Atiku is eligible to vie for presidency, Adamawa govt. tells court
The Adamawa government, on Tuesday, told a Federal High Court, Abuja, that former Vice President Atiku Abukakar was eligible to vie for the office of the president.
The Attorney-General (AG) of Adamawa, Afraimu Jingi, told Justice Inyang Ekwo while moving a motion on notice, seeking to be joined in the suit filed by a group against Atiku and three others.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the group, an Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa (EMA), in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/177/2019 had sued Atiku, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as 1st to 4th respondents respectively.
EMA is challenging Atiku’s eligibility to contest for presidency on the grounds that he was not a Nigerian citizen by birth.
The group asked the court to hold among others, that considering the provisions of Sections 25(1) &(2) and 131(a) of the constitution and the circumstances surrounding the former vice president’s birth, he cannot contest for the top office. But Jingi, through his lawyer, Chief L.D. Nzadon, in the motion dated April 26 and filed June 24, sought an order of the court to be joined in the matter.
Moving the motion, Nzadon based his argument on 21 grounds.
The lawyer described the matter as “a public interest suit to ensure that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) is complied with in the election of the President of Nigeria.”
He said the Adamawa AG is a chief law officer of the state who must be brought in as a party.
“The Attorney-General is traditionally the guardian of the public interest in any public interest litigation,” he added.
According to him, this matter can not be effectively and conclusively determined unless the Attorney General of Adamawa is joined as a party.
Nzadon said Atiku, against whom the suit was primarily directed, is a citizen of Nigeria from Adamawa who had been elected as a Governor of the state in 1999 and served as the vice president of the country between 1999 to 2007.
He said the suit threatens the right of not just the ex-vice president to contest the office of president “but that of the citizens of Nigeria of Adamawa State origin covering 12 out of the 21 Local Government Areas in the state.”
The lawyer listed the local government areas to include Ganye, Jada, Toungo, part of Mayo-Belwa, part of Fufore, part of Song, part of Hong, Maiha, Mubi-North, Mubi-South, Michika and Madagali.
He said the total population of the citizens of Nigeria from Adamawa who would be affected by the outcome of the suit was about 2 million people going by the 2006 National Population Census.
“Every citizen of Nigeria whatever his ethnic, religious or cultural background or persuasion should have the same right to vie for any political position under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as any other citizen.
“To disenfranchise the citizens of the 12 local government areas of Adamawa State in relation to the office of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is to discriminate against them contrary to Section 42(1)(a), (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended),” Nzadon told the court.
According to him, Adamawa has the highest number of Nigerian citizens from the former Trust Territories of Northern Cameroon of the three states that have such citizens, to wit: Adamawa, Taraba and Borno States.
The lawyer said it would be extremely difficult to get each one of these Nigerian citizens to defend this action in court.
“This is a public interest Suit and can best be defended by the Adamawa State Government through its Chief Law Officer, the Attorney General of Adamawa State.
“This cause will be defeated by the non-joinder of the citizens whose civil rights and obligations will be affected in violation of Section 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended),” he said.
“The citizens of Adamawa in the 12 local government areas ought to have been joined as necessary parties to this suit but were not.
“The presence of the said citizens is necessary to enable the court to effectually and conclusively adjudicate upon and settle the questions involved in the action.
“The government and people of Adamawa State have a greater interest in this suit than the 4th respondent (AGF).
“It is the constitutional responsibility of the Adamawa Government to advance and protect the political, social and economic interests of the citizens of Nigeria from Adamawa State.
“The applicant is a necessary party to this suit without whose joinder the citizenship issues affecting the indigenes of Adamawa State from the 12 of the 21 local government areas in the state can not be determined with finality,” the lawyer said.
Since counsel to other parties in the suit did not oppose the motion, Justice Ekwo granted the prayer.
APC Sets Aside Suspension Of Gemade, Shija, Others
The National Headquarters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has set aside the purported suspension of Senator Barnabas Gemade, Prof Terhemba Shija, and five others by the Benue State Executive Committee of the party.
This was announced by the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Felix Morka, in a statement on Thursday.
Morka said, “The Party has directed that the said suspension and all related actions in the matter be, and are hereby, set aside pending further review and decision of the Party’s National Working Committee (NWC) on the matter.
“Therefore, Senator Gemade, Professor Shija, and five others that are affected by the said suspension are, and remain, bonafide members of the Benue State Chapter of our Party.”
The duo of Gemade and Shija contested the governorship position but were defeated by Fr. Hyacinth Alia, who went on to win the general elections.
They dragged Fr. Alia to court, up to the Supreme Court, before the case was dismissed.
10th Senate Presidency: There Are Other Ways To Reward Zones With Bulk Votes, Says Oloriegbe
10th Senate Presidency: There Are Other Ways To Reward Zones With Bulk Votes, Says Oloriegbe
Ahead of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly in June, the lawmaker representing Kwara Central Senatorial District, Ibrahim Oloriegbe, is optimistic that his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) will reward zones that produced bulk votes in the recently concluded general elections.
The APC lawmaker stated this on Tuesday on Channels Television’s Politics Today as the battle for the senate presidency thickens.
Already many groups have argued that a Christian southerner should be the next Senate President after Senator Ahmad Lawan from Yobe State. But the APC is yet to zone principal officers of the National Assembly.
During the interview, Oloriegbe said there are other ways his party will compensate regions for an impressive outing in the polls, although he did not state how.
“The election is over, we have the leadership of the country to consider. There should be inclusiveness. Part of what the Constitution under Section 14 (4) tried to do is to be able to see that we stabilise this country through various means,” he stated.
“I think this will come in into play in terms of the thinking of the party. The essence of zoning is to be able to address the spirit of the constitution in terms of carrying everybody along. There are various ways through which the party will be able to reward the various segments that brought in votes.”
On the leadership of the next parliament, the lawmaker said the majority of the Senators-Elect are not new to the National Assembly.
The lawmaker cited the instance of a hopeful for the number three job, Godswill Akpabio, saying he is an old member of the National Assembly, though new to the 10th Assembly.
“Not 70 per cent are new (members). 70 members are not members of the current 9th Assembly,” he stated.
“They are not really new. For example, if you say Senator Akpabio is new to the 10th Assembly but not to the National Assembly.”
APC Dissolves Presidential Campaign Council
The All-Progressives Congress (APC) has dissolved its Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) inaugurated last year to prosecute the 2023 presidential election.
The dissolution was contained in a statement on Saturday night, jointly signed by the Director General of the APC PCC, Governor Simon Bako Lalong and the Secretary of the council, James Abiodun Faleke.
The party on behalf of the chairman of the Presidential Campaign Council, President Muhammadu Buhari; the president-elect, Bola Tinubu and other leaders, thanked all council members, leaders and supporters for working assiduously for the resounding victory of the president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“Since the campaign council began in September 2022, we have witnessed an unprecedented, relentless, and engaging mobilisation of our members nationwide and in the diaspora towards securing the majority popular votes for the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential ticket. The journey has been a worthy one with our hard-won victory. The credit goes to all our members particularly, the leaders and members of the various campaign directorates.
“We would like to express our deepest appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR), for his unwavering support and leadership throughout the campaign. We could not have achieved this level of success without his single-mindedness, commitment, and forthrightness.
“However, we have concluded that it is in the best interest of the campaign and its stakeholders for us to dissolve our council with immediate effect. This has become necessary to retune us towards the May 29, 2023, inauguration of the President-elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration. The process of transitioning into a new era of a Renewed Hope is underway and all our energies and activities must reflect the principles underlying this process.
“We hope that you will all continue to stay involved in Nigeria’s political process and to advocate for issues that you believe in. Our democracy is stronger when we all participate in the political process with patriotism. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you once again for your support, dedication, and hard work”, the statement said in part.
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