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JUDICIARY

Parties Adopt Final Adresses as Kano Tribunal Reserves Judgment

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From Abdulgafar Oladimeji, Kano

The petitioners  and respondents in the legal tussle over the  2019  governorship elections  in Kano state on Wednesday, adopted their final  defense before the  gubernatorial Election Tribunal presided by Justice Halima Shamaki sittiing at Miller road Court complex.

Abba Kabiru Yusuf(1st petitioner) alongside Peoples Democratic party(PDP)(2nd petitioner) had  dragged Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) (1st respondent)Abdullahi Umar  Ganduje(2nd respondent)  All Progressives Congress(APC)(3rd respondent) challenging the  declaration of Ganduje   as the winner of  Kano governorship election.

The respondents in their final written addresses urged the court to dismiss the pleadings made by the petitioners, stating that the petitioners have failed to discharge the burden on proof.

The respondents further  urged the court that the exhibits  that were tendered from the bar  by the petitioners were not  Certified True Copies (CTC) therefore prayed the tribunal to dismiss the petition. In its entirety.

Counsel to the 1st respondent(INEC) Ahmed Raji(SAN) told the court that the issues raised by the petitioners  were bankrupt in merit and argued that the petition lacked the  fertility of life.

Raji(SAN) submitted that , Abba Kabiru failed to produce direct evidence to substantiate his claims that INEC  wrongfully declared his opponent, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje as the winner of the poll, arguing that the electoral act was strict on the petitioners appealing to  the tribunal to on this grounds dismiss the petition.

Abdullahi Umar Ganduje(2nd respondent) responding to the petition filed against his gubernatorial victory  before the tribunal  said the petitioners failed to produce  results that were contrary to that which was declared by INEC.

Ganduje through his counsel, Offiong Offiong(SAN) submitted that, Abba Kabiru invoked presumptions in attempt to prove to the court that he was duly elected  as Kano state governor, praying the court to dismiss the claims made by the petitioners.

The 3rd respondent, All progressive Congress, APC also in its defense told the tribunal that the petitioners in their claims made an unlawful translation of the provisions of the law.

The respondents through its counsel Alex Iziyon(SAN) further said the petitioners failed to tender voters register that indicate the number of voters, who voted and number of votes scored to substantiate  their  claim as winners of the elections.

According to him, INEC posses the inherent jurisdiction to cancel elections and proceed to order for a rerun, arguing that on March 9th 2019 INEC acted rightly by declaring the Kano state governorship election as inconclusive.

Iziyon(SAN) further argued that the  petitioners in their claims to election victory acted in contrast to the provisions of the law by presenting Pink Copies result sheets, explaining that jurisprudence has transited from submission of Pink Copies to another stage, on this ground he pray the court to dismiss the petition and uphold the emergence of All  Progressive Congress, APC and its candidate Abdullahi Umar Ganduje  as winner of the election.

Responding to the submissions made by the respondent,  counsel to the petitioners, Kanu Agabi(SAN) urged the court to ignore the  response from the respondents on the issues raised.

Agabi(SAN) said on the 9th of March 2019 elections were held and results were announced, adding that Abba Kabiru Yusuf of the PDP scored the highest number of votes unfortunately INEC refused to declare PDP as the winner of that election.

He argued that the rerun election  held on the March 23 was null and void, stressing that therefore the results from the rerun, which declared Abdullahi Umar Ganduje as duly elected  Kano state governor  was null and void, that the court should declare the results of March 9, 2019 as the valid results and return PDP and its candidate, Abba Kabiru Yusuf as the winner of the election, urging the tribunal to so hold.

DAILY ASSET observed that anxiety, apprehension and palpable fears have enveloped the ancient city of Kano as  residents are gripped under the fear of the likely outcome of the legal battle between both political giants.

It would be recalled that at the height of the court proceedings, the chairman of the tribunal Justice  Halima Shamaki reacting to the tense atmosphere that had trailed the proceeding threatened to relocate the tribunal from Kano to Abuja.

Throughout the proceedings, heavily armed security operatives were stationed at strategic positions as they disallowed  hundreds of  party faithful who  were usually eager to gain entrance into the court complex to witness the epic legal battle.

In her ruling, Justice Shamaki said the tribunal would communicate to the parties, concerned  the date that the final judgment would be delivered

JUDICIARY

Court Orders Man to Return 2 Children to His ex-wife in Abuja

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An Upper Area Court in Kubwa, Abuja on Tuesday, ordered Mr Awwal Abubakar to return his two children to his former wife, Aisha Atsu, by July 24.

The judge, Mohammed Wakili, gave the order after Atsu informed the court that Abubakar took the children to Kogi .

Atsu told the court that she got divorced in September, 2023.

She said that while she travelled for the Sallah, she took her children, ages, nine and six to her former husband, Abubakar in Dutse Alhaji, Abuja.

“My former husband took my children to his mother’s in the village in Kogi, outside the court’s jurisdiction.

“I want the court to order him to return the children back to Abuja to enable them write their school examinations.

“I also want the court to direct Abubakar to pay for the upkeep of our children,” she said.

Abubakar, however, told the court that his former wife was not capable in character to raise their children, adding that he had witnesses to prove his claim.(NAN)

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JUDICIARY

Court Fixes Sept. 9 for Continuation of Lagos Pastor’s Trial

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Magistrate Antoinette Dirisu of the Ikeja Magistrates’ Court, Lagos, has adjourned until September 9, 2024, for the continuation of trial against a Lagos-based pastor, Jude Ojo, and the Lagos State Commissioner of Police.

The clergyman was arraigned before the court on three counts of conspiracy, perversion of the course of justice and aiding the escape of the suspects.

The suspects allegedly threatened the life of a traditional ruler, High Chief Kehinde Kalejaiye of Otumara community in Lagos.

He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

At the last adjourned date on June 10, the Defence Counsel, I. Ilodigo, had appealed for a stall of proceedings due to a consequent pending fundamental rights enforcement procedure filed at the Lagos High Court in which the defendant is an applicant.

“Our application is for stall of proceedings on this matter pending the determination of the fundamental rights enforcement procedure filed at the High Court wherein the defendant in this matter is an applicant,” he pleaded.

Opposing the plea, the Prosecuting counsel, ASP Ben Emuerhi, informed the court that the matter being dealt with is a criminal matter and not fundamental rights violation as the defense counsel portrayed.

“This matter is a criminal proceed and not fundamental rights violation. The matter filed at the High Court is about fundamental rights violation while this matter is a criminal proceeding.

“These are two cases apart. Your Honour, the Learned Justice of the High Court did not make any order fully aware of the proceedings at this magistrate court.

“The second count charge of the trial is a criminal charge of perversion of Justice,”he said.
Ruling on the matter, the Magistrate Judge set down the case for trial on September 9. (NAN)

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JUDICIARY

LG Autonomy: Kogi Group Lauds Supreme Court’s Judgment

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The Kogi NGOs Network (KONGONET) has lauded the recent landmark judgment by Supreme Court, affirming the direct payment of allocations to local governments and upholding their financial autonomy.

Report says that KONGONET represents the numerous civil society network groups in Kogi.

KONGONET’s Chairperson, Amb.

Idris Muraina, commended the court in a statement in Lokoja on Saturday.

Muraina said that the apex court’s decision marked a significant step towards strengthening grassroots governance, and promoting transparency and accountability in local administration.

“In light of this crucial ruling, KONGONET calls upon the Kogi State Government to embrace this moment of opportunity and swiftly initiate the necessary mechanisms to conduct local government council elections in the state.

“It is imperative that the current local government transition committee be dissolved immediately, to pave the way for democratically elected chairmen to take charge and serve the interests of the local communities.

“Several esteemed civil society organisations in Kogi, including Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR), Initiative for Grassroot Advance (INGRA), and others, have voiced their support for the immediate implementation of the Supreme Court’s judgment.

“KONGONET stands united with these organisations in advocating for the timely and transparent transition to elected local government leadership,” he said.

The chairman congratulated Gov. Usman Ododo of Kogi, on the recent affirmation of his mandate by the Appellate Court as the validly elected governor of the state.

“We acknowledge the significance of this legal victory and urge the governor to seize this moment of validation to demonstrate his commitment to good governance and grassroots democracy.

“The time is ripe for the Kogi government to demonstrate its dedication to the principles of democracy, transparency; and accountability; by expediting the process of conducting local government elections.

“By adhering to the Supreme Court judgment and heeding the calls of civil society organisations, the government can uphold the rule of law and empower local communities to participate actively in their own development.

“KONGONET remains committed to working collaboratively with all stakeholders, to advance the cause of good governance and sustainable development in Kogi State.

“We urge the government to act swiftly and decisively in fulfilling its obligations to the people of Kogi state,” he said. (NAN)

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