The supreme court has struck out the appeals filed by Tonye Cole and the Rivers chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), challenging the exclusion of the party from fielding candidates for the 2019 elections.
A Rivers state high court had nullified the candidacy of Cole and Magnus Abe, who emerged governorship candidates of different factions of the APC in Rivers.
The court also nullified all direct and indirect primaries conducted by both factions of the APC in the state.
Cole enjoyed the support of Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, while Abe, senator representing Rivers south-east, kicked against Amaechi’s choice of Cole.
Cole and his faction of the APC had lost all previous attempts to get judgements in their favour at the federal high court and appeal court.
But not relenting, they filled three appeals before the apex court, challenging the judgment of the appellate court.
The suits listed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Abe as respondents.
At the hearing of the appeals on Thursday, Jibrin Okutepa, counsel to the APC, argued that the court of appeal never affirmed the judgment of the state high court nullifying its primaries.
He said the court only made a pronouncement that the appeals were academic.
However, Emmanuel Ukala, counsel to PDP, told the court that the notice of appeal filed by the APC was defective.
Delivering judgment on the case, a seven-man panel led by Ibrahim Muhammad, held that three appeals were “defective, incompetent and could not be heard by the court”
The judge said rather than the heading of the appeals to read “Reliefs sought from the Supreme Court,” it was wrongly headed “Reliefs sought from the Court of Appeal.”
Muhammad said the implication of the error was that the appellant did not seek any relief from the apex court, and thereby contravened the court’s rules, and rendering the appeal incompetent.
Gov. Yahya Bello Declares For Second Term, Gives Reasons
Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi, on Wednesday, officially declared his intention to seek reelection for a second term on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Bello made the declaration while inaugurating the board of the State House of Assembly Service Commission at Banquet hall Government House, Lokoja.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has slated the governorship election in the state for Nov. 2.
The governor said his declaration came after consultations with the leadership of his party both at the national and state levels and pressure from the people of the state on him to seek re-election.
He added that his decision is premised on the official release of the State’s Election time table by INEC.
“I would like to inform the good people of the state, the APC family and supporters from the state, the Local Government Areas (LGAs) down to the wards and polling units, as well as various stakeholders, opinion molders, families and friends of my interest to run for a second term in office as the Executive Governor of the state.
”I have sought the blessing of the Almighty God and our good people; I will have to contest for the second term so that we can build on our modest achievements so far in the state by taking it to the next level,” Bello said.
He urged members of the board to always let the interest of the state be paramount in their mind, and shun any form of tribal or religious sentiment.
He further enjoined them to serve well with all their capacity and ensure they cooperate with the members of the state House of Assembly.
Mr Matthew Kolawole, the Speaker, commended the governor for his magnanimity to have signed the bill and for inaugurating the board.
”All of us in the House of Assembly are happy with the inauguration of the board of the commission, because it marks the beginning of our financial autonomy,” Matthew said.
He expressed happiness over the governor’s declaration for second term bid, saying they had been expecting it.
“Our prime objective right now is to see him returning on Nov. 2, as the 5th executive governor of the state, and it shall come to past,” he said.
Mr Andas Momoh-Jimoh, the Chairman of the Commission, commended the governor for the opportunity given to them to serve.
”I believed in oneness and unity of the state and I am going to carry out this assignment without any bias, fear, favor or any religious or tribal sentiment,” he said.
2019 Elections: Nigerian youths were the biggest disappointment’ – Kingsley Moghalu
The presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), Professor Kingsley Moghalu, has taken a swipe at Nigerian youths for the role they played during the recently held general elections.
Moghalu, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today, regretted that the young populations did not make their presence felt during the polls.
“The biggest disappointment was with the youths. The youth vote was absent. They make a lot of noise, they rant and rail but you will not see them on the voting day. And when they vote, they don’t vote in line with their rhetoric,” he said.
When asked if the polls witnessed improvement when compared to 2015, Moghalu noted that chaos marred some polling centres coupled with an alleged organisational efficiency and effectiveness shortly before the commencement of voting.
“The organisational efficiency and effectiveness of the election was generally weak. We saw it. First, it was postponed at the last minute and in many parts of the country, there was chaos at the polling booths especially in rural areas.”
Documents show Atiku paid $30,000 to US firm to ‘unseat Buhari’
Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), paid $30,000 to Fein & DelValle PLLC, a US firm, TheCable can report.
The PDP presidential candidate sought the services of the company in his bid to unseat President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Centre for Responsive Politics (CRP) had reported how Atiku hired Bruce Fein, a former official of the US justice department, and his firm Fein & DelValle PLLC, in March.
In its terms and conditions for representation, Fein & DelValle PLLC had said it would establish and operate a situation room located in its capitol hill offices in the US and enlist the services of Lloyd Ukwu, a Nigerian barrister and trusted confidant of Atiku, to assist in the operation of the situation room.
One of the exchanges between the US firm and Atiku
The firm also proposed to execute strategies to secure the US endorsement of Atiku’s efforts to defeat what it called “flagrant violence and irregularities orchestrated” by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Buhari to compromise the presidential election.
Twenty-four hours after the report was published, Atiku denied paying money to US consultants in his bid to dislodge Buhari, his main rival in the February 23 election.
In a statement issued on his behalf by Paul Ibe, his media aide, the former vice-president, described the reports that he paid $30,000 as “a total fabrication”.
He blamed it on the APC which he said had resorted to using “fake news to divert public attention from the historic electoral heist they have committed against Nigerians”.
“Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar dismisses as total fabrication the latest allegation instigated by the Buhari campaign that he spent $30,000 to hire a US lobby group to persuade the US Congress to stop the inauguration of President Buhari,” the statement read.
“The APC are behaving nervously like a thief living under the fear of being exposed and shamed. No amount of diversionary propaganda and fake news campaign by APC will stop Atiku Abubakar from continuing the court action he started to reclaim the stolen mandate.”
But documents seen by TheCable showed that Atiku paid the money to the firm two days after signing a 90-day contract (April 1,2019, to July 1, 2019). He signed the contract on March 24 and paid the money on March 26.
The amount was budgeted for costs and expenses for the 90-day period. In addition, the agreement was for Atiku to separately pay all pre-approved international travels, business class.
According to a document received by the United States’ department of justice foreign agents’ registration act (FARA), with registration number 6654, on April 2, Fein & DelValle, PLLC, registered as a foreign agent for Atiku and the PDP on March 20.
The registration statement which confirmed that Atiku paid $30,000 to Fein & DelValle PLLC
FARA is a disclosure statute that requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities.
The firm said it received $30,000 from Atiku on March 26, which was confirmed in item 9(a) under the financial information clause of the registration statement.
In item 9(b), the firm made it clear that it did not receive any other thing of value other than money from Atiku.
The lobbyist firm, a registered and active corporate law firm in the US, stated that the agreement with Atiku is in a formal written document.
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