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Tribunal Sacks Benue Assembly Deputy Speaker

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From Chris Gaga, Makurdi

The National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, the Benue State capital has nullified the return of Chris Adaji of the People’s DemocraticParty (PDP) as the winner of the Ohimini State Constituency 2019 election.

The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Musa Alechenu had contested the return of the Deputy Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Chris Adaji as winner of the March 23, polls for Ohimini State Constituency.

Chairman of the Tribunal, Honourable Justice R.

O. Odudu, who delivered the lead judgment on Monday, held that the margin with which Adaji – led Musa Alechenu of All Progressives Congress (APC) was less than the number of votes cancelled.

According to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declaration, Adaji led with 397 votes and the Tribunal held that the margin was less than the 1, 056 votes cancelled in the two polling units of Igbanomaje and Odega.

According to the decision of the Tribunal, INEC ought not to have made final declaration without ordering for a rerun in the affected polling units.

Justice Odudu held that the declaration and return of Adaji without a rerun in Otega and Ogadagba ward was invalid by reason of non substantial compliance with Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

The court therefore, issued an order for withdrawer of certificate of return issued to Adaji and an order directing INEC to conduct rerun election in the two polling units where elections were cancelled within 90 days.

Vincent Tortsugh, who appeared for the petitioners described the decision of the Tribunal as “reasonable,” adding that “we didn’t expect anything other than this.”

The APC candidate, Musa Alechenu described the decision as a testimony of the wishes and aspirations of the people of Ohimini.

He said by the decision, the judiciary has reaffirmed that it remains the hope of the people.

“I want to appreciate the Tribunal for the good job done. Let me appreciate the people of Ohimini for standing behind me during the period of the legal struggle,” Alechenu said.

Counsel to the Deputy Speaker Chris Adaji,   Kenneth Ikonne said he will consult his client before taking any further decision.

POLITICS

Edo Primaries: Court Orders PDP to Show Cause why 381 Delegates Should be Excluded

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to show cause why 381 delegates elected on Feb. 4 at its ward congress should not participate in the primary scheduled for Thursday.

Justice Inyang Ekwo made the order in a ruling on the ex-parte motion moved by the plaintiffs’ counsel, Adaze Emwanta.

Justice Ekwo thereafter ordered that the defendants be served with all the court processes within two days of the order.

Reports says that three aggrieved ad-hoc delegates, on behalf of the 378 others, had sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the PDP, its national secretary and the vice chairman, south south as 1st to 4th defendants respectively.

In the ex-parte motion marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/165/2024 dated Feb. 7 but filed Feb 8, the plaintiffs sought for two orders

These include an order for the defendants or their agents not to act but to show cause why the reliefs of the plaintiffs in their originating summons should not be granted with regard to the plan of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants to exclude them and 378 other delegates, whose names and election results are contained in “Exhibits BID 8A to 8L,” from participating in the primaries.of Feb. 22 in Edo.

The plaintiffs, which include Hon Kelvin Mohammed, Mr Gabriel Okoduwa and Mr Ederaho Osagie, on behalf of others in 12 local government areas and 127 wards, averred that it would be in the interest of justice for their reliefs to be granted.

Upon resumed hearing on Wednesday, counsel for the plaintiffs, Emwanta, told the court that all efforts to effect the service on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants were unsuccessful.

He said though INEC was served on Monday, the other three defendants evaded service.

He, therefore, said that a motion for substituted service on the PDP and others had been filed.

He said a party seeking to be joined in the suit also served their application on him earlier in the day.

The lawyer said since there was no opposition to their motion for substituted service, he moved in terms of the application.

He said their sole prayer was to serve them by pasting the processes at the PDP headquarters.

Justice Ekwo, who granted the application, ordered that the service be effected within two days.

The judge then asked INEC’s lawyer, Hassan Aminu, if they had filed any application but he responded in the negative.

He said though they were served on Feb. 20, they did not file any process because “we have no issue with the order.”

The judge adjourned the matter until Feb. 28 for the PDP, its national secretary and vice chairman (south south) to show cause why the reliefs should not be granted.(NAN)

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POLITICS

Senate Pushes for Nigerian Medical Graduands from Ukraine, Sudan to Sit for July, Nov MDCN Exams

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By Eze Okechukwu, Abuja

The senate has called out the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) to allow Nigerian medical graduates from Ukraine and Sudan to sit for the MDCN exams in July and Nov without any discrimination, particularly those that the wars in both countries did not affect their academic activities.

The upper chamber also urged MDCN to in no distant time, work toward the conduct of the MDCN exams in each geo-political zone of the country like the Law Schools, to reduce the cost on the students and their parents.

The senate resolutions followed the adoption of a motion at plenary yesterday which was sponsored by Senator Oyewumi Olaler from Osun state titled: “Discrimination Against Medical Graduands from Ukraine by the Nigeria Medical and Dental Council.

In his lead debate, senator Olalere said that the issue of medical graduates from Ukraine universities has drawn attention of National Assembly since 2022, pointing out that in 2023, the House of Representatives and the Ministry of Health concluded with the Medical and Dental Council to allow the students that graduated from medical schools in Ukraine to participate in the qualifying exams like other students, or at best, organise a makeup programme for them before the exam.

The senator noted that MDCN has slated a referral programme for the 2022 graduates alone at Federal Medical Centre Gwagwalada at the cost of N1.5 million per student to be paid in one and half weeks.

He said the concerned parents of the affected students had visited the National Assembly complex to lodge their complaint during the vacation of the Senate for extension of the deadline for payment to one month from one and half week.

Olalere, who is the Senate Deputy Minority leader, said the war in Ukraine affected the eastern part of Ukraine and Kyiv, the capital, adding that the entire western Ukraine was not affected.

According to him, the students were on campus doing their programme unhindered as confirmed by the Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria.

He explained that since the war in Ukraine did not affect all the universities, especially, students in Western parts of Ukraine, students who graduated from those universities in 2023 should be allowed to sit for MDCN exams henceforth without any hindrance.

Other senators who supported the motion included Senators; Adamu Aliero, from Kebbi state Abdul Ningi from Bauchi state among others.

In a related development, the senate also urged the Committee of Nigerian Vice Chancellors to allow Nigerian students arriving from war torn countries to be admitted into Nigerian universities to complete their studies.

President of Senate Godswill Akpiabio in his remarks thanked the sponsor of the motion, saying that it was a popular motion and elicited comments from the lawmakers.

He expressed belief that the resolutions of the senate would be adhered to by MDCN and the Vice Chancellors to ameliorate the sufferings of concerned Nigerian medical graduates from the war affected nations.

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POLITICS

Edo Election: PDP Approves Delegates List

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By Johnson Eyiangho, Abuja

National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has approved the delegates list for the Edo State Governorship Election Primary to nominate a candidate for the Sept. 21 governorship election in the state.

It has also approved the conduct of the Edo State Governorship Election Primary for Thursday, Feb.

22 at the Lawn Tennis Court of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City.

The NWC in a statement by the PDP’s Spokesman, Hon.

Debo Ologunagba yesterday charged all delegates, aspirants, leaders, critical stakeholders, members of the party and the public to note the official date and venue and be guided accordingly.

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