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Ortom, Abounu Loses Bid to Stop Recovery of Over 42 Vehicles, Other Assets

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……Abounu Loses Bid to Stop Recovery

From Attah Ede Makurdi

Benue State High Court sitting in Makurdi, presided by Justice Theresa Igoche yesterday, dismissed the preliminary objections raised by the immediate Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom and His Deputy, Engr.

Benson Abounu against Governor Hyacinth Alia and Government of Benue State, to stop retrieval of over 42 vehicles and other assets allegedly donated to them and their cabinet members before their exit from office on May 29th, 2023.

Ruling on the motion, the court held that the former governor and his deputy were being speculative and seeking to limit the exercise of the constitutional powers of the democratically elected state governor, Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Alia.

Justice Theresa Igoche upheld the preliminary objection of the Defendants on two major grounds that the suit was speculative for failing to establish a cause of action.

She further averred that the suit indeed sought to delimit the constitutional powers of the Defendants as donated unto them by Section 5(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and accordingly struck out the suit.

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Former Governor Ortom and his deputy, Engr. Benson Abounu instituted a suit marked No: MHC/199/2023 to challenge the alleged retrieval of vehicles and properties allegedly donated to them and their cabinet members by the Benue State Executive Council before their handover on May 29th, 2023.

Both Ortom and Abounu alleged that such action of retrieval was a constitutional affront to their collective right to ownership of property legally and legitimately vested in them.

However, counsel to the Government of Benue State, the Governor of Benue State and the Chairman of the Assets Recovery Committee, Mohammed Ndarani (SAN) who had appeared with Vershima raised and argued a Notice of Preliminary Objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain, hear and determine the suit on the grounds that it was speculative as it failed to give identity of the cars and properties allegedly taken from the Plaintiffs.

Moreso, the suit sought to limit the proper exercise of the executive powers of the governor to appoint appropriate committees to help in the administration of the state.

Arguing further, Mohammed Ndarani (SAN) maintained that, the terms of reference of the committee to decipher the extent of their powers and to help determine whether the committee had overlapped its authority were not before the court.

He said the committee was also not shown to have completed its work to conclusively establish whether they had permanently taken custody of any vehicles, hence for investigative purposes, temporary taking of custody of vehicles is allowed under the constitution.

Counsel has also stressed that, if such frivolous suits were allowed to linger, development would be greatly hampered across the country.

In his submission, Douglas Pepe (SAN) who appeared with Paul Sule maintained that, the Plaintiffs’ cause of action was potent and alleged that over 32 vehicles donated to the Plaintiffs by the Benue State Executive Council before they left office on May 29th, 2023 had been taken custody off by the Defendants, which was an affront to their right to ownership of property.

……Abounu Loses Bid to Stop Recovery

POLITICS

APC Primary Election: Interior Minister Congratulates Aiyedatiwa

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The Minister of Interior, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has congratulated Gov. Lucky Aiyedatiwa of Ondo State over his emergence as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Saturday’s primary election.

This is contained in a statement made available to newsmen by the Special Adviser to the Minister of Interior on Media and Publicity, Mr Alao Babatunde, on Monday in Akure.

Reports says that Aiyedatiwa got the highest number of votes, and was declared winner by the Gov.

Usman Ododo-led electoral committee in the APC primary election held on Saturday.

Tunji-Ojo, who described the primary election as a family affair, noted that it reaffirmed the commitment of the party to the tenets of democracy.

“I congratulate His  Excellency, Gov. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, for clinching the ticket of the party after a keenly- contested primary election.

“APC has demonstrated that our democracy has grown and can thrive even to deliver its dividends to the people.

“I appreciate the other contestants for demonstrating the spirit of sportsmanship before and during the process.

“In a contest like this, where all candidates belong to a progressive family, the party emerges as the winner, as victory is a privilege bestowed upon the ticket holder.

“I am confident Aiyedatiwa will win the election come Nov. 16, and ultimately, the people of Ondo State will be the winner,” the minister said. (NAN)

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POLITICS

10th NASS to Provide Legal Framework for AI Regulation

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas has promised that the 10th National Assembly will provide legal framework to regulate the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the country.
Abbas said this at the 2023/2024 matriculation of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS)/University of Benin (UniBen) in Abuja on Monday.


Represented by the Minority Leader, Rep.
Kingsley Chinda (PDP-Rivers), Abbas said that the parliament was aware of the global advancement on AI.

He said that other countries had advanced their educational systems and had continued to explore opportunities in AI to optimise their human capital development.
“To key into this emerging development, the 10th National Assembly will strive to provide a legal framework for regulating the adoption of AI in our country to ensure an optimal mix of labour-capital ratio in our nation’s development process.

“In this direction, NILDS is expected to look into the possibilities of providing research-based intellectual support to facilitate the actualisation of this very important modern process,” he said.
Abbas pledged continuous support of the National Assembly for NILDS and urged the new students to attend lectures regularly, do assignments promptly, and obey all the rules and regulations that were contained in the student handbook.
In her remarks, the Vice-Chancellor of UniBen, Prof. Lilian Salami, said that the university had made some giant academic strides.
“This all-around excellence has resulted in a large number of students seeking admission into the university and the institute yearly.
“We shall continue to ensure that the template is sustained and that our students get the best in academic fulfillment and character molding because these are vital elements expected to make our products globally competitive and marketable.
“As the new students settle down for serious academic work, please remember that your role is to add value to the democratic process and not to degrade it; be worthy of this opportunity and we expect merit.
“As mature students, no one needs to emphasise to you that social biases are acceptable at all levels in this institute,’’ she said.
Also speaking, the Director-General of NILDS, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, said that the 2023/2024 session was unique as a total of 180 students was admitted.
He said that for the first time, the institution recorded the enrolment of foreign students into its postgraduate programmes.
“This is a testament to the increased quality of our academic programmes at NILDS,” he said.
Sulaiman said that the feat would not have been possible without the commitment of the National Assembly, the University of Benin, the Ministry of Education, the National Universities Commission (NUC), and the National Board for Technical Education.
The DG said that the best students would be recognised and offered prize awards at the end of the programme saying that the institute had invested several resources to ensure equal opportunity for all.
The 180 students were admitted for Master’s Degree in Constitutional Law and Development, Legislative Studies, and Master’s in Elections and Party Politics.
Others were Master in Laws (LLM), Legislative Drafting, Master in Parliamentary Administration, and the Post Graduate Diploma in Elections and Political Party Management. (NAN)

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POLITICS

Ododo Declares Aiyedatiwa Winner of APC Governorship Ticket in Ondo

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Amidst protest over the conduct of the All Progressives Congress (APC) primay election in Ondo State, Gov. Lucky Aiyedatiwa was early on Monday morning declared winner.

The Chairman of the party’s Primary Election Committee for Ondo State and Governor of Kogi,  Usman Ododo said that Aiyedatiwa having satisfied the requirement of the law and scored the highest vote was the winner.

Reports says that 171,922 members of the party were revalidated to vote in 203 wards in the 18 local government areas of the state.

Ododo said that Aiyedatiwa polled  48,569 votes to defeat his closest opponent, Mr Mayowa Akinfolarin, who had 15,343 out of 95,178 valid votes counted.

Mr Olusola Oke, SAN, was placed  third with 14,195 votes.

According to the chairman of the election committee, Aiyedatiwa won in 16 out of the 18 local government areas of the state while Oke won in one

He said that there was no voting in Ifedore Local Government Area as a result of widespread violence and threat to life.

Ododo appreciated all party members who participated  in the exercise for their courage and perseverance, describing the primary election as peaceful.

He said that the real work had just begun, adding that the aspirants and their supporters should not allow the results of the primary election to divide them.

According to him, there is no reason to abandon the party.

The chairman asked the party members to be in unity in order to come out more united and stronger in the subsequent political contests.

NAN reports that the party adopted the direct mode for the conduct of the primary which held on Saturday.

However, due to some irregularities a rerun was ordered on Sunday in the 13 wards in Okitipupa Local Government Area of the state.

Earlier, some of the aspirants criticized the conduct of the primary election alleging violence and none arrival of materials and officials in some wards.

There was also a protest on Sunday by supporters of some of the aspirants at the APC secretariat in Akure, who called for the cancellation of the exercise.

Other aspirants that participated in the primary are: Mr Isaac Kekemeke, Mr Olusoji Ehinlanwo, Mr Olugbenga Edema , Sen. Jimoh Ibrahim, Mr Diran Iyantan; Prof. Dayo Faduyile, Mr Ifeoluwa Oyedele.

Others are Mrs Funmilayo Waheed-Adekojo, Mr Adewale Akinterinwa; Mr Olusola Oke, Mr  Ohunyeye Felix; Mr Morayo Lebi, Mrs Judith Omogoroye and Mr Jimi Odimayo. ( NAN)

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