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Tribunal overrules Wike over A’Court judgment

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The Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Tuesday rejected an application for stay of its proceedings by Governor Nyesom Wike and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party.
The Justice Mohammed Ambros-led tribunal rejected the contention by Wike and the PDP that a ruling of the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, had asked it to stay proceedings until it delivered all reserved rulings on all the respondents’ motions, which are seeking the dismissal of the petitioners’ petition.
Wike’s election as governor in the April 11, 2015 poll is being challenged at the tribunal by the All Progressives Congress and its candidate, Dr. Dakuku Peterside.
The proceedings of the tribunal were stalled on Monday because Wike and the PDP through their lawyers, Mr. Emmanuel Ukala (SAN)‎ and Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), asked the tribunal to halt its proceedings because of the Court of Appeal’s judgment.
The tribunal had however adjourned till Tuesday requesting that it be served with the Court of Appeal’s ruling in order to decide on what step to take next.

Ukala and Adedipe on Tuesday maintained that the tribunal must stay proceedings in order to comply with the Court of Appeal’s judgment.
But, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ambrosa, after studying the Court of Appeal’s judgment on Tuesday observed that as against the request by Wike and PDP,  the Court of Appeal in its decision delivered last Saturday, did not order stay of proceedings of the tribunal.
Justice Ambrosa said what the appellate court ordered, instead, was accelerated hearing in the petition.
‎The tribunal chairman read the content of the ruling aloud during the Tuesday’s proceedings.
‎According to what Justice Ambrosa read, the appeal by the Wike and the PDP on which the appellate court delivered judgment succeeded in part, to the effect that the tribunal was ordered “to resolve the issue of the locus standi of the petitioners and the issue of service of the originating processes raised by the appellants, but which were not decided.”
 It also ordered the tribunal to accord the case accelerated hearing.
After reading the ruling, Justice Ambrosa promised to comply with the Court of Appeal’s ruling that it must rule on motions on which it had taken arguments but he called on the petitioners to continue their case for the time being.
The petitioners were to continue their case by calling more of their witnesses when PDP’s lawyer, Adedipe, opposed the move, asking the tribunal to first complying with the appellate court’s ruling first before continuing hearing the petition.
In response, the petitioners’ lawyer, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), urged the tribunal to ignore Adedipe’s contention and continue with the trial.
Olujinmi asked anybody dissatisfied with the tribunal’s directive to go on appeal.
In a ruling Justice Ambrosa said the tribunal, having chosen to proceed with trial, would not reverse itself.
The petitioners later called some witnesses, among whom, was Clinton Ochonma, before proceedings were adjourned till Wednesday.

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POLITICS

PDP Crisis: Dele Momodu warns Wike to apply brakes before it’s too late

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Former presidential aspirant of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dele Momodu has urged Governor Nyesom Wike of River State to thread softly before it becomes too late. 

The remark is coming amid internal wrangling between the Rivers governor and the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Abubakar Atiku. 

“Many politicians survive only on power. My Brother, I love you. But someone must be able to tell you the truth. No General fights on too many fronts. Please, apply the brakes, before it is too late,” he said. 

Momodu made the plea in a statement titled, “My Kobo Advice to Governor Nyesom Wike,” which he issued via his verified Instagram handle on Thursday.

He said, “My dear Brother, good evening. I have watched you in recent months with trepidation. I’m scared about your inability to comprehend the country called Nigeria. You must have underrated how the owners of Nigeria operate. 

“I studied the biography of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. I was an insider in the June 12 1993 crisis, and a veritable witness to the tribulations of my great mentor, Chief Moshood Abiola. Closer home, you must have seen how your predecessor, Dr. Peter Odili, was stopped in his tracks in 2007.

“You’re certainly one of Nigeria’s best performing Governors, if not the best. Personally, I’m very proud of your uncommon achievements. I know you are very angry. It is your right to be. But I’m begging you in the name of God not to take decisions based on anger… Nigeria has been very kind to you. 

“Rivers State has been extremely generous to you. GOD has blessed you beyond imagination. You have such a beautiful family. Your people love you stupendously for services delivered to them. PDP has been your solid platform. 

“You should never destroy a bridge after crossing the river. Even if you no longer need the bridge, what of your friends and family? I pray you kill this excessive and perpetual ANGER. It is getting out of hand. Most people around you will keep quiet for fear of losing patronage,” he said. 

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Muslim-Muslim Ticket: Catholics want Lalong suspended

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Some members of the Roman Catholic Church in Nigeria have called for the suspension of Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State from the church over his reference to the pope while defending his acceptance to serve as the Director General (DG) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council.

Lalong, on Wednesday, told correspondents at the presidential villa, Abuja, that as a Catholic and papal knight, the pope had not told him that it was wrong for him to lead the Muslim-Muslim presidential campaign team.

Following the comment, aggrieved Catholic faithful criticised the governor for bringing the church into disrepute and dragging the Holy Father into the murky politics of Nigeria.

But Lalong said his reference to Pope Francis on his appointment was out of reverence and not disregard for the Holy Father, Catholic Church or Christianity.

He said it was unfortunate that part of the interview had been excised and used by politicians for propaganda and misinformation about his personality, faith and political persuasion.

The President of the Concerned Catholics in Nigeria (CCN), Dr Ben Amodu, at a press conference yesterday in Abuja, said Lalong must tender an apology for maligning the name of the pope and the entire church.

He also said the leadership of the Catholic community in Nigeria must ensure that the governor was made to atone for his blasphemous statement about the pope and the Catholic Church in public.

Amodu said, “The fact that Governor Simon Bako Lalong, a practicing Catholic who supposedly knows that the Catholic Church is not involved in partisan politics, but still went ahead to insinuate that the pope is in support of his decision smacks a mockery of the revered Catholic Church in Nigeria and around the world.

“The Concerned Catholics in Nigeria condemn such despicable conduct as it is not reflective of the stance of the pope and the Catholic Church in Nigeria and around the world concerning the political permutations in Nigeria.” 

‘My reference to pope mark of reverence’

Governor Lalong, in a statement yesterday by his media aide, said it was unfortunate that part of his remarks had been used by politicians for propaganda and misinformation about his personality, faith and political persuasion.

He said, “My reference to the Holy Father, the Pope, was to emphasise that as a Christian born and raised in the Catholic faith, accepting the assignment given to me by my party, the APC, of which I am a founding member, does not in any way remove my faith in Jesus Christ or my commitment to the church in Nigeria and universally.

“Those who know me can attest to my respect for the church, Christianity and spiritual fathers of all denominations. They know my modest contribution to the growth of the church in Plateau State, Northern Nigeria and Nigeria at large and can testify to it.”

The governor further said he had high regard for Christians and church authority and would continue to work hard in promoting the interests of Christians and adherents of other religions based on love, justice, equity and fairness.w

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PDP primary: Gov Wike drags Atiku, Tambuwa to court, demands removal from INEC list

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The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has sued the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, the party and the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal over the conduct of party’s primary held May 29, 2022.

During the primary election held in Abuja, the Sokoto Governor, while addressing delegates, asked them to vote for him but later declared that he stepped down for the former Vice President, Atiku.

The election had Atiku poll 371 votes as winner, while Wike and Bukola Saraki garnered 237 and 70 votes, respectively.

Wike and his loyalists have been in a face-off with Atiku’s camp since the conclusion of the PDP’s primary election.

Following the prolonged crisis rocking the party, Wike and a PDP chieftain, Newgent Ekamon have now dragged Atiku, Tambuwal and the PDP to court in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/782/2022.

In the originating summons, the PDP is listed as the first respondent, while the Independent National Electoral Commission is the 2nd respondent. Tambuwal and Atiku are listed as the 3rd and 4th respondents, respectively.

Among other issues listed, Wike and Ekamon asked the court to order the INEC to reject or remove Atiku from “its list of candidates in the 2023 presidential election.”

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