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Court Affirms Election Of Soludo As Anambra Governor

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Court Affirms Election Of Soludo As Anambra Governor

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday declined to nullify the election of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo as the governor of Anambra State.

The court, in a judgement that was delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, dismissed a suit that sought to invalidate Soludo’s election on the allegation that he supplied false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC).

The Plaintiffs, Adindu Valentine and Egwudike Chukwuebuka, had in their suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/711/2021, alleged that Soludo lied in the affidavit (Form EC9), which he submitted to INEC.

They claimed that Soludo, in the said affidavit attached to his nomination form, stated that he was contesting the Aguata 2 Constituency seat, when, in fact, he was contesting the governorship seat.

More so, they told the court that an affidavit Soludo’s running mate and Deputy Governor-elect, Onyeka Ibezim, also submitted to INEC, contained false particulars considering that he stated that he was vying for Awka 2 Constituency seat.

Cited as defendants in the suit were the INEC, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Soludo and the Deputy Governor-elect, Ibezim.

The plaintiffs, through their lawyers, , A. O. Ijeri and Kelvin Okoko, argued that having indicated the wrong seat on the form, Soludo, violated extant legal provisions and ought to be disqualified.

“The constitution has made a state a constituency in relation to the governorship election, but in this case, the third defendant (Soludo) named Aguata 2 as the constituency he is contesting.

“The cause of action in a pre-election matter, by the provision of Section 285(9) of the Constitution, is determined by the date of the occurrence of the event, a decision or action complained about in the suit by the plaintiff.

“And in the instant suit, the cause of action of the plaintiffs arose on July 6, 2021, when the 3rd Defendant’s (Soludo’s) Form EC9 was submitted by the political party (the 2nd Defendant)”, they argued.

However, counsel for APGA and Soludo, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, queried jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter which he maintained was statue barred.

Aside from contending that the suit was filed outside the 14 days period stipulated by the Constitution, Ikpeazu, argued that error in an affidavit could not be a basis to disqualify a candidate from an election.

He argued that the false information claimed by the plaintiffs was not among the grounds stated in the 1999 Constitution for the disqualification of a candidate.

READ ALSO: Supreme Court Affirms Soludo As APGA Governorship Candidate For Anambra Poll

“False information, as envisaged in Section 31 of the Electoral Act is criminal in nature. Section 31 does not deal with error, but a deliberate effort to steal a match and to misrepresent”, he added.

On its part, INEC, through its lawyer, Bashir Abubakar, said it would leave the issue to the discretion of the court.

Meanwhile, in his judgement on Wednesday, though Justice Taiwo dismissed the preliminary objection challenging the competence of the suit and jurisdiction of the court to hear it, he however held that the plaintiffs, failed to establish that they had a reasonable cause of action.

Justice Taiwo held that the plaintiffs failed to convince the court on how the alleged false information both Soludo and Ibezim supplied to INEC, misled them.

The court held that since the allegation by the plaintiffs was also criminal in nature, it ought to be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

It held that the suit was filed in bad faith and a good example of cases that are not geared towards strengthening of the tenets of democracy in the country.

“I am yet to come to terms on the purpose for which this suit was filed. I am saying this because I am not convinced that this action is reasonable”, Justice Taiwo added.

Consequently, the court awarded N2million cost against the plaintiffs, in favour of the APGA, Soludo and Ibezim.

 

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What Lagos Residents’ll Miss If They Fail To Re-elect Me – Sanwo-Olu

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What Lagos Residents'll Miss If They Fail To Re-elect Me - Sanwo-Olu

Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has in a subtle way told residents of the state why he should be re-elected.

According to the governor, residents of the state who are enjoying his good performance need to allow him to continue his service by giving him a fresh mandate.

“I believe we are doing a very good job. I will let the people decide. The citizens know what they will be missing if they don’t allow us wrap up what we’re doing,” Sanwo-Olu said on Friday during an interview on Channels TV.

The governor, who is on a publicity blitz to promote his rail and other transportation projects in Lagos noted that his government planned to reduce gridlock in Lagos, create more employment and investment opportunities.

“That is the plan, that is the vision and how you need to be looking at it strategically is how efficient are people on the road, how much of journey times can we reduce,” noted the governor.

He added, “The vision is to reduce traffic time, reduce gridlock on the road and be able to do what we call a better journey planning where you can predict pretty much that this journey is going to take you 25 minutes, it is going to take you 30 minutes, it is not the one you get stuck on the roads that we have right now and you are there for two/three hours.”

A few days ago, Sanwo-Olu announced that his government secured two unused high-speed rail trains from Wisconsin in the United States for its train system.

The trains originally to connect railroads between Madison and Milwaukee were announced to have been purchased on January 18, when Sanwo-Olu visited Milwaukee.

The Talgo’s Series 8 trains have been purchased for Lagos’ red line system, as noted in the statement released by Sanwo-Olu. The red line, a 37-km track with 11 stations, will be the first operational metro system in West Africa.

READ ALSO: Lagos To Close Marine Bridge, Dopemu Road For Repairs

Acting Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson welcomed Sanwo-Olu at an event at the Milwaukee facilities of Spanish train manufacturer Talgo.

“I’m sending my congratulations to the governor in Lagos State in Nigeria, but also a little disappointed that we missed out on the opportunity to have those trainsets operating here in Milwaukee and in Wisconsin,” Mr Johnson said.

The trains were intended for use since 2009 when Wisconsin’s then-Governor Jim Doyle announced a deal with Talgo for two new trains to be built and used for a high-speed rail line between Milwaukee and Madison. The plans fell through when Scott Walker became governor of Wisconsin.

In 2012, Talgo terminated the contract and sued the state leading to a court dispute that lasted almost three years but ended in a settlement where the state paid the company $50 million, and the trains remained under the company’s ownership.

Sanwo-Olu’s intent to have the Lagos blue and red lines rail system up and running by the fourth quarter of this year followed the failure of previous administrations to improve public transportation.

 

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Ekiti 2022: Oyebanji Declared Winner Of APC Primary Election As Seven Contestants Protest

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Ekiti 2022: Oyebanji Declared Winner Of APC Primary Election As Seven Contestants Protest

Amid protests and fraud allegations by other contestants, the immediate past secretary to the state government, Biodun Oyebanji has emerged the winner of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship direct primary election held in Ekiti state on Thursday.

Oyebanji, from Ikogosi-Ekiti, in the central senatorial district and believed to be Governor Kayode Fayemi’s preferred aspirant was declared winner with 101,703 votes to defeat other seven aspirants who had earlier protested against the process and called for its cancellation.

The chairman of the APC primary election committee and governor of Jigawa state, Abubakar Badaru said the exercise which took place across the 177 wards in the state was peaceful , transparent and credible.

Results of other aspirants are: Dayo Adeyeye, 691 votes ; Bamidele Faparusi, 376; Femi Bamisile, 400 ; Opeyemi Bamidele, 760 ; Demola Popoola , 239 ; Olushola Afolabi, 47 and Kayode Ojo, 767 votes.

The other seven aspirants had withdrawn from the primary election and called for its immediate cancellation over alleged cases of fraud and malpractices.

In an interview with journalists at the party’s Secretariat in Ado Ekiti, in the early hours of Thursday, the aggrieved aspirants had alleged that aides and those loyal to Governor Kayode Fayemi and his anointed aspirant Biodun Oyebanji were appointed by the committee as presiding and returning officers.

They also alleged that the Governor Mohammed Abubakar Badaru-led APC governorship primary committee had given the result sheets to Oyebanji’s supporters to write the results even before the election.

The aggrieved aspirants are Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, Senator Dayo Adeyeye, Hon Bamidele Faparusi, Demola Popoola, Afolabi Oluwasola, Hon Femi Bamisile and Kayode Ojo.

Senator Bamidele, who addressed the pressmen on behalf of other colleague contestants, said the party should not take any step that would embarrass APC in the court.

“They shouldn’t embarrass APC with this conduct. We want the committee to stop the process. They have made the result sheets available to Biodun Oyebanji’s supporters to write the results.

“It was also embarrassing and unfortunate that only the government appointees and those loyal to the Governor Fayemi and Oyevanji were appointed as Returning Officers and Presiding Officers.

“The outcome of this election is predetermined. We want the process cancelled because we don’t want the committee to embarrass our party by forcing us to confront them in the court”.

Also speaking, Senator Dayo Adeueye and Hon Bamidele Faparusi, condemned the modality being adopted by the committee to conduct the primary, saying it was allegedly laced with fraud.

READ ALSO: Fayose’s Candidate Kolawole Emerges PDP Flag-bearer For 2022 Ekiti Governorship Poll

The aspirants later visited the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission and Department of State Security and Police Command to lodge complaints .

But Oyebanji described the primary as credible, free and fair, contrary to the position maintained by his co-contestants, who branded the poll as a sham.

Oyebanji wondered why the seven aspirants boycotted the primary election when there was a body empowered by the constitution of the party to handle grievances and other related issues arising from primary election.

According to the former Secretary to the State Government, the APC appeal panel will handle all controversial issues surrounding the conduct of the election.

 

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Fayose’s Candidate Kolawole Emerges PDP Flag-bearer For 2022 Ekiti Governorship Poll

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Kolawole

With a wide margin, Bisi Kolawole has defeated his rivals to emerge the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti for the 2022 governorship election.

Kolawole is the immediate past Chairman of the PDP in Ekiti State.

Kolawole, who is former Governor Ayo Fayose’s preferred aspirant, garnered 671 votes to trounce his closest rival, former Governor Olusegun Oni, who scored 330 votes and other aspirants.

Other aspirants – former Deputy Governor, Prof Kolapo Olusola, scored 93 votes; former House of Representatives member, Wale Aribisala garnered 56 votes; financial expert, Kayode Adaramodu scored 10 votes; former deputy governorship candidate, Deji Ogunsakin, scored six votes and National Assembly member, Biodun Olujimi, who had earlier pulled out of the exercise secured two votes.

The Chairman, PDP Primary Election Committee for Ekiti State, and Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, declared Kolawole winner “having certified the conditions and scored the highest votes by scoring 671 votes”.

The governor also congratulated other aspirants for sportsmanship and urged them to join hands to win the June 18 election.

READ ALSO: PDP Primaries: Over 150 Thugs From Oyo Arrested In Ekiti

In his acceptance speech, Kolawole, said, “It is God’s design to make me the winner of this election. I want to willingly accept it. The result has been very clear, the process has been very clear, credible and it makes everybody happy.

“I am very sure members of our party, our leaders are very happy because we have promised that once the process is very open and fair to all, we will all accept the result. It has pleased God to make me the winner of the election, I willingly accept to be the flagbearer of our great party.”

In his reaction, Oni said, “We are going to fight together to make him (Kolawole) governor. We are satisfied with the process and no one is complaining. You saw it all here.”

 

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