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Oni insists APC didn’t have Guber candidate in Ekiti as Tribunal adjourns for Judgment

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…as parties adopt final written addresses and Judgment day to be communicated to parties

Oyebanji and Segun Oni
The Ekiti State Election Petition Tribunal has adjourned judgment to a date to be communicated to parties on the dispute arising from the governorship election held on 18th June 2022 in Ekiti State which produced Governor Biodun Oyebanji as the winner.
The Chairman of the three-member panel hearing the case, Justice Wilfred Kpochi, reserved judgment for a later date after all parties before the jury adopted their final written addresses at the sitting held inside a packed courtroom on Wednesday in Ado Ekiti, the state capital.

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At the adoption of written addresses, Governor Oyebanji, his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) urged the Election Petition Tribunal to dismiss the petition filed by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) governorship candidate, Chief Segun Oni.

Segun Oni who is the SDP governorship candidate in the June 18 governorship election won by the APC governorship candidate, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, and being dissatisfied with the outcome of the election had gone to the tribunal to challenge the election.

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Counsel to the petitioner, Mr Owoseni Ajayi in the written address submitted, told the tribunal that the third respondent, the Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala-Buni who signed the nomination form of Oyebanji and who also superintendent over the APC governorship primaries contravened section 183 of the 1999 Constitution by accepting to be the APC National Caretaker Chairman.

According to Ajayi, section 183 of the 1999 Constitution stated explicitly that a sitting governor shall not accept any other executive position while in office.

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On the allegation by the petitioner that fifth respondent Mrs Monisade Afuye now Deputy governor presented fake WAEC results to the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), Mr Ajayi told the tribunal that according to Section 136 of the Evident Act, the burden of proof was on Mrs Afuye to defend herself of the allegation and since she refused to come to the tribunal to clear herself of the allegation, her quietness and refusal to defend herself of the allegation is an admission of guilt in law.

Meanwhile, Mr Biodun Oyebanji now the Governor maintained that Oni and his party, the SDP, have failed woefully to sufficiently discharge the burden of proof on them to convince the Tribunal that the election did not comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.

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Oni and the SDP are the 1st and 2nd Petitioners in case. The Respondents are Oyebanji (1st), the APC (2nd), Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni, in his capacity as the Chairman of the APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (3rd), INEC (4th) and the Deputy Governor, Mrs Monisade Afuye (5th).

Oyebanji and Afuye (1st and 5th Respondents) through their counsel, Prof. Kayode Olatoke (SAN), told the Tribunal that their written address was dated 29th October and filed on 30th October and adopted same before the Tribunal as evidence that the election of his clients is affirmed.

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The Governor and the Deputy Governor further told the Tribunal through their counsel that they filed their reply on point of law which was dated and filed on 11th November upon the receipt of the Petitioners’ written address.

Tribunal: INEC Form CF 001 attached Adeleke’s certificate is no longer with the commission – Osun REC
While seeking the leave of the Tribunal to adumbrate on some points, the 1st and 5th Respondents through their counsel argued that it is trite in law that the burden of proof is strictly on the Petitioner(s) in election petition cases noting that “in the instant petition, the Petitioners failed woefully to discharge same.”

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They said: “He (Oni) has not been able to prove that the 1st Respondent (Oyebanji) was not qualified to run for the Office of the Governor at the last governorship election. They (Oni and the PDP) called PW 4 (Petitioners’ Witness 4) as a witness, the PW 4 admitted that the 1st Respondent and the 5th Respondent were qualified under Section 318 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“INEC has the power to accept candidates who are qualified to run for the office of the Governor and once INEC says you are qualified, you can run. We rely on the Waziri Ibrahim case. Their (Petitioners) witness, PW 4 said they were qualified.

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“As for the 5th Respondent, the Petitioners made heavy weather of her alleged non-qualification. They have not proved it and their argument is not in line with our jurisprudence of today. There is no prayer before the tribunal sufficient to allege that she is not qualified and there is no relief against the 5th Respondent in this petition.

“They have also failed to bring the person before the Tribunal to prove that she is not the owner of the certificates. They rely on PDP v Degi Eremiuyo & Ors on the issue of different names on different documents as this has been watered down by the Supreme Court in the case of Obezim v Elebede as reported in 2022 4 NWLR pt 1819 pg 1 @ 52-53.

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“I, therefore, urge my Lords to hold that the Petitioners have failed to prove their case and dismiss the petition with substantial cost.”

Counsel to the 2nd Respondent, Chief Akinlolu Olujinmi (SAN) told the Tribunal that the written address of his client, the APC, was dated 29th October and filed on the same day while the reply on the point of law was filed on 10th November on receipt of the Petitioners’ written address.

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While adopting the APC’s written address and reply on point of law, Olujinmi urged the Tribunal to dismiss the petition in its entirety on grounds that it lacked merit.

The APC through its counsel contended that the Petitioners abandoned Grounds 1 and 3 out of the four grounds which were debated through the testimonies of witnesses and documents tendered before the Tribunal wondering why the Petitioners abandoned the said grounds at the address stage.

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The 2nd Respondent argued that it was too late for the Petitioners to abandon the two grounds because “it was a clear admission that they (Oni and the SDP) have failed to prove the two grounds adding that several grounds of the petition would have to go along with the two grounds.

Olujinmi said: “Going along with those two grounds are several grounds of the petition that must go with the two grounds and when those grounds are gone, there is nothing left in the petition again. I want your Lordships to take note that this is a novel point.

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“The Ground 1 they abandoned is about the allegation that the 1st and the 5th Respondents did not score the majority of lawful votes cast. In effect, they (Oni and the SDP) are saying there is nothing wrong with the votes that are lawful

“When you now abandon your ground that they didn’t score the majority of lawful votes, it means that there are no issues of non-compliance and corrupt practices that will make the election unlawful. If you now accept that the votes are lawful, it now cancels out corrupt practices and non-compliance alleged.”

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Arguing on the introduction of Mala Buni into the petition, the APC through its counsel pooh-poohed the arguments of the Petitioners by saying that the case of Jegede v INEC cited by them has been settled by the Supreme Court that the grounds the Petitioners rely upon cannot disqualify a candidate.

Counsel to 3rd Respondent (Buni), Mr Shaibu Aruwa (SAN) told the Tribunal that the written address of his client was dated 30th October and filed on the same day while the reply on the point of law was dated 10th November and filed on 11th November.

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In adopting the written address and the point of law and relying on them as evidence before the Tribunal, Aruwa prayed the panel to dismiss the petition “with substantial cost.”

By way of amplification, Aruwa argued that the Petitioners made a mistake by joining the 3rd Respondent (Buni) noting that if it were to be in those days, the petition would have been dismissed without calling any witnesses.

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He drew the Tribunal’s attention to the constitutional provision in Section 308 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 that no court process should be issued against any sitting governor by virtue of the immunity enjoyed

Aruwa concluded his argument by saying that “the Petitioners must pay the cost before they have the right of appeal.”

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Counsel to the 4th Respondent (INEC), Mr Chris Onwugbonu told the Tribunal that the written address of his client was dated 29th October and filed on 30th October while a reply on point of law was filed on 10th November and filed on the same day upon the receipt of the Petitioners’ written address.

In adopting INEC’s written address and reply on point of law, Onwugbonu urged the Tribunal to dismiss the petition with substantial cost.

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The Tribunal Chairman, Justice Kpochi, reserved ruling on the application to the day of final judgment on the petition.

The Tribunal Chairman thanked all lawyers, parties and members of the public for their cooperation throughout the trial of the case saying the date of the judgment would be communicated to them in due course.

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Photos/Video: LASU class of 2004, Anthony Campus re-union anniversary

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The class of 2004, Public Administration of the Lagos State University (LASU) Anthony Campus re-union second anniversary get together on Saturday.

Old classmates had a lot share and had time to dance and celebrate old times.

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See/watch video below:


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Finally, after terrorists attack, NRC to resume Abuja-Kaduna rail operations on Monday

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Finally, the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) will resume the Abuja-Kaduna passenger train service on Monday, with only two return services after the terrorists attack.

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Naijablitznews.com reports this was contained in a statement issued and signed by the Managing Director of the NRC, Fidet Okhiria.

The statement shows the first train will depart Rigasa train station in Kaduna state to Abuja by 8:00 in the morning while from Abuja, the first train will depart Idu train station to Kaduna state by 9:45 in the morning.

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The NRC management also revealed that as part of the new security measures, it is now mandatory for passengers to present their National Identity Number and valid Boarding Ticket before they will be allowed to board.

It also says the purchase of tickets by proxy is only limited to minors and a specified number of adult passengers.

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Online and mobile app ticketing will be available from 8:00 in the morning on Sunday, December the 4th, 2022 while the ticket offices at the train stations will open from 6:30 in the morning on Monday, December the 5th.

Recall that the NRC suspended train service along the route after Boko Haram terrorists attacked a moving passenger train in Kaduna on March 28, 2022.

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The insurgents had blown up the rail track and bombed the moving train, killing some and abducting more than 60 passengers. The unprecedented attack attracted international and national outrage.

The terrorists, who attacked the Kaduna-bound train released hostages in tranches with the last release coming on October 5, 2022.

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Before the hostages were completely released, distraught family members had protested several times to demand the release of their loved ones.

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Peter Obi Attends Gospel Musical Concert ‘The Experience’ In Lagos+Photo

Peter Obi
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The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, on Friday, attended the annual gospel musical concert organised by House On The Rock church in Lagos.

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Upon his introduction, Obi was welcomed with cheers from the crowd.

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