The Delta State governorship election petition tribunal, sitting in Asaba, has admitted four key documents, including card readers’ accreditation report, tendered by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The accreditation report submitted by INEC showed that the number of accredited voters for the April 11 governorship election in Delta state was lower than the results announced by electoral officials after the polls.
Two INEC officials – Assistant Director, ICT Department from Abuja headquarters and Chief Planning Officer, Delta State office – were directed to give testimony on the conduct of the April 11 election, following the request by the All Progressives Congress and its candidate, Emerhor Otega.
The Delta election, won by Ifeanyi Okowa of the Peoples Democratic Party, is being challenged by the APC and Mr. Otega.
Apart from the accreditation report, other documents tendered by the INEC officials at the commencement of hearing Wednesday, included, manual for election officials 2015; INEC’s April 2, 2015 press statement making accreditation through use of card readers only mandatory for the governorship elections; and guidelines and regulations for the conduct of 2015 general elections.
In their testimony, the INEC officials said that “all documents tendered were duly certified by INEC, that the card reader has three (3) functions to with; identification of voters, verification of PVC holder and voter’s authentication on Election Day.”
Further, the tribunal was told that “the card readers recorded no sustained failure during the governorship election in delta state and accredited numbers of voters as at April 29th was 709,000 and at the expiration of the shutting down of data upload, the final tally was 715,393.”
But on April 13, Delta State INEC had put the figure of accredited voters at 1,017,796, exceeding actual accreditation number revealed by the admitted report obtained from INEC central server.
In Nigeria’s technology driven 2015 elections, INEC central server generated data real time from card readers across polling units. This was to detect malpractices, especially inflation of numbers.
Announcing Mr. Okowa as the winner of the election on April 13, the Returning Officer, Bio Nyananyo, said the PDP candidate polled 724,680 votes, which translated to 14,980 votes higher than actual number of accredited voters.
Admissibility of the documents and ordering of INEC staff to give testimony on the conduct of the election had been strongly objected by Mr. Okowa, but was dismissed by the tribunal.
Wike meets PDP senators, Orubebe
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.
ADC presidential candidate denies tax fraud allegations in US
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.
Kwankwaso’s party gains one, Labour Party another as senators defect from APC, PDP
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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