Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, yesterday raised an alarm that the commission is currently facing 600 cases relating to the conduct of recent primaries and nomination of candidates by political parties for the forthcoming general elections.
The INEC chairman’s alarm came as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, inaugurated members of Election Petition Tribunals, imploring them to shun all forms of temptations and abuse of power while discharging their constitutional duties.
Yakubu, who lauded the judiciary over reduction in the spate of conflicting judgements and the number of elections that had been nullified in recent times, said: “Only two weeks ago, one political party served about 70 court processes on the commission in one day, seeking to compel us to accept the nomination or substitution of its candidates long after the deadline provided in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election had elapsed. Some of the cases will go up to the Supreme Court.
“The implication is that we are still dealing with issues of nomination of candidates, thereby eating into vital time for preparation of and procurement of sensitive materials for the election.
”It also means that the courts will be dealing with the same issues long after the general election.
“I wish to reassure the judiciary that the commission will continue to abide by court orders. However, strict adherence to such decision is critical for us as an election management body.
“A situation where a trial court sought to vary the judgement of the Supreme Court by ordering the commission to issue a Certificate of Return in favour of a candidate whose emergence during the party’s primary election has been nullified by the apex court (and affirmed by the same court, following an application for clarification) put the commission in a difficult situation”.
Yakubu said the electoral body had studied various judgements on election matters and identified areas that would require improvement to reduce litigations.
“The job of the politician is intensely partisan. Our work (the judiciary and INEC) requires absolute neutrality. We will not disappoint Nigerians,” the INEC chairman added.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, implored the judges to shun all forms of temptations and abuse of power while discharging the constitutional duty.
The CJN noted that the 307 judicial officers he administered oath would be entrusted with the responsibility of deciding the fate of those contesting elections, and warned that he would not condone any act of recklessness and betrayal of public trust.
He said: “For being privileged to be found worthy to serve in these tribunals, Your Lordships are expected to conduct your affairs within the ambit of the law and the oath that has just been administered on you.
“Anything short of that will place you on a collision course with history; and then, God will ask you the questions that you might not be confident enough to answer.
“I can confidently tell you that this is a weighty undertaking you have just signed before the Almighty God. I am saying this because, as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, I will not condone any act of recklessness, abuse of power and public trust.
“This is a rare privilege and Your Lordships must give a good account of yourselves. Your Lordships should count yourselves worthy to be so entrusted with this humongous responsibility of deciding the fate of those that would be contesting elections into various political offices in the country in 2023.
“Though judicial officers are not known to possess some supernatural powers to perform wonders, I can confidently assure you that the society in which you operate will certainly expect the impossible from you as members of Election Petition Tribunals.
“There is virtually nothing that has not been seen or heard before, but you should be ready to see and hear more, especially as you begin to adjudicate on election matters in 2023.”
Justice Ariwoola warned the tribunal members to be ready for troubles, inconveniences, verbal assaults and uncomplimentary remarks from litigants.
“There is no doubt that temptations, tribulations, intimidations and even sheer blackmails may be unleashed on you but as thoroughbred Judicial Officers, you must guide your loins to rise above them and do what will earn you accolades from your creator and also from the court of public opinions.
“All eyes are on Your Lordships and always remember that your conducts will be publicly dissected and thoroughly scrutinized. Do what is right in our law books and you will have your names etched in gold. Do what is at variance with your conscience and you will get a scar that will terminally dent your ascension to higher height in life.”
On her part, President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, disclosed that whereas 163 judges inaugurated on Monday had served in past tribunals and experienced, 144 are new members.
She further disclosed that while four members of the tribunal were from the Federal High Court; three from the National Industrial Court; 213 drawn from the FCT and State High Courts, 13 were from Customary Court; 27 from Sharia Court, while 17 were Chief Magistrates.
“We have made a Judicial Electoral Manual (JEM) containing the Electoral Act 2022, Election Judicial Proceedings Practice Directions 2022, and the Supreme Court Election Appeals Practice Directions to serve as quick reference materials in the electoral adjudicatory process,” Justice Dongban-Mensem added.
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FINALLY!!! Tinubu Lists Conditions For Open Debate With Peter Obi
The All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, has listed conditions his counterpart from the Labour Party, LP, Peter Obi, must meet before engaging in a debate with him.
Tinubu said he would engage Obi in a debate after he released his manifesto for Nigerians to scrutinize.
Speaking through the spokesman of his campaign team, Festus Keyamo, Tinubu said Obi should also list his achievements during his tenure as governor of Anambra State before any debate can hold.
Keyamo said Obi should name any political party he formed.
He said Obi should disclose those he had mentored in politics who are still with him before asking for a debate.
“Before Obi can stand shoulder to shoulder with Asiwaju to debate, he should first release a manifesto for scrutiny; then he should list his tangible achievements as Governor of Anambra State compared to the tangible achievements of Asiwaju as Governor of Lagos State.
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PHOTOS: Large Turnout As Tinubu Campaign In Lagos
There was a large turnout of supporters in Lagos State on Saturday at the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential and governorship campaign rally held at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere.
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INDEPENDENT CAMPAIGN GROUP FLOATED IN LAGOS FOR TINUBU, SANWO-OLU
Tayo Ayinde, Baba Eto lead grassroots campaign for APC candidates
An Independent Campaign Group (ICG) has been floated in Lagos State for the re-election of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the actualisation of the presidential ambition of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Frontline politician and Christian leader, Cardinal James Odunmbaku, popularly known as Baba Eto, is the chairman of the independent group whose role will be complementary to the ongoing campaign of the Lagos APC.
Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Tayo Ayinde, who led similar effort in 2018, is the Director General of the ICG. Ayinde will be overseeing the activities of all the directorates under the group.
The ICG was constituted purposely for the mobilisation of voters at the grassroots level towards meeting the target of five million votes for the party in the presidential candidate and to deliver votes across Lagos councils for the party’s governorship flag bearer.
Odunmbaku said the mandate of the ICG was to create a penetrating structure that would independently take the party’s campaign activities to the grassroots. He said the group’s mission was to operate from the grassroots to the top level.
He said: “Our work is a simple but technical one, because we operate from the grassroots to the top level. This Independent Campaign Group is an assembly of grassroots volunteers and mobilisers working for the actualisation of the presidential ambition of our leader, Asiwaju Tinubu, and for the re-election of our performing Governor Sanwo-Olu.
“Everyone appointed into this group has been given the charge to engage Lagosians on our message. They have shown their readiness to work and take the campaign to the voters in theirs abodes. Our operation and activities are independent of the party’s ongoing campaign but we will be working in complementary to the campaign activities of the party.”
Heads of the 60 directorates in the group were sworn in on Friday at its office in GRA, Ikeja.
Bashorun Sikiru Alabi-McFoy is the Deputy Director General. Chairman of Conference 57 in Lagos, Hon. Kolade Alabi, is the adviser to the group m.
There are four Assistant Directors-General for the ICG in the three senatorial districts, with Lagos West having two Deputy DGs to oversee the group’s activities in Badagry and Ikeja divisions.
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