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Yobe tribunal admits alleged N15m bribe exhibits against REC

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The Yobe Governorship ELection Petion Tribunal has admitted as exhibit bank statement from the bank accounts of the Yobe State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC)

The exhibits were tendered by the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate in the governorship election, Alhaji Adamu Waziri, who accused Zarma of receiving the N15m as bribe from the All Progressives Congress, APC candidate and winner of the poll, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam.

Waziri and the PDP are through their joint petition challenging the declaration of Gaidam by the Independent National Electoral Commission as winner of the poll, which they alleged was marred by irregularities and corrupt practices.

The respondents to the petition are Gaidam, APC, INEC, the REC of Yobe State and Assistant Superintendent of Police, Zakari Deba (Aide-de-Camp to Gaidam). Gaidam sought re-election in the April 11 poll as a sitting governor.

The petitioners alleged that the Aide-de-Camp to Gaidam, Zakari Deba, paid N8m into the Diamond Bank account of Zarma and N7m into his Zenith Bank account on the same day.

Both transactions were said to have been carried out on April 8, 2015 whereas the election held on April 11.

The Justice Mojisola Dada-led tribunal admitted the exhibits through the officials of Diamond Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc who were subpoenaed to the tribunal as witnesses.

Among the exhibits tendered and admitted by the tribunal were documents of Diamond and Zenith banks, including account statements, photocopies of tellers used for the lodgments of the funds and account opening forms, all bearing Zarma’s name.

The respondents’ lawyers did not oppose the tendering of the exhibits during the Thursday’s proceedings, but they said they would reserve their objection to some of them till the stage of filing their final written addresses.

Diamond Bank’s employee from Damaturu Branch, Mr. Bamaji Kukawa, while being led by the petitioners ‘counsel, Mr. Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN), said the bank statement showed that N8m was paid into Zarma’s account on April 8 by Deba.

“Before the April 8, 2015 entry the bank account had N28, 143.60k,” Kukawa said while responding to a question from Owoniko.

“The depositor was Zakari Deba,” he added while responding to another question.

The witness said on April 13 the statement of account showed that N8m was withdrawn from the account in favour of Saleh & Hanif Company. He said N25, 011.45 was left as balance on the account as of the end of the period covered by the statement.

Also, Head of Operation, Damaturu Branch of Zenith Bank, Mr. Umar Alkali, while also being led by Owonoikoko, said Zakari Deba deposited N7m into Zarma’s account with the bank on April 8.

He added that as of the end of the period covered by the statement of account, the account was left with the balance of N1,345,503.38.

Counsel for Gaidam and the APC, during separate cross-examinations of the witnesses asked if any of the bank documents tendered had the office of the Resident Electoral Commissioner of Yobe State as the owner of the said bank accounts.

Ali also asked if the photograph of depositor lodging money into an account is required to be captured before carrying out such transaction.

Both the Diamond and Zenith banks employees answered no to both question.

Counsel for INEC and the REC, Mr. A. O Mohammed (SAN), and that of Deba, Titus Asaolu, also asked questions during the sessions of cross-examination.

 

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POLITICS

2023 Presidency: El-Rufai opens up on why Buhari loves Amaechi

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Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has disclosed why President Muhammadu Buhari loves Rotimi Amaechi, the outgone Minister of Transportation.

Rufai disclosed that Buhari loves Amaechi due to his decision to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, during the era of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

He disclosed this when Amaechi met with APC delegates from Kaduna ahead of the party’s national convention.

El-Rufai recalled wooing Amaechi and some other governors into the APC during the PDP administration.

“Let me tell you my history with Amaechi. When we started discussing with the G-7, the seven governors that wanted to defect to the APC, I was holding nocturnal meetings with Amaechi and Governor Nyako of Adamawa State until we got five of them to move to our party, and that was the game-changer.

“And for you to understand how difficult it is, imagine Amaechi of Rivers State from the same South-South with incumbent President Jonathan.

“He made the sacrifice to move to our party. It was a game-changer. This is part of the reason President Buhari loves Minister Amaechi till tomorrow,” El-Rufai said.

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2023: Amosun denies stepping down for Tinubu

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Amosun denies stepping down for Bola Tinubu

Former Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun has denied stepping down from the 2023 presidential election for the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu.

Amosun stated that he is not in the presidential race to align with Tinubu or any other aspirant of the APC.

Amosun also denied obtaining the APC senatorial form, saying he did not attend the screening exercise organised for APC senatorial aspirants, as being peddled by some individuals.

There were rumours over the weekend that Amosun had agreed to step down for Tinubu, having been screened and cleared for the Ogun Central senatorial race.

But, in a swift reaction, Amosun debunked the rumour spreading on social media, saying the “two news stories are false.”

According to a statement signed by his media aide, Bola Adeyemi, he said that the Ogun Central Senator “procured only the forms for the presidential ticket of the APC and did not attend the screening exercise for Senatorial aspirants because he is not one.”

While urging Nigerians to dismiss the “false news”, Adeyemi maintained that “Amosun is in the race for the presidential ticket of the APC and has no plans to align with any politician in the race.”

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Women affairs Minister, Pauline Tallen withdraws from senatorial race

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Dame Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women Affairs, has dropped her senatorial ambition.

Tallen made this known in a statement she issued on Monday.

The minister had purchased the All Progressives Congress (APC) form to contest the Plateau South Senatorial election.

According to her, after consultations with her constituents, she has decided to withdraw from the race.

The statement read in part: “I remain resolute as I continue to relish the opportunity to serve Nigerian Women in my capacity as Minister of Women Affairs under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Consequently, I wish to inform you all that following broad-based consultations and interventions from critical stakeholders, I have decided to withdraw from running for the senatorial seat, mindful of our accomplishments and the notable progress we have recorded under my stewardship at the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs.”

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