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Tinubu, Shetima, APC kick As Tribunal Moves To Consolidate Petitions Against Presidential Election

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) and its presidential candidate in the February 25 election, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, have kicked against the proposal for the consolidation of the petitions challenging their return as joint winners of the election.

The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) at the sitting on Monday had proposed to consolidate the three petitions filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, the Labour Party, LP, and its presidential candidate Peter Obi and the Allied People’s Movement (APM).

The proposal made by the Chairman of the Court, Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani, was predicated on the grounds that the petitions are relating to the same election and the returns and to ensure expeditious hearing of the petitions.

READ ALSO: Court Moves To Consolidate All Petitions Against Tinubu

However, in fierce opposition to the proposal, the APC and Tinubu insisted that they would be greatly jeopardized and the interest of justice would not be served if the request for the petitions consolidation is granted.

APC, through its counsel, Charles Edosomwen SAN, argued that it would not be able to defend its victory perfectly if the petitions are consolidated.

Specifically, the party said it would not be able to engage the huge number of witnesses already lined up to testify against it and its presidential candidate in the election especially on the myriad of allegations against them.

 

On his part, Tinubu, represented by Chief Akin Olujimi SAN, faulted paragraph 50 of the 5th Schedule of the Electoral Act 2022 which empowers Election Petition Court to consolidate petitions if they are against same election and same declaration of winner.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Presidential Election Tribunal Rejects Live Coverage Of Proceedings

Tinubu warned that the law should be invoked in the hearing of the petitions challenging his declaration as the President-elect adding that it is not mandatory for the three petitions to be merged for effective hearing.

He argued that different issues were raised in the petitions against him and would require that the petitions be heard differently.

Kabir Masari, who is the 5th defendant in the petition instituted against Tinubu by the Allied People’s Movement, APM, also vehemently objected to the consolidation, claiming that the proposal would cause confusion, chaos and embarrassment.

Masari, through his lawyer, Roland Otaru SAN, maintained that even though the Electoral Act permits consolidation of petitions, the interest of justice would not be served in the instant petitions.

However, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the APM supported the proposal and pleaded with the court to discontenance the objections and consolidate the three petitions for quick hearing.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Court Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani fixed May 23 to deliver ruling.

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Aiyedatiwa, 15 Others Jostle For Ondo APC Gov Ticket Today

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All is set for the All Progressives Congress in Ondo State to pick its governorship candidate today.

The ruling party had announced that 171, 922 members drawn from the 203 wards of the 18 local government areas of the state will take part in today’s primary election.

Sixteen aspirants will be jostling to clinch the ticket to become the APC governorship candidate in the state.

They are Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa; the Senator representing Ondo South, Jimoh Ibrahim; Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Olusola Oke; former President of Nigerian Medical Association, Prof. Francis Faduyile; Dr Funmi Waheed-Adekojo and the APC National Vice Chairman (South-West), Isaacs Kekemeke.

Others are Dr Soji Ehinlanwo, Akinfolarin Samuel, Okunjimi Odimayo, Adewale Akinterinwa, Olugbenga Edema, Gen. Ohunyeye Olamide, Morayo Lebi, Garvey Oladiran Iyanjan, and Ifeoluwa Oyedele.

READ ALSO: Ondo Guber: APC Vetting Committee Clears Aiyedatiwa, 15 Other Aspirants For Screening

Aiyedatiwa, who is riding into the fray on the back of incumbency and strings of endorsements from traditional rulers and the majority of state lawmakers, holds the ace.

In an interview with The PUNCH, the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Ebenezer Adeniyan, said, “We are not under any pressure. The primary is just in 24 hours. I am sure by then, everybody will know where they belong.”

On the mood in the governor’s camp, he described it as normal.

“This is not about mood. The reality will be on the field tomorrow. He is the governor. There is nothing to worry about,” he stated.

Aiyedatiwa, who concluded his campaign tour in three council areas of Akoko North West, Akoko North East, and Akoko South on Friday, had told newsmen that he still enjoys the support of the people.

READ ALSO: Ondo: APC Sets up 7-man Governorship Screening Committee

He said: “Throughout this campaign journey, the immense support I’ve garnered stresses the resounding desire of the people of Ondo State for continuity. This affirmation is rooted in the remarkable progress achieved during the short period we have spent in office. The people of Ondo state yearn for the continuation of this positive trajectory and it is evident that they believe I am the right candidate to lead this charge.

“Therefore, I urge everyone to identify with me in their various wards on Saturday, so that the developmental phase we have embarked on can continue. Let us ensure that our collective voices are heard loud and clear.”

But another contestant, Ibrahim, who spoke at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja few days ago, warned that an endorsement does not win anybody an election.

The senator also said the governor and other aspirants know he is the most qualified, as he has been in the race as far back as 2003 when he contested with the likes of the late former governors, Olusegun Agagu and Adebayo Adefarati.

Another contestant, Akinterinwa, also ended his campaign tour at his Ile-Oluji hometown where he promised to be true to his campaign promises ahead of Saturday’s party primary.

READ ALSO: Ondo Guber: APC Opts For Direct Primary, Rakes In N720m

Addressing journalists on Friday, Akinterinwa exuded confidence, saying he expected nothing short of victory at the poll.

He said, “Ondo people want somebody knowledgeable, who has the capacity, somebody who has been around long enough, whom they know and who has been in government that they can fraternise with.

“When we go out, we don’t take crowds from one local government to the other. So, our crowd is organic; it is within that environment. I expect that on Saturday, we will come out as winners of the primaries. By the grace of God, I won’t be surprised if other aspirants start stepping down for me. Some of them (aspirants) are already reaching out to me.”

A female contestant, Funmi Waheed-Adekojo, has announced that she is willing to step down if the APC calls for it.

She disclosed this to journalists at a media parley in Akure, the state capital on Friday.

She said, “I will step down for my loyalty to the party. If the party asked me, I would do so. Wherever the party goes, I will go. I came out based on the passion I have for people. No one asked me to contest. I am not going to bribe anybody.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Tinubu Appoints SEC Chairman, Board Members

“Without mincing words, this concept of rotation has regrettably become a hindrance to progress. One of its errors is that it prioritises political permutation over meritocracy and competence.”

Another governorship aspirant, who seems to be defying the odds in the last few weeks, is Oke.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria is coming into the contest on the back of a string of endorsements from some traditional chiefs and the popular Omoluabi Indigene group.

Two days ago, the campaign organisation of the late Dr Paul Akintelure, who was also a governorship contender until he died on March 24 after a brief illness, collapsed its structure to join forces with Oke’s camp

The move was confirmed in a statement jointly signed by the Director General and General Secretary of the group, Dr. Bello Adeluse Obe and Mrs Usor Eteng, respectively.

The group, which directed all its members across the 18 local government areas of the state to vote for Oke, said the development became necessary to ensure his victory in Saturday’s governorship election.
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APC Debunks Viral Video, Says Presidency Not After Ganduje

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The ruling All Progressives Congress has distanced itself from the report credited to its Kano State chapter of the party that the Presidency may have been behind the move to remove the National Chairman, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, from office.

The National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Felix Morka, made the rebuttal when he was featured as a guest on Arise TV on Thursday.

The Kano APC through its spokesperson, Ahmad Aruwa, had on Wednesday accused the Presidency of undermining and conspiring against the APC national chairman.

Aruwa made the claims in a viral video circulating on social media where he blamed some forces in the presidency for Ganduje’s travail.

READ ALSO: Police Seal Off Benue APC Factional Secretariat

The Kano APC also criticised President Bola Tinubu for not publicly speaking up for the embattled party national chairman, saying Ganduje personally facilitated his presence in Kano even when some grassroots politicians rejected him.

Reacting, Morka said much as he couldn’t tell the context in which Aruwa made the claim, it was a true reflection of things.

He said, “First, I am just hearing about this. I didn’t monitor that information. I wouldn’t say much about it. I don’t know the context or circumstances in which he made those comments. But the national chairman of APC is still the national chairman and we have the leader of the party who is the president, who to the best of my knowledge recognises Ganduje as our national chairman. So nothing has shifted.

READ ASLSO: [JUST IN] Ganduje: Kano APC Sacks Ward Leaders

 

“We know that the individuals who are behind this move to suspend the national chairman are people without membership in the party and any form of authority. I am sure you saw yesterday that all of the executive committee and members of the ward were at the national headquarters of our party to physically denounce all of the activities that occurred.

“We are in a situation where some imposters and outsiders in the party are invoking legal processes to embarrass, create confusion, and disturb the peace of the party in Kano for no reason. From all indications, many of the members who were at that press conference where the announcement was made are individuals we profiled that are connected one way or the other with very senior officials of the NNPP.”

The political drama in Kano took a fresh twist on Wednesday after a Federal High Court presided over by another judge, Justice A.M Liman, halted the purported suspension of Ganduje by his ward executives in Dawakin Tofa Local Government Area of the state.

The ruling was given after Ganduje filed an exparte motion seeking to enforce his fundamental right to a fair hearing.

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PDP Crisis: Drama As Dino Melaye, Ortom Exchange Words During Meeting [VIDEO]

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Former Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship candidate in Kogi State, Dino Melaye, was involved in a hot exchange with ex-governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom.

Melaye accused Ortom of anti-party activities during the 2023 presidential election.

Speaking at a North Central zonal leadership meeting of PDP in Abuja on Wednesday, Melaye said Ortom’s anti-party activities led to PDP losing both the presidential and governorship elections in Benue.

READ ALSO: EFCC Obtains Arrest Warrant For Yahaya Bello

He expressed surprise that the former governor could attend a PDP meeting despite his previous disloyalty to the party.

This led to a hot exchange between both PDP chieftains.

During the 2023 election, Ortom had teamed up with the G-5 governors led by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Nyesom Wike, to work against PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

While other members of the group worked for President Bola Tinubu’s victory, Ortom backed the Labour Party, LP, presidential candidate, Peter Obi.

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