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Dead man’ testifies against APC at Delta Election Tribunal

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There was drama at the Delta state Election Petition Tribunal on Wednesday as a middle aged man who was presumed dead made a dramatic appearance in court to testify.

The supposedly ‘dead’ man, Christopher Anirah, was subpoenaed by the Tribunal to give evidence in an election petition matter between Gibson Ighofose Akporehe of the All Progressives Congress and Evelyn Omavowan Oboro, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the 2015 House of Representative election for Okpe, Sapale and Uvwie Federal Constituency.

The APC candidate had through his Counsel, Charles Umweni, told the Tribunal that Anirah, the witness he intended to call, could not come to the Court to testify  because he was dead.

He told the tribunal that Anirah died of cardiac arrest, and  could not be subpoenaed to give evidence in the on-going case.

But the resumed hearing on the matter took a dramatic turn when someone who claimed to be the supposedly dead Anirah appeared and stepped into the witness box to give evidence after the Chairman of the three-man Tribunal, Justice Adebukole Banjoko, called out the name.

His appearance caused a stir, prompting Justice Banjoko to call for calm.

Christopher Anirah who is Oboro’s star witness in the matter, told the Tribunal during  examination by the Respondent’s Counsel, Onome Egbon, that he was the rightful candidate  of APC  for the Okpe, Sapale and Uvwie  Federal Constituency of Delta State in the 2015 National Assembly election until his  name was “fraudulently substituted” with Akporehe’s name on account that he was dead.

He alleged that Akporehe “forged a death certificate from a Genera Hospital that I  died of cardiac failure and hypertension,” with  which he deceived INEC to  remove his name from the list of contestants for the election.

He also told the Tribunal that somebody who posed as his family member was made to testify that the death rumor was true to convince INEC to carry out the plan of substituting his name.

Anirah  further stated  that he has received several death threats through phone calls, warning him not to come near the Tribunal premises to testify in the on-going matter between Oboro and Akporehe, as doing so will be at the risk of his life, adding that the threat has since been report to the security agents.

“The notice was supported with a forged death certificate signed by a non-existent Dr. Jude Omoefe from a non-existent Government Hospital, Orerokpe. It says Christopher Anirah died of cardiac failure and hypertension. Also backing the notice is an affidavit of death dated January 15, 2015 and deposed to by Okonji at the Ughoton Customary Court, Ughoton, Delta State,” he said.

He took the Tribunal through the sequence of events beginning from when he won the primaries to the morning of 28 March when he was finally told that he had been substituted.

According to him, he got wind of the “evil and desperate plot to rob me of my mandate,” but all his efforts to protect it ended in futility.

He narrated to the Court; “after the primaries, I travelled briefly out of the country. When I returned on January 23, I heard that one Cyril Ogodo, the deputy state chairman of my party, had sold my mandate to one Gibson Akporehe. The party claimed not to know about it.

“When I formally reported the matter to the party, the state chairman, Erhue, and the gubernatorial candidate, Emerhor, instructed the deputy state chairman, Ogodo, to go back and restore my name, which he did after collecting some amounts of money from me.

“Surprisingly, after my name had entered the final list of INEC, I got wind of their plan to substitute me on the ground that I was dead. I now wrote to APC and INEC (tendered copies of the letter). I went there myself to submit the letters in which I informed them that some people were faking my death in order to substitute me. That was on January 24.

“Before then, during our campaign at Orerokpe, the APC governorship candidate told the people at the rally that in a few days time they would know who would be the House of Representatives candidate between me and Akporehe. After the rally I met him and asked why he made such statement, knowing I was the candidate. He just smiled and didn’t say anything.

“Five days later, I got a call from INEC in Abuja that if I was alive I should come to their office at 7 am the next day. The call came at about 9 pm. That same night, I left Sapele at 11 pm, drove overnight to INEC in Abuja where I met Mr. Ibrahim Bawa, the head of legal unit of the commission.

They interviewed me during which I gave them evidence that I was alive. They then assured me that I could not be substituted because I was alive. They said that they were not happy over the issue, asking why the APC of all party did such a thing. They said I should meet the APC national chairman who signed the letter of substitution to revoke it.”

Acting on the INEC advice, Anirah said he went to the national chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun, who he said apologised and promised to call a meeting to discuss the matter in order to have the substitution letter revoked, adding that as it turned out, that was never to be.

“What I saw was that on March 27, a day to my election, Oyegun, Cyril and Otega conspired and went back to submit the same letter to INEC that I was dead and then submitted the same forged death certificate.

“On the strength of that, INEC headquarters then wrote to its office in Asaba, Delta State, that I was dead and should be substituted. I was informed at 8 am on the day of the election that I had been replaced.”

The complainant added that since then he had been making efforts to have the alleged culprits arrested all to no avail.

“I want Nigerians to help me fight this injustice, because if they let these people succeed it could be another person tomorrow. It is unfair and inhuman for a man that is alive to be technically erased from the surface of this earth.

“My mother, children and friends are yet to get over the shock they experienced when they got the news that I was dead,” he added.

Meanwhile, Oboro in her preliminary objection filed from Peter Mrakpor’s Chembers, is asking  the Tribunal to dismiss Akporehe’s petition for lack of merit, saying it is an abuse of court process.

Justice Adebukola  adjourned the matter to 12 August, 2015 for adoption of objections and written addresses.  ‎

Akporehe of APC approached the Tribunal challenging the declaration of Oboro of the PDP as winner of the 28 March National Assembly election by the INEC.

Joined in the suit are; Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Resident Electoral Commission (REC), PDP and eight others.

 

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POLITICS

2023 Presidency: El-Rufai opens up on why Buhari loves Amaechi

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Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has disclosed why President Muhammadu Buhari loves Rotimi Amaechi, the outgone Minister of Transportation.

Rufai disclosed that Buhari loves Amaechi due to his decision to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, during the era of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

He disclosed this when Amaechi met with APC delegates from Kaduna ahead of the party’s national convention.

El-Rufai recalled wooing Amaechi and some other governors into the APC during the PDP administration.

“Let me tell you my history with Amaechi. When we started discussing with the G-7, the seven governors that wanted to defect to the APC, I was holding nocturnal meetings with Amaechi and Governor Nyako of Adamawa State until we got five of them to move to our party, and that was the game-changer.

“And for you to understand how difficult it is, imagine Amaechi of Rivers State from the same South-South with incumbent President Jonathan.

“He made the sacrifice to move to our party. It was a game-changer. This is part of the reason President Buhari loves Minister Amaechi till tomorrow,” El-Rufai said.

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2023: Amosun denies stepping down for Tinubu

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Amosun denies stepping down for Bola Tinubu

Former Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun has denied stepping down from the 2023 presidential election for the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu.

Amosun stated that he is not in the presidential race to align with Tinubu or any other aspirant of the APC.

Amosun also denied obtaining the APC senatorial form, saying he did not attend the screening exercise organised for APC senatorial aspirants, as being peddled by some individuals.

There were rumours over the weekend that Amosun had agreed to step down for Tinubu, having been screened and cleared for the Ogun Central senatorial race.

But, in a swift reaction, Amosun debunked the rumour spreading on social media, saying the “two news stories are false.”

According to a statement signed by his media aide, Bola Adeyemi, he said that the Ogun Central Senator “procured only the forms for the presidential ticket of the APC and did not attend the screening exercise for Senatorial aspirants because he is not one.”

While urging Nigerians to dismiss the “false news”, Adeyemi maintained that “Amosun is in the race for the presidential ticket of the APC and has no plans to align with any politician in the race.”

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Women affairs Minister, Pauline Tallen withdraws from senatorial race

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Dame Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women Affairs, has dropped her senatorial ambition.

Tallen made this known in a statement she issued on Monday.

The minister had purchased the All Progressives Congress (APC) form to contest the Plateau South Senatorial election.

According to her, after consultations with her constituents, she has decided to withdraw from the race.

The statement read in part: “I remain resolute as I continue to relish the opportunity to serve Nigerian Women in my capacity as Minister of Women Affairs under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Consequently, I wish to inform you all that following broad-based consultations and interventions from critical stakeholders, I have decided to withdraw from running for the senatorial seat, mindful of our accomplishments and the notable progress we have recorded under my stewardship at the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs.”

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