Abia Guber Poll: Otti Wins In 10 LGAs, PDP 5
Alex Otti of the Labour Party has won a total of 10 out of the 16 Local Government Area results so far declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, before the commission suspended collation of the Abia governorship election.
Otti polled a total of 171,747 votes while Okey Ahiwe of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, scored a total of 79,477 votes after winning five LGAs.
Young Peoples Party, YPP polled 8,839 to win Osisioma LGA the home of its governorship candidate, Enyinnaya Nwafor.
Meanwhile, INEC, has directed the immediate suspension of collation of governorship election results in Abia State.
Administrative Secretary of INEC, Abia State, Chief Clement Oha read the directive midway into collation at the INEC office in Umuahia on Monday.
He said that based on the alleged irregularities by in some polling units particularly Obingwa Local Government Area where INEC office was invaded, collation had been halted at the LGA.
According to him, there will be no further collation of results at Obingwa until INEC Commissioners arrive from Abuja by Tuesday to supervise the collation and take decision on what has to be done after reviewing the situation on ground.
The Presiding Officer and Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology Owerri, FUTO, Professor Nnenna Oti had in the course of collation brought in the Administrative Secretary to read the message she said that came from the INEC headquarters Abuja.
She had said that the INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu, personally called her and gave her directives on guidelines to follow in ensuring that Abia governorship election results were collated based on the extant guidelines.
READ ALSO: Why We Suspended Collation Of Guber Results In Abia – INEC
Professor Otti thereafter, announced the immediate suspension of collation pending the arrival of the team from Abuja.
She had earlier vowed to the neutral but strictly objective in discharging her duties.
Professor Otti who is also a Pastor with the Redeemed Church, assured that the will of Abia voters would not be subverted under her watch.
”I’m Professor Nnenna Oti from Afikpo, VC of FUTO. The people’s mandate shall stand.
“I have spent all my adult life in pursuit of the ideals of good governance. We shall stand by the these principles.
”The pastor in me and the mother in me will not permit me to do anything that will adversely affect the future of our children. I shall do right by God and by man!”
Meanwhile INEC in another statement signed by its Head Voter Education and Information Committee, Festus Okoye, announced suspension of collation of governorship election results in Abia and Enugu States.
INEC in the statement, cited alleged cases of violence, irregularities and invasion of its offices in the affected states as reason for the action.
According to a statement, the commission will review results in the affected LGAs before further action.
READ ALSO: INEC Suspends Collation Of Guber Election Results In Abia, Enugu
But Alex Otti of the Labour Party is already leading in the 12 LGAs so far declared.
Below is a full text of the statement.
“SUSPENSION OF FURTHER COLLATION OF GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION RESULTS IN ABIA AND ENUGU STATES
Below is a full text of the statement entitled ” Suspension of Further Collation of Governorship Election Results in Abia and Enugu”:
“The Commission met today, Monday 20th March 2023 and reviewed the conduct of the Governorship and State Assembly elections held nationwide on Saturday 18th March 2023. Arising from the meeting, the Commission took the decision to suspend forthwith further collation of the Governorship election results in some parts of Abia and Enugu States.
“It will be recalled that our office in Obingwa Local Government Area was invaded by thugs yesterday Sunday 19th March 2023 and our officials held hostage in relation to the collation of results from the Local Government Area. Similarly, reports from Enugu State call for a review of the results for the Governorship election from the two outstanding Local Government Areas of Nsukka and Nkanu East.
“Consequently, the Commission hereby suspends the collation of results in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State and the two outstanding Local Government Areas of Enugu State which are yet to be collated. A review will be undertaken immediately before the process is concluded.
“We appeal for the understanding and patience of voters, parties and candidates in the affected States.”
Meanwhile, Dr Alex Otti has maintained a comfortable lead in the 16 Local Government Area results so far declared.
He won five LGAs out of 10 that was declared on Sunday, and collected another five out of the six LGAs announced on Monday, thus bringing the total number of LGAs under his kitty to 10.
Young Peoples Party, YPP won in one LGA while PDP has five LGAs.
According to the results of the 16 LGAs declared so far, Otti polled a total of 171,747 votes, while Ahiwe of the PDP trailed behind with 79,477 votes.
In the results declared on Monday, YPP polled 8,839 to win Osisioma LGA the home of its governorship candidate, Enyinnaya Nwafor.
Labour Party came second in Osisioma after polling 7,032 votes while PDP got 4,699 votes.
APC, APGA and ADC scored 504, 292, and 332 respectively.
LP swept Umuahia North the seat of Abia power with 27,668 while APC whose candidate, Chief Ikechi Emenike who hails from the area, came second with 7,225 votes.
PDP got 4,843 votes while APGA and ADC polled 1,816 and 457 respectively.
READ ALSO: Alex Otti Coasts To Victory In Abia Guber Poll
Similarly, LP cleared Aba South with 22,014 votes while PDP crawled behind with 3,348 votes; and APGA, 1,762 votes.
The Labour Party continued its winning spree at Aba North where it polled 20,974 votes while the ruling PDP managed to get away with only 4,146.
YPP scored 2,296; while APGA got 1,404 votes.
LP also swept Ohafia LGA with 11,848 votes against PDP’s 4, 128 votes.
APC and APGA got 1,354 and 945 votes respectively.
The Labour Party still cleared Umuahia South with 16,187 votes while PDP got 5,464 votes.
Court Admits In Evidence Two Video Clips Supporting Obi’s Petition
The Presidential Election Petition Court admitted in evidence two video clips tendered by the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, in aid of his petition challenging the conduct and outcome of the February 25 presidential election.
At the resumed hearing on Friday evening, the petitioners, through their counsel, Jubril Okutekpa, SAN, informed the court that they had subpoenaed Channels Television to produce the recordings contained in two flash drives.
Okutekpa disclosed that two separate subpoenas, dated May 30 and June 6, were served on the TV station, which he said sent one of its staff members, to tender the requested evidence.
Justice Haruna Tsammani-led’s five-member panel admitted the subpoenas in evidence and marked them as Exhibits PBH-1 and PBH-2.
One of the flash drives is said to carry video clips of an interview that the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mahmoud Yakubu granted before the general elections, where he assured that the results of the election would be electronically transmitted in real-time.
READ ALSO: Presidential Tribunal: Peter Obi Tenders Results Of 8 More States In evidence
The other contains a press conference by a national commissioner of the commission, Festus Okoye, who reiterated the commitment of the body to electronically transmit the results.
In a move to present the content of the video clips in the open court, a senior reporter and editor at Channels TV, Lucky Obese-Alawode, was summoned to the witness box.
However, the respondents in the petition vehemently opposed the move by the petitioners.
Counsel to President Bola Tinubu, Akin Olujinmi, SAN, queried the competence of the witness on the grounds that his statement was not filed alongside the petition.
Relying on Paragraphs 4 (5) and (6) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act 2022, Tinubu’s lawyer argued that the law is clear that a petition must be filed within 21 days after the declaration of the result of an election.
READ ALSO: JUST IN: ‘I Must be President Of Nigeria’ – Peter Obi Insists
He contended that the petitioners ought to have attached all the necessary documents as well as the list of witnesses they would call in support of their case at the time the petition was filed.
“A petition which fails to comply shall not be accepted, that is what the law says. My lords, it was after the proceeding started today that the statement of this witness was served on us.
“This is over three months after the declaration of the result of the election was made.
“This witness was not listed by the petitioners, and his statement was not attached to the petition. To that extent, he is not a competent witness who can testify before this court,” Tinubu’s lawyer insisted.
He contended that the petitioners were aware that they would rely on the said video recordings, at the time they filed the petition, yet did not attach it to the list of their documents.
Aligning with the disapproval by Olujimi, SAN, the INEC, through its lawyer, Kemi Pinhero, SAN, argued that Obi and LP should have listed the proposed evidence in their petition.
However, counsel for the petitioners, Okutekpa, SAN, contended that the witness was competent enough to testify as the subpoena was an order of the court that he had no command over.
The objections, notwithstanding, the panel admitted the two flash drives in evidence and marked them as Exhibits PBH-3 and PBH-4.
READ ALSO: Presidential Tribunal: Obi Tenders 136 Exhibits From Lagos, Edo, 4 Other States
Again, when the counsel to the petitioners applied for the contents of the flash drives to be played in the open court, the respondents disagreed except for the electoral commission which was indifferent.
Olujimi maintained that his client was not served with any copy of the flash drive.
He further stated that playing the video clips without his clients’ foreknowledge of their content could rob them of the right to a fair hearing.
He said, “This case is not hide and seek. We are entitled to be served with a copy so that we can know the content and be able to prepare. Until we are served, we will oppose allowing it to be played.”
On his part, the counsel for the All Progressives Congress, Solomon Umoh, SAN, said it would amount to an ambush for the petitioners to play the content of the flash drives without first serving the same on the respondents.
Ruling on the matter, the chairman of the five-man panel, Justice Tsammani, held that the position of the respondents is not prejudiced against playing the video clips but on their non-service beforehand.
However, for time constraints, Tsammani adjourned the matter to Saturday afternoon, June 10, for the video clips to be played in the open court.
10th NASS: South-West Caucus Writes PDP, Demands Minority Leader Position
Members-elect of the House from the South-West geopolitical zone on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party have demanded the position of Minority Leader in the coming 10th National Assembly.
The PDP caucus urged the national leadership of the opposition party to take the position from the South-South to the South-West.
The South-West caucus made the demand in a letter to the National Working Committee of the PDP, through the acting National Chairman of the PDP, Umar Damagum, dated June 9, 2023, a copy of which our correspondent obtained on Friday.
It was titled ‘Appeal for Your Intervention on the Zoning of the Position of Minority Leader in the 10th Assembly of House of Representatives.’
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The members-elect wrote, “We, the undersigned, being elected members of the House of Representatives from the South-West zone of the Federal Republic of Nigeria wish to respectfully invite Your Excellency to intervene on the issue of the zoning of the Minority Leader in the 10th Assembly, which is due for inauguration on Tuesday 13th June, 2023.
“Your Excellency will note that the position of the Minority Leader in the 8th and 9th Assembly of the House of Representatives was occupied by the Rt. Hon. Leo Ogor and Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, respectively, who were both from the South-South zone of the country. This is a cumulative period of eight successive years.
“We wish to also draw your attention to an agreement among members-elect of the minority caucus of the House of Representatives that the position of the Minority Leader should be ceded to the Southern part of the country for the next Assembly. It is, therefore, our considered view that in the interest of fairness, equity and justice, the South-West should be duly considered to fill this position of Minority Leader in the 10th Assembly of the House of Representatives. Apart from fulfilling the core values of inclusiveness and justice which our Party is noted for, this will also greatly boost the morale of our party members and help in the strengthening of our party in the zone and the country at large.
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“We assure Your Excellency and the entire leadership of our continuous loyalty and commitment to the growth, stability and progress of the Peoples Democratic Party. We thank you most sincerely for your support and pray that the Almighty God continues to guide you in the discharge of your responsibilities. Please, see the attached list of signatories to this very important request.”
NLC Vows To Fight Against “Black Market” Court Injunctions
The Nigeria Labour Congress, Friday night said it would no longer respect “black market” court injunctions. The congress said this following a recent court injunction obtained by the Federal Government to stop the organised labour from going on a strike to protest the removal of fuel subsidy.
The union in a statement signed by its national president, Joe Ajaero said, “We at the Nigeria Labour Congress are concerned by the frequent issuance of ex-parte injunctions restraining us from lawfully protesting against negative policies of government or employers in exercise of our right as contained in the provisions of ILO Conventions, Trade Union Act, Trade Dispute Act, the 1999 Constitution, the African Charter on Human Rights and other legal instruments.
“The latest of these injunctions was the order made by Honourable Justice O.Y. Anuwe in Suit No: NICN/ABJ/158/2023 between the Federal Government of Nigeria & Anor Vs. Nigeria Labour Congress & Anor. on the 5th day of June 2023 restraining NLC from protesting against the massive increase in the pump price of pms. We consider the frequency of these orders against the Congress an abuse and a violation of the pronouncement of the Supreme Court against frivolous use of ex parte.
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“More importantly, we consider these injunctions a violation of the extant laws aforementioned as well as an infringement of our right to lawful assembly and free speech.We are similarly concerned by the conduct of pliant Judges who often bend backward to accommodate the whims and caprices of the executive branch of government by way of granting frivolous injunctions which we shall hereinafter refer to as black market injunctions.
“We must warn that black market injunctions constitute inherent and present danger to the image of the judiciary as the judiciary risks being ignored. Given our experience, the greatest threat to the judiciary comes from within the judiciary by way of some compromised Judicial Officers.
“We are sounding a note of warning that any further black market or jankara injunction will not be respected by us. To show our capacity and resolve, we will show active resistance by picketing such a court.
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“We are also letting the public know that we have taken precipitate steps to vacate the extant injunction in question by briefing our lawyers.
“We wish to warn that when the citizenry lose faith in the judiciary, the probability of resorting to self-help could be quite high with unpredictable consequences.In light of these, we are calling on the Supreme Court and indeed NJC to speedily deal with erring Judges who issue frivolous injunctions.”
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