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Political thugs force Ogun election tribunal to adjourn sitting

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The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Isabo court,Abeokuta,the state capital was forced to abruptly adjourn sitting weekend after getting reports that political thugs were planning to attack the court.

It was during the hearing of the petition by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic party, Gboyega Isiaka, against the election of Governor Ibikunle Amosun.

And Saturday was the last day for the Petitioners to close their case after calling the last witness and allow the Respondents to open their defence.

As the cross examination of the last witness, Benjamin Ibikunle (PW9) was being conducted by the counsel to the First Respondent, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), one of the Police officers attached to the court approached the judges informing them of imminent attack on the court.

Heavily armed police officers were immediately drafted to the court premises while Fagbemi was allowed to hurriedly conclude his cross examination on the witness.

A flustered Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Henry Olusiyi said the leaders of the political parties should advised their followers to eschew violence, warning that, they needed to protect the good image of the state.

“We just got a report that some people are planning to attack the court, all the leaders of the parties are here, we want you to appeal to your supporters, the state has maitained it’s good name.

“Appeal to your supporters, it is not a good thing that the tribunal is sitting and some people are planning to attack. So far, it has been smooth sailing, there is no point attacking anybody, we are here to do justice and there is no point attacking, don’t spoil the good name of this peaceful state.

“Why the threat of attack? It doesn’t make any sense, we are doing what God has asked us to do. It is impossible for anybody unless God is no more on our side, there is no point, tell your supporters”.

Earlier, the Tribunal had rejected ballot papers packed in over 80 INEC transparent bags from being admitted and marked as exhibit before the court.

The petitioners had moved to tender the ballot papers in their thousands as evidence through PW9, but this was vehemently objected by the Respondents.

Said Justice Olusiyi: “We have carefully considered the submission of counsel, these documents are undoubtedly original public document, the witness is not a maker of the ballot papers. PW9 is not an INEC official and the petitioners have not shown to us the circumstance to admit the document through him.

“No reason has been given for not calling the maker to tender the documents, they are not legally admissible through him. The documents are not legally admissible in evidence because,doing so, will amount to hearsay. They are not admitted in evidence and marked rejected number 1”,Olusiyi said.

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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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