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INEC, Wike, PDP urge tribunal to dismiss Peterside’s petition over alleged fee default

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike on Friday requested the state Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja to dismiss a petition filed by the All Progressive Party (APC) and its candidate, Dr. Dakuku Peterside challenging hie electoral victory in the April 11, 2015 gubernatorial poll held in the state.

Wike anchored his prayer for the dismissal of the petition on the petitioners’ failure to pay a fee of N100 for the filing for the issuance of pre-hearing notice, Form TF007.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) also filed similar application anchored on the same ground.

But both Peterside and the APC are urging the Justice Muazu Pindiga-led tribunal to dismiss the respondents’ application for lacking in merit.

Their counsel, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN) insisted that since the application for the pre-hearing notice was by a letter to the Secretary to the tribunal, his clients were not liable to pay for filing fee as such was not specifically provided for in any law. He maintained that Paragraph 2 of the TF007 only made provision for the submission of the form and not filing which would have warranted payment of filing fee. He added that even if his clients were required to pay the fee, failure to do so could only amount to a mere irregularity which the tribunal could direct them to pay at any time.

He also maintained that his clients, like other pa rties to the petition, had made a deopsit of N500,000 security fund to the tribunal, so the tribunal could easily deduct N100 from the said money if it was a must that the N100 fee must be paid.

Olujinmi, a former Attorney-General of the Federation added, “It is now settled that a petitioner can start a pre-hearing session by oral application. If I’m passing by, I can just ask the Secretary to the tribunal to issue Form TF 007. So am I going to pay for the voice?”

He urged the tribunal not to allow the justice of the petition to be defeated by mere technicality which the respondents’ applications were predicated.

Through their respective lawyers, Wike and INEC had argued that the failure of the petitioners to pay the fee constituted an infringement on provisions of Paragraphs 18(1), (3) and 47 of the 1st Schedule to the Electoral Act as amended.

They argued that the non-compliance with the statutory provisions implied that the petition had been abandoned because the jurisdiction of the tribunal to entertain the petition could not be evoked without the payment of the prescribed fees.

Wike’s lawyer, Mr. Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), urged the tribunal to be persuaded by a ruling delivered by the Imo State Governorship Elections Petition Tribunal in Owerri on July 22, 2015, dismissing the petition filed by the PDP’s governorship candidate in the state, Emeka Ihedioha, on the grounds of the petitioner’s failure to pay the N100 fee for the filing of the pre-hearing notice.

Ihedioha’s petition was challenging the victory of the Governor Rochas Okorocha of the APC who was declared winner of the April 11 poll in Imo State.

Ukala also urged the Rivers State tribunal to uphold its previous rulings in which it affirmed “the seriousness of the statutory provision with regards to filing of application for pre-hearing notice”.

“Failure to propery apply for pre-hearing notice renders the petition abandoned and liable to be dismissed,” he said.

INEC’s lawyer, Chief K. C Njamanze (SAN), who also canvassed the same argument, said the payment of the fee was a condition precedent for the tribunal to assume jurisdiction on the petition.

Njamanze said, “It is our submission that payment of filing fee for such application is statutory and constitutes condition precedent for the invocation of the jurisdiction of this honourable tribunal.

“In the circumstance, my Lords, in law, there is no application for issuance of Form TF007 and we urge in the circumstance to dismiss this petition.”

PDP’s counsel, F. O Orbih (SAN), adopted the arguments canvassed by the lawyers to Wike and INEC.

The respondents’ lawyers also insisted in their replies on points of law that non-payment of the fee was “not a mere irregularity” and that the Election Petition Tribunal Practice Direction 2011 provided for the payment of N100 for the filing of exhibit or “any other document”.

Ukala also said that since the security fund was meant for a specific purpose, money could not be deducted from it to pay for default of paying filing fees.

The tribunal adjourned till Monday for its ruling on the applications.

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POLITICS

2023: INEC redeploys RECs, others

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INEC insists APGA won’t participate in Anambra guber poll

As part of the preparations for the 2023 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has approved the redeployment of some of its Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and posting of staff.

The redeployment was announced in a statement issued by Festus Okoye Esq, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman for Information and Voter Education, on Tuesday, in Abuja.

Mr. Okoye said the redeployment and posting, affecting 385 staff nationwide, was a routine exercise which will continue from time to time.

Those affected in the redeployment include two RECs and eight Directorate level staff, amongst others.

“In line with the extant policy, the commission hereby redeploys two Residents Electoral Commissioners (RECs) eight Directorate level staff, ” he said.

According to Mr Okoye, Dr Cyril Omorogbe, REC, Cross River state, had been redeployed to REC, Akwa Ibom State, while Dr Alalibo Johnson Sinikiem, REC, Edo state had been moved to Cross River state.

He said that Engineer Paul Omokore, Director, Planning and Monitoring Department, Headquarters, Abuja, had been redeployed as Director, ICT, Headquarters, Abuja; Engineer Chidi Nwafor, Director, ICT to Administrative Secretary, Enugu State ;Mr Chima Duruaku, Administrative Secretary, Anambra state to Director, Planning and Monitoring Department, Headquarters, Abuja; and Mr jude Okwuanu, Administrative Secretary, Enugu State to Administrative Secretary, Anambra State.

Others include, Usman Musa Wase, Acting Director, Human Resource Management, Headquarters, Abuja, who had been redeployed as the Acting Administrative Secretary, Nasarawa State; Mr Salisu Garba, Director in the Electoral Operations Department to Director, Procurement, Headquarters, Abuja; Barr. Waziri Zanna, Acting Administrative Secretary, FCT to Acting Director, Human Resource Management, Headquarters, Abuja; while Godwin Wada Edibo, Acting Administrative Secretary, Nasarawa State had been redeployed as the Acting Administrative Secretary, FCT.

He further noted that the redeployment/postings take immediate effect, while handing and taking over should be concluded on/or before Friday 26th August, 2022.

2023: INEC redeploys RECs, others

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JANDOR meets PDP state, senatorial, and LGA women leaders, unites state woman leader and Lagos4Lagos state woman leader

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The Governorship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Lagos State, Dr. Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran (JANDOR) on Monday played host to the party woman leaders in the state, the three senatorial districts, and the 20 local Government areas who visited to share their campaign and mobilization plans for the 2023 gubernatorial election.

The party women leadership delegation was led by the State Woman Leader, Hon. Mrs. Idowu Akinsanya. She expressed the resolution of all women in the party to eschew all divisive tendencies and unite towards the actualization of electoral victory for the party.

She noted that Lagos PDP women are willing to be sacrificial in this dispensation and that every party faithful should also follow suit by not expecting pecuniary motivation as a condition for supporting the JAFUN Eko project.
JANDOR in his address appreciated the women leaders for the stabilizing role they have been playing in the party over the years. He commended them for their resolve to work for the party without expecting immediate compensation.
He however appealed to the women leaders to ensure total reconciliation of all warring groups across the local government, wards, and down to the polling units.

JANDOR used the occasion to unite the PDP State Woman Leader, Hon. Mrs. Idowu Akinsanya and the State Woman Leader for the Lagos4Lagos Movement, Pst Mrs. Odunsi. He mandated the two apex leaders to ensure that other women under them are also truly and properly integrated.

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Opposition engaging in propaganda to discredit APC – Adamu

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The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdulahi Adamu, has lamented that the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is engaging in propaganda to discredit the ruling party ahead of the 2023 elections.

Adamu stated this Tuesday when a group of APC Professionals led by former Governor of Bauchi state, Isa Yuguda, visited him at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja.

Adamu decried that most of the programmes of the APC-led administration were not getting to the grassroots because leadership at that level was driven by those who are not educated.

His words: “One thing which I want to make some reference to is the fact of the position of your forum itself. If you listen to our political activities, one thing you may wish to take a serious look at and see how best you can be of some assistance to our effort is the activity of the party at the grassroots where it mattered most.

“Leadership at this level is being driven by those who are not educated, they are very vulnerable, very, extremely vulnerable.

“So, we need to imbibe the culture of an enlightened leadership driven by knowledge. We don’t all have to be graduates or diploma holders, but an enlightened mind is open and it is a bit narrow for now. This is missing in our effort to get people to appreciate who we are as a party, what we are doing as a party, how we can be appreciated as a party

“We are having the misfortune of the effort of this government not getting to the grassroots – positive publicity of what this government is doing. All that those who care to talk want to say is about the negative aspect of government

“We know that all over the world,the opposition is seen as the underdog and so there is apparent sympathy for them. I have no quarrel with this. Go and sympathize with them but call a spade a spade. Don’t give a dog a bad name in order to hang it.

“This is what we are experiencing. This is what we are experiencing. All the good things that have happened thus far in this administration have not received the kind of publicity it deserves.”

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