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Fresh Governorship Polls In Kogi (begining of debacle or accomplishment?)

Tribunal orders fresh governorship polls in Kogi

Idris, who contested on the ticket of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has, however, signified intention to contest the nullification at the Court of Appeal, the final stop for elections petition at the state level.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar yesterday hailed the verdict on Idris, saying that the judiciary had once again done Nigeria proud.

The Kogi State Elections Petition Tribunal, headed by Justice Ibrahim Bako held that the April 14 election in the state could not stand on the ground that a validly nominated candidate of another party was illegally excluded from the exercise by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The petition was filed by a former governor of the state, Alhaji Abubakar Audu, who was the validly nominated candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). He was, however, excluded from the exercise by INEC, which had implemented the resolve of the then President Olusegun Obasanjo to disallow the people his administration identified as indicted on corruption charges.

The Supreme Court has declared such a resolve as illegal. The controversial indictment had also been planned as a bar for the then Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, from contesting the presidential election. The Supreme Court judgment, which forced INEC to include Abubakar's name in the ballot paper, came after the governorship election in which Audu was barred.

Audu had also asked the tribunal to order for a fresh election in the state. He joined the PDP, Idris and 21 electoral officers in the local councils as co-respondents. The respondents, led by Chris Uche (SAN) had argued that Audu lacked locus standi to institute the case since he was not a candidate. They averred that INEC was right to disqualify the ANPP candidate citing his indictment by both federal and state panels of enquiry over alleged embezzlement of state funds when he was governor of Kogi State between 1999 and 2003. The respondents also cited the trial of the former governor over cases of official corruption preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

However, the lead counsel to the petitioners, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), maintained that Audu's exclusion was illegal and unconstitutional. He recalled the judgment of the Supreme Court that INEC has no power to disqualify any candidate validly sponsored by his party.

In a two-hour verdict delivered at about 11.20 a.m. yesterday, Justice Bako upheld the petitioners' arguments that Audu's exclusion by the electoral body after he was duly nominated by the ANPP, rendered the entire electoral process "unlawful, null and invalid and cannot stand in law.

"We therefore hold that the unilateral decision of INEC to exclude the second petitioner from the April 14, 2007 governorship election for Kogi State was unlawful, null and void and cannot stand in law to that extent that the case is entered in favour of the first petitioner (ANPP)," Justice Bako added.

The tribunal declared that return of Idris by the first and second respondents "is hereby nullified in accordance with the provision of section 147(1) of the Electoral Act. It ordered the first to 23rd respondent "to conduct fresh election for the governorship seat of Kogi State, including the second petitioner as the duly nominated candidate of the first petitioner in accordance with the provision of paragraph 27 section 2 of the Electoral Act 2006".

The tribunal chairman, Justice Bako expressed gratitude to his "learned brothers" and the Nigerian press for fair coverage of the petition, adding that if the tribunal members had made any errors in the handling of the cases "it is purely human and highly regretted".

Counsel to the PDP, Pius Akubo hinted on the readiness of the first respondent to appeal the judgment on the ground that the "main issues" were not substantially addressed by the tribunal.

A visibly elated Audu, who had been present in every sitting since hearing in the case began in June, said: "The judgment is purely an act of God, it shows there is truly independence of the judiciary in Nigeria of today", Audu said, adding that he was a target of assassination in the course of seeking justice in the matter and gave God the glory for the victory at the tribunal.

Abubakar's spokesman, Alhaji Garba Shehu, quoted the former Vice President as expressing the belief that more elected officials would still be removed.

This, Shehu added, is "because there were no elections at all in most parts of the country" in April.

The former Vice President added that the judgement had again shown that "the courts would continue to be the last hope for saving this democracy."

Meantime, security has been beefed-up in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital to forestall any breakdown of law and order. Battle-ready policemen cordoned off the gate of the State Government House, in the state capital.

In a broadcast later in the evening, the state's Deputy Governor, Chief Philip Salau called for calm by the residents.

He urged aggrieved persons to seek legal redress rather than taking laws into their hands.

Salawu maintained that the state structure remained with Idris as Governor, warning that any disruption of public peace would be met with appropriate action.

Also reacting, state chairman of the Action Congress (AC), Michael Adeleye declared that the tribunal did a good job, describing the verdict as "victory to the oppressed, victory to the judiciary, victory to democracy and hope for a new Nigeria."

On the next line of action for his party whose petition was earlier yesterday struck out by the tribunal, the AC leader said he expected Kogi State to be on the "fast lane" in the days preparatory to a free and fair election, excluding Idris. He said the allegations of certificate forgery leveled against the PDP candidate effectively ruled him out of the fresh election. "Now, everybody can go to sleep knowing that with the judiciary, sanity has been restored to the electoral process".

The governor's spokesman Farouk Adejoh-Audu told The Guardian that the judgment would be contested at the Court of Appeal.

Adejoh-Audu, who questioned the judgment, noted that a party in the case had begun celebrating since Tuesday, which is 24 hours before the verdict.

Senator Nicholas Ugbane (PDP, Kogi East) declined to comment extensively but took solace in the fact that the governor will remain, while the appeal is on.

"It is only after the appeal that we will know where to go. But for now I can not comment because I do not know what the tribunal based its judgment on," he said on phone.

Adejoh-Audu said: "We are not surprised at the ruling because we believe a lot of people were thoroughly compromised. Before the case even began, one of the parties had addressed the press in Abuja and Jos to say the state governor wanted him dead because he was going to win the case at the tribunal."

The government's spokesman queried: "How did he know he was going to win when the case had just begun? How come he had started printing his posters for a re-run election? Why were his supporters celebrating 24 hours before the judgment in a convoy? Why were the lawyers of the governor, and the state Attorney-General not aware that the tribunal was going to deliver its judgment by 2.00 p.m. on Tuesday?"

Some other lawmakers from Kogi declined to comment on the judgment yesterday.

Meantime, the AC, yesterday praised the tribunal on the cancellation of the poll.

He described the verdict as an expected end.

The party's National Publicity Secretary, Lai Muhammad told The Guardian that the electoral injustice allegedly perpetrated by the INEC in the conduct of Kogi State polls was obvious.

He also blamed the INEC for wasting Nigeria's resources on what he called the "selection" of Idris as the governor of Kogi State.

Muhammad noted that the AC protested the disqualification of its gubernatorial candidate in the state by the EFCC on what he called frivolous reasons, noting that the INEC had enough reasons to be restrained from throwing state resources into waste bins.

"The AC is not surprised at the tribunal's ruling yesterday. It was very obvious that there was no gubernatorial election in Kogi.

"The PDP, with INEC and the EFCC as its instruments

for perpetration of electoral injustice in Nigeria

just wanted to play on Nigerians' intelligence," he said.

Muhammad added: "When the EFCC disqualified the AC gubernatorial aspirant in the state for frivolous reasons, AC warned that the INEC should desist from wasting Nigeria's resources in the name of conducting elections which will eventually be nullified.

"It is just a pity that the INEC didn't heed our protest", he said.

He further said that the AC was ready to go into a fresh governorship election with any other party in the state provided INEC would be ready to conduct a free and fair election this second time.

http://odili.net/news/source/2007/oct/11/19.html

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Prince Abubakar Audu was one of the candidates in elections from the All Progressive Congress. He passed away being 68 years old. During the last governorship election elections he was leading and won over 240,867 according to the poles. He was outrunning other candidates by over 40000 votes. He has passed away on November 22nd, 2015. These news shocked everyone. However, presently the question is about the legal issues with this situation. The INEC results were announced, but the winning candidate passed away. What is to be done now? Well, the situation is a complicated one and we would have to see what takes place in the future.

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INCREDIBLE! Buhari, Atiku present 3 presidential election results at tribunal

THE controversy over the outcome of the April 21 presidential election took a new twist on Thursday as the candidates of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), General Muhammadu Buhari, and that of the Action Congress (AC), former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, tendered three final results of the poll at the presidential election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja.

Counsel for Buhari, Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN), noted that the results were on the same INEC Form EC8DA (form for final election result). He pointed out to the court that the manual and electronic results which are Certified True Copy (CTC) from INEC also bore the signature of the electoral commission’s Chairman, Professor Muarice Iwu. The third is the internet version of the result.

In the results presented, the manual version has Yar’Adua with 25,316,176 votes, Buhari, 6,846,740 votes and Atiku, 2,601,748 votes. In the electronic version, Yar’Adua had 24,638,063 votes, Buhari 6,605,291 votes while Atiku had 2,637,848 votes.

In the internet version, Yar’Adua had 24,784,227 votes, Buhari had 6,607,419 votes while Atiku, whose name was vacant, had 2,567,789. Marked as exhibit P2B 2-3, the court accepted the conflicting final presidential results after counsel for President Umaru Yar’Adua and Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, INEC, Police, Chief of Army Staff raised no objection to the documents being admitted as exhibit by the court.

The results reportedly had President Yar’Adua of the Peoples Democratic Party as the winner of the poll. All the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory results from the presidential election were on the documents.

Accepting the exhibit alongside two other documents, the court’s presiding justice, Justice James Ogebe, held that “the documents are accepted as exhibits by the consent of all parties in this petition.”

The electoral commission introduced another dimension into the result saga when it refused to accept the final presidential election result downloaded on its website and presented as exhibit by Abubakar.

Justice Ogebe could not hide his disbelief as he asked the INEC legal team if it was disowning the result got from its website. Lead counsel for INEC, Dr. Bello Fadile, explained to the court that though he had inspected the document presented by Atiku, it would be difficult to accept it since it was not duly certified by the commission.

He added that since computer websites were not totally fool-proof, there were chances that some people could have broken into the website and tampered with the original result posted on it by the commission.

The court, which appeared unconvinced by the explanation, said it would be waiting for the appropriate time for the commission to prove its suspicion. An application brought by Chief Ahamba to get more witnesses to testify on other contentious exhibits brought by Buhari was rejected by the court, because he failed to specify the number of the witnesses, what they would be tendering and how long it would take them to do so.

Yar’Adua’s legal team had objected to the application, while INEC raised no objection. INEC’s position on it left the Yar’Adua corner with mouth-agape. Proceedings got stuck at a stage when Chief Ahamba could not produce the witnesses needed to kick-start the full hearing of the consolidated petition.

He told the court that he did not plan for presentation of witnesses, since he thought that his application for more depositions of witnesses would succeed. A suggestion from the Yar’Adua legal team that Buhari’s petition be struck out over inability to produce witnesses, was frowned on by the court, with Justice Ogebe reminding the counsel of the importance of making everybody to have a feel of justice in the hearing of the cases.

He demanded the withdrawal of the suggestion and it was withdrawn with apologies.

http://www.ngex.com/cgi-bin/frame/frameit2.plx?link="http://www.tribune.com.ng"

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Presidential polls: Buhari, Atiku join forces

In an effort to put up a strong and formidable force against the election victory of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Vice President Goodluck Jonathan at the election tribunal, the presidential candidates of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Action Congress (AC), General Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar respectively on Tuesday consolidated their petitions at the presidential election tribunal.

The two candidates in the last April 21 polls have put up a total of 747 witnesses to prove their case against the outcome of the presidential election.

However, Chairman of the tribunal, Justice James Ogebe, disclosed that the tribunal would not go beyond three months to conclude hearing on the petitions, which he explained would be on daily basis.

The tribunal relied on paragraph 46 of the 1st Schedule to the Electoral Act 2006 in consolidating the petitions, explaining further that the action was taken to save time and cost of both the parties and the nation.

Justice Ogebe, who relied on the provisions of Section 310 of the Election Practice Direction, warned that the parties should not call more than the total number of witnesses indicated to the court.

Buhari had earlier told the tribunal that he had a total of 150 witnesses, which might be reduced to 50 if the tribunal allows him to put in additional depositions. On his part, Atiku, who requested for 45 days to prove his case, said he was going to call a total number of 204 witnesses.

President Yar'Adua and his deputy, Jonathan, claimed a period of one month would be sufficient to put across the evidence of their 174 witnesses.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), represented by Chief Amaechi Nwaiwu (SAN), said it would call 215 witnesses and would require 45 days to have them examined.

The Chief of Defence Staff, through Mrs. Lami Jubril and the police, represented by Mrs. Pamela Ohabor, said they have three and one witnesses respectively.

Buhari’s counsel, Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN), who wanted to commence tendering of his exhibits, was unable to do so as the court ordered him to consult with the defence team. He said he wanted to list all witnesses and documents to make things easier.

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal had summoned the Country Representative, European Union Observer Group and seven others over the dispute arising from the poll.

Also summoned by the tribunal are the national coordinator, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG); executive director, Alliance for Credible Election, national coordinator, Justice Development and Peace Commission; coordinator, Justice Development and Peace Commission (Abuja zone), director general, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), director of news and current affairs, Channels Television and executive director of news, Africa Independent Television (AIT).

Their invitation followed a request by Atiku, who wanted those involved to tender some documents that would help him prove his case.

In granting Atiku’s application, the tribunal directed that the invitation be issued on the affected persons.

The European Union boss in Nigeria was directed by the tribunal to produce a duly certified copy of the interim report of the European Union Election Observation Mission on the presidential and National Assembly elections 2007; a duly certified final report of the mission’s observers on the said poll and the letter of accreditation issued to the EU Observer Union by the INEC on the said poll.

The national coordinator of the Justice Development and Peace Commission was ordered to produce the duly certified copy of the interim and final reports of the group on the said poll as well as the letter of accreditation issued to it by INEC to monitor the poll.

Similar documents are also demanded from the head of the Alliance for Credible Election and the national coordinator of the Transition Monitoring Group.

In the case of the media organizations summoned, they are ordered to produce the master videotape recording of the collation and declaration of the presidential election result by INEC’s Chief Returning Officer, Professor Maurice Iwu.

http://www.ngex.com/cgi-bin/frame/frameit2.plx?link="http://www.sunnewsonline.com/"

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@babasin:

You're absolutely on point.

It is never a good sign when a vacating president is publicly stating that "it is do or die victory for his selected successor" A true leader just doesn't make such statement publicly.

It is clear cut, and I just can't wait for a guileless individual with big balls to come out clean and make it clear that our current tribulation in Nigeria was consciously created or customized by OBJ's careless actions during his time as the head of states.

The problem this man designed for us will linger for many years to come.

From my point of view, out of many Nigerian presidents, OBJ still had the greatest circumstance to change things for better and forever.

Why?: For the first time in our history, during OBJ's first term, Nigerians in general were on the same page and demonstrated the willingness to work together as one toward attaining common objectives.

As a leader, when you have majority of the population on yourside, willing to work with you and looks up to you, you must absolutely take advantage of the opportunity. This kind of opportunity only comes once in a life time and we may never see this again in Nigeria for many years.

Of course OBJ had his own personal hidden side agenda; he permitted his ego, vindictiveness and lack of true leadership skill to abolish this great opportunity.

And it is very sad and extremely unfair that innocent citizens of Nigeria will pay for this failure for many years to come.

FYI:

Currently, Nigeria is faced by two major problems:

1. Unique Political Problem: I see this problem as intangible or invisible, which to me is much more difficult to resolve just because of the complexity and lack of leadership skill of our people. Infact, this same problem number one is also directly linked to problem number two; which is absolutely a disadvantage.

2. Corruption Problem: This problem is tangible and could be easily rectified; but the only major issue here is the fact that problem number two is also heavily depends on problem number one.

Hence, regardless of what EFCC or AGF or ICPC or anybody may be selling, if problem number one is not clearly resolved, problem number two will continue to linger and live forever and ever.

My point: We need to stop fooling ourselves in Nigeria, our problem is "problem number 1", which was mostly created by OBJ and his political junkies.

If moving forward is our main mission, then Yar'Adua must quickly discover a better strategy to detach himself (his administration) from OBJ and other political sleazeballs.

Yar'Adua must politically unite the nation, introduce new policies to empower the leadership skill of the new administration and also find better ways to stimulate our economic, so that ordinary Nigerian citizens can quickly feel the positive effect of this new regime.

Trust me, nobody cares about nullification of the governors; Nigerians are only concern with what will improve their current F***-up standard of living.

We are sick and tired of these sensless games; show us food, job opportunities, better education, better medical care and rescue the future of our nation.

May God bless Nigeria!

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This is what your OBJ left for Nigeria.

When a people allows an ex-convict(from Nigerian prison) to be their ruler. This is what you get!

'Rule of Law' must be follow at all times and consitently applied.

This will ensure that next time; people will not rig as it will be cancelled and re-done.

This judgement is the best to happen to Nigeria; I want to see more of such clear-cut judgements.

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The nullification of the election in Kogi is just the prelude to a public out cry in most states.

To me this president and his ATG are confused and have no idea what precedence they are setting up.

Just like BIGB1 said. If the election in Kogi can be nullified, what credibility does YAR ADUA has to be the president?

Now BUHARI ATIKU and other can go to the Supreme Court to ask for nullification as well. As we must obey the rule of law, we must also start admitting defeat at all level. We can’t continue to waste recourses on legal issues and at the same time preaching to unit the nation and progression.

In a modern or western world any indicted person has no right to contest for any public office. Where is the integrity?

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Even though, it seems to be fine and appropriate action to nullify the election of Kogi state governor, but at the same time to me this action signifies pure hypocrisy and the opening of a can of deadly worms, which can also further create major obstacles for this new administration.

This is not to create any issue over this nullification, but I predict that very soon, there will be political commotion all around the country and the premise for this commotion will be “if it’s OK to nullify the election of Ibrahim Idris, it should also be appropriate to nullify the election of our president, who has also admitted on several occasions that the 2007 presidential election wasn’t fair and absolutely not accurate”.

Moreover, Mr. Akala on the other hand is still bubbling around in Ibadan without any clear justification for his election. I’m pretty sure that the folks in Ibadan will be very glad to quickly take advantage of this opportunity to start their own nullification process; hence at the end of the day, this new administration will end up running around for the next 4 years with absolutely zero accomplishment.

All because of the failure intentionally designed by OBJ and EFCC.

My question is, are we moving forward or backward or we are just simply stationary?

I don’t get it!

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