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Osun Guber: Tribunal Mandates INEC To Produce Adeleke’s Certificates, Nomination Form

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There were hot arguments before the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal on Wednesday, as the panel compelled the State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to produce the nomination form and academic certificates of Senator Ademola Adeleke used for his nomination in the 2018 governorship election.

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The order of the tribunal, Chaired by Justice Tertsea Kume was contained in a Subpoena issued on REC by the panel following the request of counsel for Governor Adegboyega Oyetola and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

This is just as counsel for INEC, Adeleke and the PDP failed in their attempt to have the petition dismissed abruptly at the hearing.

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At the sitting of the tribunal on Wednesday, Counsel for Oyetola and the APC, Dr. Abiodun Saka Layoonu (SAN), informed the court that the petitioners have filed a Subpoena dated 3rd of November 2022, compelling REC to appear before the court to present Adeleke’s Form CF 001, which is the nomination form and all its attachments, including the certificates used in the 2018 election.

He indicated that since the bailiff was yet to serve REC with the Subpoena, even after being signed, he would be compelled to ask for adjournment till Monday, 21 November.

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Counsel for INEC, Paul Ananaba, SAN, objected to the application for adjournment, saying it was a clear evidence that the petitioners were not prepared for diligent prosecution of the petition, citing paragraph 18(11) of the Electoral Act.

While also arguing that REC being subpoenaed to bring the said documents was never mentioned in the petition, Ananaba added that by planning to call REC as a witness without informing the tribunal earlier, the petitioners had violated paragraph 3 of the tribunal’s pre-hearing report.

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He noted that the said paragraph 3 indicated that the tribunal must be furnished with list of witnesses to be called 24 hour to the hearing day.

It was at this stage that the tribunal Chairman interrupted the INEC lawyer and said: “Why can’t you keep your gun powder dry. Stop jumping the gun. After all, you have not been served. It is only when you are served that you can raise issues”.

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But regardless of the tribunal Chairman’s comment, Ananaba insisted on his application that the petition should be dismissed immediately.

Counsel for Adeleke, Mr. Niyi Owolade, and that of the PDP, Nathaniel Oke (SAN), aligned with Ananaba’s arguments and prayed that the tribunal should dismiss the petition.

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Responding, Oyetola’s counsel, Layoonu, SAN, described the respondents’ arguments as baseless, saying the question of not being diligent in the prosecution of the petition was just a blanket statement by the respondents.

He argued: “The question of diligence is a question of fact. My learned friends have just made blanket statement, but they have never come with any fact to that effect. Your Lordships know that there was no hearing day that we had not been here to prosecute our case.

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“Besides that, my Lord, it is our prerogative to conduct our case the way we want as permitted by the law and we have been so diligent with it because we know what we are doing. What then is their problem?

Layoonu also referred to paragraph 69(vi) of the petition where it was expressly stated that the documents in question would be relied on.

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In his further arguments, Layoonu said since the tribunal has not issued the subpoena, it could not have been served on the respondents, asking the INEC counsel to take a hint from the tribunal and stop being apprehensive unnecessarily.

He then urged the tribunal to discountenance all the arguments of the respondents’ counsel.

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In his ruling, read by the Chairman, the tribunal agreed with the petitioners’ counsel and ignored the applications to dismiss the petition.

It said that the subpoena was issued by the tribunal around evening on Tuesday and would subsequently be served on REC.

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He then adjourned the matter till Monday, November 21, for continuation of hearing.

Speaking with journalists after the hearing one of the petitioners’ Counsel, Chief Yomi Aliyu (SAN) said: “The Subpoena was to bring Adeleke’s Curriculum Vitae to court, including all the documents he filed in form CFO01.

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It concerns Adeleke on the certificates he claimed he had, and that is why you heard the protestation of his lawyers. But it must be brought to court one way or the other.

“The court must see his certificates that he got from wherever he said he got them. That is why you see that it was hot for two hours as they were asking for the dismissal of the petition.”

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Doyin Okupe was broke when he joined Obi’s campaign; stole N100 million party funds: Ogun LP

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The Labour Party in Ogun State insists that expelled member Doyin Okupe was financially handicapped before joining the Peter Obi Presidential Campaign Council (PCC).

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Party executives, Michael Ashade and Abayomi Arambambi, claimed on Saturday that Mr Okupe went on to steal N100 million campaign funds after joining the PCC.

Mr Ashade, state party chairman, said they were levelling charges of “financial impropriety” against Mr Okupe who until his expulsion served as the PCC’s director general.

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Mr Arambabi said Mr Okupe initially lobbied to be made the state party chairman on the basis of using the position to raise money for Mr Obi’s presidential campaign.

“He came to ask us at the initial stage that we should give him state chairman so that he would be able to mobilise funds for the party,” asserted Mr Arambabi, Ogun state’s Labour Party spokesperson, on Arise TV Saturday morning.

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In response to questions about whether Mr Okupe had actually given the Labour Party four million naira, Mr Arambabi revealed that the expelled member – who always complained about Mr Obi’s tightfisted nature – said he also had no money to contribute to the party.

“Let’s be very categorical here: Dr Okupe does not have any N4 million to spend on Labour Party,” said the Ogun state party spokesperson.

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He challenged Mr Okupe to “come here to tell us how much he gave to the 24 members of the state executive. He complained about Mr Obi, it was on the record, that he doesn’t give him money, so he has no money to give.”

The state’s spokesperson further disclosed that Mr Okupe had not given the party a “kobo” in the past seven months.

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“He has not committed his kobo to that party for seven months. It was when he started campaigning for Peter Obi that he came to us to say that he has some money to spend into the Labour Party,” the spokesperson said.

Mr Okupe did not immediately respond to calls and messages of enquiry seeking comments on the matter.

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Tinubu Accuses Arise TV Of Blackmail Over Townhall Meeting

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Kayode Sanni Arewa

The presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has again said he would not attend the Arise News Town Hall meeting slated for Sunday.

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Tinubu said Arise News has consistently shown a pattern of bias against him, stressing that he doesn’t consider the medium as credible and impartial.

The APC presidential flag-bearer vowed not to participate at the town hall meeting slated for Sunday, and any other Arise News may plan before the February 2023 presidential election.

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The two-term former governor of Lagos State said this via a statement issued on Saturday by the Director, Media and Publicity, APC Presidential Campaign Council, Bayo Onanuga.

Onanuga said Tinubu has his own schedule of campaign activities and other engagements within and outside Nigeria, noting that the APC presidential candidate has already departed Nigeria and would be at Chatham House in London on Monday, where he will speak on Security, Economy, and Foreign Policy.

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He stated: “We find it shocking and downright anomalous that Arise News continues to broadcast the participation of All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in its Presidential Town Hall meeting scheduled to hold on 4 December, 2022 despite our earlier statement that our candidate will not be available.

“We noticed that Arise News has also been running a campaign on the so-called constitutional duty of the presidential candidates to participate in its debate by dubiously citing section 22 of the Constitution of Nigeria on the obligation of the Mass Media.

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“While it is trite that the media has clear constitutional duty to hold public office holders accountable to the citizens and its role as the watchdog of the society, there is no part of the Constitution and the section 22 that says a presidential candidate of any political party and least of all, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu must participate in Arise News Town Hall event or any media organised event at all.

“The same Constitution grants all citizens of Nigeria including, Asiwaju Tinubu the right and freedom of choice and association. The APC Presidential candidate has a right to decide where he goes and events to participate in as he seeks the mandate of Nigerians to be elected as the next President of our country.

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“We want to make it abundantly clear again that Asiwaju Tinubu will not participate and will not attend the Arise News Town Hall meeting slated for Sunday, 4 December, 2022 and any other ones it may plan before the February 2023 presidential election. We want to equally stress that Arise News has consistently shown a pattern of bias against Asiwaju Tinubu and we don’t consider the medium as credible and impartial.

“The APC Presidential candidate has his own schedule of campaign activities and other engagements within and outside Nigeria. One of such events is his scheduled event for Monday , December 5, 2022 at Chatham House in London where he will speak on Security, Economy and Foreign Policy.

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“Asiwaju Tinubu travelled to United Kingdom early today (Saturday) for this earlier scheduled engagement. We want to reiterate for the umpteenth time that no amount of blackmail, intimidation and media bully and innuendos by the owner and management of Arise News will change the position our campaign has taken on this matter.

“We seize this opportunity to warn our spokesmen and supporters to steer clear of this station over its consistent unprofessionalism and bias against our candidate and party,” the statement read.

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Gov Yahaya Bello visits Wike in Rivers

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By Francesca Iwambe

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Governor Yahaya Bello, of Kogi State has paid a visit to his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, at his private residence in Port Harcourt, the state capital, on Friday night.

Bello, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), is the most recent high-ranking politician to pay a visit to Governor Wike’s Rumuepriokom home.

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The purpose or outcome of the visit, however, was not disclosed to journalists after both governors concluded their closed-door meeting.

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