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Confusion in Senate as Niger South gets 2 senators

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Credibility crisis has hit the senate over the swearing in of two different persons to represent a single senatorial district.

General Mohammed A. Garba and Malam Mustapha Sani Mohammed, who are both claiming to have won election under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), have been sworn in to represent Niger South Senatorial District.

General Garba was sworn in when the senate was inaugurated on June 9 while Malam Mustapha was sworn in last Wednesday by Senate President Bukola Saraki for the same seat.

Sources said Saraki was influenced by his associates to swear in Malam Mustapha for the post, even though General Garba is still the legal occupant of the seat.

But the senate president’s special adviser on legal and constitutional matters, Barrister Ibrahim Tukur El-Sudi, said the confusion was caused by a lack of information from the judiciary.

Both General Garba and Malam Mustapha are currently at the appeals court claiming the seat.

The dispute began over their candidacy in the APC from their constituency during the nomination for the contest of the senatorial seat.

Malam Mustapha was first nominated as the APC candidate, but when his membership of the party was challenged, his name was reportedly substituted with that of General Garba who was said to have won the general election and was sworn in at the senate’s inauguration.

Malam Mustapha has, however, challenged General Garba’s claim to the seat in court, insisting that he was the legally elected senator as he was the original nominee of the party.

The case was still in court when Malam Mustapha was sworn in last Wednesday.

The swearing in of Malam Mustapha has now created a legal logjam as there is no court order declaring the seat of General Garba vacant.

The special adviser on legal and constitutional matters to Saraki said the senate was not given adequate information on the issue in good time and that the case is now being investigated.

Barrister El-Sudi said the office of the senate president was not aware that one person had been sworn in earlier for the same senatorial district.

“Before Mustapha was sworn in, we wrote to the Supreme and appeals courts, asking whether there was application on the senatorial district.  The Supreme Court replied (to) our letter on the 7th August, the following day after we wrote to them,” he said.

“The Supreme Court said there was no any pending application, but the appeals court did not reply (to) our letter until on 12th of this month, just hours after Mustapha has been sworn in.
“It was the appeals court that told us that there was a pending application on the seat. We acted because we thought nothing was pending,” he said.

In a telephone interview, General Garba said he remained the authentic senator for the Niger South Senatorial District.

“It is true that Mustapha Mohammed won the primary election but it was nullified by the Federal High Court on the ground that he was not a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC). So, the party made me the candidate.

“I contested the election and I defeated the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Zainab Kure.  INEC declared the result in favour of my name.

“I was sworn in and I took the oath of office like other senators on June 9 when the senate was inaugurated.  But Mohammed went to the appeals court and he secured a ruling that the Federal High Court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the case that we should go to the State High Court,” he said.

But when contacted through text messages, Malam Mustapha said he travelled out of Abuja and declined a phone interview.

Efforts to get the reactions of the Clerk to the National Assembly Salisu Maikasuwa on the issue yielded no result as he neither picked his calls nor responded to the text message sent to him

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POLITICS

Wike meets PDP senators, Orubebe

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The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike on Thursday received the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leadership in the Senate in Rumuepirikom, his country home in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state.

The PDP delegation was led by the Senate Minority Leader, Philip Aduda.

Also a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe met with Wike

Orubebe recently resigned from the Peoples Democratic Party.

In attendance at the meeting were the Senate Minority Whip, Chukwuka Utazi; Shuaibu Lau, Danjuma La’ah and Barry Mpigi.

A Government House source said the senators arrived at the governor’s residence some minutes past 3pm and immediately went into a closed door with their host.

The outcomes of the separate meetings were not made public.

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ADC presidential candidate denies tax fraud allegations in US

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Dumebi Kachikwu

The presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Dumebi Kachikwu, has denied allegations of tax fraud in the United States.

Kachikwu said this in a statement on Wednesday titled, ‘Allegations of tax evasion, fraud against me untrue, politically motivated’.

The presidential candidate said the allegations were propagated by his political opponents who were unhappy with his victory at the ADC Presidential primary.

The Roots TV boss, therefore, asked supporters to ignore online reports that the US government had indicted him for tax evasion running into millions of dollars.

The statement read in part, “A few days ago, my campaign team received information that one of the aspirants who lost out in the just concluded ADC presidential primaries was planning a series of smear campaigns against me.

“I was therefore not surprised when I saw this story. Contrary to the information being peddled, I was assessed an additional $9m several years ago by the US Inland Revenue Service.

“This amount was reduced to $2m and when the IRS sued to collect the amount, my lawyers didn’t contest it and instead waited for a default judgement in order to go to the next stage which is making an offer in compromise to reduce the amount to be paid. This is a standard legal practice in tax matters.”

Kachikwu also denied allegations that he delivered a bribe to convicted US Congressman, William Jefferson.

The ADC candidate said rather, he was the one who reported the former Congressman to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The statement further read, “(The report) claimed I had delivered a $100,000 cash bribe to curry the favour of the former US Congressman.  This is another lie as multiple evidence abounds online clearly showing I was the victim who reported the US congressman to the EFCC and the FBI for defrauding my company.

“I have now instructed my lawyers to sue all digital media organisations who participated in the dissemination of this falsehood.”

The Roots TV boss said he was sure of victory in next year’s Presidential election.

Kachikwu, who is a younger brother to a former Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, surprisingly defeated a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, to win the ADC’s Presidential ticket.

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Kwankwaso’s party gains one, Labour Party another as senators defect from APC, PDP

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Two Senators on Wednesday announced their defection from their former political parties to another party ahead of the 2023 general election.

The Senators are: Francis Ezenwa Onyewusi representing Imo East Senatorial district and Haliru Dauda Jika representing Bauchi Central Senatorial district.

Their defection was made known by the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan during a plenary on Wednesday.

While Senator Francis Onyewusi who is a first-timer to the Senate was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and defected to Labour Party (LP), his counterpart in Bauchi was a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) before he defected to the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

The defected Senators cited injustice and inequity in their former political parties that made them fail the primary elections.

On Tuesday, three All Progressives Congress (APC) senators defected to other political parties.

Ahmad Babba Kaita, senator representing Katsina north; Lawal Yahaya Gumau, senator representing Bauchi north, and Francis Alimikhena, senator representing Edo north, all defected to other parties.

Kaita, who represents President Muhammadu Buhari’s senatorial district, defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) alongside Alimikhena.Advertisement

Gumau defected to the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), a party led by Rabiu Kwankwaso, former governor of Kano state.

The defectors have cited “marginalisation” and unfair treatment by their former parties as the reason for joining new parties.

Most of them were seeking reelection, but lost their tickets in their former parties.

The number of APC senators now stands at 66.

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