Elections: Appeal Court dismisses suit against Ayade
The Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, won at the Court of Appeal Abuja Division, in an appeal no: CA/ABJ/CV/1394/2022, filed against him by Cecilia Adams, a participant in the May 28 primary of the All Progressives Congress.
The appellant had lost at the Federal High Court, Abuja, where she sought to challenge the candidature of Governor Ayade for election into the National Assembly, at the senatorial level.
Cecilia had scored zero votes at the primary but refused to participate in the fresh one conducted on July 14, 2022, for the Cross River North Senatorial District towards the 2023 General Election.
In a unanimous decision of the appellate court led by Justice Stephen Adah, in the appeal argued for Ayade by Mike Ozekhome, SAN, the court upheld the decision of Justice N.E. Maha of the Federal High Court.
The court dismissed the appeal seeking to set aside the judgment of the trial court and to grant the reliefs sought in its originating summons which among others, was to order the Independent National Electoral Commission to recognise, accept and publish Adams’ name as the candidate of the APC for the Cross River North Senatorial District.
Also joined as co-respondents with Ayade in the appeal challenging the APC primary were the APC, Martin Orim and INEC (the 1st, 2nd and 4th Defendants respectively). The 2nd Defendant, Martin Orim, had earlier won the May 28 2022 senatorial primary; but later resigned to enable fresh primary to be conducted by INEC.
It was from these fresh primary that Ayade emerged as the sole contestant and winner on July 14, 2022, all of which were in strict compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
The appellant had, through an originating summon filed on July 26, 2022, approached the Federal High Court, Abuja, praying amongst others for “an order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st Defendant (INEC) their agents, servants, affiliates or privies from recognising and dealing with the 2nd and 3rd Defendants, or any other person, as the 2nd Defendants candidate for the Cross River North Senatorial District election in the forthcoming National Assembly elections to be held on the 25th February 2023 (or any other date that may be fixed).”
The counsel for Ayade, Ozekhome, had argued before the Federal High Court, Abuja, that Cecilia Adams was not entitled to the reliefs sought before the court. The trial court agreed with him and dismissed the claims of Adams in its entirety, because the 2nd Respondent (Martin Orim) duly complied with the provision of section 31 of the Electoral Act, 2022, in validating his withdrawal process from the Cross River senatorial district 2023 general election; and that the 1st Respondent (APC) also fully complied with the provisions of Section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2022, in organising fresh primary.
Dissatisfied with the judgment of the trial court, Adams proceeded to the appellate court, seeking to overturn the decision of the lower court.
Similarly, the appellate court in its judgment dismissed the appeal in its entirety and upheld the decision of the lower court, stating that since the decision of the lower court was not perverse as it reflected the true position of the law, the appellate court had no business interfering with such a judgment.
“We stand by the decision of the lower court to hold that the appeal lacks merit and is accordingly dismissed”, the court held.
Labour Party rejects Enugu governorship poll results
The Labour Party has rejected the result of Saturday’s governorship election that produced the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Peter Mbah, as the winner of the poll.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had Wednesday night declared Mbah winner of the poll after the results of the controversial Nkanu East Local Government Area were accepted and recalculated over allegations of over-voting among others.
LP had through its agent, Dr Eugene Edeoga, on Sunday night, raised objections on the results of Nkanu East, stating that the elections were not conducted inline with INEC Guidelines.
He said that there was over-voting, manipulation of election results and non-use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machine in the LGA.
He, however, demanded the results should be cancelled. On Monday, following the protests and petition, INEC suspended the collation and declaration of poll results. On Wednesday, INEC said it had revised the results and found out that there was manipulation and over-voting in Nkanu East LGA.
However, after allocating votes to parties according to what it said were genuine votes from the local government, the returning officer declared Peter Mbah of PDP the winner of the poll.
However, reacting to the results of the election as declared by INEC, the LP said it would not accept the result, adding the March 18, 2023 election was marred by widespread and wholesale rigging, intimidation of voters, doctoring, mutilation and manipulation of the results.
LP in a statement issued on Thursday by the State Publicity Secretary, Onuora Odo, stated, “It’s on record that the process of accreditation and use of BVAS was not followed in some of the pooling booths, especially Nkanu East.”
“It’s also on record that in the course of the collation of results, the results of Nkanu East showed monumental disparities between the number of registered voters and the total number of votes, but the obviously compromised INEC decided to disregard the provisions of the Electoral Act and went ahead to declare the conspicuously padded results despite complaints from the opposition parties.
“This was the reason why they deliberately delayed the announcement of the result to pave way for further manipulations.
“The position of the party, therefore, is that the result as declared by INEC on the 22nd of March, 2023, four days after the elections were concluded, was heavily doctored and does not reflect the wishes of Ndi Enugu State.”
He added, “In view of the foregoing developments, we are, by this media release, registering our dissatisfaction over the electoral irregularities and malfeasances activated and actuated by heavy financial inducements.
“Let it be known that our great party is poised to deepen the root of democracy in Nigeria and can not fold our arms and allow this level of the electoral heist to go unchallenged.
“In due course, the position of the party will be made known as we have started assembling our facts together to do the needful. Surely, this is a rape of democracy.”
Military, other security agencies curb violence during elections ,says DHQ
The Defence Headquarters has attributed several arrests the military and other security agencies made prior to February 25 and March 18 general elections to the relative peace enjoyed during and after the elections.
It said that all the political thugs arrested by the troops during the general elections and the weapon they seized from the thugs were handed over to the Nigeria Police authorities for further action.
The Director, Defence Media Operations,Major General Musa Danmadami who disclosed this on Thursday at the fortnightly media press briefing on the activities of military against the insurgents and criminals in the country did not give the number of arrests.
He said that prior to the elections all the issues raised about trouble spots across the country were addressed and nip in the bud, “that is why we did not see wide spread violence during and after the elections.”.
On the ongoing military operations in the country, Major General Danmadami said that In the past 2 weeks, both kinetic and non-kinetic operations were conducted in the various theatres of operations by the troops, with significant results recorded.
He said that not less than 27 terrorists were neutralised in encounter at various locations with the troops between March 9 and 23 while more than 46 AK-47 rifles were recovered from Boko Haram/ Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP during the period.
Danmadami said that in the North East zone, the troops recovered 16 AK47 rifles, 1 x 60mm mortar bomb, 10 dane guns, 12 dummy rifles, 1 pump action gun, 1 PKT gun, 280 rounds of 7.62mm special, 118 rounds of 7.62 x 50mm NATO, 13 rounds of 5.56mm ammo, 10 rounds of 7.62 x 54mm NATO ammo, 1 round of 12.7mm NATO, 17 AK47 magazines, 1 firing pin, 1 mechanic tools box, 2 knives, 6 motorcycles, 24 mobile phones, 41 live stocks, assorted food items and 1 vehicle.
Troops of the Joint Task Force, Operation HADIN KAI and other operations in the North East zone also sustained and continued to dominate their general area of operations.
According to the military spokesman, “Operational activities were conducted in villages, forest, mountains, towns and cities of Gwoza, Askira – Uba, Kukawa, Monguno, Damboa, Mobbar, Konduga, Ngala, Bama, Dikwa and Guzamala Local Government Area of Borno State and Yunusari, Geidam, Karasuwa and Damaturu Local Government Areas of Yobe State.
“Operations were also conducted in Bali Local Government Area of Taraba State. Several raids, fighting patrols and ambushes operation were conducted to curb the activities of terrorists and other criminals elements within the Area of Operation.
He said that troops while acting on credible intelligence ambushed Boko Haram/Islamic State of West Africa Province terrorists at locations within Askira-Uba, Kukawa, Gwoza and Damboa Local Government Areas of Borno State. At these locations, troops made contact with the terrorists, during which 7 terrorists were neutralized.
Troops exploited the area and recovered 8 AK47 rifles, 64 rounds of 7.62mm special, 128 rounds of 7.62mm belted ammo, 1 pump action gun, 1 PKT machine gun, 13 rounds of 5.56mm ammo, 1 jack knife, 1 mechanic tools box, military camouflage uniform, 1 boafeng radio, 6 motorcycles, 1 blanket, 4 mobile phone and 1 sack of groundnut.
In same vein ,troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN and WHIRL STROKE have sustained the offensive against terrorists and other criminal elements in the North Central Zone.
He said that in furtherance to this, operational activities were carried out in villages and Local Government Areas of Kwara, Plateau, Kogi and Niger States.
“On 12 March 2023, troops arrested 2 suspected kidnappers while attempting to collect ransom for a kidnapped victim at Gegu-Beki village in Kogi Local Government Area, Kogi State. Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect was sent to collect the sum of N2,000,000.00.”
While troops of Operations HADARIN DAJI and other operations in the North West zone have also continue to sustained their dominance over the menace of terrorist and other criminal activities.
“Precisely, on 10 March 2023, troops intercepted and arrested 11 suspected terrorists at Dukku town in Dukku Local Government Area of Gombe State”, the director said.
According to him,a search of the general area by the troops led to recovery of 7 pump action guns, 2 locally fabricated cartridges and 10 mobile phones.
He said that between 11 – 13 March 2023, troops conducted fighting patrol to bandits camps at villages within Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State as well as villages within Wasagu/Danko, and Zuru Local Government Areas of Kebbi State and made contact with terrorists.
Following the various encounters, troops neutralized 2 bandits while others fled with gun shot injuries and made a recovery of 139 rounds of 7.62 x 54mm links of PKM ammunition, 8 motorcycles, 175 cows, 113 sheep and 2 mobile phones rescued 12 kidnapped victims from their camp.
Ekweremadu, wife found guilty of organ trafficking
A former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, his wife, Beatrice, have been found guilty of organ trafficking in the United Kingdom.
The duo alongside their daughter, Sonia, and a medical doctor, Dr. Obinna Obeta, were found guilty of facilitating the travel of a young man to Britain with a view to his exploitation after a six-week trial at the Old Bailey.
They criminally conspired to bring the 21-year-old Lagos street trader to London to exploit him for his kidney, the jury found on Thursday.
The judge, Justice Jeremy Johnson, will pass a sentence at a later date according to The Guardian UK.
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