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Appeal Court upholds Bello’s Election as Kogi Gov,

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Appeal Court upholds Bello’s Election as Kogi Gov,

**Dismisses petition by PDP, SDP, Others

The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Saturday upheld the election of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, after it dismissed four appeals challenging his victory at the November 16, 2019 poll.

In separate judgments all of which were unanimous, the five -man panel of the court led by Justice Adamu Jauro dismissed the four appeals for lacking in merit.

The appeals dismissed were filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Actions Peoples Party (APP), the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP).

The PDP’s main claim is that the 2nd and 3rd Respondents did not win the Kogi State Election by a majority of the lawful votes cast.

The court held that declaration of elections by INEC are presumed correct unless proven otherwise.

The 5 man panel of Judge held that the PDP which only pursued that one ground on Appeal has the burden to rebut the presumption arising from INEC’s declaration that Yahaya Bello and the APC won the last Kogi State Gubernatorial Elections.

The appellants also needed to prove that the declared winners did not score the majority of the lawful votes cast.

The results of any polling unit where overvoting is alleged and proven will be cancelled but new elections can only be ordered if it is further proved that the results of that polling unit, if removed from the overall results, will change the outcome of the election.

The panel of Justices held that the appellants did not link their documents to their claims. They merely dumped it on the Tribunal.

The Tribunal was right to treat them as having no evidentiary value. They could not prove acts of alterations or how the alleged alterations affected the overall results of the election.

“Multiple thumb-printing was pleaded under corrupt practices. That allegation was subsequently abandoned to all intents and purposes. Evidence in that regard goes to no issue, including that of PW19 – the expert witness. “Expert evidence is only required where the expert can furnish the court with scientific and other technical evidence which must be outside the knowledge of the judge. It is apparent that expert evidence may be admissible but not indispensable.

“PW19 claimed to be acting on the order of the court but under cross-examination it became clear that he had been acting with the appellant long before the order of the Tribunal for him to get involved. PW19 exceeded his mandate to determine fingerprints when he went over and beyond to engage in counting of ballots. He also admitted that he is not a fingerprint expert.

Also none of the other so-called experts who allegedly examined the documents with him signed the report and no reason was given for this. The trial Tribunal was right in rejecting his report”. The Court of Appeal therefore dismissed PDP’s petition with costs of N100,000.

SDP’s claim that Edward Onoja should have been left as a party to the suit since allegations were made directly against him was upheld.

The Court of Appeal held he was denied his right to fair hearing when the Tribunal struck out his name to the petition. However, since the Tribunal has rounded up and is out of time and cannot be called back, there is nothing that can be done now.

SDP’s further allegation that their evidence of their witnesses were not given probative value by the Tribunal was considered by Court of Appeal and deemed as contradictory and empty.

The judges rued that their PW3’s oral evidence was replete with glaring and blaring absurdities and totally unhelpful in proving the petition. Their PW4 to PW13 were all unreliable.
Their evidence collapsed totally under cross-examination. The Court of Appeal held that SDP as other appellants could not prove how the alleged misconducts and corrupt practices could have affected the outcome of election so as to invalidate the declarations by INEC.

On Edward Onoja it was held that all their allegations against him were not proved. Even if proved, they must still be related to a constitutional or statutory provision which affects the election in question. There is none before the court. The Court of Appeal therefore dismissed SDP’s petition.

The Court also dismissed the appeal filed by Action Peoples Party challenging the election of Yahaya Bello as the Governor of Kogi State.

In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Mohammed Shuaibu, the court affirmed the decision of the tribunal which dismissed their petition.

The APP in its appeal claimed that INEC unlawfully excluded the party and its candidate from the 2019 governorship election in Kogi State.

On the petition filed by Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) against the judgment of the Tribunal, the Court of Appeal ruled that they could not even prove elementary facts such as the valid nomination of their candidates or even that they held primaries at all.

The Court of Appeal therefore refused to interfere with the findings of the Tribunal and held that the judgment of the Tribunal is affirmed and appeal is dismissed.

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Hoarding of Palliatives: Niger APC chieftain accuses Govs of crime against humanity

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Hoarding of Palliatives: Niger APC chieftain accuses Govs of crime against humanity

Former Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism and a Chieftain of All Progressive Congress (APC) in Niger state, Mr. Jonathan Vatsa has berated state governors in the country for stockpilling COVID-19 palliatives in warehouses, which were looted by angry youths across the country.
He indicated that governors are the real problems of Nigerians.
Vatsa was however quick to exonerate President Mohammadu Buhari from any blame over the nationwide looting of palliatives, resulting in the loss of lives of “desperate and hungry Nigerians”.
“Buhari can not go to states to share palliatives. It has been entrusted to the governors for onward distribution to the people, so I think Nigerians should excuse Buhari from this unfortunate development”.
Vatsa who is the Coordinator, public affairs to governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger state gave the indication in Minna on Tuesday while reacting to the nationwide looting of palliatives by Nigerians.
“The Governors are making governance very difficult for the President. In fact they are part of Buhari’s problems if not how can someone explain the hoarding of palliatives meant to cushion the effect of Coronavirus Lockdown”.
The former publicity secretary of APC in the state believed that Governors who hoarded palliatives away from Nigerians can never provide dividends of democracy to their people.
He added that “governance is all about the welfare of the people so if you can not give the people what was given to you to give them, what else would they expect from you”, he queried
He pointed out that the governors know quite well that Nigerians are hungry and desperately need these things, so they want to make them very hungry so that they can buy them during election very cheaply with those items.
According to him “with this Singular act, they have deliberately de-marketed this government, and Nigerians have lost confidence in this administration. It is very unfortunate”, he submitted.
Vatsa therefore cautioned the security agents using force on these Nigerians who are merely looting what was meant for them, adding that “what is happening is re-looting the looted”.
Vatsa who argued that the looting of the palliatives does not amount to any crime also believed that “what these governors have done is nothing but a crime against humaninity, that is my opinion on this and its quite unfortunate”.
He also appealed to the youths to stop attacking individuals and private companies, saying that “that does not portray the qualities of future leaders in them.

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Lekki massacre: Senator Ubah asks Buhari to prosecute erring soldiers

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Lekki massacre: Senator Ubah asks Buhari to prosecute erring soldiers

Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah has urged
President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately commence prosecution of all soldiers found culpable in the deadly Lekki Toll Gate shooting.

In a statement, he issued in Abuja on Monday, he described the shooting as a gross violation of the fundamental right of the #EndSARS protesters.

Describing the shooting as barbaric, Ubah said, “I am deeply saddened by reports of extrajudicial shootings and barbaric killing of peaceful protesters in Lekki-Lagos, Nigeria. I wish to categorically condemn in its entirety, these shootings by security operatives who are meant to protect the citizens.”
According to him, “these unlawful shootings by the military and security agents at unarmed protesters are a gross violation of the right to life as enshrined in Section 33 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999; Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, and Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
He said the prosecution would go a long way in serving justice to the deceased and their loved ones.
According to him “I am deeply saddened by reports of extrajudicial shootings and barbaric killing of peaceful protesters in Lekki-Lagos, Nigeria. I wish to categorically condemn in its entirety, these shootings by security operatives who are meant to protect the citizens.

“These unlawful shootings by the military and security agents at unarmed protesters are a gross violation of the right to life as enshrined in Section 33 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999; Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, and Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

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#ENDSARS protests: Senators become soft targets for hoodlums

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#ENDSARS protests: Senators become soft targets for hoodlums

Senators Teslim Folarin (APC-Oyo Central), Senator Gershom Bassey, representing Cross Rivers South Senatorial District and Former Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, got their dose of the #ENDSARS protests that has been taken over by hoodlums on Saturday.

The hoodlums in Ibadan invaded Sen. Folarin’s residence, where they carted away items worth N200million
The rampaging youths made away with empowerment materials worth N200 million.
The ugly incident was confirmed by Folarin during a radio programme, monitored on Saturday in Ibadan.
The stolen items were meant for constituency empowerment programme of the lawmaker, scheduled to take place in December.

Among the items carted away are about 300 motorcycles, deep freezers and food items.
Folarin, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Content and former Senate Leader, said he was relieved that no life was lost.

In Calabar the hoodlums also invaded the mansion of Senator Ndoma-Egba, where they broke into his premises and that of senator Bassey and carted away properties that include set of chairs, Television sets, matrasses, toilet seats and car batteries before setting the country home of Ndoma-Egba ablaze.

It was gathered that the hoodlums easily overpowered the security personnel protecting the houses and even wanted to collect their guns before the security personnel took to their heels after which the hoodlums carted away valuables.
It was also gathered that a lounge (Bulavard) allegedly belonging to an APC stalwarts Hillard Etta were also vandalised just as a petrol filling allegedly belonging to Governor Ben Ayade was destroyed.

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