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Osun 2022: Tribunal Adjourns Pre-hearing in Oyetola’s Suit Till Oct 4

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The Osun Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Osogbo , on Monday, adjourned until October 4 the pre-hearing of a petition filed by Gov. Gboyega Oyetola against the declaration of Ademola Adeleke as the Governor-elect.

The Chairman of the tribunal , Justice Tertsea Kume , fixed the date and granted INEC, PDP and Adeleke seven-days to respond to the pre-hearing form served on them by the tribunal.

Earlier, Counsel to the All Progress Congress (APC) , Prof. Kayode Olatoke , SAN, had informed the court of his readiness to continue with pre-hearing session, having filed his form TF008, where issues for determination were raised.

On the request of the tribunal for advisce, Olatoke suggested that the matter should be stand down for few hours for the respondents to also respond to the tribunal pre-hearing form.

Counsel to the INEC, Ben Ananaba, SAN,  said the pre-hearing could not go on because he was just served with the pre-hearing form this morning, saying statutorily, they have seven day to respond.

Counsel to Adeleke, Bamidele Abolarin and counsel representing PDP, Nathaniel Oke, SAN, also requested the tribunal to give them the required seven days to respond.

Addressing newsmen after the sitting, Olagoke said the adjournment was not out of place, but the tribunal has the power to abridge the days required for any of the parties to respond.

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“We were supposed to begin pre-hearing session this morning but unfortunately, the respondents were served an application which they were to respond to.

Oke  said :” what transpired in court was the preliminaries in respect of the totality trial of the petition”.

He said that PDP is ready to defend its victory in the last governorship election in the state , despite the urgly incident in 2018.

Following the outcome of the July 16 governorship election in Osun, Oyetola and the APC filed a petition before the Election Petition Tribunal sitting at the State High Court, Osogbo.

The petitioners who were seeking justice challenged the results of the election in some of the Local Government Areas and prayed the Tribunal to return their mandate to them.

The INEC had declared Adeleke winner of the July 16 governorship election having polled a total number of 403,271 against 375,027 polled by Oyetola. (NAN )

CRIME

Adamawa CP Warns Against Political Thuggery

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From Yagana Ali, Yola

The Adamawa state Commissioner of Police SK Akande,  has deployed operatives of the Command drawn from  the Special Rapid Response Team (SRRT) and other Tactical Squads to carry out a tactical and intelligence – driven 24/7 raid against political gangsters and their instigators that go around to disturb the  peace being enjoyed  in the state.

The CP made this known while speaking with DAILY ASSET yesterday in Yola, the state capital.

He said the Command is collating pictorial evidence of every event that will be used in prosecuting offenders and their sponsors, even as he warned that all should play peacefully by the rules.

“We direct all  Divisional Police Officers (DPOs), Operational Commanders and their Supervisory  Area Commanders  to personally lead the operations in their  Respective Areas Responsibility (AOR) to ensure total domination of the public space and arrest trouble makers,” he said.

The CP while re-emphasizing the firm determination of the Command in ensuring safety of lives and property sought full cooperation from members of the public particularly political leaders to talk to their supporters to shun all forms of violence and key into the Command’s effort in maintaining peace.

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He further called on members of the public to report any suspicious character around them to the nearest police station, especially during the forthcoming general elections.

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Foreign News

Over Three Million Students Must be Allowed to Vote – Obi Tells EU Observers

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By Jude Opara, Abuja

The Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi has demanded that the over three million Nigerian students who are eligible to vote in the forthcoming 2023 Presidential election must be given the opportunity to perform their constitutional right of electing leaders of their choice.

Obi also expressed concern over the difficulty some Nigerians in a few states, particularly in Lagos state are facing trying to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

The presidential hopeful who was speaking late Monday evening while meeting with observers from the European Union, Election Observation Mission EU-EOM, said the fate of about 3.5 million students that may not exercise their voting right if at least one week holiday is not given to enable them return to their areas of registration is hanging in the balance; even as he expressed confidence that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will look into it.

“I am sure INEC will do the right thing. I am sure the universities will give them the break to go and vote. It is important because it is about their future this election is about these young people and I’m sure they will allow them to go and vote. We will continue to mention it to them as we go along,” he said.

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On the challenges being witnessed on some areas by voters in collecting their PVCs, he said, “For me now, what is important is ensuring that people collect their PVCs. There are some areas where people are still complaining that they are being denied their PVCs for one reason or the other. INEC must give them attention. But I must give INEC credit for extending the date for the collection of PVC but again I urge them to ensure that people collect their PVC. This election is very important to Nigerians. It is an existential election. We want all those that have registered to participate.”

In his remarks, the National Chairman of the Labour Party, Barrister Julius Abure who also elucidated the challenges said, “It is the young ones that bear the brunt of maladministration, so this election is about them. When the voter registration was on going, most of the university students were at home and they did their registration at home. Right now they are in school and if they remain in school during the election, it means they will be denied the opportunity to vote. So we are asking that a one week break should be given as holiday to enable them to go and vote. You would have excluded them if they have their PVC and are not in the place where they can use it to vote.

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“Generally, the country is insecure. We want the security to improve before and during the election because if security is not guaranteed we may have a situation were legitimate voters may be afraid to come out on the election days to vote. So there must be assurances that security will be beefed up. So we need the security agencies, the Commander in Chief to continuously give the assurances that security will be guaranteed on that day. And also, the security agencies themselves because we have had situations where the security agencies are being used to rig elections or create an enabling environment for elections to be manipulated or in some cases facilitate vote buying.”

Earlier, the EU-EOM Chief Observer, Barry Andrews had told the party leaders that their visit was a routine one embarked for the purpose of interacting with leading presidential candidates and other stakeholders in the February 25 presidential election.

“It is part of our work, we are having meetings with all the stakeholders in this very important election here in Nigeria. We have met with important participants including Labour Party today. We also met with APC and PDP candidates. We also met with the minister of foreign affairs earlier today, the Vice President, civil society and the media. What we are doing is trying to develop a picture of transparency, inclusivity and credibility of the election. And we will report that, two days Iafter the election in a preliminary report in a press conference on the 27th of February.

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We are in the very early stages. We have being meeting and people have a collective sense of deepening the very root of democracy and we think we can play a part but we won’t be making any conclusion until after the election,” he said.

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POLITICS

Polls: INEC Needs Over 100,000 Buses for Logistics

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By Jude Opara, Abuja

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday disclosed that it would be needing over 100,000 buses to distribute elections materials across the country in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.

This is as the Commission also pleaded with the National Union of Transport Workers (NURTW) not to abandon the ad-hoc staff, especially members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) deployed at polling units on election day after the election.

INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, who spoke in Abuja on Tuesday during a Consultative meeting with members NURTW in Abuja also expressed concern that the lingering energy crisis in the country may affect the polls.

He however revealed that it intends to meet with relevant stakeholders like the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Limited to find solution of ameliorating the situation.

“Recent elections have shown that working in partnership with the unions and other stakeholders, we can achieve the objective. This is a patriotic duty and we should make the necessary sacrifice in the national intertest.

“The commission is aware that this is an enormous task. Election is the largest deployment a nation periodically undertakes and mobilization of vehicles for election is a large and complex exercise. However, this comes only once in four years.

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“What is critical here is forward planning. We have presented to the Union the number and specifications of the vehicles required for the election. We have also indicated to you the locations where the vehicles are needed. Happily, your members are spread across the country.

“Therefore, vehicles conveying personnel and materials will not travel long distances. In fact, all movements should be within a State and preferably within Local Government Areas. There should be no inter-State movement. I should also remind you that our MoU covers both forward and reverse logistics. This means that there is an obligation to return the personnel and materials to designated locations after the election. Don’t abandon the ad-hoc staff especially the corps members after the election.

“We are working with the security agencies to ensure the safety of your members and their vehicles during the election. Just like our election duty personnel, their safety is paramount. That is why in the most recent elections conducted by the commission, the leadership of your Union at State level attended several meetings with our officials and the  security agencies,” he stated.

“The Commission shares your concern about the fuel situation in the country and its impact on transportation on Election Day. The truth is that our arrangements may be negatively affected by the non-availability of products.

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“For this reason, the commission will meet with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to look into ways to ameliorate the situation. I wish to assure Nigerians that we will continue to engage every national institution for the success of the 2023 General Election.

“I cannot conclude my remarks without reminding you of your obligation to neutrality. The work of INEC requires non-partisanship. Working in partnership with the commission, you will be required to subscribe to the Oath of Neutrality and to demonstrate your non-partisanship in the work you do on Election Day,” the INEC boss said.

Speaking further, he said: “I would like to thank the President and leadership of the NURTW for the kind invitation to this sensitisation meeting of your national executive council which brings together all the national officers, zonal officers, State Chairmen and other senior officials of the Union.

“I am glad to note that this meeting seeks to achieve two objectives. First is to put finishing touches to the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the commission and the Union about two months ago on 20th December 2022.

“Secondly, to conclude on the modalities for the certification of vehicles by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in the light of the emphasis we place on the safety of election personnel and materials.

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Responding, President of NURTW, Tajudeen Ibikunle Baruwa, assured that his union will not disappoint the commission and the country.

“We understand the level of responsibility assigned to the Union. We want to assure both the commission and Nigerians that we will not disappoint.”

Similarly, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) insisted that the vehicles to be deployed must undergo certification two weeks before the election instead of the previous style of two days to the election.

The meeting is a critical aspect of election management.

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