Tinubu Accuses PDP, LP, Others of Plot to Scuttle Presidential Inauguration
President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has warned the duo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP) to stop blackmailing the judiciary.
Tinubu gave the warning through his Spokesperson, Mr Bayo Onanuga, who alleged that two political parties and their surrogates, whom he described as lawyers, clerics and some ethnic groups, had “mounted a desperate campaign for the postponement of the inauguration of the President-elect on May 29.
He insisted that the 2023 election was the best and the most free, fair and transparent since the second republic.
In a statement issued via his Twitter handle yesterday, Onanuga tackled the emeritus Catholic Bishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan for his claim that the election was rigged, saying the claim was nothing but a lie and a malicious propaganda told repeatedly by the opposition parties and their supporters.
His statement is coming on the heels of the commencement of sitting by the presidential election petition tribunal yesterday.
The spokesman claimed that introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, made a significant difference in the 2023 elections, which he described as the best since the return to democracy in 1999.
Onanuga said those criticizing the electoral commission on account of the non-transmission of the results recorded at the polling units were being mischievous.
He insisted it was because “the outcome of the election, especially the presidential election did not match their expectation.”
“PDP and LP must stop the blackmail against the judiciary
“I have witnessed many elections since 1979 and I can say without any equivocation that the 2023 election was the best, the most free and fair, the most transparent.
“Those who are pillorying the election and INEC, the electoral umpire are simply saying so because the outcome of the election, especially the presidential election did not match their expectation.
“The Labour Party and the PDP and their surrogates, some of them lawyers, clerics and some ethnic groups have also mounted desperate campaigns for the postponement of the inauguration of the President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu on 29 May.
“As the tribunal begins sitting today, let Labour and its senior partner, the PDP stop further blackmail of the judiciary. Enough is Enough,” the statement read in part.
Presidential Election Tribunal Dismisses AA Party’s Petition against Tinubu
The Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja yesterday dismissed one of the five petitions challenging the victory of Bola Tinubu in the 25 February poll.
A five-member panel of the court led by Haruna Tsammani dismissed the case after the petitioner’s lawyer announced its withdrawal.
It was the first among the five petitions received by the court to be called for hearing.
The court earlier held its inaugural sitting during which it assured all litigants that it would do justice to all parties to the case pending before it.
Lawyers, in response, gave their commitment to cooperate with the court.
The panel members went on a short break after the ceremonial opening of the court and returned to begin hearing AA’s case.
A confusion about the legal representative of the party ensued when the party’s case was called.
Oba Maduabuchi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, first announced appearance for the AA party. Another lawyer, Malachi Umuebe, also announced appearance for the party.
Mr Maduabuchi insisted that he was the party’s lawyer.
The court discountenanced Mr Umuebe since he was not the one who filed the petition before the court.
Shortly after the court recognised Mr Maduabuchi, the lawyer announced the withdrawal of the case.
The respondents’ lawyers – Wole Olanipekun, SAN, representing Mr Tinubu, and Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, representing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said they had no objection against the application for the withdrawal of the petition.
The court then dismissed the petition.
But the Action Alliance has urged the court to nullify the polls owing to alleged refusal of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to upload the name of its actual presidential candidate – Solomon-David Okanigbuan – to its portal for the February poll.
The National Chairman of Action Alliance, Adekunle Omo-Aje, had said in January that Hamza Al-Mustapha, recognised by INEC was not the authentic presidential candidate of the party.
He spoke against the background of the leadership tussle rocking his party, which gave rise to the emergence of two presidential candidates.
Tribunal Adjourns to May 10
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal has adjourned its sitting to Wednesday, May 10, matters brought before it by the Labour Party and Peter Obi and that of the Action Peoples Party (APP), challenging the outcome of the 2023 presidential election.
This was disclosed yesterday by one of the spokespersons for the Labour Party, LP, Kenneth Okonkwo,
“After a brief pre-hearing trial, the case was adjourned to Wednesday, 10th May 2023 at 2 pm prompt,” Okonkwo wrote.
The presidential election petition tribunal commenced proceedings in Abuja, yesterday.
Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and his counterpart in the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi are challenging the declaration of Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as winner of the February 25 presidential poll.
Rejects Lalong as Tinubu’s Representative
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal has barred Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State from standing before it as the representative of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu.
The Plateau State Governor had stood up and announced himself as Tinubu’s representative immediately after the first petition lodged against the outcome of the 2023 presidential election was called up.
“My Lords, my name is Simon Lalong, and I am here to represent Tinubu,” the Governor stated.
However, Justice Haruna Tsammani-led five-member panel declined to recognize him as Tinubu’s representative.
“You cannot represent an individual. Tinubu is not a corporation that would need a representative,” the presiding justice held.
But Governor Lalong responded, “My Lords, in that case, I will represent the All Progressives Congress, APC.”
Tribunal Adjourns Sitting to Hear PDP, APM Petitions Today
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja, the nation’s capital has adjourned its sitting to today.
It also adjourned for the continuation of pre-hearing proceedings till Wednesday for the petition of the Labour Party and Peter Obi and that of the Action Peoples Party (APP).
Today’s proceedings will have the petitions of Atiku Abubakar and Allied People’s Movement in its schedule.
The commencement of the tribunal’s pre-hearing of the petitions challenging the outcome of the February 25 presidential election.
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission, Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress polled 8,794,726 votes to win the election. While Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party came second with 6,984,520 votes, Peter Obi of the Labour Party was third with 6,101,533 votes.
Having rejected the outcome of the polls, Atiku and Obi approached the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to annul Tinubu’s victory.
At yesterday’s hearing, the tribunal headed by Justice Haruna Tsammani assured all parties involved that justice will be served.
In attendance at Monday’s pre-hearing are lawyers to the petitioners, journalist, Governor Simon Lalong of the APC and Mr Obi of the LP.
Other panel members include Justice Stephen Adah, Justice Misitura Bolaji-Yusuf, Justice Boloukuoromo Moses Ugo and Justice Abbah Mohammed.
Again, Tribunal Steps Down Obi’s Petition
For the third time, the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, was forced to step down hearing in the petition filed by Mr Peter Gregory Obi and the Labour Party, LP, against the election of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The petition was stepped down by the court following a poor schedule of documents being sought to be tendered to establish the allegations of malpractices during the February 25 presidential election.
At yesterday’s proceedings, the court discovered that the documents were not properly scheduled as ordered by the Court.
In the drama that ensued at the point of rendering the documents from the 23 local government areas of Benue, a lot of discrepancies were uncovered.
All efforts to reconcile the anomaly and reschedule the documents were unsuccessful as the errors were beyond immediate solution.
To save the situation, counsel to Obi and the Labour Party, Chief Emeka Okpoko SAN, sought to use documents not filed to conduct the proceedings, but the move was rejected on the ground of illegality.
In the end, the court stepped down hearing of the petition and ordered the legal team to go and re-file the schedule of documents in line with the provisions of the pre-hearing report.
The hearing of Obi’s petition had run into stormy waters three times, prompting the shift in the hearing of the petition.
At the time of this report, Peter Obi and the Vice Presidential candidate, Datti Baba Ahmed, were in the court as their lawyers were running helter-skelter to the Registry of the Court to file a new schedule of documents.
Meanwhile, the five Justices led by Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani hearing the petition have retired to their chambers to await when the legal team will put its house in order.
In Maiden Meeting, Crush Oil Thieves Now, Tinubu Orders Service Chiefs
By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
President Bola Tinubu, yesterday met with the Service Chiefs and heads of security and intelligence agencies and told them that he would change the security architecture of the country to blend with his philosophy to address the insecurity challenges across the federation.
The President also said as far as he is concerned, ‘Nigeria should not go on her knees as a result of security challenges while other countries are working, moving forward and recording tremendous achievements.’
Tinubu stated this in his maiden official meeting with Security and intelligence heads led by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor at the Presidential Villa, Abuja as the the National Security Adviser, NSA, Major Gen.Babagana Monguno (retd), who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting that lasted two hours, said the President has directed heads of security agencies to come out with their blue prints.
He ordered the security agencies to crush anyone involved in oil theft, stressing that his administration will not tolerate such menace.
“He is going to embark on a lot of reforms in terms of our security architecture, he is going to take a closer look at our misfortunes in the maritime domain, focusing particularly on the issues of oil theft, that as far as he is concerned, he is not going to tolerate oil theft wherever the problem is coming from it must be crushed as soon as possible,” he stated.
He has already mandated the security agencies to come up with a blueprint as far as he knows and as far as he concerned, he doesn’t have the luxury of time; and whatever changes will be made have to be done as soon as possible.
“The President also has decided that whatever ventures the armed forces are going to be engaged in, they must carry along those operatives in the theatre. They must be well fed, well kitted, motivated and given all that they require.
He said it was an appraisal meeting for the President to get briefing on the activities of the different security formations and for him to tell them his own philosophy and what he expects from the security heads.
“The President and Commander in Chief of the armed forces has just concluded a meeting of the general security appraisal committee consisting of the Chief of Staff, Service Chiefs, Inspector General of Police, and heads of the intelligence agencies.
“This is the very first meeting he’s had with the heads of the security agencies. The meeting lasted for two hours.
“Having been briefed by the participants of the meeting, Mr. President, addressed prevailing issues confronting the nation in terms of insecurity and also mentioned his own philosophy towards dealing with national security issues.
“First and foremost, he appreciated the armed forces and intelligence agencies and the wider paramilitary agencies for the work they have been doing in the past couple of years. Their sacrifice, their loyalty, and he also paid tribute to those who died in defending this country, from the great big menace of terrorism, insurgency banditry, oil theft, sea robbery, piracy, etc.
“The President has made it very clear that he’s determined to build on whatever gains that have been made and to reverse misfortunes and turn the tide in our favour.
“As far as he’s concerned, this country should not be on its knees struggling while other countries are working and achieving greater heights,” he said.
President Tinubu said in moving the country forward he needs the security agencies to redouble their efforts, stressing that his own philosophy is one of contemporary security measures dealing with the requirements of the time.
“He has made it very clear that he will not accept a situation in which our fortunes keep declining. And his own trajectory is that national security has to be coordinated, there has to be whatever…whether it is a basket system, but there must be a clearing house.
“All agencies must work to achieve one single purpose. Working at cross purposes and colliding with each other is not something that he will condone. He has made it very, very clear that all the security agencies must comply with the demands of coordination, with the demands of frequent consultations and also timely reports which must be acted on.
“President has said clearly that he will do whatever is within his powers to enable the operational elements but the intelligence agencies must also make their work easy for them by providing the type of intelligence that they require to carry out the assignment,” the NSA said.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has mandated his security chiefs to draw up a fresh blueprint that would guide security operations in the country.
Tinubu, who met with the security chiefs in the country for the first time since assuming office, yesterday, said he had a personal philosophy about how security issues should be handled for effective results.
Obi, LP Challenge Election Results in Rivers, Benue, Niger, 15 Other States
The Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25 presidential election, Mr Peter Gregory Obi and his party confirmed to the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) yesterday in Abuja that they would challenge the election results in 18 states only.
They held that they would not dissipate energies in the states where they won convincingly and without any dispute.
However, at the end of proceedings, Obi and his party tendered certified electoral documents obtained from the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC in only six states.
The documents, mainly, Forms EC8A, election results from polling units were admitted as exhibits to be used to establish their alleged riggings and other malpractices during the election.
Presiding Justice of the Court, Haruna Simon Tsammani admitted the documents as exhibits after they were tendered by Chief Emeka Okpoko SAN who represented Obi and the Labour Party.
Meanwhile, INEC, represented by Kemi Pinhero SAN, issued the documents and certified them as genuine but dramatically announced its decision to object to the admission of the documents.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his Vice, Kashim Shetima, who are 2nd and 3rd respondents and represented by Adebayo Adelodun SAN in the petition challenging their declaration as winners of the election, also hinted to oppose the admissibility of the electoral documents.
Similarly, the All Progressives Congress, APC, represented by Chief Afolabi Fashanu, SAN, argued that it would raise objections against the documents.
Breakdown of the tendered and admitted documents showed that Forms EC8A were tendered in 15 Local Government Areas of Rivers State, 23 in Benue, 18 in Cross River, 23 in Niger State, 20 in Osun and 16 in Ekiti Local Government Areas.
A further hearing in the petition has been shifted to June today by the Court at the instance of the two petitioners.
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