against Nwoko for discrediting and threatening the Judiciary through the ongoing video campaign on AIT by the Akwa Ibom State Government, which seeks to dictate to and intimidate the Supreme Court over the pending appeal by Udom Emmanuel against the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

SIGNED:

AKWA IBOM LEAGUE FOR DEMOCRACY
6 OLD FIRING ROAD, IKOT EKPENE
AKWA IBOM STATE

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I Remain The Governor Of Abia State, PDP’s Ikpeazu Says After Appeal Court’s Nullification Of His Election

The governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, who was duly sacked by the Court of Appeal has said that he remains the governor of the state.

The Court of Appeal had earlier today nullified the election that brought him in a?s governor and declared the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Alex Otti as the duly elected governor.

But Ikpeazu, who was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party? (PDP), in the election said in a statement after the Appeal Court verdict that he remains the governor until the Supreme Court reaffirms his mandate.

The statement reads:

I have just been informed that the Court of Appeal sitting at Owerri has nullified my victory as the duly elected Governor of Abia State and ordered that one of my opponents at the election, Dr. Alex Otti should be sworn in as the winner of the election.

As of this moment, I have not received the full briefing on the reason for the decision of the Court of Appeal but my Lawyers are still at the Court waiting to obtain a copy of the Judgment for further studying and it is past 7pm. The next 4 days are Public Holidays and the timing of the judgment means that we are losing valuable days to study the judgment and file our Appeal.

I wish to state at this point that preliminary reports available to me indicate that the premise upon which the decision of the Court of Appeal was arrived at is at best tenuous.

That being said, I wish to express my utmost confidence in the ability of the Justices of the Supreme Court to correct the anomaly at the Court of Appeal and uphold my victory as had been earlier done by the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia.

In the interim, while I have instructed my Lawyers to take steps to file an immediate Appeal at the Supreme Court, I wish to assure all Abians that all is well. I remain the Governor of Abia State until the Supreme Court reaffirms my mandate which was freely given to me by the good people of Abia State during the elections.

I call on the Security Agencies to maintain the peace in Abia State and ensure that people go about their legitimate businesses without fear of disruption from any quarters. I also call on our supporters to remain calm in the face of provocation.

I remain supremely confident that at the end of the day, victory shall be ours.

I thank you all for listening and wish you a prosperous 2016.

Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, Ph.D
Governor, Abia State

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Rivers 2015 Electoral Violence: APC Dedicates Appeal Courts Victory To The Adube Family, Others

The Rivers State Chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, has  dedicated its overwhelming victory at the Courts of Appeal in the past two days to the Chief Christopher Adube family and others killed before, during and after the 2015 general elections in Rivers State.

The APC in a statement signed by its spokesman, Mr Chris Finebone believed that there can be no better way to bid farewell to Chief Christopher Adube who was interred yesterday than to dedicate the recovery of our stolen mandates to the ultimate sacrifice the late Chief Chris Adube, his 3 children, younger brother and driver made when they were murdered in one fell swoop in the late Chief’s home on Good Friday 3rd April, 2015. We dedicate these victories to Police Corporal Ifeanyi Okorie killed when the APC Governorship Campaign Team was attacked at Okrika and close to 100 others killed before, during and after the 2015 elections in Rivers State.

“We acknowledge the fact that despite being slow and cautious, the wheel of justice has started its tortuous journey and will not stop until those behind the entire debacle that took place in Rivers State either as direct killers or manipulators of the electoral process are held to account by the law of the land. Today, they may be free and dancing on the graves of those they killed but surely they have two major prices to pay – the price before the law here on earth and that before God Almighty hereafter” the APC said.

The APC maintained that more than ever before, the judiciary remains the citadel of justice for the oppressed from the injustice of those who misuse individual and state power in Nigeria just as it obtains elsewhere in the world, adding that there is no alternative to doing the right thing; for those who do not quite share this ideal, a day of reckoning will always come.

The APC expressed optimism that the recovery of its stolen mandates shall be total to further demonstrate that crime does not pay, saying those who levied mindless violence on Rivers people and residents of our once peaceful State and in the process made away with their hallowed mandates must not only be made to go home empty-handed but should become guests to the laws of the land.

“To our numerous members the APC would like to thank you for your steadfastness and continually rising above the blood-tainted filthy lucre those with your stolen mandates dangle before some of you. The APC urges you to continue to damn Satan and his temptation for a new day is only around the corner” the statement encouraged.

It would be recalled that by bedtime last night, Friday, December 11, the Appeal Courts have dispossessed the PDP of all 3 stolen Senatorial and 12 House of Representative seats. Re-run elections for those seats have been ordered in 60 days from date of judgment.

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Faleke Says He Will Challenge Court’s Decision On Kogi Governorship Election

Running mate to late Prince Abubakar Audu in the Nov. 21 governorship election in Kogi, Mr Abiodun Faleke, said he would appeal against Abuja Federal High Court’s ruling that it lacked jurisdiction over the case.

Faleke said in a statement in Lokoja on Friday that he would take the matter to the Appeal Court to get the mandate rightly given to him by the electorate in the state.

In the statement, Faleke , who ran the joint ticket with the late Audu on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, described himself as a marathon runner, saying that the judgment fell short of expectation.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole had declined ruling in a case brought before him on grounds that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

Faleke appealed for calm among members of the All Progressives Congress and his supporters in the state, saying that the battle to get justice just begun.

He also condemned the attack on INEC office in Dekina Local Government Area, by yet to be identified hoodlums, describing it as barbaric and a desperate move to subvert the wishes of the people.

Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), urged electorate, political parties and other stakeholders in the political crisis rocking the state to embrace peace.

A statement by the state branch of CAN called on the people to abide by the verdict of the appropriate authorities in the overall interest of the state.

The statement, signed by the state Chairman of CAN, Archbishop Emmanuel Egbunu, urged the youths to resist being used for narrow intents and shun all forms of violence.

Egbunu also called on Christians to earnestly pray and intercede for a peaceful resolution of the present political uncertainty over the state.

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Buhari, APC Manipulating Courts, INEC, Says PDP …Commends Its Senators For Staging A Walkout

The Peoples Democratic Party said on Friday that the gains of its 16-year rule in Nigeria were being eroded by the governing All Progressives Congress.

The party said under the APC, basic democratic tenets have failed to function while the party perpetuates “actions tilting towards dictatorship”.

The PDP made the allegation in a communique made available at the end of its meeting of national caucus which held at the Ondo state governors lodge in Asokoro district of Abuja on Thursday.

The communique was signed by the national secretary of the party, Wale Oladipo, “…there is serious cause for concern in the nation’s political environment, especially as it concerns the survival of the nation’s democracy,” PDP said.

PDP also accused the APC government of insensitivity to critical issues raised by the opposition party.

They said President Muhammadu Buhari-led government is interfering with the activities of the judiciary, legislature and the Independent National Electoral Commission using the Directorate of States Services.

The PDP said it had resolved to vigorously resist the APC’s interference.

“The party finds it offensive and provocative, the judiciary’s handling of cases involving it in election tribunals in some states, particularly, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Imo, Taraba, Ogun, Plateau and Lagos states.

“The tainted judgments of these tribunals, which are evidently products of arm-twisting from the nation’s security operatives under the direct command of an APC member remains unacceptable to us,” it said.

The PDP also said it had “conclusive evidence” of external influence on the Rivers State governorship election tribunal.
The party wondered how the tribunal was able to deliver its judgment within 24 hours, “in a case that had nearly 100 witnesses, 1000 pieces of documentary evidences and nine counsel’s final written addresses; each not less than 40 pages”.

“The decision, in view of the rather interesting history of the case, indicates that the judiciary, like the PDP and the Nigerian electorate are victims of the APC-led Federal Government,” PDP said.

The party said it hoped the judiciary, as an institution, would restore its image by taking immediate measures to protect itself from political interference as well as ensure that needed steps are taken at the appellate levels to remedy the “embarrassing” ruling by some of the election petitions tribunals.

“The party has also noted clandestine moves by the APC to use various agencies of government, to manipulate the processes and rig the outcome of the forthcoming governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states in their favour and vowed to deploy every means within the law to resist such,” it said.

The PDP called on President Buhari, “as the leader of the country, to stand up for justice and equity and halt the undemocratic attitudes of agents of government in the interest of peace and stability”.

Meanwhile, the party has commended PDP senators for their decision to walk out of the Senate chamber shortly before the former governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi, was confirmed as a minister.

The party said the decision of the senators was commendable because it was a “collective stand against impunity and corruption, in line with the wishes and aspirations of the Nigerian people”.

The PDP said the decision by APC senators to confirm Mr. Amaechi served as “a death knell on their party’s pretentious war against corruption”.

“The PDP further notes that whilst former APC governors are being rewarded with ministerial appointments, their PDP counterparts are being hounded and harassed in the selective war against corruption,” it said.

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