A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has slapped the presidential candidate of the People’s Redemption Party, Kola Abiola, with a fine of N20,000 over failure to file his court documents within time.
Justice Fadima Aminu, in a ruling, also fined the PRP over its delay in filing its counter affidavit in opposition to the aggrieved presidential aspirant’s amended originating summons.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Justice Aminu had fixed November 25 for a definite hearing in a suit filed by Madam Patience Ndidi Key, a female presidential aspirant in the June 5 primary election conducted by the party.
The judge, who granted the application filed by Madam Key to amend her originating summons on Nov. 18, ordered all parties to file their processes before the next adjourned date and adjourned to Friday for a definite hearing.
NAN reports that the plaintiff, Key, had, on June 28, sued PRP, the Independent National Electoral Commission and Mr Latifu Abiola as 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants respectively.
Key, in her earlier originating summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1001/2022, had challenged the emergence of Mr Abiola as the party’s presidential candidate.
She had prayed to the court to nullify the poll that produced Abiola as the PRP’s presidential candidate.
She also prayed for an order setting aside the declaration of Abiola as the winner of the primaries conducted across the country.
Kola is the son of the late MKO Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election.
Upon resumed hearing in the matter, the plaintiff’s counsel, Magnus Ihejirika, informed that the matter was adjourned for definite hearing.
Ihejirika said that the defence lawyers were yet to serve on him their counter-affidavits to enable him to respond appropriately.
Lawyer to the 1st defendant (PRP), Regina Audu, explained that there was a network failure on Thursday at the FHC filing office when she tried to file her application.
According to her, there was no network to generate a remittal for us to pay the filing fee yesterday (Thursday) for our counter affidavit.
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The lawyer, who said she could only do that on Friday, prayed to the court for an adjournment.
Also, Ijeoma Madu, who appeared for Mr Abiola, spoke in the same vein.
But Ihejirlrika described the defence counsel’s act as “a deliberate attempt to stall proceedings in the suit.”
The lawyer said that the case was filed on June 28, “time is of the essence in its determination.”
He said by provision of the constitution, the court had only 180 days to dispose of the matter, saying practically now, the court has less than a month to have the case determined
He argued that the defendants were only employing a delay tactic to stall the hearing and determination of the suit.
Ihejirika, who told the court that he comes to the court from Kebbi, said if the court would be inclined to grant the defence application, a cost should be imposed.
He asked for a cost of N200, 000.
The defence counsel, who disagreed with him, prayed the court to dismiss the request.
In her ruling, Justice Aminu said an award of cost should not be a punishment but compensation.
The judge, consequently, ordered the PRP (1st defendant) and Abiola (3rd defendant) to pay the sum of N20,000 each to the plaintiff’s counsel.
She adjourned the matter until December 2 for a definite hearing.
Elections: Cultists Masking As Party Support Groups In Rivers, Says Wike
The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, on Monday said some party support groups in the state are a vehicle for thuggery and cult activities sponsored by disgruntled politicians ahead of the forthcoming elections.
Wike’s remarks follow reports that about 30 members of the Atiku Support Organisation were arrested by armed policemen during a meeting in the state capital.
The governor, in a state broadcast, called on leaders of political parties to obey the laws regulating election campaigns in the state, which he said are made to instil sanity and safeguard the public interest.
“We also denounce the rising cases of cultism in the State during this electioneering period, which are sponsored by politicians to settle political scores,” he said.
“Apart from committing heinous crimes, cultists masking as party support groups and thugs are used by rival party leaders to assault opponents and disrupt party meetings, especially in those political parties with protracted internal crises arising from their flawed primaries.”
The governor also called attention to the presence of “desperate politicians” whom he said are recruiting and arming cultists and other miscreants to be used to attack and intimidate voters during the polls.
“I wish to warn that no responsible government will close its eyes to the threat posed by these cultists, fanatical party support groups, and their sponsors to free and fair elections in the State.
“Consequently, I have directed the security agencies to raid any suspected area or premises and clamp down on cultists, militant support groups and other miscreants being used by politicians to disturb the peace, safety and security of the State,” Wike added.
See the full transcript below:
STATE BROADCAST BY
HIS EXCELLENCY NYESOM EZENWO WIKE, CON, GSSRS, POS
ON THE RISING CULTISM AND RELATED
ACTIVITIES ACROSS RIVERS STATE
My dear people of Rivers State
The 2023 general elections are less than three weeks away. Political activities are in top gear, with political parties and candidates intensifying campaigns across the State.
2. We are happy with the generally peaceful campaigns except for the few isolated reported incidents of violence by sponsored rival cults, gangs and support groups in one or two political rallies.
3. We commend the security agencies for providing adequate security cover for all the political parties to carry on with their electioneering activities, including crowded rallies and meetings.
4. The State Government will continue to support the security agencies to sustain the prevailing atmosphere of peace and security for voters to exercise their voting rights without fear or intimidation before, during and after the elections.
5. I assure you that there is nothing to fear as the State government and the security agencies will spare no effort to keep Rivers State peaceful, safe and secure for citizens to go about their normal daily activities.
6. However, we, again, call on leaders of political parties to obey the laws regulating election campaigns in the State, which are made to instil sanity and safeguard the public interest.
7. We also denounce the rising cases of cultism in the State during this electioneering period, which are sponsored by politicians to settle political scores.
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8. Apart from committing heinous crimes, cultists masking as party support groups and thugs are used by rival party leaders to assault opponents and disrupt party meetings, especially in those political parties with protracted internal crises arising from their flawed primaries.
9. We are also aware that desperate politicians are recruiting and arming cultists and other miscreants to be used to attack and intimidate voters during the polls.
10. I wish to warn that no responsible government will close its eyes to the threat posed by these cultists, fanatical party support groups, and their sponsors to free and fair elections in the State.
11. Consequently, I have directed the security agencies to raid any suspected area or premises and clamp down on cultists, militant support groups and other miscreants being used by politicians to disturb the peace, safety and security of the State.
12. Anyone with useful information about the camps, gatherings, plans and activities of these criminal elements and their sponsors should forward it to the security agencies for action.
13. I wish to restate that no amount of syndicated misinformation, campaigns of calumny, and diatribes by a section of the media and the political elites will deter the State Government from enforcing the laws of the State against those who vainly claim to be above them.
14. Unlike other States, we have refrained from using the State’s Neighbourhood Corps to enforce law and order by allowing the regular security agencies to do their constitutional work.
15. We pray we may not be forced to reconsider this position if the security agencies continue to encourage and offer protection to some politicians and party leaders to wantonly breach our laws.
16. Thank you, and may God bless Rivers State.
Tinubu’s Men Attack PDP Over N22.5bn Vote-buying Claim
The ruling All Progressives Congress has challenged the Peoples Democratic Party to provide Nigerians with evidence of the N22.5 billion stashed old notes that it alleged the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, is desperately seeking to convert into new ones in Kano State.
This is even as the Tinubu-Shettima presidential campaign council wrote off the claim as a silly figment of the imagination of the opposition party.
The PDP had claimed in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday that it received intelligence that Tinubu and some party leaders are striving to swap the alleged money to facilitate its vote-buying plans ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The statement signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, further disclosed that the PDP was convinced about the earlier notion that the APC in conjunction with some APC governors is responsible for the biting cash scarcity currently rocking the country.
Ologunagba said, “The party is aware that the N22.5 billion in old N1000 notes was allegedly kept in a Kano State Government facility before being moved to a particular old generation and a certain new generation bank where the regional heads were contacted by the APC presidential campaign to swap the old notes with new ones.
“Further information revealed that the cash is being warehoused by the Tinubu campaign for alleged vote buying in Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Jigawa, and Sokoto States. A particular APC state governor is reported to have taken delivery of N500 million new Naira notes to actualize the vote buying plot.”
When contacted, the Chief Spokesman of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, stated that it would be a waste of time to reply to the allegation.
“I have only one sentence for that. It is an irresponsible statement that does not deserve a response,” he said.
The PCC Director of Media and Communication, Bayo Onanuga, debunked the report, saying the PDP is living up to its fame of coming up with frivolous claims.
He challenged the leadership of the opposition party to cut to the chase by providing concrete evidence to back up its claim.
He stated, “Let them provide the evidence if they uncovered such. It is not enough to dish out cock and bull stories in the name of press Releases. Making senseless allegations every passing day which has become the hallmark of the PDP campaign is not how to win the election.
“Nigerians can’t forget a party of people that looted over $ 2 billion dollars meant for arms procurement when Boko Haram was killing our citizens and almost took over three states in the northeast.
“We challenge PDP to bring out any evidence of their latest allegation otherwise the party of looters should hide its ugly face in perpetual shame.”
Meanwhile, the Publicity Director of APC, Bala Ibrahim, urged the PDP to head to the court, security agencies and regulatory bodies like the Independent National Electoral Commission instead of its usual media trial.
“Why issue a statement when you can prove your case in a competent court of law or a regulatory agent like INEC? There are statutory ways of dealing with it.
“I don’t know why people avoid using the court or investigative agencies to make their point. If they have proof, let them tender it. That’s why the courts, security agencies, and national financial units like EFCC and ICPC are there.
“It is obvious the PDP is seeing the sign of defeat and merely trying to rock the boat by coming up with all sorts of allegations to get public sympathy,” he stated.
Tinubu: APC Announces Indefinite Postponement Of Campaign Rally In Oyo
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has postponed its presidential rally in Oyo State following the protests rocking the state.
The party made this announcement on Monday.
DAILY POST reports that the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu had been billed to visit Ibadan on Tuesday in continuation of his presidential campaign.
The party, however, said it will no longer be holding the campaign rally as earlier planned.
The Publicity Secretary of the APC in Oyo State, Wasiu Olawale Sadare, confirmed the postponement.
Sadare in a short statement made available to journalists on Monday noted that the postponement became necessary in view of the crisis caused by the scarcity of new naira notes and petroleum.
Sadare in the statement sent to DAILY POST in Ibadan said, “We regret to announce the indefinite postponement of our presidential rally earlier slated for tomorrow (Tuesday).
“The decision was taken, apparently, in consideration to the prevailing challenges facing the people and the need to allow President Muhammadu Buhari work around the situation and ensure that normalcy return particularly as it concerns fuel and currency notes crisis”.
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