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Anti-graft war/Insecurity: Demystify building of strong individuals who are stronger than institutions-Dr Nwambu

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… it’s the major catalyst that breeds insecurity

… insists Nig has no anti-corruption plan for the military

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…says there’s a synergy between corruption and insecurity

Director General, Centre for Credible Leadership & Citizens Awareness, Dr Gabriel Nwambu has advocated that to adequately combat insecurity and graft war, Nigeria must demystify strong individuals who are stronger than established institutions.

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Dr Nwambu made this advocacy in his presentation on: ‘The Role Of The Civil Society In Tackling Corruption And Insecurity’ organized by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

In his submission, Nwambu using established approaches to the twin headed debacle of insecurity and corruption in Nigeria said:

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“The true meaning of corruption has been distorted, leaving research, policy and public to allow it to continue unchecked.

“Some authors have adopted a narrow and inadequate definition of corruption that has led to stewed measures of its influence and biased policy recommendations especially as it affects insecurity.

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“Reputable international organizations adopt an inclusive definition of corruption that applies to the public and private sectors. Transparency International, The World Bank, and the United Nations Office for Drugs Control and Crime Prevention all address private and public sector corruption.

“But ultimately, we should be interested in the realities of corruption irrespective whether an institution is defined as public or private and its consequences on our security.

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He further postulated that: ”
Corruption is contagious especially with the worsening economic realities in Nigeria and does not respect sectoral boundaries.

“Corruption involves duplicity and reduces levels of morality and trust. It tempts others to take part and reduces incentives to conform to the rules.
There is a strong link between corruption and insecurity as corruption fuels insecurity.

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“The issue of trust between the military, the law enforcement agencies on one side and the Nigerian populace has been a major issue.

“While the police is the lead agency in charge of internal security, the military is saddled with the responsibility of protecting the territorial integrity of Nigeria. But with insurgency, terrorism, banditry, secessionist groups and kidnapping, the Military is compelled to intervene in internal security. In a 2013 Transparency International Global Corruption Barometer conducted in Nigeria, 9 out of 10 people said the Police were corrupt, 45% said the Military was corrupt.

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“Nigeria has no anti-corruption plan in place for the military. Training and retraining of personnel is seldom done with significant opaque off-budget military expenditure.

“There is a synergy between corruption and insecurity. In other words, corruption is one of the major catalysts that breed insecurity thus propelling it to thrive exponentially.

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‘Ironically, the discourse with a view to strategically combat corruption and security has not been integrated into our socio-economic development in Nigeria.
In combating corruption, it is pertinent we first understand it and the underlying forms of corruption.

“This could be grand, political, and administrative which include public resource transfers to private entities, allocation of public resources to political allies, and the misuse/ misappropriation of public funds are the three important factors.

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“The first is a lack of transparency of the critical financial and other information central to Security Budgeting and financing. Secondly, the weakness or total absence of strong institutions, systems and processes requisite for effective checks and balances that block leakages.

“Thirdly, is the pervasiveness of impunity in Nigeria synonymous with limited political will to hold accountable and prosecute those found culpable of corruption.

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“Amongst the three aforementioned problems of corruption which in turn fuel insecurity in Nigeria, there is the pertinent need to build strong and enduring institutions and not strong men.

“Building institutions is time consuming and it does not deliver immediate results that typically attract politicians. It is imperative that if Nigeria is willing to combat corruption systematically and insecurity and ensure long term stability, the nation needs strong institutions.

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“The nation should demystify the building of strong individual who overtly are stronger than institutions in some instances.

“Technology enables us use electronic platforms to manage government finances, biometric systems, web based platform to provide transparency in government finances.

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THE WHISTLE BLOWER POLICY:

“There are undoubtedly information and enforcement gap which exists in terms of effective tracking of corruption and insecurity in Nigeria. The major role of the Civil Society is to provide intelligence information for prompt action by the anti- graft agencies.

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” The Civil Society is engaged for effective participation in advanced nations of the world, but how far has this policy gone in the present day Nigeria.

“The whistle blower policy is an initiative initiated by the Federal Ministry of Finance under Mrs kemi Adeosun with a reward policy of 2.25 % of any sum recovered as a direct consequence of intelligence information on corrupt government officials. The former Finance Minister was quoted as saying that they had over 2,500 tips from various quarters.

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“Two major landmarks of recoveries are the information on the $9.8m recovered from a former managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, and the $11 million recovered at an apartment in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.

” The anti-climax of this policy was in 2017 with the above recoveries and more.

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“However, little or no information is being heard about this policy nor new recoveries made. What then could be wrong with the policy?

“The implementation of this policy threw up a lot of unethical practices which dampened the spirit of the whistle- blowers.

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“An investigation published by the Daily Trust on Sunday in December 2021 revealed that those who provided intelligence information were made to pass through a tedious and discouraging documentation process.

” A whistle –blower interviewed in the story lamented thus: ’The anti-graft agents subject you to many things. The statement they will ask you to write is like you are a criminal.

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“No one can pass through that process and would want to go back there with any information.’

“Devoid of any genuine legal protection, some whistle –blowers suffered backlashes such as intimidation from the management of government agencies, physical assault, diverse kinds of threats which could result to even the death of the whistle-blower; some are even sacked from their job for giving the anti-graft agencies intelligence information.

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“The whistle blowers also complained that after asset and financial recoveries were made, anti- graft agents failed to remit to them the proper sum of money going by the 2.25% commission advertised by the Federal Ministry of Finance.

“To make matters worse, the whistle blowers claimed that the anti-graft agencies have threatened to prosecute anyone with false information.

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“All over the world, corruption and insecurity is fought using the whistle blower policy. The lack of Legal framework in Nigeria has further worsened the situation.

“The Government needs to enact a whistle –blowing law intended to give some level of identity protection to the whistle-blower.

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“There are sketches of multiple bills lying in the National Assembly for consideration and ascent by President Mohammadu Buhari. We want to appeal to the National Assembly to put these proposed bill together as one document, rectify and send to Mr. President.

REMEDIES:

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“Defence corruption is not impossible to tackle. Nigerian Government must speak out against corruption and should invite the Civil Society Organizations to participate in developing an anti-corruption strategy.

“The defence ministry should open itself up to oversight and publish the defence budget in full, including the off-budget defence expenditure.

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“The office of the Auditor General of the Federation should have access to accounts of the intelligence services and other secret programs. In addition, stronger controls are needed to monitor procurements which is cloaked in secrecy.

“Civil Society and Nigerians are calling for immediate review of the Nigerian defence spending and greater transparency in its efforts to confront Kidnapping, insurgency, banditry, and terrorism.

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“The Nigerian defence forces should focus on training and retraining of their personnel on how to tackle corruption with the proper whistle blower protection laws put in place and enforced.

“Strengthening participatory democracy and transparency in government leads to stronger institutions, which are then better placed to respond to the crisis of insurgencies.

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“This is true not just in Nigeria but for countries across Africa.
Being transparent about corruption challenges that they face, and tackling them head-on, will strengthen the trust of the public in the Nigerian government and security forces, and help their ability to address the very realities and risks the country faces.

“Finally, it is only in Nigeria you hear stories like in 2018, the clerk of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in Benue state, Philomena Chieshe told auditors that a snake had swallowed N36m proceeds from the sale of scratch cards.

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“It is only in Nigeria that you hear stories as in 2018 from a Federal Law maker who stated that the N70m which was given to the Northern Forum Senators was swallowed by Monkeys at the farm of the Leader.

“It is only in Nigeria that you hear like in 2019 from a finance officer in Kano Zoological Gardens that a Gorilla carted away N6.8m and swallowed it thereafter.
It is only in Nigeria as heard on Friday 12th August, 2022 that documents of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) containing expenditure worth N17.1Bn was alleged to have been eaten up by termites.

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“The tales are unending and would continue so long as the requisite framework is not put in place.
In other to counter corruption, our policies should appeal to moral values as well as cost and benefits.

“Although, mainstream economists reduce ethical concerns to the maximization of utility by individuals. Keeping to social rules demands moral commitments from people in the same way medical professionals work to ethical standards.

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” These moral commitments transcend to tallying costs, punishments, benefits and rewards; humans are not calculating machines. To some degree, we are all moral agents, concerned with our dignity, identity and self-regard. To counter corruption which impacts negatively on our security, our policies should appeal to moral values as well as costs and benefits.

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Real Reasons I am Cool Without Husband—Tobi Amusan, World Athletics Champion

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By Kayode Sanni Arewa

NaijaBlitzNews.com, reports that the current World Athletics, Commonwealth Games, and African Champion in 100 metres hurdles, Tobi Amusan, may just be the most eligible spinster in town at 25.
Going by her achievements, popularity, and humble disposition, she would be the toast of every young man, but the world record holder (12.12 seconds), said she’s only focused on athletics at the moment.
Speaking at a rousing reception and befitting home-coming dinner event in Lagos organised by her management outfit, Plug Sports, she, among other things talked about her journey to the top, aspirations, relationships, and future plans.

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In the star-studded event attended by top young achievers in the country such as hip-hop star, Naeto C, Obi Asika, Adesola Adesugba, Bukola Olopadenilayo, FK Abudu, and a host of others and where the multi-million dollars Nigeria fintech company Flutterwave, unveiled a multi-year partnership deal with the hurdler, Amusan informed that, though she may be open to having a relationship, she is more focused at breaking borders on the track.

Asked about her love life, and relationship status, she coolly answered. “I’m chilling. Right now, I am working hard on myself, and my career. I know at the right time a man will come.
There are men watching me now but at the right time my man will come.”
She’s however confident that she can even do more on the track following the recent ratification of her 12.12 seconds record at Eugene, Oregon USA by the world athletics apex body.

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“That is the best feeling ever because we know we’ve done the work. It’s a breath of fresh air for me and I’m still getting a hang of everything happening to me right now. My 200 million soldiers across Nigeria supported me through the World Championships, Commonwealth Games, and the Diamond League, I trust them.
She recalled the moment she crossed the line in Oregon as accomplishing and special.

“It was accomplished for me because looking back at the previous years of major tournaments and championships, it was always fourth-place finish. That one time was not just like any medal. It was a world record; the first Nigerian to do everything on that stage. I felt elated.”
She said that lining up alongside other accomplished stars such as Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn and USA’s Kendra Harrison, did not affect her confidence.

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“This is a competitive event and I would not say it is not challenging. When I lined-up against the other seven, I knew it was me versus the clock. In as much as you are aware of the environment and the people, you are competing against; you just have to bring your A-Game every time.”

END

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Panic As Robbers Attack Church In Kogi Community, Steal Cash Sums, Valuables

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Armed robbers have invaded a church, named the New Life Gospel Church at Sariki-Noma, a suburb of Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, and carted away an unspecified sum of money, phones and church property.

It was learnt that the gunmen, who came in numbers, attacked the church when its elders converged to hold night prayers.

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Confirming the incident, the resident Pastor of New Life Gospel Church, Sarikinoma, Pastor Olorunfemi Ojo, said they noticed that three unknown men were trying to force their way into Victory Primary School beside the church and were confronted before they left.

Explaining further, Pastor Ojo said, “shortly after, some unknown men numbering up to about fifteen of them alongside the three that had come earlier invaded the Church by destroying the windows and forcing their way into the church building, hitting them with planks, broken bottles, and stones, hurting the elderly men before they ran for their lives.

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“Two of the church elders sustained several degrees of injury and have been rushed to an undisclosed hospital for treatment”.

Pastor Femi Ojo said that the attackers, after unleashing their mayhem, went away with some of the church properties, collected phones, and cash, leaving the church building with broken bottles, stones, and planks and in shambles

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The cleric noted that while they scampered for safety, he went to the road to seek help from the vigilante in the area but was told that they had just gone on a patrol.

“The men were later caught by vigilantes as they tried to carry out another round of robbery in the area. Some of the perpetrators have been nabbed while others are at large,” he added.

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Pastor Femi Ojo, who appreciated the vigilante group, told Daily Post that the police had been contacted and had come to see the level of damage in the church.

The cleric, however, thanked the police for their prompt intervention while urging them to intensify efforts to bring the perpetrators to book.

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When contacted, the Kogi State Police Public Relations Officer, SP William Aya, said his office has not been briefed about the incident by the Nigeria Police B division in Lokoja.

He, however, promised to revert to Newsmen when he obtained information about the incident.

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Abuja Court Ruling: Tinubu, Ekiti Gov-Elect, Other APC Candidates Risk Disqualification

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THERE is growing concern in the All Progressives Congress over the judgement of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja which nullified the nomination of Governor Isiaka Oyetola and his deputy governorship candidate, Benedict Alabi, for the 2022 Osun State governorship election.

Ruling on a suit filed by the People’s Democratic Party challenging the nomination of Oyetola and Alabi, Justice Emeka Nwite agreed with the submission of the PDP on the grounds that Governor Mai Mala Buni who submitted their names to INEC violated the provisions of Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Section 82(3) of the Electoral Act 2022.

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The court declared that Governor Mai Mala Buni acted in contravention of the provision of Section 183 of the Constitution when he held dual executive positions as the Governor of Yobe State and the Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of APC.

The provisions of Section 183 read in part: “The Governor, shall not, during the period he holds office, holds any other executive office or paid employment in any capacity whatsoever.”

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While the legal representatives of Osun State governor had promised to appeal the ruling, its implication, Sunday Tribune learnt, is already causing panic in the ruling party.

According to legal opinions on the issue, the ruling in its current subsisting nature, means that all actions of Buni while in office as APC acting boss, stand invalidated.

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These actions, include the signing of the nomination of Ekiti governor-elect Abiodun Oyebanji, as APC candidate for the June 18, 2022 poll in the state, the nominations of candidates for other outlier legislative polls, as well as the conduct of the party’s elective national convention which gave birth to the current NWC, among others.

The biggest threat posed by the ruling to APC, is the possible consequential disqualification of all its candidates for the 2023 poll, including the presidential ticket of Senator Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima, considering that Adamu’s NWC, conducted the primaries.

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Once the NWC is invalidated by the reason of Buni’s involvement, all actions of the NWC, would be deemed null and void.

Reacting to the unfolding legal drama, constitutional lawyer, Dr Kayode Ajulo, said “It is a plague that could have been avoided if only they took my position on Governor Buni’s chairmanship misadventures serious. But the judgement has vindicated me.”

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In an earlier statement, dated July 31, 2021, he warned that the party could come to greater grief if Buni stayed, considering the subtle warning in the favourable majority decision.

On Saturday, Ajulo referenced the statement which read in part; “Without prejudice to the ratio decidendi of the majority decision of the Court, it is imperative to state pressistimo and very clearly too that with the unanimous position of the Apex Court that it appears the actions of the APC in permitting a sitting Governor as the Interim Chairman of the Party is in violation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it is my sincere view that the Interim Chairman of the APC should immediately step down. My humble but cosmic review of the judgment comes with an indication that the Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni has to vacate his seat, as the Chairman of APC with immediate effect.”

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Breaking down the implication of the Friday ruling, he said if the apex court goes with the decision of the high court, the current National Executive of the party, will have to go.

“If the Supreme Court upheld the judgment, the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, and other APC candidates for every elective position will have no business in participating in the 2023 General Election.

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“Can one put something on nothing and expect it to stand? Unless some strategic steps are quickly taken, invalidation of the party’s executives and candidates across all levels will be a great disaster to the APC and could mark its total collapse. This development is a stern warning to politicians to henceforth have regards for law and reasoned thoughts,” he reasoned.

But the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr Felix Morka, a lawyer, dismissed the fears being expressed as misplaced.

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Speaking with Sunday Tribune in an interview, Morka expressed confidence that the judgment of the High Court would be set aside by the Court of Appeal.

He maintained that Justice Nwite erred in his pronouncement.

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He said:” The judgment of the Court is unsupportable. We are confident that the Court of Appeal will upturn the judgment.

“It isn’t supportable by fact of law. What the Governor Buni Caretaker did was ratified by Convention, which is the highest organ of the Party. The Court didn’t avert itself to the fact of the matter.

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“So, there is nothing to worry about. That decision will be challenged and we are confident that the Court of Appeal will upturn it.”

In the Friday ruling, the court, headed by Justice Emeka Nwite, sided with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which initiated the suit, primarily to disqualify Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State, as the candidate of the ruling party in the July 16, 2022 governorship election in the state, eventually won PDP’s candidate, Ademola Adeleke.

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But the suit, commenced on April 7, 2022 may be doing a more significant damage to the fortunes of the ruling party, across board, with the trial judge upholding the argument that all Buni’s actions in office as the party’s acting chair, were null and void.

The party chair, alongside the national secretary, by the dictates of the election laws, signs the nomination of every candidate of the party, before such could be deemed valid, by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

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With Justice Nwite ruling that Buni, being governor, should not have held another executive position as the acting chair of the party for two years less 25 days.

It will be recalled that Buni, the sitting governor of Yobe State, was sworn in as the acting chairman of the party by the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, following the controversial ouster of an elected National Working Committee, chaired by former Edo governor, Adams Oshiomhole, by President Muhammadu Buhari-inspired National Executive Council.

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Justice Nwite’s ruling, however, appears in dissonance with the majority decision of the Supreme Court in the appeal arising from Ondo governorship election of October 9, 2020, won by the incumbent Rotimi Akeredolu of APC.

In a razor-thin split decision which favoured him, the apex court held that the conduct of the primary election and nomination of candidates, is an internal affair of a political party, which the judiciary can’t scrutinise.

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The majority decision went further in resolving the appeal brought by Eyitayo Jegede of the PDP that even when a political party is in error of its rules, its internal activities can’t still be challenged. The minority report how- ever ruled that Buni’s acting headship of the ruling party, was an incurable constitutional error, which invalidated Akeredolu’s nomination as the party’s candidate, because it was signed and passed to INEC by Buni.

The minority decision of three justices, out of the seven that heard the appeal, had invalidated Akeredolu’s election victory, because of Buni. While the majority decision didn’t go fully into the con- stitutionality of Buni holding two executive positions at the same time, it ruled that not joining the governor as a necessary party, to argue his case directly, weighed in his favour and by extension, Akeredolu’s.

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The judgement was given on July 28, 2021. Immediately the judgement was delivered, some top party leaders asked Buni to step down, including Minister of State, Labour and Productivity, Festus Keyamo. Buni, aided by his legal team, heavily backed by the deputy senate president, Ovie Omo-Agege, spurned the call.

Keyamo now speaks for Tinubu’s presidential campaign, while serving as minister. Possibly taking its cue from the stance of the majority ruling, PDP, this time, joined Buni as a necessary party in the suit, which was filed almost nine months after Akeredolu’s narrow judicial escape.

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Buni, being joined as a necessary party, must have also emboldened Justice Nwite to go into the merit of the suit, despite the subsisting Supreme Court precedent.

With the appeal arising from the all-important suit expected to advance to the apex court, an opportunity would finally be presented to Buni, to defend himself, and the final court to decide whether he violated the provisions of Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Section 82(3) of the Electoral Act 2022, by accepting the acting appointment while serving as governor.

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