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Edo Guber: Court Strikes Out Suit Seeking To Disqualify Asue Ighodalo As PDP Candidate

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Justice Obiora Egwuatu of the Federal High Court in Abuja has struck out a suit seeking to prohibit Barrister Asue Ighodalo from being presented as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the forthcoming Edo State governorship election.

The Judge threw out the suit instituted by an aggrieved PDP governorship aspirant, Anselm Ojeizu, on the ground that the case was premature at the time it was filed on March 6.

Delivering judgment in the suit on Wednesday, Justice Egwuatu held that the plaintiff, Anselm Ojeizu failed to explore the mandatory internal mechanism of PDP to ventilate his anger before rushing to Court.

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Justice Egwuatu agreed with lead counsel to Ighodalo, Mr Akinlolu Kehinde, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN that it was wrong and a breach of PDP mandatory rule on the part of Ojeizu to have sidelined the Appeal Panel of PDP in the resolution of his dispute before filing the case.

Ojeizu had sued Ighodalo, the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, praying for an order cancelling the February 22 primary election that produced Ighodalo as the PDP’s gubernatorial candidate.

His grouse was that the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 and the guidelines of PDP were grossly violated in the conduct of the primary election at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City.

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Specifically, the aggrieved governorship aspirant alleged that a fake and adulterated delegates list was used in the conduct of the indirect primary election.

But Justice Egwuatu held that since it is mandatory for any aggrieved governorship aspirant to explore internal dispute mechanism resolution before approaching a court of law, Ojeizu is bound to comply with the rule like any other aspirant.

“In a matter of this nature, conditions precedents must be respected and complied with by any aspirant as had severally enunciated by the Supreme Court in all its decisions”, the Judge said.

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Ighodalo, a lawyer and investment banker, had on February 22 emerged as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), having defeated other aspirants in a primary election at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.

The lawyer is believed to be Governor Obaseki’s preferred aspirant scored 577 votes to beat Barrister Anselm Ojezua, Arthur Esele, Osaro Onaiwu, Martins Uhomoibhi, Hadizat Umoru and Felix Akhabue all scoring zero, while six votes were voided out of the 585 accredited delegates.

He was declared the winner by the Chief Returning Officer of the Edo PDP Gubernatorial Primaries and the governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Dauda Lawal.

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Ex-Rep Rejects Membership Of Edo APC Gov Campaign Council

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A former Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Pally Iriase, has declined his membership of the National Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress for the Edo State governorship election.

Iriase, whose name was included in the list released on Friday, said he was not consulted before he was included in the team and that he has since stepped aside from politics.

In a statement on Friday, Iriase wished the APC a successful campaign and a peaceful election and urged everyone to respect his desire to be excluded from the council.

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The statement reads, “My attention has been drawn to the fact that my name is included in the list of appointees into the National Campaign Council for the governorship election in Edo State by the All Progressives Congress.

“I appreciate the National Working Committee for finding me worthy of the appointment. But, I hereby reject the appointment for the following reasons:

“I was never consulted. I have for several years stepped away from partisan politics, and I do not intend to change my mind.

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“I do not want my associates, friends, admirers, and family to see me as a hypocrite.

“While wishing APC a successful campaign and a peaceful election, I strongly urge everyone to respect my desire to be excluded from partisan politics.”

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FULL LIST: 20 States With Local Government Caretaker Committees

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Photo credit: Nation

Most states have resorted to governing the local governments through caretaker committees set up by the State Government.

This is contrary to Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which guarantees the system of local government by democratically elected officials.

Caretaker committees have become a prevalent practice in different states across the federation, and are fast replacing local government councils.

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Factors fingered for the inability of many States to conduct council polls include insecurity, paucity of funds as well as political and legal battles.

Thursday’s ruling by the Supreme Court declaring that it is unconstitutional for Governors to hold funds allocated for local government administrations further raised the question of how LG helmsmen are routinely sacked from office and replaced with Caretaker Committees.

These are the states running local governments with caretaker committees as complied by The Nation:

READ ALSO: BREAKING States Lose As Supreme Court Rules On LG Financial Autonomy

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1. Rivers – Rivers Governor Siminalayi Fubara appointed caretaker committees for the 23 local government areas as he continues his battle with his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, for the control of the political structure in the oil-rich state.

2. Jigawa – On June 28, 2024, the government of Jigawa State dissolved the elected council chairmen of the 27 local governments.

3. Anambra – On June 20, 2024, Governor Charles Soludo, through the House of Assembly, confirmed the appointment of transition committee chairmen and councillors for the 21 local government areas.

4. Zamfara – In Zamfara, the last grassroots poll was held on April 27, 2019, and the State returned to appointees after the chairmen’s tenures expired. In May 2024, the Assembly approved a six-month extension for the caretaker committee.

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5. In Benue, however, elections are scheduled to be held on July 6, 2024, for LG council chairmen.

6. Bauchi – Last year, Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, sworn in 20 appointed local government area caretaker committee chairmen with their deputies.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Supreme Court Bars Govs From Sacking LG Chairmen

7. Plateau – June 2023, Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau inaugurated the Interim Transition Committee chairpersons for its 17 local government areas at Government House Jos.

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8. Abia – In December 2023, Abia Governor Alex Otti, inaugurated the 17 local government transition council chairpersons.

9. Enugu – In March 2024, Enugu State Government ordered local government chairmen in the 17 councils to hand over administration to heads of personnel management after the expiration of their tenures.

10. Katsina

11. Kano – In March 2024, Gov. Abba Kabir Yusuf of Kano State recommended names of Interim Management Committee members for Local Government Areas of the state to its House of Assembly for screening and confirmation.

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12. Sokoto

13. Yobe – In April 2024, Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, approved the dissolution of all the 17 local government councils of the state, and also directed all local government chairmen to handover the affairs of their respective local governments to Directors of Personnel Management.

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14. Ondo – Ondo State Government also constituted Caretaker Committees for the 18 Local Councils and 33 Local Council Development Areas, (LCDA).

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15. Osun – In February 2024, Osun Assembly extended the tenure of office and re-appointed caretaker committees of 30 Local Government Areas and 39 others running Modakeke Area Office and Local Council Development Areas in the state.

The extension was subsequently secured for the caretaker chairmen, vice chairmen, scribes and their members’ fresh six months tenure, beginning in February and ending in August 2024.

16. Delta

17. Akwa-Ibom – Governor Umo Eno last year through a letter with reference number GHU/AKS/S/104/VOL.1/607, addressed to the Speaker, Hon. Udeme Otong, informed the House of Assembly that there was no provision in the 2023 budget for the conduct of local government elections.

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He urged the Assembly to pass a resolution authorising him to set up interim administration at the 31 local government areas at the expiration of the tenure of the elected council officials.

19. In Imo State, the last council poll was conducted on August 25, 2018, which was the first in seven years.

20. In Kwara State, the last council election was in November 2017 with caretaker committees in charge since 2020.

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Edo Guber: Trouble Looms As APC Gives SSG, Ogie, Ultimatum To Resign Or…

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The Edo State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) has issued an ultimatum to Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Osarodion Ogie to resign his position.

INFO DAILY reports that Ogie was nominated as running mate to Asue Ighodalo, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the September 21st some months ago yet has remained in office.

A statement issued by the state Chairman of the party, Jarrett Tenebe, though did not mention days of the ultimatum, however argued that “his stay in office is also a violation of the public service rules which prohibit a public servant from using public resources to fund private purpose.”

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Tenebe, who frowned at the continued stay of Ogie in office, described the action as “unacceptable and an affront to the good people of Edo State.”

As an unelected public officer, Mr Ogie is hereby given an ultimatum to resign forthwith as his continuing stay in office is a clear violation of all known rules of decency and ethics,” he said.

Tenebe, while threatening to take “serious civil and criminal actions against Ogie,” added: “By remaining in office, while posing as running mate in the gubernatorial election, Mr. Ogie is also in violation of the public service rules which prohibit a public servant from using public resources to fund private purpose. “

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READ ALSO: BREAKING: Supreme Court Bars Govs From Sacking LG Chairmen

He alleged that, “Ogie is currently earning salary and other official benefits as Secretary to the State Government, even while pursuing a private ambition to become deputy governor.

“He’s using official vehicles and other government logistics to service his electioneering campaign. This is totally unacceptable and a waste of taxpayers’ money. This is the very definition of corruption.

“No unelected public servant should be allowed to do this. It’s patently wrong and a de-service to the state and the long suffering people of Edo State.”

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