Governorship Poll: Upset in Benue, Plateau as Oppostion Parties Win
From David Torough (Makurdi), Jude Dangwam (Jos), Dan Amasingha (Minna), Nicolas Dekera, (Kaduna) & Yagana Ali, Yola
After the declaration of 19 governorship election results, out of the 28 states where the elections took place last Saturday, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) took the lead with victories in 13 states, while the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won in five states.The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) claimed one state.
Among the states won by the APC was Benue State, where the incumbent PDP lost to APC, following the declaration of Rev.Fr. Hycinth Alia of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Fr. Alia polled 473,973 votes to defeat his closest rival, Rt. Hon. Titus Uba of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who scored 223,915 votes to come second position.
The winner of the governorship election was announced after results from the 22 Local Government Areas (LGAs), were collated out of the 23 LGAs in the state.
Professor Farouq Kutah, who was the Returning Officer for the election, made the declaration yesterday at the INEC headquarters in Makurdi, the state capital.
Prof. Kutah, who is also the Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Mina, while announcing the result said; “This former declaration is hinged on the fact that we rely on the Electoral Act ‘section 24 sub-section 1 and the Electoral guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
“That Hycinth Iornen Alia of APC having satisfied all the requirements of the law is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected, this day, 29th of March, 2023”.
It was a mix-fortune for the APC in Plateau State where its governorship candidate, Dr Nentawe Yilwatda lost to candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Caleb Mutfwang.
Mutfwang scored 525, 299 votes to defeat his closest opponent, Dr Nentawe Yilwatda of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who scored 481, 370 votes.
The governorship candidate for Labour Party, Dr Patrick Dakum also got 60, 310 votes.
The state collation and returning officer, Prof. Idris Amali, the Vice-Chancellor, Federal University, Lafia, declared Mutfwang the winner of the March 18 polls, having scored the highest votes.
Mutfwang won 10 local government areas out of 17 local governments in the state.
In the state assembly lection, PDP won 16 seats, with the APC winning seven seats, while YPP won one out of the 24 State Assembly seats in Plateau State.
Mutfwang, the former Chairman, Mangu Local Government, Plateau, was born on March 12, 1965 in Wussasa, Zaria, Mutfwang had his primary education at LEA Primary School Ampang-West, Mangu from 1973 to 1977.
He later went to Boys Secondary School, Gindiri graduating in 1982.
He worked briefly with the then Federal Office of Statistics and the defunct Nigerian Bank for Commerce of Industry before continuing his educational pursuit at the School of Preliminary Studies, Keffi from 1983 to 1984.
He was at the University of Jos and graduated between 1984 and 1988 and the Nigerian Law School from 1988 which qualified him to be called to the Nigerian Bar as a solicitor and advocate of the Supreme Court on Dec. 14, 1989.
Mutfwang served the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme in Kaduna State during which he was elected by his colleagues as the President of the Nigerian Christian Corpers’ Fellowship in Kaduna State.
The Governorship candidate of the APC, Hon Muhammed Umar Bago was also declared as the winner of the March 18th Governorship election in Niger State.
The Chief Collation Officer of the Governorship Election in the State, Professor Clement Alawa, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic University of Abuja announced the result after a protracted tussle over the result from Rijau local government Area.
The Returning Officer announced that, Muhammad Umar Bago of the APC scored 469, 896 to defeat his closest challenger, Hon Isah Liman Kantigi of the Peoples Democratic party who scored 387, 476 votes.
The Labour party Candidate, Mr. Joshua Bawa came a distant third with 3, 415 votes while, Ibrahim Yahaya of New Nigeria peoples Party came fourth with 3, 378 votes.
“I professor Clement Alawa, the returning officer of the March 18th Governorship election in Niger State hereby declared that Hon Muhammed Umar haven satisfied the requirement of the law is declared the winner and returned elected,” he declared.
The APC candidate had won in twenty one out of the twenty five local government Areas of Niger State while his PDP Counterpart won in four councils namely Edati, Mokwa, Lavun and Gbako local government areas.
However, a mild drama played out as the signing of the final result sheets at the collation centre a PDP agent, Hon. Sani Kutigi refused to append his signature to the documents after the Governorship Candidate had initially conceded defeat.
In Ebonyi State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday declared APC’s governorship candidate, Mr Francis Nwifuru as winner of Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
The INEC’s State Collation Officer, Prof. Charles Igwe, Vice-Chancellor, University of Nigeria, Nsuka (UNN) declared Nwifuru as the winner having satisfied the electoral act.
Igwe said that Nwifuru polled 199, 131 votes to win the poll.
According to him, Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru of the APC, having satisfied the requirement of the law is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected by the Returning Officer.
He said that the Prof. Bernard Odoh of APGA, polled 52,189 to emerge second, while Dr Ifeanyi Odii of the PDP, polled 80,191 votes.
He said that the total number of accredited votes was 350,345, out of the 1,597,646 registered votes in the state.
He added that the total votes cast was 349,941, valid vote, 342,554, while the rejected votes stood at 7,387.
The governor-elect won in 10 out of the 13 Local Government Areas of the state, while the APGA candidate won in two LGAs and the PDP candidate one.
Nwifuru would be the fourth executive governor of the 27 year-old state. (NAN)
Incumbent Professor Babagana Zulum was declared reelected as the Governor of Borno State.
The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was declared the winner of the March 18 governorship election in the state having polled 545,542.
Also in Cross River State, the All Progressive Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Cross River State, Sen. Bassey Out, has been declared winner of the election, after winning in 15 out of the 18 local government areas in the state.
Announcing the result yesterday at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Collation Centre in Calabar, the Returning Officer, Prof. Teddy Adies, said APC polled 258,619 votes.
He said that the People’s Democratic Party got 179,636 votes while the Labour Party garnered 5,957 votes.
According to him, the total number of registered voters was 1,766,466, accredited voters 466,294, valid votes 451,933, and void votes 8,923.
“Eleven political parties participated in this election and for the results to get to us here at the state level, it had to pass through the Polling Units, the Ward Collation Centres and the collation centre at the local government levels.
“Otu of the APC after satisfying the requirement of the law has been returned elected,” the Returning Officer said.
The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Sheriff Oborevwori was declared the winner of the March 18 governorship election in Delta State by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
State INEC Collation Officer, Prof. Onuwari Georgewill, the Vice Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt, made the declaration yesterday in Asaba.
Georgewill said that Oborevwori polled a total of 360,234 votes to defeat his closest opponent, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege of the All Progressive Party (APC) who scored 240,229 votes.
“Sheriff Oborevwori having satisfied the requirements of the law is hereby declared the winner of the governorship election and returned elected,” he said.
Georgewill said that Mr Kennedy Pela of the Labour Party came third with 48,027 votes, while Mr Great Ogboru of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) came fourth with 11,021 votes.
He said the number of registered voters was 3,221 687, while the total number of accredited voters was 710,829.
Georgewill added that the total number of rejected votes was 15,384 and the total votes cast was 687,121.
A breakdown of the results on local government basis, as announced by the local government Collation Officers, showed that Oborevwori won in 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs), while Omo-Agege won in four out of the 25 LGAs of the state.
Oborevwori won in Ika North East; Aniocha North; Ndokwa East; Ika South; Patani; Sapele; Aniocha South; Uvwie; Okpe; Bomadi; Ethiope East; Oshimili North; Warri South; and Oshimili South.
He also won in Isoko North; Ethiope West; Isoko South; Ukwuani; Ndokwa West; Warri North; Burutu; and Warri South West.
Omo-Agege won in Udu, Uvwie, Ughelli South and Ughelli North.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), also declared APC’s Uba Sani, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of Kaduna governorship election.
INEC’s Returning Officer for Kaduna State, Professor Lawal Suleiman Bilbis made the announcement yesterday night.
He said Sani polled 730,002 votes to defeat his closest rival, Isa Ashiru of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who polled 719,196 votes.
The Labour Party (LP) candidate, Jonathan Asake polled 58,283 votes while the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) candidate, Suleiman Hunkuyi scored 21,405 votes.
NEC Declares Adamawa Governorship Election Inconclusive
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has declared the March 18 governorship election in Adamawa as inconclusive.
State INEC Returning Office, Prof. Mohammed Mele, said this when he spoke with newsmen yesterday in Yola.
Mele said that the election was cancelled in 47 registration areas, 69 polling Units with the total number of 41,796 registered voters.
“The number of Permanent Voter Cards (VCs) from the affected polling units in the different Local Government Areas (LGAs) affected is 37,016.
“After the collation we calculated the total number of votes with the two leading candidates with the highest votes, APC with 390,275 and PDP with 421, 524 votes.
“So this gives us the margin of 31,249 and the total number of PVCs collected in the places amounts to 37,916,” he said.
Reps Allege Scam, Demand Suspension of Nigeria Air Project
By Ubong Ukpong, Abuja
The House of Representatives yesterday, alleged foul practices in the Nigerian Air project, just as it directed the Federal Ministry of Aviation and its partners in the project to immediately suspend flight operations and every other action with respect to it.
The House also urged the ministry to ensure that all individuals, groups or organization involved in the Nigeria Air Take-Off are prosecuted and sanctioned
The Chairman House Committee on Aviation Nnoli Nnaji gave the directive during a meeting with the stakeholders in the Nigeria air project in Abuja.
He expressed concern by the launching of Nigeria Air despite an existing court order restraining such action.
Nnaji also expressed dismay over the role played by Ethiopian Airline in the process, saying it does not speak well of the excellent brotherly relationship existing between the two nations.
“A careful review of the process indicates the exercise to be highly opaque, shrouded in secrecy, shoddy and capable of ridiculing and tarnishing the image of Nigeria before the international community. We want to put on record, that the Committee and indeed the National Assembly had no role in the purported launch of Nigeria
Air or anything related thereof.”
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation, Dr Emmanuel Meribole, said Nigeria Air was not launched but unveiled saying the Ministry followed due processes in the unveiling.
He however reminded the meeting that Airline Operators are in court on the project and that the matter should not be discussed.
The Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Allen Onyema described the Air Nigeria Project as a ruse, saying the idea of national carrier was outdated and countries no longer get involved in it.
Mbah: NYSC Certificate Saga Threat to National Security – LP
By Jude Opara, Abuja
A Labour Party( LP) affiliated group – Labour Party Coalition for Good Governance has raised the alarm over what it described as desperate moves by the Enugu State Governor, Peter Mbah over the fog surrounding his discharge certificate from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
The group warned that if not checked, Mbah’s moves posed a national security threat, just as it was cable of destroying a major national institution such as NYSC.
Spokesman of Coalition, Ken Asigwa, in a Press conference in Abuja, said it was a grave concern that Mbah was adopting unorthodox tactics to cover the allegation of certificate forgery and thereby keep himself in office.
The specifically alleged that Mbah was “shopping in a desperate attempt to illegally keep himself in power” in direct reference to court cases initiated by the Governor in Abuna and Enugu with intent to secure judgment that would stop the NYSC from proceeding with the injuries into his discharge certificate forgery allegation.
“You may recall that the newly sworn-in governor of Enugu State, Peter Mbah, has been on a voyage of forum shopping in a desperate attempt to illegally keep himself in power.
“It is this desperation that has led him to different courts in both Enugu and Abuja, where he has made efforts to procure black market judgements to forestall the inquiry into how he procured the fake NYSC discharge certificate that he parades.
“In one of such desperate moves by Mbah, he made attempts to gag the NYSC by getting a pliant judge to issue him with a black market order that sought to abridge and erode the powers of the Enugu State Governorship Election Tribunal and the NYSC, constitutionally created bodies, from carrying out their statutory and constitutional functions.
“Since the revelation by the NYSC and its Director-General that the newly sworn-in governor of Enugu State, Mr. Peter Mbah, parades a forged NYSC discharge certificate, the governor has launched a syndicated campaign of calumny against the NYSC and its Director-General.
“At a time when the NYSC is celebrating 50 years of unblemished existence and service to Nigerians, Peter Mbah should be restrained by all well-meaning Nigerians before he destroys that revered institution.
“The above exhortation is vital given that the governor, like a bull in a China Shop, has a litany of inglorious past records of a penchant for the destruction of revered institutions of government,” Asogwa alleged at the press conference.
“You may recall that shortly after the exit of Peter Mbah as the Commissioner for Finance, Enugu State in 2007, the State Ministry of Finance office was gutted by fire in some circumstances that bore the imprimatur of an orchestrated plan designed to destroy evidence.
“Also kindly remember that when Chimaroke Nnamani, the former governor of the State, was charged with corruption, Mbah’s name was initially included by the EFCC after some rigorous and painstaking investigations that revealed that he had a case to answer in the mindless plundering of the State between 1999 and 2007.
“As a result, a 31-count charge was preferred against Mbah and his co-accused by the EFCC at the Federal High Court, Lagos. “However, how Mbah’s name was thereafter surreptitiously left out in the course of the prosecution still baffles the Enugu people.
“Again, during the fuel subsidy probe of the Jonathan administration, Peter Mbah and his Pinnacle Oil were invited by the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on the probe of the fuel subsidy regime of that administration. Enugu people, to date, still consider how Peter Mbah eventually wriggled out of that probe as one of the wonders of this world.
“Currently, Peter Mbah is back in his elements, trying to destroy both the judiciary and the NYSC in a desperate bid to foist himself on the Enugu people who rejected him at the poll” the Group further alleged.
“In taking you back to memory lane, you may recall that Mbah’s NYSC saga blew open after the NYSC’s response to a Freedom of Information inquiry by a law firm into the validity of the discharge certificate Mr. Mbah submitted to the INEC.
“When the NYSC responded and repudiated the certificate, a non-governmental organization brought a direct criminal complaint of forgery of the NYSC Certificate against Mbah at the Zone 6 Magistrate Court.
“The court thereafter ordered the AIG Zone 7 to carry out an investigation on the authenticity of the said NYSC Certificate. The AIG, on his part, wrote to the NYSC to confirm the authenticity of the said NYSC Certificate.
“As can be gleaned from court filings made by the NYSC in response to Mbah’s suit against the Corps, it is evident that the NYSC had long responded to the Police inquiry by sending a letter that equally repudiated the discharge certificate to the office of the Inspector General of Police.
“Why the police have chosen not to respond to the Wuse Magistrate Court’s order still bears the hallmark of Mbah’s pattern of comprising every institution.
“Having set the above tone, we wish to forewarn Nigerians as follows:
“The implication of allowing Peter Mbah to destroy the NYSC, the way he had in the past destroyed other institutions of government, is that going forward, issuing authorities in Nigeria will no longer be the authority saddled with the responsibility of confirming the authenticity of certificates issued by them.
“For the straight understanding of Nigerians, the import of the dangerous game Peter Mbah is playing with his NYSC discharge certificate saga is that in the unlikely event that he succeeds in getting the court to validate his non-existent NYSC discharge certificate, all that is required by anyone is to go to a business center to forge certificate, or is to go to court to get an order validating the certificate and that way the certificate would be accepted as being authentic, irrespective of such certificate having not been issued by the appropriate issuing authority.
“We, therefore, urge Nigerians not to stand by and allow one desperate fellow to destroy the integrity of a national institution that has served Nigeria well since 1973,” the Group warned.
It said the NYSC needed “collective protection” from those it described as “desperate power scavengers” who acquired notoriety for the destruction of anything that stood in their while pursuing their ambition.
Tribunal: Atiku Accuses INEC of Blocking Access to Documents
The legal team of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday said it was denied access to electoral documents by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), despite paying N6 million.
The team is requesting the documents as exhibits, to tender before the presidential election petition tribunal, to prove its case against the victory of President Bola Tinubu in the last election.
Eyitayo Jegede, lead counsel to Abubakar, told the five-man tribunal yesterday that INEC’s refusal to provide the documents is frustrating the PDP candidate’s case.
Jegede had sought to tender results from 10 out of 21 LGAs in Kogi state to prove the former vice-president’s case against Tinubu.
The LGAs whose results were sought to be tendered are Ankpa, Dekina, Idah, Ofu, Olamaboro, Yagba East, Yagba West, Kabba-Bunu, and Igalamela Odolu.
Jegede said the team had to subpoena INEC officials to provide the required documents before the tribunal.
However, Haruna Tsammani, chairman of the tribunal, said the court would have difficulty marking and numbering the documents as exhibits, adding that it was insensitive to tender such sensitive documents piecemeal.
Jegede sought adjournment of the case to enable his team to get the required documents from INEC.
The commission, represented by Abubakar Mahmoud, did not object to Jegede’s request for adjournment.
Also, Wole Olanipekun, Tinubu’s lawyer and Lateef Fagbemi, counsel to the All Progressives Congress (APC), did not oppose the request for adjournment of the case.
Tsammani subsequently adjourned the case to June 7.
Tinubu, the standard bearer of the APC, was declared the winner of the February 25 election with 8,794,726 votes.
The outcome of the election is being challenged by Abubakar and Peter Obi, flagbearer of the Labour Party (LP).
Court Dismisses Suit Against Tinubu over 25% FCT Votes
A Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed the suit filed by five residents of the federal capital territory (FCT), who sought to stop the inauguration of Bola Tinubu as president.
Inyang Ekwo, the presiding judge, yesterday, ordered the lawyer representing the five residents to pay the sum of N10 million each to the attorney-general of the federation and the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
Ekwo held that the plaintiffs have no locus standi to file the suit.
The presiding judge also said the suit can only be filed at the presidential election petition tribunal and not the federal high court.
The plaintiffs had averred that Tinubu failed to secure at least 25 percent of votes cast in the FCT.
The suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/578/2023 was filed on April 28.
The plaintiffs — Anyaegbunam Okoye, David Adzer, Jeffrey Ucheh, Osang Paul and Chibuike Nwanchukwu — sued for themselves and on behalf of other residents and registered voters in the FCT.
They had asked the court to determine “whether or not the person who is to be elected president of the federal republic of Nigeria, and consequently administrator of the FCT through the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and the Federal Capital Territory Development Authority, on the first ballot is required by section 134(2)(b) of the Constitution to obtain at least 25% of the votes cast in the FCT”.
The plaintiffs also wanted a declaration extending former President Buhari’s tenure, while also asking the court to set aside the certificate of return issued to Tinubu and restrain the CJN and any other judicial officer from swearing him in.
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