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Appeal Court Set Up Justice Mohammad Sanwalu , 4 Others As Panel To Rule Over Osun Election

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The last might not have been heard in the Osun governorship election as Gboyega Oyetola and Ademola Adeleke, the two principal contenders in that election, approach the Court of Appeal for solace. LATEEF DADA reports on the litigation.

Without mincing words, the governor of Osun state, Mr Gboyega Oyetola and his arc-rival in the September 22, 2018 governorship election, Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) are presently in tension following the unfavourable judgment of the election petition tribunal and the Bwari High Court, Abuja.

Exactly six months after the gubernatorial election, the election petition tribunal sitting in Apo, Abuja, on March 22, 2019, delivered judgment in favour of Adeleke, directing that the certificate of return be withdrawn from Oyetola while a new certificate should be issued to Adeleke immediately.

Apparently shocked by the pronouncement of the tribunal, some groups, allegedly sponsored by the state government, stormed Oshogbo, the capital of Osun state to protest the judgment of the tribunal that nullified the election of Oyetola.

Later, Oyetola went to challenge the judgment of the tribunal at the appellate court, praying the court to upturn the decision of the majority judgment of the tribunal.

In a 39-ground notice of appeal filed on March 26, 2019 by his team of lawyers led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Oyetola faulted the majority judgment of Justices Peter Obiora and Anyinla Gbolagunte on the grounds that it was perverse, replete with contradictions and not supported by evidence led by the petitioners.

Oyetola prayed the Court of Appeal to uphold his appeal, set aside the majority judgment and dismiss the October 16, 2018 petition by PDP and Adeleke.

Oyetola argued that the tribunal was wrong to have declared Adeleke winner of the election held on September 22 and 27, 2018 on ground of non-compliance rather than ordering a rerun election, noting that, not only did the decision disenfranchise the electorate in the affected polling units, it violated the provision of Section 140 (2) of the Electoral Act.

He said his complaint, in the appeal, was against the entire majority judgment, except where the tribunal held that it lacked jurisdiction to set aside INEC Guidelines; that the allegation of over-voting was not proved; that the petitioners did not prove voided votes and other parts of the judgment where the tribunal agreed with their arguments.

Oyetola is contending, in his first ground of appeal, that the entirety of the majority judgment is a nullity because it was written and delivered by Justice Obiora whom he said, “Did not participate in all the proceedings of the tribunal and who was not present when all the witnesses gave evidence.”

After 11 days that the tribunal declared Adeleke winner of the Osun election, Justice Othman Musa of an Abuja High Court, sitting in Bwari Area Council, nullified the nomination of Senator Adeleke as candidate of the PDP in the September 22, 2018 governorship election. Two chieftains of the APC: Wahab Raheem and Adam Habeeb, had in 2018 barely few days to the governorship election, dragged Adeleke to court, alleging that he did not possess the requisite educational qualification (secondary school certificate) to contest for the office of the governor.

They urged the court to disqualify Adeleke from participating in the September 22 governorship election and the court subsequently granted the order on the grounds that Adeleke offended section 177 of the 1999 Constitution which stipulates that candidates for the position of governor must be educated up to secondary school level.

Shortly after the judgment, the Ademola Adeleke Campaign Organisation, who had earlier lauded the judgment, faulted the disqualification of Adeleke’s candidacy by the Bwari court. The group in a statement by its spokesperson, Mr Niyi Owolade, noted that the issue had been settled by two high courts, describing the Bwari judgment as shocking.

The group said, “First of all, the matter in question has been addressed by two high court rulings affirming that in the face of the constitution, Senator Ademola Adeleke is qualified to run for the governorship. The two rulings delivered in September 2018 held that Adeleke satisfied requirement of the law to contest for office. It is trite in law that once a court of coordinate jurisdiction has ruled on a matter, a court of similar jurisdiction cannot entertain it.”

Now that the two major rival are making serious efforts to get free of restraints, the incumbent governor, Oyetola, must do everything legally possible to make sure that the appellate court upturn the nullification of his election by the tribunal, while his arc-rival, Adeleke must put up a legal battle to win the two appeal court. He needs the court of appeal in Akure, Ondo state, to uphold the tribunal judgment that declared him winner, and the Court of Appeal in Abuja, to dismiss the Bwari judgment that disqualified his candidacy.

As the battle was on, victory came the way of Adeleke in one of the pending suits against his eligibility to contest the governorship election. On Saturday April 6, a Court of Appeal sitting in Akure, Ondo state, affirmed the eligibility of Adeleke to contest, contrary to the judgment of the Justice David Oladimeji of Osogbo High court. The court dismissed the appeal filed against the judgment of Osun state High court in Osogbo that had earlier affirmed that Adeleke is eligible to contest election as governor.

With the dissenting judgment by the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Muhammad Sirajo, the duo of Oyetola and Adeleke have to wait for the appeal to decide whether to uphold the majority judgment or the minority judgment. Justice Sirajo, in a dissenting view on the judgment said, “I have the privilege of reading in draft the majority judgment of the tribunal just delivered by my learned brother, Justice Peter Obiorah.

“Even though I participated actively and contributed immensely by writing some portions of the judgment just delivered, I disagreed with the decisions and conclusions reached by my learned brothers with regards to the allegation of non-compliance with the provision of Electoral Act, particularly, the allegation of non-recording.

A former Attorney General in Osun state, Mr Niyi Owolade, maintained that the majority judgment is on the side of the law, saying that the alterations in form EC8A is substantial enough to accept that the election was rigged in favour of Oyetola.

The question people are asking however is if there will be another re-run in Osun state. The September 27 governorship re-run was widely condemned by national and international observers including the media because it was characterised by violence.

Will the appeal upturn the judgment of the tribunal and declare Oyetola as substantive winner of the election without taking note of the irregularities pointed out by the tribunal? The PDP has the right to go to Supreme Court. What if the appeal upholds the judgment of the tribunal and declare Adeleke winner? The certificate scandal may prevent Adeleke from taking over. All these, investigation reveal will unfold in a matter of days.

However, in a chat with Blueprint, a lawyer, Mr Femi Ayandokun, explained that the second runner up of Adeleke at the primary, Dr Akin Ogunbiyi, who was alleged to be a mole to Senator Bola Tinubu, will take over. How that will unfold is what everyone is waiting to see.

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More Questions On Ifeanyi Ubah’s Forged Certificate Saga… …. Did NECO Just Confirm That Ubah’s Certificate was Truly Forged?

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Nigerian lawmaker and owner of Capital Oil and Gas Industries Ltd Ifeanyi Ubah who had been enmeshed in various corruption scandals with the government is now caught in another web of falsehood, forgery and presentation of fake National Examination Council, NECO certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC as a candidate of the Young Progressives Party, YPP in the last National Assembly election.

It does not take rocket scientific process to discover that the examination body has just confirmed that Ifeanyi Ubah submitted a forged certificate to INEC.

A news report yesterday that the Examination Council had affirmed the authenticity of the politician’s certificate after he had been previously sacked by a Federal High Court in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, nullifying his election as the senator representing Anambra South.

The court had ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Mr. Ubah and issue a fresh certificate of return to the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP Obinna Uzoh who came second in the election as the senator-elect of the district

However, a critical look at these two certificates reveals that NECO or someone is trying to assist the controversial business mogul to claim what does not belong to him. The certified copy presented and confirmed by INEC has the serial number; 303865920(note, 3038), while the copy NECO just confirmed as Ifeanyi Ubah’s approved certificate comes with a serial number; 303565920(note, 3035).

A comparison of these two documents glaringly shows differences in signatures, stamp, logo, typeset font and so on. This means NECO’s supposed affirmation of his certificate has further proved the forgery of the certificate and affirmed the judgment of the court that he submitted a fake NECO certificate to INEC.

Many who have taken a keen interest, in this case, are now wondering how the same certificate would have two different serial numbers, logo, font and signature. If we take the NECO certificate released by the examination body as Ifeanyi Ubah’s certificate, then the initial one he submitted to INEC was indeed forged as declared by the Abuja High Court.

Efforts to reach Ifeanyi Ubah to comment on this controversy have been unsuccessful. On his part, Dr. Obinna Uzoh who the court has ordered to be sworn in as the senator representing Anambra South Senatorial district declined to comment on the issue since the case was likely to go before the Appeal Court. Ifeanyi Ubah has vowed to approach an Appellate Court to set aside the judgment of the High Court based on the supposed validation of his certificate by NECO.

Therefore, it appears Ubah is just trying to buy time after he had been sacked by Honourable Justice Bello Kawu of the Abuja Federal High Court on the 17th of January, 2020.

In his judgment, Justice Bello Kawu discharged his Ex-Parte Order suspending the execution of his Judgement in suit No. CV/3044/2018. The claimant in the suit filed the pre-election matter challenging the nomination of the 1st defendant, Ifeanyi Patrick Ubah, by the second defendant, Young Progressive Party, YPP for the Anambra Senatorial District Election.

Aware of his ousting, Ubah then filed several baseless motions in order to delay the course of justice, seeking to stay the execution of the judgment and set aside the judgment, claiming the court lacks the legal jurisdiction to return Uzoh as duly elected quoting section 285 (13) of the 1999 constitution as amended.

However, it is important to note that, where a primary is not held, any state or FCT high court or FHC has jurisdiction to entertain the case. In the case of Lau v PDP (2018) 4 NWLR (Pt. 1608) 60 at 110-111 and 123, the Supreme Court held thus: The law has moved on since the 1999 Constitution vested the Federal High Court with exclusive jurisdiction over any action for a declaration or injunction affecting the validity of any executive or administrative action or decision of the Federal Government or any of its agencies, which includes INEC. The current position of the electoral act, the Federal High Court and the High Court of a State or the Federal Capital Territory have concurrent jurisdiction to hear and determine disputes arising from the conduct of a party’s primaries…

BY: SUNDAY ADEBAYO

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UBA Rewards 100 Customers with N10m in New ‘UBA Bumper Account’ Promo

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………N2M Up For Grabs Every Quarter

………N100,000 Monthly Shopping Allowance

Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc on Tuesday, launched the ‘UBA Bumper Account’, a hybrid account, targeted at transforming the lives of its customers. The new account is in line with the bank’s mission of creating superior value for its stakeholders while encouraging saving cultures among Nigerians.

The account, carefully crafted to improve the lives of the UBA customers, will offer account holders an opportunity to win cash prizes of up to N2 million.

Speaking during the launch and monthly draw which was held at the UBA Head Office, in Lagos on Tuesday, the Group Head, Retail Banking, Jude Anele said, the New ‘UBA Bumper Account’ was created with the customer in mind.

Anele said, “We have in recent times deepened our focus on the most important aspect of our business – the customers we serve. Hence, our huge investment in technology to make banking easier and seamless, even as we introduce new offerings such as this Bumper Account, that will deliver improved value to stakeholders.

He explained that new and existing customers of the bank need to ensure they have a minimum deposit of N5,000 in their UBA Bumper Account to qualify for draws. According to him, current UBA customers are to dial 91920*1# to migrate to the UBA Bumper Account whilst potential customers should dial *919*20# if interested in opening a UBA Bumper Account.

In the first draw which was held live during the official launch in Lagos today, a total of 100 customers emerged winners as the Bumper to Bumper Crooner, Wande Coal serenaded guests with his famous hit songs to the delight of all present.

“A total of 100 customers emerged winners at the live draws which took place here today, and as you have seen, some of our customers here present were part of the lucky ones who won N100,000 each. From here on, lucky customers will win from N10,000 to N2 million each in the monthly, quarterly and targeted draws,” Anele stated.

He added that a monthly shopping allowance of N100,000 for a year is also up for grabs. “No fewer than 50 account holders will get a whopping N2 million each across all participating regions. This account is open to both existing and new customers of the bank who save a minimum of N5,000,” Anele noted.

Amos Wisdom, one of the winners present, could not hide his joy when he was announced as one of the winners. “I am still very amazed. Before I came here, I had the conviction that I would win. All my life, I have never won anything like this, and I am very happy that I won this time. Thank you so much UBA,” he said.

Another winner, Ohagbelum Peace, who could not believe it when her name was announced said if she wasn’t present herself, she would not have believed in promos like the UBA Bumper Account. “I am very grateful. This is a new experience for me and I am now a number one fan of UBA. This has re-enforced my belief for this bank.”

The Deputy Director and Co-ordinator, National Lottery Regulatory Commission was present during the event to ensure that winners were properly selected in a fair manner without prejudice. She noted that the commission had worked with UBA in many promos in the past without any issues.

The Head Consumer Banking, Chiedu Ibeku appreciating the customers present, said, “we had two major objectives for this account which is to say a big thank you to our customers for being there and most importantly, to encourage a savings culture. Our intention is not only to reward loyalty but also to transform the lives of our customers for good”.

“UBA will not relent, because we are aware that if our customers succeed, we ultimately succeed too and this will spur us on to make the desired impact in their lives,” she said.

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Africa’s Development Agenda Must Prioritise Job Creation, Inclusive Growth and Gender Diversity for Peace and Stability on the Continent”, Tony Elumelu Says at Dakar Forum

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Tony. O. Elumelu C.O.N, Founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and Chairman, United Bank for Africa Group (UBA) proposed job creation for the youth, inclusive growth, and gender diversity as priority areas for Africa’s development agenda to achieve peace and stability on the continent.

He said this while speaking on a high-level panel with His Excellences Macky Sall, President of Senegal, and Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, President of Mauritania. Other speakers on the panel include Florence Parly, Defence Minister of France; and Pierre Buyoya former President of Burundi and representative of the African Union.

Mr. Elumelu stressed the urgency in tackling poverty, the root cause of extremism in Africa. He said: “We know, and we say, that poverty anywhere is a threat to mankind everywhere. What manifests itself in what we call security breakdown or terrorism, or extremism is actually deeply rooted in poverty, in joblessness So with due respect, we can have 101 seminars like this but unless and until we begin to address these issues of poverty, joblessness amongst our young ones, they will continue to allow themselves to be brainwashed by people who see no future, and they will continue to engage in extremism.”

He emphasised that while it is no doubt important to discuss weaponry, and other means to deal with insurgency, a lasting peace can only be attained in the long run by investing in our young people across Africa.

H.E. Macky Sall acquiesced to the need for the public sector to collaborate with the private sector to tackle poverty on the continent. He said: “Addressing the threats cannot be done on a standalone basis due to the fact that the challenges know no borders”. He called for a more collaborative approach to alleviate violence and extremism to boost investments in Africa.

Mr. Elumelu cited the impact of the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s $100 million Entrepreneurship Programme as one of the practical ways the private sector in Africa can intervene to bring about peace and stability on the continent. Speaking further, he referenced the partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) to empower 100,000 young Africans in 10 years with a focus on the Sahel region for its first year. Also mentioning TEF partnerships with other international development agencies such as GIZ and ICRC, Mr. Elumelu reiterated that only “activities and interventions like this will help to bring economic hope to people in this part of the world and they will become less involved in extremism. We support these young ones and we are beginning to see how their successes are translated into better and more secure communities”.

Mr. Elumelu pointed out that businesses cannot flourish where there is extremism and people are afraid for their lives. It will be even harder to attract the global private capital needed for large infrastructure projects and long-term investments which can help to fix our economy.

Mr. Elumelu ended his session on an optimistic note, calling on all stakeholders to collaborate to win the war on poverty and insecurity. “There is a lot we all can do – the private sector, government, and development partners – in making sure that we focus on winning the war on terrorism; that we make sure we stem the migration of our young people crossing the Mediterranean through harsh conditions, in search of hope, when indeed we have more opportunities and resources in our continent. We need to work together to ensure that extremism is totally annihilated in Africa. It is possible but we need to work together to achieve this.”

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