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INEC issues certificates of return to PDP candidates in Zamfara

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has issued certificates of return to Bello Matawalle as governor-elect of Zamfara state.

Matawalle and Mahdi Gusau, deputy governor-elect, both of whom are of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), were presented their certificates of return at the Electoral Institute in Abuja on Monday.

Also presented with their certificates of return were the three senators-elect and seven members-elect of the house of representatives from Zamfara — also of the PDP.

The supreme court had on Friday voided votes of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates in the state in the last elections. It ruled the party did not hold valid primaries.

809 COURT CASES CHALLENGING PARTY PRIMARIES

Speaking before the presentation of the certificates, Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, reiterated the importance of party primaries ahead of elections.

He said there were over 800 suits in court challenging outcome of various primaries.

“I want to reiterate the importance of conducting proper primaries before elections in order to reduce the spate of litigation associated with them,” he said.

“At the moment, there are 809 pre-election cases pending in various courts across the country challenging the conduct of primaries by political parties for the 2019 general election.

“This is clearly more than the total number of petitions currently before the various election petition tribunals nationwide challenging the outcome of the main elections.

“In our last update, the commission reported that 25 certificates of return had been withdrawn and issued to persons declared winners by courts of law. Since then, three more certificates have been withdrawn by court order. With the Zamfara case, the figure has now risen to 64.

“In addition, the commission is studying nine more judgements we were served in the last one week in which primary elections conducted by different political parties were upturned by the courts.”

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Dino Melaye Vs Adeyemi: INEC Fixes Nov 16 For Fresh Election in Kogi State

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The Chairman, Information and voter committee of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Festus OKoye has announced a new date for fresh election in Kogi West Senatorial district.

This means that, Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and his opposition, Smart Adeyemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) will return to the poll.

Okoye announced November 16 for a fresh Kogi west Senatorial district on Monday.

He said the election would hold simultaneously with the coming governorship election in the state.

“The decision was taken at the commission’s meeting held on Monday,” the statement said.

It could be recalled that the court nullify the senatorial election on February 23 which was subsequently affirmed by the Court of Appeal.

The nullification of the election was due to the suit filed by Adeyemi at the election petition tribunal.

The court had, on October 11, ordered INEC to conduct a fresh election within three months from the date of judgement with those who participated prior.

Okoye urged candidates to focus on issue-based campaign.

“We also enjoin stakeholders to eschew violence and avoid acts capable of creating apprehension or a sense of fear before, during and after the elections,’’ he said.

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Kogi Assembly confirms Onoja as Yahaya Bello’s deputy

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The Kogi State House of Assembly, on Monday, confirmed Chief David Onoja, as the Deputy Governor of the state.

This followed the impeachment of Elder Simon Achuba last week by the House.

It was gathered that Onoja was confirmed at exactly 8:27 am.

Onoja was the immediate past Chief of Staff to Governor Yahaya Bello.

When he appeared before the 25 lawmakers, he was asked to take a bow and go.

The Speaker of the House, Prince Mathew Kolawole, charged the new deputy governor to support the vision of Alhaji Yahaya Bello towards bringing more development in the state.

Prince Kolawole directed the Clerk to convey this development to the Judiciary by swearing in Onoja as the new deputy governor.

The House, however, adjourned sitting to Tuesday 3rd December, 2019.

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Yahaya Bello risks disqualification over ‘double registration’

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Natasha Akpoti, a member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), has asked a federal high court in Abuja to disqualify Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi, from the November 16 gubernatorial election, over alleged double registration as a voter.

Akpoti was a governorship candidate but she was disqualified by the electoral commission over the invalid nomination of her running mate.

In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1221/2019 and dated October 10, Akpoti said Bello allegedly committed the offence of double registration on May 23, 2017 at the government house in Lokoja after he had reportedly registered as a voter in Abuja in 2011.

The suit has the All Progressives Congress (APC) (first defendant) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) (second defendant) as defendants.

Mike Ozekhome, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), filed it on her behalf.

Akpoti formulated three questions for determination by the court which reads; “Whether Yahaya Bello, the candidate of the 1st Defendant (APC) in the forthcoming Kogi governorship poll being organised by the 2nd Defendant (INEC) has by his act of double registration committed a wrongful act capable of disqualifying him as a voter or person to be voted for having violated the provisions of Section 24(E) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).

“Whether Yahaya Bello, candidate of the 1st defendant, is on account of his double registration as a voter, a fit and proper person to be sponsored as a governorship to candidate by the 1st Defendant or allowed by the 2nd Defendant to contest as a governorship candidate the forthcoming Kogi state governorship election.

“Whether Yahaya Bello, the candidate of the 1st defendant in the forthcoming Kogi state governorship election is not liable to be disqualified and/or barred from participating or contesting in and/or voting for any political office for the next 10 years, pursuant to his flagrant violation of the provisions of Section 24(E) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).”

The plaintiff further asked the court to declare that Bello violated section 24(E) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) by virtue of his act of double registration as a voter, and a declaration that he is liable to be disqualified and/or barred from contesting, participating and/or voting in the November 16 Kogi governorship poll “on account of his wrongful act of gross violation of Section 24(E) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), which act of violation robs him of the capacity or vires to contest the forthcoming Kogi State governorship election.”

She also prayed for an order of the court disqualifying and/or barring Bello, or directing INEC to disqualify the APC candidate from the governorship race or for any political office for the next 10 years and an order of mandamus compelling or mandating INEC to investigate the allegation of double registration against Bello and as well prosecute him on completion of his first tenure of office as governor in January, 2020, among others.

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