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Court nullifies Kogi APC’s delegates list for governorship primary

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• Orders fresh congress

A Federal High Court in Abuja has voided the ward and Local Government congresses purportedly conducted on February 7 by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi State  for the purpose of nominating its governorship candidate for November governorship election in the state.

Justice James Omotosho, in a judgment on Wednesday held that there was no evidence before the court to show that Kogi APC conducted valid ward and LG congresses in compliance with the Electoral Act 2022, and the party’s constitution.

The judgment was on a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/329/2023 filed by Realwan Okpanachi, Yahaya Saidu Nuhu, Omaonu Clement Arome, Mustapha Ibrahim Idoko, Aku Umar Goodman and Abu Steven Okpanachi Onechiojo.

Listed as defendants are the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Justice Omotosho also held that there was no evidence that INEC monitored the purported congresses from which the supposed delegates emerged, as required by law.

The judge noted that APC that claimed to have conducted congresses failed to tender results of the said congresses.

He proceeded to restrain INEC from according recognition or using the unlawful delegates list that emanated from unlawful congresses for the party for the purpose of selecting its governorship candidate.

Justice Omotosho ordered the leadership of the APC in Kogi State to conduct fresh special ward and LG congresses in line with the provision of Section 84 of the Electoral Act, 2022 and Section 13 of the party’s constitution.

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The judge upheld the arguments by plaintiffs’ lawyer, Ogwu James Onoja (SAN) that the Kogi APC did not conduct any ward and LG congresses known to law.

He held that, by its conduct, the APC violated Section 84 of the Electoral Act (2022) and Section 13 of its own constitution by concocting a list of delegates, which it submitted to INEC without the knowledge of registered members of the party in the state.

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Justice Omotosho noted that while the case was being heard, the APC failed to disclose the venues and time the purported ward and LG congresses were held.

He added that the APC equally failed show the report issued by INEC officials that it claimed monitored the congresses.

Also, the judge noted that the APC failed to produce the result sheet showing the scores recorded by the participants in the purported ward and LG congresses.

He further noted that the key documents tendered by the APC as evidence of the conduct of the purported February 7 congresses contained only signatures of supposed participants at the purported congresses, without reflecting the names of the said signatories.

Justice Omotosho held that without the names of those who signed the documents reflected, the documents become worthless and could not be ascribed any value by the court.

The judge said: “The there is no results of scores. The failure of the first plaintiff (APC) to present results of the election showed that no such congresses held.

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“The documents submitted did not reflect the names of the people who signed the documents. What is required is for the names and signatures of the maker of the documents to be reflected on the documents.

“If the name is missing, the documents is worthless and without any relevance. It is a worthless document.

“The absence of the name of the maker of the document makes it worthless in the face of the law. The court cannot place any weigth on it.

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“There is no evidence that a valid congress ever held.”

The judge said the APC in Kogi State still has an opportunity, within the existing time frame, to conduct valid special ward and LG congresses to elect delegates, who will elect the party’s candidate for the governorship election, failing which it may not have a candidate for the election.

He said the APC has an opportunity to quickly retrace its steps and conduct lawful ward and LG congress in accordance with the relevant laws, which must be monitored by INEC.

Alternatively, the judge said the APC in Kogi could opt for any other mode of electing its candidate for the election should it decide not to conduct valid special ward and LG congresses as ordered by the court.

Earlier in the judgment, the judge had dismissed the preliminary objections raised by APC in which it challenged the court’s jurisdiction, claiming that the matter was internal affairs of the party.

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In dismissing the objection, the judge held that APC must conduct its affairs in accordance with the laws, adding that impunity as exhibited in the instant case, will lead to anarchy.

The judge also dismissed the claims by the APC that the plaintiffs are not its members, but parading old membership cards, adding that the party ought to have made its membership register available to the court to dispute the membership claim of the plaintiffs.

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Ex-Imo gov, Emeka Ihedioha resigns from PDP

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Ex-Imo gov, Emeka Ihedioha resigns from PDP
Emeka Ihedioha

A former governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, has resigned his membership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

In his resignation letter addressed to the PDP chairman in Mbutu Ward, Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of the state, Ihedioha cited a misalignment between his personal beliefs and the current trajectory of the main opposition party.

The former governor expressed his dedication to the advancement of democracy and good governance in the country despite his decision to step away from PDP.

According to Ihedioha, having been a member of the party since its inception in 1998, he has contributed immensely to the growth and evolution of the party.

The former governor, however, lamented recent developments within the PDP, stating that it has deviated from its core principles.

He voiced concerns over the party’s inability to enact internal reforms, uphold its own regulations, and effectively oppose the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.

“Regrettably, in recent times, the party has taken on a path that is at variance with my personal beliefs. Despite my attempt to offer counsel, the party is, sadly, no longer able to carry out internal reforms, enforce its own rules or offer credible opposition to the ruling All Progressives Congress.’

“It is in the light of the foregoing, that I am compelled to offer my resignation from the People’s Democratic Party effective immediately.

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“While the decision was difficult to take, I, however, believe that it is the right one. Despite this resignation, I will always be available to offer my services towards the deepening of democracy and good governance in Nigeria”, the letter added.

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Protest breaks out in Ondo over APC Gov Primary

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Protest breaks out in Ondo over APC Gov Primary
• Protesters demand cancellation of APC ward primaries in Ondo State on Sunday, April 21, 2024

Some members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akure, the Ondo State capital, took to the streets on Sunday to protest what they termed irregularities and biased conduct of the ward primaries across the state on Saturday.

The ward primaries meant to produce the governorship candidate of the party for the November 16, 2024 governorship election in the state has been marred with non-availability of election materials.

The protesters called for the cancellation of the ward primaries.

The protesters stormed the APC state secretariat in Akure to display their displeasure to the alleged irregularities in the conduct of the ward primaries across the 203 wards of the state.

Most of them are supporters of one of the aspirants, Olushola Oke, and they carried different placards calling on the national secretariat to remove the chairman of the primary election committee and Kogi State Governor, Usman Ododo.

They described the process as a daylight robbery and urged the national secretariat of the APC not to allow the state to be embroiled in crisis.

One of the protesters claimed no ward primaries were held, insisting that the guidelines given by the national secretariat of the party were not followed as the committee did not distribute materials to any wards.

The party members warned of likely consequences if an unpopular candidate is imposed on them as it could affect the chances of the party in the governorship election.

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Ododo had on Saturday announced that polls would be conducted in all 13 wards of Okitipupa Local Government Area of the state by noon on Sunday.

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“Having received reports of the primary election from the 203 wards in the 18 local governments of Ondo State, the primary election committee has decided that election will be conducted in all the 13 Wards of Okitipupa local government with total validated registered members of 9,515, because of validated reports that the exercise did not hold in the local government due to late arrival of materials and personnel as a result of logistics challenges.

“Election in Okitipupa local government shall be conducted 12 noon on Sunday 21st April 2024. The final collation of the results will be done thereafter,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, two aspirants and agents of two other contestants raised concerns about the conduct of the primary.

They alleged that based on the conduct of the exercise, plans were made to favour certain aspirants.

Olugbenga Edema, who is one of the 16 aspirants in the race for the APC ticket, decried delays in the distribution of materials and called on the party to investigate the process.

Rotimi Williams, the agent of Oke, took a similar position.

Shola Ajisafe, the agent of Adewale Akinterinwa, backed the narrative by Edema and Willams.

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“My people have been calling me. No material has been distributed to them,” Ajisafe who is from Ondo North said, accusing Governor Ododo of working in favour of a candidate. (Channelstv)

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PDP caucus backs Damagum to continue as Acting National Chair

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PDP caucus backs Damagum to continue as Acting National Chair
• PDP National Chairman Umar Damagum
The current acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Umar Damagum, will continue in that capacity until another National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting that will hold after the one slated for today, Thursday April 18, 2024.

This formed part of the resolution of the PDP caucus meeting on Wednesday night.

PDP spokesman, Debo Ologunagba, said the caucus resolved that all reconciliation committees of the party be reconstituted to resolve grievances affecting the unity of the party.

Asked what the caucus discussed about issues regarding the party’s chairmanship position, he said it is an issue that the NEC of the party will discuss but said the organ resolved that Damagum continue as chairman till the next NEC after today’s.

The meeting was attended by the former Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike; and the 2023 presidential flag bearer of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar.

Damagum is suspected to be an ally of Wike, who is the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The caucus also directed that the party should revisit the Rivers State Caretaker Committee List, and find a political solution to the crisis in the state.

The caucus meeting held less than 24 hours to theNEC meeting of the party, which has been scheduled for today (April 18, 2024) to discus issues regarding the leadership of the party and also to ractify decisions by various organs of the party.

The PDP is facing a leadership crisis, with members urging the resignation of the Damagum-led NEC. Meetings like the NEC and the party’s Board of Trustees have been arranged to address these issues.

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Meanwhile, Senator Iyorcha Ayu has withdrew his appeal, which sought to challenge his removal as the party’s national chairman. His move is also believed to be connected with the party’s upcoming National Executive Meeting.

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Ayu was suspended by the executive committee of the PDP in Igyorov ward in the Gboko Local Government Area of Kogi State in 2023 over alleged anti-party activities but he had approached the court to challenge his removal.

However, a Federal High Court in June last year affirmed the decision of the party to sack Senator Ayu, a judgement that led to an appeal, which he has now withdrawn.

FULL TEXT: Communique Issued At End Of PDP NEC Meeting

Communique Issued at the end of the 98th Meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Today, Thursday, April 18, 2024.

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of our great Party, at its 98th meeting today, Thursday, April 18, 2024, thoroughly assessed the State of affairs of the Nation and the Party and resolved as follows:

1. NEC commends all the Organs of the Party for their collective resilience, steadfastness and commitment towards the unity, stability and sustenance of our great Party despite dauting challenges.

2. NEC also commends members of the PDP, with particular reference to the youths and women for their courage in resisting the antics of the divisive and anti-people All Progressives Congress (APC), especially, its desperation to emasculate the opposition and foist a one-Party State on our nation.

3. NEC expresses concern over the ill-implemented policies of the insensitive APC administration, leading to worsening insecurity, harrowing economic hardship, soaring unemployment rate, high cost of food and other necessities of life with pervading misery and despondency across the country.

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4. NEC expresses serious apprehensions over the spate of acts of terrorism and violence including the escalated cases of mindless killings, mass abduction of innocent Nigerians and marauding of communities in various parts of the country.

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5. NEC condemns the insensitivity, nonchalance, incompetence and arrogance in failure of the APC administration which continues to conduct itself in a manner that shows that it has no iota of interest or commitment towards the wellbeing of Nigerians.

6. NEC also condemns the creeping totalitarianism and tendencies towards a One-Party State which is inimical to the peace, stability and corporate existence of our nation as well as the development of Democracy and good governance in the country.

7. NEC, after due consideration demands that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu should urgently convene a special National Security Council meeting to proffer a holistic solution and measures to curb the disturbing insecurity with its attendant negative consequences on our national life.

8. NEC also demands that President Tinubu should immediately rejig his Economic Team to bring in persons of proven integrity and competence without bias and vested interest to assist in repositioning the economy.

9. NEC further demands that the Federal Government should review all policies and programmes which are stifling the economy with suffocating effect on the lives of citizens; including the increase in price of fuel without cushioning measures, hike in electricity tariff, increased taxation and implementation of adverse fiscal policies.

10. NEC charges all Organs, leaders, critical stakeholders and indeed all members of the PDP to close ranks, put aside every personal or group interests and work together in the overall effort to reposition and return the PDP to power at the center in the interest of the Nigerian people.

11. Consequently, NEC received and approved the Timetable for Party Congresses across the country.

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12. NEC also approved the Reconstitution of the Party Disciplinary and Reconciliation Committees to further ensure the stability of the Party.

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13. Similarly, NEC approved the extension of the life of the Party Constitution Amendment Committee to allow it to receive new amendment proposals for inclusion in its deliberation and final report for consideration by NEC.

14. NEC commended the efforts of the National Working Committee in its effort towards rebranding the Party including the new look PDP Logo which is widely accepted by Party members and Nigerians in general.

15. NEC charges all Party members to continue to work together for the success of the PDP for the benefit of Nigerians and sustenance of Democracy in our country.

Thank you for listening.

Hon. Debo Ologunagba
National Publicity Secretary

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