A Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, granted it a stay of execution of the judgment of the Federal High Court, which ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to delist candidates of the APC in Rivers State from participating in the 2019 general election.
The Rivers State chapter of the APC said it has been vindicated by the ruling and would contest the elections while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said it is not perturbed by the ruling as its work in the state would ensure victory for its candidates.
The Federal High Court presided over by Justice Kolawole Omotosho, had while delivering judgment on a suit brought by the PDP, disqualified APC candidates from being on the ballot for the general election.
But ruling yesterday on a motion for stay of execution brought before it by both factions of the APC, the appeal court, ordered INEC to relist their names on the ballot.
Delivering the ruling, the presiding justice, Justice Ali Gumel, whose ruling was read by Justice Muhammed Mustapha, said it would amount to injustice to the parties if the court refused to grant the stay of execution order.
The appeal court noted that there was a multiplication of appeal against the judgment of the Federal High Court, adding that all the parties in the suit appealed against the judgment in separate suits, while almost all the parties also applied for a stay of execution.
The judgment also noted that INEC as a party in the matter did not file a counter affidavit on the application served it.
Mustapha said, “It will be unjust to repeal the application for stay of execution of the Federal High Court judgment of January 7, 2019,”
Speaking with journalists after the judgment, counsel to the APC, Mr. Chimenem Jerome, who was holding the brief for Mr. Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), said with the ruling, INEC would bring back APC candidates in the list for the 2019 general election.
He said, “Today, the court delivered a ruling, the landmark one at that, staying the execution of the judgment delivered by Justice Kolawole Omotosho of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt in suit number FC/PHC/144/2018, wherein he barred all APC candidates from participating in the 2019 general election. Also, it declared that APC will present no candidates.
“The Court of Appeal is an appellate court, in its wisdom stated that since all the parties in that suit 144 are dissatisfied, they all filed Notices of Appeal.
“All the parties except the Independent National Electoral Commission are appellants in this matter, which means that all the parties are dissatisfied with the judgment, so the court feels the justice it can give to the matter is to stay the execution.
“And by this ruling today, APC in Rivers State and their candidates are free to participate in the elections. They can go about their campaigns, go about everything that is lawful to ensure that they are on the ballot and that INEC should ensure that their names are got back to the list.”
But counsel to Senator Magnus Abe and 42 others, Mr. Patrick Luke, in the suit CA3/37/2019, said the ruling has not changed the position that APC candidates have been omitted in the election list.
His words: “The appellant asked for a stay of execution of the judgment of the Federal High Court delivered on January 7, 2019. They also asked for a restraining order.
“At the end of the proceedings today, the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division delivered a ruling and refused the reliefs restraining INEC from obeying orders of the reliefs that were sought in the Federal High Court judgment delivered in January.
“However, the court also granted their reliefs for a stay of execution.
“The implication is that legally speaking, you cannot order for a stay of execution on a completed act. The act they sought to stay is for INEC to remove the name of the candidate of APC from their lists, that act has already been completed.
“For the records, on January 17, 2019, INEC published the list of candidates of political parties for 2019 general election in Rivers State, for the National Assembly members. The names of the candidates of APC were conspicuously omitted because they were obeying orders of the judgment of the Federal High Court.
“Again, on Friday, January 31, 2019, INEC further published the final list of candidates for 2019 governorship election, obviously and the House of Assembly candidates of APC in the state were omitted and not published.
“The implication is that those acts sought to have stayed have already been completed by INEC and INEC did not file any process to refute that they did not publish any list.
“And again, the court did not give an order to INEC to put back the names of the people they have removed, no order like that.”
Meanwhile, the Tonye Cole Campaign Organisation (TCCO) has applauded the ruling.
TCCO, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt yesterday by its spokesman, Mr. Ogbonna Nwuke, said the high court judgment had stood between the APC and its right to participate in the general elections.
The statement read in part: “The court in its wisdom stayed the execution of the judgment of the Federal High Court, which had stood between the APC and its right to participate in the forthcoming general elections in Rivers State.
“Recall that Governor Nyesom Wike and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had dragged the gubernatorial candidate of the APC, Pastor Tonye Cole, and other candidates of the party to the Federal High Court.
“In what was obviously an attempt to deny the Rivers people of their right to choose in an election year, the PDP and its leadership in the most bizarre manner moved to foreclose the participation of the APC in the electoral process.
Buhari says critics are not patriotic
Those politicizing insecurities are unpatriotic, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Tuesday. The President’s remark came hours after former President Goodluck Jonathan said the security situation in the land was getting worse.
It also came after former President Olusegun Obasanjo gave Buhari a wake-up call on the security challenges to avert a looming calamity.
But, receiving representatives of the Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO) in the State House, Abuja, yesterday, the President branded those politicizing the isolated cases of insecurity as unpatriotic Nigerians.
According to him, every country faces one security challenge or the other. He identified banditry and kidnapping as new security challenges in Nigeria.
Buhari said: “Your contribution during the election is commendable. Let me use this medium to assure you that you would not be disappointed because of this second term, I intend to renew efforts in securing the country, fighting corruption and strengthening the economy.
“Every country has security challenges. While we have made significant progress in fighting against terrorism, we acknowledge that there are new and emerging challenges of kidnapping and banditry.
“I assure you that we will not relent in our efforts to secure the country from criminal activities Those who politicize the isolated incidents of insecurity are not patriotic Nigerians.
“I am confident that this administration will use all the resources at its disposal to protect the lives of all Nigerians and not just prominent Nigerians but all.”
Restating his commitment to stepping up the fight against corruption, Buhari said that his administration would continue to be tough on the menace.
The President said” As you may be aware, the AU (African Union) at its deliberations last year, appointed me as African Anti-Corruption Champion for the continent.
“This is because other countries have seen our dedication to fighting corruption and they are keying in to emulate our approach.”
On plans to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years, Buhari said the policies put in place to support farmers and small businesses were yielding positive results.
According to him, the government has a plan to integrate farmers and owners of small businesses into the larger economy.
He said: “We are keeping our currency steady and are adopting broad business policies to encourage private sector investment.
“I want to reassure you that Nigeria is open for business as no country in the world can achieve rapid economic growth without significant Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).”
Osinbajo: we’re moving GDP to 25%
The federal government said it plans to move the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) from the current 15 percent to 25 percent between the next two and four years.
Speaking at the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) 62nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos, Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo said this will be achieved through the various economic policies put together by the government.
He said the government will intensify efforts on the implementation of the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan.
Represented by former Special Adviser to the President on Economic Recovery, Mr. Yomi Dipeolu, the Vice President said: “On efforts made so far to reinvigorate the economy, include several economic and fiscal policies, which included rebuilding fiscal buffer, enhancing Forex reserve, improving the ease of doing business and focusing on import substitution, had been undertaken by the present administration.”
The Second Vice President of NECA, Mr. Mauricio Alarcon, in his address said challenges of operational hiccups experienced at the port remained one year after the Presidential Executive Order to promote transparency and efficiency. He called for urgent infrastructural development at the Lagos Port as the country has lost about N6 trillion across different sectors due to the Apapa gridlock.
”Survey by the OPS showed that Nigeria lost about N3.06 trillion on non-oil export and about N2.5 trillion earnings annually across the different sectors due to the Apapa gridlock,” Alarcon said.
He said the now that the general election was over; the government should look at reforms that would significantly impact on the economy.
”There is a need to fast-track infrastructural development at the Lagos Port, diversification program, a market is driven foreign exchange management, sustain and a significant reduction in the cost of governance.
“Government should also fast-track the passage of Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, market-driven electricity supply and billing system,” he said.
Oyo state governor publicly declares his N48 billion asset
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has published his asset declaration document showing he has in excess of N48 billion in both cash and properties.
PT reported that the governor complied with Nigeria’s code of conduct law that mandates senior public office holders to file their asset details while assuming and exiting office.
It is however not compulsory to make the details of asset public.
Mr Makinde went further on Monday to release details of what he filled in his asset form at the Code of Conduct Bureau in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
He also said he would encourage all his potential cabinet appointees to do so when they are nominated.
He became the first high-ranking public official to do so amongst those that emerged in the last general election.
According to a statement by Taiwo Adisa, a spokesperson for Mr Makinde, the governor’s CCB OYSE/2019/001 form filed on May 28, 2019, showed he had N48 billion in cash and asset.
The asset was categorised in cash at hand, in the bank, landed properties (developed and undeveloped), and household items.
They also include shares and bonds owned by the governor, his wife, Omini Makinde, as well as his companies.
As of May 28, 2019, Mr Makinde’s bank balance stood at N234, 742,296.01. In dollar terms, he has cash valued at $30,056.99 as at the same date.
Properties, including the developed and undeveloped as well as household items indicated on the asset forms, showed that the governor is worth N2, 624,800,500.
In dollar terms, Mr Makinde also declared properties, developed and undeveloped as well as household items valued at $4,400,000.
In South African Rands, the governor declared buildings and household items worth four million, four hundred and fifty-seven thousand, five hundred and fifty-four and four South African Rands.
The houses declared by Governor Makinde include nine buildings in Nigeria, two in the United States of America and one in South Africa.
One of the properties in the United States is described as “jointly owned.”
The details showed the current value of Makinde’s companies stands at N48, 150,736,889, including 33,730,000 units of shares as of May 28.
The governor also has existing Bonds (Eurobond) worth $3, 793, 500 as well as shares, debentures and other securities valued at N120,500,000(One hundred and twenty million, five hundred thousand naira).
FIRMS AND VALUES
The governor also listed companies that include Makon Engineering and Technical Services Limited; Energy Traders and Technical Services Limited; and Makon Oil and Gas Limited.
Makon Group Limited, Makon Construction Limited and Makon Power System Limited were also listed
The asset declaration form indicated that Governor Makinde’s four companies have additional assets denominated as loan notes.
They are as follows: Makon Engineering and Technical Services Limited(N1.7 billion); Makon Power System Limited(N148.4 million); Makon Oil and Gas Limited(N341 million); Energy Traders and Technical Services Limited(N1.159bn) totalling N3.389 billion.
Disclosure of asset by public officials is rare in Nigeria. The lack of transparency plays a key role in the country’s alarming corruption problem.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power in 2015 with the pledge to fight corruption, promised to make his asset public.
He only did so after public pressure. Even so, he did not release some details of his asset, including those belonging to his wife and children.
The president and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have yet to make their asset public after winning a second term.
Bauchi: Panel seeks to reconcile crisis rocking House of Representatives
The 12-man Panel set up by the House of Representatives to wade into the crisis rocking the Bauchi State House of Assembly has commenced reconciliatory efforts.
The Committee headed by Hon. Musa Sarkin Adar commenced collection of complaints from aggrieved lawmakers and critical stakeholders in the State on Monday.
Speaking during a courtesy visit on Governor Bala Muhammed by members of the panel, Adar said that the House of Representatives has given them the mandate to look into the event that led to the state having ‘two speakers’ and the subsequent closure of the House for about a month.
He added his committee members will gather information to help determine a resolution capable of bringing peace to the house.
“We are from different geopolitical zones, party lines and tribes, we promise to do justice to the issues of the parliament. Our concern is to make peace and consequently setting the state on progress lane.
“With these, we want all aggrieved members or any party to tender their displeasure, either recent or old testimony between today and Wednesday,” he said
The governor said: “As a parliamentarian, we are ashamed of the situation in the state, though politics is dynamic-some of the democratisation come with crisis, by this, we must always be loyal to the will of the people, we respect the autonomy of the parliament.
“What happened in Bauchi is very regrettable but we are not going to preempt what you have come here for but give you all the support that is required. As far as we are concerned, there is only one house in Bauchi.
“The election has been conducted and I was the one who signed the proclamation and the election was held with the symbol of authority in the house not outside and within the timeline.
“Of course, some people were excluded, it is very sad for people who are representing different constituencies to be excluded from discharging their parliamentary exercise.
“We appreciate your coming. Definitely, some people have been expecting your arrival. My self and deputy are parliamentarians, we have been to the Senate and we are today at the helms of affairs of Bauchi today.”
Two Speakers emerged at the Bauchi Assembly inauguration on June 20.
13 out of 31 members of the Assembly elected Hon. Abubakar Suleiman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) representing Ningi Constituency as Speaker of the Bauchi House of Assembly.
Other 18 aggrieved APC lawmakers outwitted held a parallel election outside the Chamber of the House to elect the former Speaker Damina after they were reportedly prevented from gaining access by security personnel.
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