Atiku cries out: INEC disobeying court orders, preventing me from access election materials
Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the just concluded February 25 election, has cried out on how the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is preventing him from inspecting the materials used in the exercise in clear violation of the orders of the Court of Appeal.
Atiku, former Nigerian Vice President, is complaining of how his efforts to carry out the inspection immediately after the appellate court, which is serving as the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), gave him leave on March 3, have been frustrated by the commission, making him unable to do so.
In a letter to the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, through his lawyer, Joe Kyari Gadzama (SAN), Atiku reminded him and the commission that it was not in their powers to exercise their discretion on the matter, particularly as if, how and when to obey the order, but to do so expressly.
In the letter entitled: Demand For Immediate Compliance With Court Order Granted on 3 March 2023 For Access, Inspection and Examination/Analysis of Electoral Materials Used For 2023 Presidential Election: Atiku demanded daily access to the said materials, to enable him conduct his case.
The letter, read: “I am Lead Counsel to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar GCON and the Peoples Democratic Party (our Clients) who participated in the 2023 Presidential Election which held on 25 February 2023, and on whose behalf we write in respect of the above caption. You will recall that the Court of Appeal, presided over by Hon. Justice Shagbaor Ikyegh, JCA sitting in Abuja, granted orders on 3 March 2023 in favour of our Clients.
“The Court expressly directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow and grant access to our Clients and their representatives to inspect, scan, make copies, forensically audit and obtain certified true copies (CTC) of all electoral materials which were used in the conduct of the Presidential Election.
“The Court in Order no. 6 specifically allowed our Clients to carry out forensic examination/analysis of the BVAS machines/devices and all information stored in the server/IREV/backend/clouds, amongst others. The enrolled Court Order was duly and promptly served on the Commission on the same 3 March 2023 by the Court bailiff accompanied by our Clients’ representatives.
“We have attached the acknowledged copy of the Court Order for ease of reference. It is our Clients’ brief that upon service of the Order, they immediately Page 2 of 3 requested for a date to follow up and they were asked to return on 6 March 2023. On 6 March, our Clients’ representatives led by Adedamola Fanokun, Esq (office of the PDP National Legal Adviser) returned to the Commission ready to commence inspection, examination and obtaining of the electoral materials as ordered by the Court but they were informed at the Commission’s legal registry that there was no instruction yet from the Commission on the Court Order.
“Our Clients further requested audience with the Commission’s Director of Litigation to accelerate the process but they were not allowed as they were told by the Registry staff that the Director was in a meeting. Sadly, these and other efforts by our Clients have yielded no result. It is disturbing that despite service of the Court Order on the Commission since 3 March 2023, the Commission is yet to allow our Clients and their representatives to access, inspect and/or obtain the needed electoral materials as ordered by the Court despite repeated visits to the Commission and follow-up in respect thereof.
“No doubt, the Commission is bound by the orders of the Court and cannot choose if, when and/or how to comply with same. The unqualified obligation of the Commission, which of course includes INEC officials, is to unhesitatingly comply and give effect to the subsisting order of Court; there is no discretion to exercise here. In the circumstances, we hereby demand that the Commission should immediately comply with the subsisting orders of Court and in particular, we reiterate the following demands on behalf of our Clients:
1) Daily access to all polling documents, voters register, ballot papers and electoral forms/materials for purposes of scanning, forensic audit, expert examination and inspection;
2) Daily access to the BVAS machines/devices and server/IREV/backend/clouds for purposes of forensic examination and analysis; and
3) CTCs of all BVAS accreditation reports, forms EC40A, EC8A, EC8AVP, EC8C, EC8D, EC8E and all other electoral forms/materials on a State by State basis. We hope that our demand will receive the prompt positive action that it requires as we will continue to visit the Commission on a daily basis Page 3 of 3 for the exercise as set out above in line with the subsisting order of the Court. Thank you in anticipation of your urgent positive action in this regard as time is really of the essence.”
BREAKING: All clear for Tinubu! S’Court dismisses PDP’s double nomination suit *Says, PDP a busy-body
For being a meddlesome interloper and a busy-body in bringing a case that was none of its business, the Supreme Court, on Friday slammed a N2million fine on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), over its suit demanding that the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 25 presidential election be vitiated.
The main opposition party, had claimed that Kashim Shettima, being a candidate in a Senatorial election in Borno and as well as the running mate to Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate in the election, amounted to double Nomination, which is forbidden by the law.
Based on that, the prayed the apex court to declare the ticket null and void and the votes recorded for it in the election, through which they were declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), wasted, a prayer, which if it had succeeded, would pave the way for Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the party in the election to take over from Tinubu as the 16th President on Monday, when he is due to be inaugurated.
But the court, while dismissing the prayers, which originated from the Federal High Court Abuja, and travelled through the Court of Appeal, before it, agreeing with the positions of the lower courts which dismissed them on the ground of lacking in locus standi to institute the case.
But, Justice Adamu Jauro who read the Judgement, not only held that the PDP acted as meddlesome Interloper and a busy body as it is an internal affair of the APC, ordered the main opposition party to pay N2milllion, for its troubles, after establishing that its arguments tended to misleading the court, which was “sad”.
The court, which said it was aware of the case of Uche Nwosu, former governorship candidate in Imo State, the court, held that it did not applay in the instant case, as it agreed that Shettima withdrew his senate nomination on 6th July 2022 and was subsequently replaced and therefore, was no longer a candidate for the Senate before he picked up the running mate ticket, thus, making the allegation of multiple nomination untenable.
On the other hand, the court, held that Nwosu in his case, got nominated by two political parties for different positions, and having not being on all fours, PDP suit, was bound to fail right from the trial court, to the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court.
Accusing the PDP of attempts to use the social media to set a trap for the apex court to blackmail it, which he said was “painful, unfortunate and uncalled for,” the court said a political party had no right to challenge the action of another party, or the decision of INEC, in respect of another party, adding that for a person to have locus standi to challenge the nomination process of a political party, the person must be a neutral person and an aspirant to that position, and a member of the party.
Nigerians must allow the love they share abroad resonate at home – Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is worried that the level of love Nigerians abroad share among themselves is not replicated at home, adding that a situation where they are quick to become friends outside and enemies at home, must be stop. The former President, who acknowledged how Nigerians in the diaspora were making the country proud in their different areas of endeavour, told participants at an evening reception held at New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA, that Nigerians in the diaspora must conduct themselves as good citizens wherever they domiciled.
Obasanjo, whose views were captured in a statement by, Kehinde Akinyemi, his spokesman, expressed satisfaction over the unity exhibited among Nigerians in the United States of America, urging them to reciprocate such togetherness when they are back home.
The former President, said to have spoken on behalf of a delegation of eminent traditional leaders and academics that included the Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Oba Saka Matemilola, was quoted as saying: “Nigerian nationals are often very united when they are abroad, but something else when they return to the country, therefore, I want to urge all to be good citizens, not only where you are, but when also you come home to Nigeria.”
Uproar, social media exchange of fire, over Ooni’s handshake with Pete Edochie, KOK
The exchange of handshakes between veteran actors Pete Edochie and Kanayo O. Kanayo with Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyey Ogunwusi Enitan, has spurred a flurry of reactions on social media, The Nation, is reporting.
The paper, which reviewed the viral video shared on Thursday, where Edochie and Kanayo approached Ooni’s table at Elizabeth Jack Rich’s 40th birthday party on Tuesday and exchanged Igbo “cultural” handshakes with the monarch, acknowledged the different meanings being read into it.
Social media users on Twitter took to the comment section of the video with some knocking the actors for disrespecting the tradition by exchanging handshakes with the monarch, while others praised Ooni for showing respect to the Igbo culture.
Man of Letters said: “Igbakeji Oorisa?! It’s acceptable that he received the cross-culture respect handshake with Pete Edochie because the man Pete carry, but what’s his excuse for doing it with Kanayo O Kanayo??”
Kelvin Odanz said. “Is this ceremony holding in the Ooni palace? I mean, if an Igbo man (from a culture that doesn’t bow to another man) meets the Ooni in the UK for instance, is it disrespectful if he chooses to greet the respected Oba in a way he was brought up to respect dignitaries?”
Another user Onyemauchi tweeted: “This man supposed be King for him community”
Another tweep tracesorba wrote: “Igbos don’t bow down to any man, An evolved or wise man is their our own Chi.”