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Fate Of 7 Govs Uncertain

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Niger and Taraba states in the March 9, 2019 governorship polls while seven other governors await the determination of appeals challenging their elections.

The states whose governorship elections are yet to be decided are: Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Imo, Kano, Plateau and Sokoto.

A five-member panel of justices presided by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, yesterday dismissed the appeals before the Supreme Court and affirmed the elections of governors Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia, PDP); Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta, PDP); Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger, APC); and Darius Ishaku (Taraba, PDP).

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In the first judgement on Abia delivered by Justice Adamu Galinje, the apex court held that the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Alex Otti, failed to prove the allegation of over-voting against Ikpeazu and the PDP by relying solely on the card reader.

READ ALSO: Breaking: Supreme Court Affirms Okowa, Ikpeazu, Bello Election Victory

He ruled that the position of the apex court has been that where documents are dumped on the court, it would not attach any probative value to it.

He added that the makers of Forms EC8As, which statements of results contained names of accredited voters and number of voters, should have been called to demonstrate them.

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Ruling on the appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenging the election of Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State, Justice Ejembi Eko held that a Federal High Court having disqualified its original candidate, the party had no flag bearer in the March 9 governorship election and ought not to have challenged the election.

Photo credit: dailytrust.com

Citing the provisions of sections 141 and 285 of the Electoral Act, Justice Eko said Professor Muhammad Sani Yahaya, who was presented by the party in Taraba, did not participate in all the processes of the election and is prohibited by law to be a successor to a candidate who was disqualified by a Federal High Court.

He explained that since the party proceeded to participate in the election despite the subsisting court order disqualifying its candidate, Abubakar Danladi, the votes cast for it are not valid but “wasted votes.”

READ ALSO: APC Crisis: Oshiomhole Absent At Auchi Day

“The appeal is mere academic exercise and will serve no useful purpose,” he said.

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On the Niger appeal brought by PDP’s Umar Mohammed Nasko, Justice Uwani Abba-Aji dismissed the appeal on the grounds that the issue of non-qualification and false information against Governor Bello had become statute barred having been brought outside the 180 days allowed by law.

She said the apex court cannot interfere with the decision made by the Court of Appeal on the judgement of the Niger State Election Petitions Tribunal, adding that the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction on the matter.

In the appeal by Great Ogboru of APC against Governor Okowa of Delta, Justice Cletus Nweze ruled that the appellant dumped documents on the tribunal without demonstrating their relevance to his case.

He held that Ogboru relied too much on hearsay evidence in his allegations of over-voting and other electoral malpractices in the March 9, 2019 governorship election.

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S/Court to decide petitions against 7 state govs

The Supreme Court is expected to decide within this month, the remaining seven cases including the appeal by former governor of Adamawa State, Jibrilla Bindow (APC) against Governor Ahmadu Fintiri (PDP); Bauchi appeal between former governor Mohammed Abubakar (APC) against Governor Bala Mohammed (PDP); and Benue appeal brought by Emmanuel Jime (APC) against Governor Samuel Ortom (PDP).

Other cases are those against Imo Governor Emeka Ihedioha (PDP) by the APC candidate, Hope Uzodimma.

READ ALSO: PDP Vice Chair Slumped, Died In Kogi

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There are other appeals by Action Alliance (AA) candidate, Uche Nwosu and the candidate of APGA Ifeanyi Ararume, all of them challenging the validity of the election of Ihedioha.

In Kano, there is the appeal by Abba Kabiru Yusuf (PDP) against Governor Umar Ganduje of Kano; the appeal by Jeremiah Useni (PDP) against Simon Lalong of Plateau State; and in Sokoto, the appeal was brought by APC’s Ahmed Aliyu challenging the election of Governor Aminu Tambuwal.

Other cases dispensed by the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court had earlier ruled on the appeals involving Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Katsina, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Oyo and Rivers affirming the election of the governors.

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But the petitions filed against governors of Cross River, Enugu, Gombe, Kebbi and Kwara did not make it to the Supreme Court.

The governorship elections in Yobe and Jigawa did not attract any petition, while Kogi election, which held on November 16, 2019, is still at the tribunal.

Controversial appeals still at the S/Court

Adamawa

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Governor Umar Fintiri will know his fate when the appeal by Bindow is heard at the Supreme Court.

At the tribunal, Bindow alleged over-voting and non-compliance with the Electoral Act as well as irregularities during the March 2019 re-run governorship election.

Fintiri polled 376,552 votes to defeat the incumbent Bindow who got 336,386 votes. Fintiri won by 40,166 votes.

Bauchi

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The appeal filed by Abubakar who sought for a second term in Bauchi but was defeated by Mohammed is expected to deepen legal understanding on election litigation in Nigeria.

The ex-governor filed his petition after conceding defeat to his would-be successor.

INEC initially declared the election of March 9 inconclusive as Mohammed polled 469,512 votes while Abubakar, who was rounding up his first term scored, 465, 453 votes.

The re-run election held on March 23, 2019 in 36 polling units across 15 local government areas, including results of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area, were stalled by a Federal High Court in Abuja on March 19, 2019 after the former governor and the APC brought an ex parte motion before it.

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READ ALSO:Court Restrains INEC From Conducting By-election Into Edo Assembly Seats

The court, however, lifted the ban on March 25 to allow the conclusion of the collation which returned the opposition Mohammed as winner.

Kano

The appeal by Yusuf against Governor Ganduje at the Supreme Court will be dealing with the controversial issue of inconclusive and supplementary elections in Nigeria.

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Yusuf polled 1,014,353 votes against 987,829 votes by Ganduje before the election was declared inconclusive.

During the rerun, Ganduje won and was declared winner but Yusuf approached the election petition tribunal insisting that he won at first ballot. The verdict of the tribunal did not favour him but the PDP candidate decided to approach the apex court.

Sokoto

The appeal by APC’s Aliyu against Governor Tambuwal is another matter that will be of interest to Nigerians. Aliyu lost by the narrowest of margins of 512,002 votes to 511,661 votes he polled. This was after the collation was declared inconclusive on March 9, 2019, forcing a re-run on March 23, 2019 during which Tambuwal was returned as winner.

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So far, the APC controls 20 states, PDP 15 and APGA 1.

(DAILY TRUST)

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Flooding: INEC Boss, Yakubu Inspects Damaged Facilities In Edo, Promises Replacement

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The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu on Thursday said the damaged facilities in the Edo office would be replaced before the Sept. 21 governorship election.

Yakubu said this during an on-the-spot-assessment of the level of damage done to its facilities by the flood disaster occasioned by torrential rain in Benin on May 24.

The flood disaster destroyed some voter enrollment machines already configured for the Continuous Voter Registration exercise.

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Speaking after the inspection of the facilities, Yakubu said he was in Benin to assess the level of damage with a view to immediately proffering solutions to whatever problems that has arose from the disaster.

READ ALSO: INEC Promises Credible Election In Edo, Despite Destruction Of Critical Infrastructure

He said the flood disaster would not hinder the smooth conduct of the governorship election in the state, adding that the commission would do an assessment of what was damaged and respond appropriately.

He expressed joy that no life was lost to the flood.

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“This is not a regular visit. We are here to see what happened to our facilities after the flooding that occurred on Friday, May 24.

“I came here with the Director of ICT because some machines were destroyed and I also came with the federal controller of works because he would be helping us to address the flooding problems in and around the INEC office in Benin.

“Providing working equipment and ensuring a conducive work environment is as crucial as paying salaries.

READ ALSO: Naira Appreciates by 9.7% Against Dollar At Official Market

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“So we will ensure that we fix the damaged facilities before the election,” he said.

The INEC chairman also disclosed that the CVR exercise would continue in spite of the damage caused by the flood disaster.

He, however, described the turnout of registrants as impressive, stressing that the damaged facilities poses no threat to the ongoing CVR and election.

“We took proactive measure to ensure that the CVR was not affected by calling for additional resources from neighboring states since INEC was one national body.”

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According to him, the present Commission has enough experience in conducting governorship election and this is the third governorship election we will be conducting in Edo since 2016.

Earlier, the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Anugbum Onuoha thanked the Chairman for being proactive in responding to the disaster.

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JUST IN: Sanusi Makes First Appointment Amid Emirship Tussle

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As the controversy trailing Kano Emirate tussle continues, the 16th Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II has on Thursday made his first appointment.

This was coming barely a week after he was reinstalled as the Emir.

Sanusi, the former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, approved the appointment of a new Ward Head of Kofar Mazugal, Hamisu Sani in Dala Local Government area of the state.

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The Emir called on the new ward Head to ensure peaceful coexistence among the subjects of the area and contribute his quota towards the development of the state as a whole.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Court Stops Police, SSS, Military From Evicting Emir Sanusi

Earlier, district heads and personalities such as delegations from religious and market bodies paid homage on Emir Sanusi at the palace.

The delegation includes, Ansarulddeen Tijjanniya sect and Traders from Kano popular textile market (Kantin Kwari) as well as the commodities market (Singer market) among others.

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Recall that Sanusi II was reinstalled as the Emir of Kano last Thursday after the Kano State House of Assembly and Governor Abba Yusuf repealed and accented the Kano State Emirates Councils (Repeal) Bill 2024 into law.

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INEC Promises Credible Election In Edo, Despite Destruction Of Critical Infrastructure

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The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu on Thursday said the Commission would conduct a credible governorship election in Edo State in spite of last Friday’s heavy downpour that destroyed critical infrastructure in the commission’s headquarters in Benin City.

He said since the Edo governorship election is an off-cycle election, the Commission would also borrow equipment from neighbouring states to ensure a hitch-free exercise.

Yakubu stated this in Benin City while on inspection of the level of damage to the facilities in the office in Benin City, and also to monitor the level of compliance with the on-going Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) and collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVC).

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The INEC boss said he also came with three National Directors in charge of critical areas of the Commission like Voters Registry, Estate, Works and Transport and ICT to assess the level of damage to their facilities and the State Controller of the Federal Ministry of Works which would carry out needed construction work in the facilities.

READ ALSO: Edo Guber: Court Adjourns Suit Challenging Akpata’s Nomination As LP Candidate

He also ruled out moving out of the place because of the perennial flooding in the area.

The INEC chairman who said the Commission was prepared for the election in Edo State, added: “Our visit here is to ensure that we fix whatever we need to fix because of the election. We have three months and three weeks to the election, and that is why we came here to inspect what happened to our facility on Friday last week.

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“We believe, we can fix whatever is damaged before the election, and it is better actually that we conduct the election in our own facilities rather than going to rent any facility outside close to election.

“Before the last governorship election in Edo, we took measures and for three years since the last governorship election, we have had no issues but this is an act of God.”

On whether he can quantify the cost of damage in the facility, Yakubu said: “It is very difficult to quantify now, we are on the assessment, and that is why in this tour we have been joined by three critical Directors responsible for Voters Registry, our Estate, Works and Transport at the headquarters, and our Director of ICT so they will stay behind, do the assessment and advise the Commission.”

READ ALSO: LP Names Ngogbehai, Elumelu, Ismaila, Others To Oversee ‘OBIDIENTs’

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He assured that despite the setbacks, the Commission was ready for the election.

He said: “Let me use this opportunity to assure and reassure Edo voters that it is unfortunate that this thing happened in our office on Friday.

We took a proactive measure to ensure that the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) was not affected by calling for additional resources from the neighbouring states and whatever it takes, since INEC is one national body, and we are only going to have two elections in Edo and Ondo states, I will call for additional resources where it is necessary from neighbouring states and the elections will proceed as scheduled and we will recover from this unfortunate incident.”

Whether the ten days for the CVR would be extended as being agitated in some quarters, Professor Yakubu said: “We have not reached there yet, we will go round and see what happened.

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We are encouraged by the turnout not only of fresh registrants, that is persons who are registered voters or who are not of age when the last registration exercise was done

Earlier, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr Anugbum Onuoha said the flood could be termed a blessing in disguise as it has better prepared them for the election.

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