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Ekiti Guber Poll Fall Out: Court Strikes Out Suit Challenging Gov-Elect’s Candidacy

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Ekiti Governor Elect, Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji
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A Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti Division, has struck out a suit filed by an All Progressives Congress governorship aspirant in the January 27 primary in Ekiti State, Kayode Ojo, challenging the emergence of the governor-elect, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, as the party candidate.

Ojo, dissatisfied with the conduct of the APC governorship primary, had approached the court, urging it to nullify what he called “gross irregularities” in the exercise.

He also faulted the use of individuals he described as political appointees as electoral committee/returning officers and consequently ordered a fresh primary.

But APC and Oyebanji, who were first and second defendants in the suit, averred that the direct primary held in all the 177 wards in the state were valid and in compliance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), and the constitution and guidelines of the party.

While Ojo’s counsels urged the court to uphold their statement of claims and grant them the reliefs being sought, counsels to Oyebanji said that the suit was not competent, saying that the discrepancies in the originating processes had rendered the case academic.

Delivering judgment, Justice Babs Kuewumi, who upheld the preliminary objection of the counsel to Oyebanji, Mr Kabir Akingbolu, that the writ of summons and statement of claims of Ojo were defective which dealt a fatal blow to the case, threw out the case.

Justice Kuewumi said, “Due to the irregularities in the identity of the lawyers who filled the processes, the case is defective and terribly bad. As the Bible says, when the foundation is bad what can the righteous do? We must know you can’t put something on nothing, which therefore renders the entire suit as a mere academic exercise. I hereby strike out the suit.

“Having ruled on the issue of objection, there is no further judgment to deliver. The plaintiff is free to approach the higher court for appeal.”

Counsel to Oyebanji, Akingbolu, expressed satisfaction with the verdict, saying, “Before a process is filed in court, a known lawyer must sign, it but many lawyers subscribed to this originating process but there was only one signature. The law is that you must tick the name of the person who signed it and this was not done in this case.

“Again, the NBA seal, which is the authority of office for a lawyer to signal document was affixed but the name on the seal was different from the one on all the process.

“So, there was no way the court could determine whether it was signed by a clerk or whether it was signed by a street urchin or a lawyer. On the ground, the court has rightly thrown away the case and the whole thing has crumbled.”

However, Ojo rejected the judgment, saying, “The judge wrongly dismissed our case based on technicallity. Though, we believe in the santity of the court, but the judge erred in his judgement and we know the appeal court will correct the error.

 

 

 

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Judiciary

High Court Nullifies Osun LG Election

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The Federal High Court sitting in Osogbo has nullified the local government election conducted by the Osun Independent Electoral Commission (OSSIEC).

Recall that the election was conducted by the state Electorial body (OSSIEC) on the 15th October.

Ruling on the matter, Justice Ayo-Nathaniel Emmanuel of the Federal High Court, Osogbo said the election was held in contravention of sections 29 & 32 of the Electoral Act, 2022.

He declared the election null and void for not being conducted in consonance with the Electoral Act 2022.

The court also ordered the chairman and councilors elected into the local government across the state through the process to vacate office with immediate effect.

The People’s Democratic Party had approached the court, asking it to stop (OSSIEC) from going ahead with the planned polls.

Other respondents in the matter include INEC, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and its then chairman Adeboyega Famoodun.

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Judiciary

Welfare Packages: NASS seeks better offer for Judicial Officers

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Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele and Members of National Assembly Joint Committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters
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…As Buhari increases allocation from N120billion to N150billion

The National Assembly Committee on Judiciary on Friday raised alarm that the poor welfare packages and salaries for the Judicial Officers, Judges and Staff of Judiciary threatened the overall performance of Judiciary Arm of government.

The Chairman of the Joint National Assembly, Senate Michael Opeyemi Bamidele made this known during the Budget performance and defence of the Judiciary on Friday.

Bamidele who hinged his argument on Leaked Memo from Justices of Supreme Court said that the increment of N120 billion to N150 for the Judiciary is not enough to cater for welfare of the Arm of government.

He said, “We stand to consider the content of the leaked memo from the Justices of the Supreme Court as a wake-up call or clarion call to comprehensively address the welfare issues and well-being of Judges, Judicial Officers and staff of the Judiciary, as well as judicial apparatus and infrastructure of Courts.

” Otherwise, poor working conditions and lack of the requisite welfare will affect the overall performance of the Nigerian Judiciary.  I do hope the budget you are going to present before us today has addressed most of these salient issues.”

Bamidele added, “The budget proposal was with respect to a figure of N150 billion allocated to the judiciary in the 2023 budget through the national judicial council. This represents a N30 billion increase over an amount allotted in 2022 which was N120 billion and all of us agreed on the need to commend the President for ensuring continued increase in the budget of the judiciary every year in the last four years

“The reasons for the increase is to say that a budget of N120 billion for the judiciary was totally not enough to help the judicial arm of government discharge on its mandate and responsibilities.

“With the N150 billion it is not yet Uhuru for the judiciary because the judiciary still needs much more than that to operate and be able to address adequately, the welfare of our judicial officers and staff of the judiciary.”

In his presentation before the Joint Committee, Ahmed Saleh said lamented that though the NJC has been able to assess 80 percent of 2022 budget, the inflation rate in the county has adverse effect on the budget performance of the Judicial Council in the country.

He said that based on the challenges facing the NJC, the budget proposal submitted to the Ministry of Finance was N338 billion, but was given the envelope of N150 billion.

He added that although there is an increase of N30 billion in the budget compare to last year budget of N120 billion, but in the real sense of it there is no serious increase in the budget considering the level of inflation in the country.

He said, “The appropriation for the judiciary in this subsisting fiscal year is N120 billion. It is gratifying that out of this sum we are so far able to assess 80 per cent of the fund.

“That notwithstanding, the current economic situation has forced a serious in terms and of our budget implementation and performance.

“This subsisting budget was passed at a benchmark of N580 to a dollar. The economic situation had hampered the performance and implementation of our budget.

“Even with the N150 billion we are constraint. These economic indices are still persisting even if we need to achieve milestone this year, with N120 billion on each and every vote, we have to make an additional provision of over 20 per cent on the votes for us to be able to achieve milestone.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Judiciary

Nnamdi Kanu’s Trial Adjourned Indefinitely

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Nnamdi-Kanu
Nnamdi-Kanu
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The Federal High Court Abuja has adjourned indefinitely the trial of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu in the terrorism charges brought against him by the Federal Government.

Justice Binta Nyako put off the trial sine die at the instance of Kanu pending the resolution of the Federal Government’s appeal against the October 13 judgment of the Court of Appeal that discharged him from the terrorism charges.

The Federal Government’s appeal seeking reversal of the Court of Appeal judgment is pending before the Supreme Court.

Two other cases billed for hearing before the court were also put off indefinitely for the same reason.

Meanwhile, Kanu refused to appear before the Federal High Court on Monday.

The refusal to honour the high court was conveyed to Justice Nyako by the Federal Government’s counsel, Mohammed Abubakar.

He informed the court that all entreaties made to persuade Kanu to have a change of heart were rebuffed.

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