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Tribunal reserves judgment in Maku vs Al-Makura governorship petition

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The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Lafia, Nasarawa State, has reserved ruling in the petition filed by Mr Labaran Maku of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) challenging the election of Gov. Umaru Al-Makura.

Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Halima Mohammed, on Wednesday reserved the ruling sine die after counsels to all the parties adopted their final written addresses.

Mohammed said the tribunal had to be discrete about the date of the judgement considering the sensitive nature of the petition and the tension it had generated in the state.

She said the tribunal would through its Secretary, communicate the agreed date to all the counsels three days before judgment date to avoid over crowding the tribunal premises.

She acknowledged that as humans, they could be fallible but pledged that they would deliver the judgment dispassionately.

Mr Yusuf Ali, Yusuf Usman, and Hassan Liman, all Senior Advocates and counsels to Al-Makura, the All Progressive Congress (APC) and INEC respectively, in their final written submissions, urged the tribunal to dismiss Maku’s petition for lack of merit.

Ali argued that the petitioner, who won election in only one local government area out of 13 could not claim to be the winner of the April 11 governorship poll in the state.

He said the petitioner also failed to prove his alleged case of malpractice by the evidence presented at the tribunal.

On his part, Usman, counsel to APC also urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition as the petitioner had failed to prove allegation of over voting beyond reasonable doubt.

Similarly, Liman, counsel to INEC, told the tribunal that the petitioner had failed to prove his allegation of the commission’s non compliance with relevant provisions of the Electoral Act during the poll.

Liman argued that INEC was empowered to create voting points under Section 42 of the electoral Act contrary to the claim by the petitioner that INEC lacked the power to do so.

Maku’s counsel, Joseph Gadzama (SAN), however, prayed the tribunal to declare his client winner of the governorship election on the grounds that he won with a margin of 26,000 votes.

Gadzama noted that INEC, which was at the centre of most of the allegations in the petition failed to call witnesses to back up their defence.

He also said that there was no counter inspection report by the respondent to the evidence tendered by the petitioner before the tribunal

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APC considers Badaru, Umahi, Akeredolu, five other Govs as Presidential Campaign Directors

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Indications emerged last night that Governors Mohammed Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State, Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State may emerge as the Presidential Campaign Directors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign for the 2023 general election.


Other governors being considered include Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Ben Ayade of Cross River State, Sani Bello of Niger State, Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State and Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State.

It was gathered that while Badaru has been pencilled down as the head of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Presidential Campaign in the North, Umahi will take charge of the South.

The investigation also revealed that the ruling party has also created Zonal Directorates for the six geopolitical zones.


Each of the six zonal directorates, it was learnt, would be headed by a serving governor.


Multiple sources confirmed that barring any unforeseen circumstances, the Imo State Governor, Uzodimma will oversee the Tinubu presidential campaign in the South-east. The sources also disclosed that Governor Ayade of Cross River State will head the South-south.


According to the sources, Akeredolu will head the campaign in South-west states consisting of Lagos, while Kano State Governor, Dr Ganduje, and Niger State Governor, Bello, will head the North-west and North Central campaign teams, respectively.

Similarly, the Gombe State, Yahaya, has been proposed to head the North-east.

However, the proposal is subject to ratification by the NWC and approval of President Muhammadu Buhari.

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Adeleke forged certificates, Oyetola tells tribunal

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gboyega oyetola

Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State on Friday asked the Election Petition Tribunal in Osogbo to nullify the election of the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ademola Adeleke.

According to the governor, the election was fraught with certain irregularities.

He also said that Adeleke ought not to have been declared winner as he was not qualified to have contested the election in the first place, having submitted forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commision.

Adeleke was returned elected by the INEC, after defeating his closest challenger, Oyetola, and 13 other candidates, scoring a total of 403, 371

Oyetola got 375, 027 votes and won in 13 Local Government Areas of the state to come second in the election.

A member of Oyetola’s legal team, Kunle Adegoke (SAN), in an interview immediately after filing the petition in Osogbo said the governor has assembled 50 lawyers including 10 Senior Advocates of Nigeria, listing 13 grounds on which premises Adeleke should be disqualified.

Other key members of the legal team included Prince Lateef  Fagbemi (SAN), Chief Akin Olujumi (SAN), Prince Biodun Layonu (SAN/, Muritala Abdulrasheed (SAN).

Adegoke said the election in many 749 polling units were fraught with irregularities.

The legal team, he said, have established by the petition that the election in those 749 polling units across 10 Local Governments in Osun State was characterized by irregularities pertaining to over voting.

Adegoke said, “We have nothing less than 50 lawyers, including 10 SANs that we cannot list all of them, so we have listed about 20 lawyers in the petition. We have 13 reliefs. What we are contesting is that the election is fraught with certain irregularities by which the person declared winner ought not to have been declared and the petitioner, Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola ought to have been declared the winner on the ground that Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke was not qualified to have contested the election in the first place, having submitted forged certificate to INEC.

“The second is that the election in 749 polling units was fraught with irregularities and the election in those units ought to have been nullified. All the polling units mentioned are in 10 Local Governments, out of 30.

“So, if the election in those units is nullified and the votes are cancelled, then Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola will have comfortable requirements of the constitution to be declared winner of the election.

Asked when the trobinal would commence sitting, Adegoke said he does not know.

“We don’t know yet but now that we have filed, it is expected that once the PDP is served, their lawyers will file their own defence then we will file a reply to their defence. That is when the tribunal will be able to give a date.

“Except if either of the two parties have an application that requires urgency, only then can the Tribunal have an emergency sitting but as of now nobody knows the date”, he said.

Adegoke had on July 19 said Oyetola may line up over 50 lawyers to contest the declaration of Adeleke as winner.

He had said, “We are still reviewing documents and the legal team is actually working. In an election of this nature, the documents will be so many; so it is important to look at them critically before we take a decision and that is exactly what we are working on right now.

“Dr Biodun Layonu (SAN), is the leader of the team. The legal team is not complete yet because there are so many others that will still come in.

“In the meantime, the two members of the legal team we can reveal is Dr Biodun Layonu and Kunle Adegoke. Others that may come in are people, we may not know but as soon as we are ready to move, we will notify the press.

“The membership can’t be determined as many lawyers are interested in joining the team. You know election petition is a special case. So, we allow as many lawyers that are interested to come in. We may run into 50 or more membership.”

When contacted for reaction, the Chairman, Media Management Team of Osun PDP, Prince Diran Odeyemi, said the party was not losing sleep over the petition.

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15 deregistered parties back Obi

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Obi

The 15 political parties deregistered by the Independent National Electoral Commission, under the aegis of Coalition for Good Governance, on Friday declared support for the presidential ambition of the candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi.

The organisation said only Obi out of the candidates contesting for the 2023 Presidency can stop Nigeria from disintegrating.

The CGG in a statement by its national chairman, Okey Chikwendu, and Publicity Secretary, Don Anthony Harmattan, said the deregistered parties took the decision after carefully studying each presidential candidates to know the most reliable and credible among them.

INEC had in 2020 deregistered 74 political parties on the ground that they failed to meet constitutional requirements that determine the continuous existence of political parties in the country, leaving 18 which passed its test.

But the deregistered parties said they still have their structures in place, adding that they would all support and work for the success of the former governor of Anambra State.

The statement read,”We have earlier stated that the outcome of the political parties primaries for the presidential ticket and selection of the vice presidential tickets will determine which party we, the Coalition for Good Governance comprising of 15 deregistered political parties and some former presidential candidates would endorse and support for the 2023 presidential election.

The choice is based on identifying the ticket with the most credible candidates who are tested, trusted, and exhibit sufficient intellectual capacity to salvage our nation from the wreck we find ourselves and meet the yearnings of the Nigerian people which is equitable, fair and just irrespective of tribe or ethnicity.

“In furtherance to the above, the CGG on July 28 held a meeting in Abuja well attended by the National Party Chairmen and former presidential candidates of deregistered political parties whereby they took a very critical appraisal of all the current presidential contenders for the 2023 presidential elections and their Vice, the house unanimously voted Peter Obi/Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed as the most credible among the candidates and as such resolved to support and work with them and their campaign group on the platform of Labour party.

“We, therefore, agreed to rebrand our offices nationwide as Campaign support offices for the project. Our structures all over the 36 States and 774 Local Government Areas are henceforth required to support the Obi ticket.

“Nigerians have had enough of the disunity, eminent disintegration, lingering ASUU strike, terrorist threats, killings, kidnappings, hunger, unemployment, unbearable petrol cost and scarcity, high electricity tariffs, its epileptic situation, rising food cost etc and the continued lack of resolve by the establishment to put an end to these crises.

“We as leaders in main stream politics in Nigeria wish to make clear that only an efficient, effective and credible candidate of renowned character can resolve most of Nigeria’s lingering problems and we therefore urge Nigerians to heed to our advice and support our goals of returning Nigeria as the true giant of Africa and the production hub of West Africa.”

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