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Kogi Guber: SDP candidate, Ajaka rejects Tribunal ruling, says ‘war is far from over’

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• Alhaji Murtala Ajaka
The gubernatorial candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Kogi state, Alhaji Murtala Yakubu Ajaka has said his loss at the tribunal to Governor Usman Ododo is just a temporary setback as he is set to pursue the case to the highest court.

According to a statement signed in Abuja, Ajaka, who was reacting to the verdict of the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which dismissed his petition against Governor Ododo said “A long walk to freedom has just begun

According to him “Today, I come before you with a heavy heart, but also with a fire of optimism burning in my soul. We have just received the news that our election petition has been unsuccessful at the tribunal.

“It is a setback, a moment of disappointment, and it is natural for us to feel disheartened. But let me tell you this, my fellow Kogites, this is not the end of our journey. This is just a chapter in our fight for justice, truth, the rights of our people and freedom”.

Ajaka affirmed that “Despite the outcome at the tribunal, I am proud to say that we had a team of brilliant lawyers who did an outstanding job in proving the case of over-voting during the election.

“Their dedication, expertise, and unwavering commitment to upholding the principles of democracy have left an indelible mark on our case as we push further”.

The SDP candidate disclosed that “Throughout the entire process, our lawyers exhibited the highest level of professionalism and tenacity. They meticulously gathered evidence, scrutinized data, and presented a compelling case to the tribunal, but the tribunal despite agreeing to over-voting struck our case out.

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According to him,”These lawyers did not fail us. We are very optimistic that they will be vindicated by the end of the petition. I can assure you that this judgment will not stand the test of time.

“Yes, we may have lost the battle at the tribunal, but the war is far from over. Our stolen mandate, our voice, our power, will not be silenced. We will rise from the ashes of this defeat, stronger and more determined than ever before.

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“Today, we must encourage each other to be hopeful, to be relentless in our pursuit of justice, and to keep our faith unwavering”.

According to him, “It is in times like these that our resilience is tested. We must remember why we embarked on this political journey in the first place. Our dreams, our hopes for a better future for Kogi, for a fairer society, for the upliftment of the marginalized, for the protection of our people, and for the progress of our state – these dreams are not dependent on a single election outcome.

“We must remind ourselves that our fight is not just about winning an election; it is about standing up for what is right, for what is just, and for what we believe in.

“Our opponents may have won this first round, the battle, but they have not won the war. We will take this fight to the very end, where justice will prevail. We will reclaim our stolen mandate and restore the faith of our people in the democratic process.

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“Let us not lose sight of the bigger picture. We have been given an opportunity, a platform to make a difference. Losing at the tribunal does not make us losers; it makes us fighters, warriors who will not back down in the face of adversity.

“The violence, aggression and intimidation we faced during the election did not stop us. We will not be deterred by temporary setbacks, because our spirit is unbreakable.

“I call upon every one of you, my fellow Kogites, to stay united, to stand strong, and to continue the fight. Our journey may be long and challenging, but together, we can overcome any obstacles that come our way. Let us not lose hope, let us not lose faith, and let us not lose sight of the ultimate goal.

“Remember, my fellow Kogites, that history is filled with stories of triumph against all odds. We are the authors of our own destiny, and we have the power to shape the future. Let our determination be our guiding light, and let our relentless pursuit of justice be the fuel that propels us forward.

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“In conclusion, I want to remind you all that we are not alone in this fight. The people who believe in us, who have placed their trust in us, are counting on us to fulfill our promise. Let us not disappoint them. Let us rise above this setback, and together, let us reclaim our stolen mandate”.

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Alleged N80bn Fraud: Yahaya Bello to appear in court for trial today

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Ex-Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello

After several months of hide-and-seek between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the former governor of Kogi state, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the ex-governor is expected to appear before the Federal High Court in Abuja on June 13 for arraignment on the corruption charge against him.

The former governor, through his lawyer, finally agreed to submit himself to the court at the last adjourned date.

Bello’s lead counsel, Abdulwahab Mohammed, gave the undertaking to Justice Emeka Nwite on May 10, shortly after the court rejected the defendant’s request for suspension of trial.

According to him, the former governor was not afraid of arraignment but of the safety of his life in the hands of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja.

He said the life of his client has been under consistent threats in Abuja, hence his decision to go underground for safety.

The agreement to submit to court trial was informed by Justice Nwite’s remarks that the EFCC, as a law-abiding body, would not do anything contrary to the provisions of the law.

The judge said Bello was not the first former governor to be merely invited by the anti-graft agency and would not be the last.

The judge also said that the charges are based on allegations that have not been proved, adding that the law presumes any accused person innocent until proven otherwise.

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He advised the senior lawyer to prevail on his client to respect the law and order of the court as a law-abiding person.

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Bello’s lawyer, responding to the admonition, thanked the Judge for the hint, adding that, with the assurance that the EFCC would not do anything untoward, the former governor would be brought to court.

“All my client needs is just an assurance for the safety of his life, which has been under threat for some time in Abuja.”

The lawyer requested for four weeks to bring his client before the court.

He said Bello would, however, come to the court instead of the EFCC to take his plea in the charges.

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‘I did my Dobale’, Tinubu breaks silence on Democracy Day fall at Eagle Square

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Minimum Wage: FG denies offering N105,000
President Bola Tinubu

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu late yesterday, Wednesday, June 12, 2024, broke his silence on a viral video on social media where he missed his steps and tripped earlier in the day during the proceedings at the Democracy Day Parade at Eagle Square, Abuja.

Speaking at the Democracy Day Dinner, Tinubu, a Yoruba from South West Nigeria, said tongue-in-cheek that he was only performing a traditional Yoruba gesture of respect.

“Early this morning, I had a swagger and it is on social media. They are confused on whether I was doing Buga or doing Babariga but it is a day to celebrate democracy while doing ‘dobale’ for the day. I am a traditional Yoruba boy and I did my Dobale,”

The president also underscored the importance of national orientation and collective effort in fostering a prosperous future for the country.

“Nigeria is blessed, our complexity, our diversity is there, but is the best road to success. Whatever we have to invest in our national orientation, we have to do it,” Tinubu declared, stressing the need for a concerted effort to instill a sense of service and patriotism among Nigerians.

He also noted that the nation’s national anthem encapsulated the essence of service, a value he observed being practiced by many governors across the country.

He expressed his gratitude to the governors, acknowledging their dedication to serving their people irrespective of their political affiliations.

“We include in our national anthem, the essence of service. I have seen many governors, both live and on tv, serving their people. They belong to other parties and many of them are here tonight. Thank you, Governor Eno, of Akwa Ibom, thank you Governor Okpara, my comrade from Kaduna, thank you, Sheriff and Abia, thank you. If I miss you, forgive me. Everybody has forgotten the partisanship column and embraced that green, white, green that depicts Nigeria.”

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Acknowledging criticisms of the national anthem, he called on governors to redouble their efforts in fostering a sense of duty and national character among citizens.

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“Citizenship is not just the dictionary meaning of it, it is the actual character. Let us teach this to our children, so that Nigeria collectively, we will do the job that we are called upon to do as both family or nation under God almighty,” Tinubu urged.

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NLC counters Tinubu, says no agreement reached with FG on minimum wage

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Minimum wage: Govs who can't pay should resign - Labour
NLC President, Joe Ajaero and other union leaders

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) says it has not reached an agreement with the federal government on the minimum wage.

In his Democracy Day speech on Wednesday, President Bola Tinubu said the federal government has negotiated with organized organised labour “in good faith and with open arms” on a new national minimum wage.

The president added that an executive bill on the minimum wage would be sent to the national assembly “to enshrine what has been agreed upon as part of our law for the next five years or less”.

In a statement on Wednesday night, NLC said the president may have been misinformed regarding the outcome of the wage negotiation process.

“We appreciate the President’s commitment to those fine democratic ideals which allowed the work of the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Negotiation Committee to proceed unhindered despite some hiccups,” the statement reads.

“However, we had expected Mr. President to have used this understanding as one of those who was in the vanguard of the struggle with us around the nation to rescue Nigeria from the hands of the military to harmonize the two figures submitted to him by the Tripartite Committee in favour of workers and masses. It would have been a fitting Democracy Day gift.

“The NIC would have expected that the advisers of the President would have told him that we neither reached any agreement with the federal government and the employers on the base figure for a National Minimum Wage nor on its other components.”

The NLC said its demand still remains N250,000, adding that it has not been given any compelling reasons to change this position.

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“We are therefore surprised at the submission of Mr. President over a supposed agreement. We believe that he may have been misled into believing that there was an agreement with the NLC and TUC,” the labour body added.

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“There was none, and it is important that we let the president, Nigerians, and other national stakeholders understand this immediately to avoid a mix up in the ongoing conversation around the national minimum wage.

“We have also not seen a copy of the document submitted to him and will not accept any doctored document.

“However, we want to reaffirm our belief that the President, on whose table the Tripartite Committee’s report presently resides, will prepare an executive bill which content will reflect the true demand of Nigerian workers.

“We think that this is an opportunity for him to demonstrate his love for Nigerian workers and the masses by shunning the pieces of advice that may be coming from those whose intentions are continuously focused on hurting the poor and struggling workers of Nigeria.”

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