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Atiku vs Buhari: Anxiety Mounts As Tribunal Rules This Week

Peter Okunoren

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The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, Abuja, will this week, deliver judgment in the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, against the outcome of the February 23 presidential election won by President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress (APC).

After all the parties had adopted their final briefs of argument canvassed for and against the petition, the Justice Mohammed Garba-led five-member panel said it would deliver the judgement on a date to be sent to all the parties through their lawyers.

Although no hearing date has been issued, the statutory 180 days duration for the hearing of the petition which was filed in March expires on Friday, September 15.

Specifically, Section 134 (2) and (3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), provided that the hearing and judgment in petitions at the tribunal of the first instance are supposed to be concluded within 180 days.

Already, tension is building up among supporters of the two camps, who have started arriving Abuja in droves, ahead of the judgment.

The tribunal has already dispensed with the three other petitions filed against Buhari’s victory at the February 23 presidential election.

In the case of Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), the petition was withdrawn by its presidential candidate, Pastor Habu and accordingly dismissed.

The tribunal equally dismissed the petition by Hope Democratic Party (HDP) for lacking in substance and merit.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had on February 27, declared that Buhari garnered a total of 15,191,847 votes to defeat his closest rival, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the opposition PDP, who it said polled a total of 11,262,978 votes.

In a petition marked CA/PEPC/002/2019 and filed on March 18, the PDP and Atiku insisted that data they secured from INEC’s server, revealed that they clearly defeated President Buhari with over 1.6million votes.

The petitioners alleged that INEC had at various stages of the presidential election, unlawful allocated votes to President Buhari, saying they would adduce oral and documentary evidence to show that result of the election as announced by the electoral body, did not represent the lawful valid votes cast Atiku alleged that in some states, INEC, deducted lawful votes that accrued to him, in its bid to ensure that Buhari was returned back to office.

The petitioners said they would call evidence of statisticians, forensic examiners and finger-print experts at the hearing of the petition to establish that the scores credited to Buhari were not the product of actual votes validly cast at the polling units.

The petitioners serialized results that were recorded from each state of the federation in order to prove that the alleged fraudulent allocation of votes to Buhari and the APC, took place at the polling units, the ward collating centers, local government collating centers and the State collating centers.

They argued that proper collation and summation of the presidential election results would show that contrary to what INEC declared, Atiku scored 18,356,732 votes, ahead of Buhari who they claimed got 16,741,430 votes.

During the hearing, the petitioners called 62 witnesses and tendered over 4,000 documentary evidence to prove their case.

While INEC did not call any witness, Buhari and APC called seven witnesses before they abruptly ended their defense.

But while adopting final addresses, INEC counsel, Yunus Usman (SAN) said the commission worked in compliance with the Electoral Act 2010 as amended and that the petitioners could never disown that.

Usman, therefore, asked the tribunal to dismiss the petition and award cost against the petitioners.

Counsel to Buhari, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said there was “nothing in the law” that would make the tribunal grant the reliefs of the petitioners.

INEC through its lead counsel, Yunus Usman (SAN), said the claim that results of the February presidential election were transmitted to a server was “the greatest lie of this century.”

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Man Dies After Taking Sex Enhancement Drugs To Satisfy Lady In Onitsha Hotel

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Barely two weeks after a married man was found dead in Lagos, while lodging with a prostitute; another middle-aged man, Paul Okwudili, was confirmed dead Monday morning, after having sex with a lady in Onitsha, Anambra State.

According to a statement by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Anambra Command, SP Haruna Mohammed, Mr. Okwudili’s cause of death may not be unconnected to an overdose of sex enhancement drugs taken to satisfy the lady.

The statement reads in part: “On the 24/2/2020, at about 0:3am, the manager of Plus View hotel in Onitsha reported at Central Police Station, Onitsha that one Paul Okwudili ‘m’ aged about 40years of Ogboliolosi, off Awka Road, Inland town, Onitsha, allegedly took a lady to the hotel and lodged.

“Minutes later, the lady came out shouting for help and the hotel management who went to the room and discovered the man gasping for breath took him to St Charles Boromeo hospital Onitsha for medical attention where the victim was later confirmed dead by a medical doctor on duty.

“Meanwhile, the scene was visited by Police detectives attached to CPS Onitsha and photograph of the victim obtained. No marks of violence on the deceased body but some drugs were discovered in the hotel room reasonably suspected to be enhancement drugs”.

The Police spokesman said, the corpse has been deposited at the hospital mortuary for autopsy, while the lady was arrested for further investigation to ascertain circumstances surrounding the incident.

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North Has No Justification To Remain In Power, Presidency Should Go To The South After Buhari —- El-Rufai

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The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, has insisted that the North has no justification to remain in power after the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s second tenure.

El-Rufai maintained that the Presidency should rightly return to the Southern part of Nigeria.

He said though the constitution of the All Progressives Congress, APC, does not make provision for rotation but in the interest of justice, equity, and fair play, Presidency should go to other regions of the country.

Vanguard quoted him as saying: “The general political consensus in Nigeria is that the Presidency should rotate between the North and the South. It is not written but everyone understands it.

“In some of the parties, like the PDP, it is even written down in their constitution but it was breached in 2015. I think that every politician of honour should understand and abide by that consensus except there is an extenuating circumstance compelling it to be set aside. What could this be?

“President Yar’Adua died in office and it was compulsory for Jonathan to continue but when 2011 election came, there were many people who insisted that Jonathan should step aside for a northerner to complete the tenure of Yar’Adua but I opposed it because I didn’t think it was proper for an incumbent that got there not by his own design should be stopped from contesting when the constitution has not barred him from running.

“In the APC, we deliberately omitted rotational Presidency in our constitution and the emergence of a presidential candidate does not take into account zoning and that was why in 2015, Rochas Okorocha from the East contested, Sam Nda-Isaiah contested, Buhari, Kwankwaso and others contested.”

El-Rufai a chieftain of APC, added that presidential candidates are chosen on the basis of merit and general acceptance.

“I can say that as distinct from the PDP, APC has no rotational Presidency but candidates are selected strictly on the basis of political merit and the general acceptability of the candidate.

“I want to say that those of us from Northern Nigeria honour agreements. We do not violate unwritten political agreements and I will be the last person to lead in violating that agreement. I may have a personal view but that should be the basis. I don’t care where you come from but I look for merit.

“But as a group, the Northern APC will have to sit down and endorse someone, most likely someone from the South, because after eight years of Buhari, I don’t think the Presidency should remain in the north unless there is some extenuating circumstances. But all things being equal, we will honour our agreement and we keep our words,” he said.

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Woman, 3 Others Jailed 160 Years Over Fake Naira Notes

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A woman, Hadiza Bello, and three other accomplices have been sentenced to 160 years in prison by a Federal High Court, sitting in Yola, Adamawa State, for dealing in fake naira notes.

The convicts were dragged before the court by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offenses Commission after they were caught at a checkpoint along Girei-Yola Road.

A statement from the ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa, said five suspects — Hadiza, Mohammed Dauda, Bello Salisu, Ali Adamu and Hassan Bello, were involved in a deal to exchange the sum of N5m counterfeit notes for N1m real notes, adding that Hassan, a native doctor, could not be sentenced because of his death before conviction.

The statement said, “A Federal High Court sitting in Yola, Adamawa State, has sentenced four persons, including a woman, to 160 years’ imprisonment on a multiple-count charge of conspiracy and possession of counterfeit banknotes.

“Justice Abdulazeez Anka, who handed down the sentences to the convicts in the case brought by the ICPC, ruled that they would spend 10 years in prison on each of the four counts preferred against them.

“Three of the convicts, Hadiza Bello, Mohammed Dauda and Bello Salisu, had in March 2017, left Kaduna and were joined by the fourth convict, Ali Adamu, from Kano, to meet a native doctor, Hassan Bello, who was a counterfeiter at Wamdeo Uba, Borno State, with the intention to procure about N5m counterfeit banknotes to exchange for about N1m genuine banknotes from a customs officer.

“The deal with the customs officer did not go through for undisclosed reasons. However, as they made their way back, they were caught at a checkpoint on Girei-Yola Road, with counterfeit N1000 banknotes to the value of N5, 504,000 by soldiers on duty and subsequently handed over to the ICPC.”

The anti-graft body said an investigation launched by its officers led to the residence of the native doctor at Wamdeo Uba, where he was arrested.

“A search conducted on the premises revealed more counterfeit N1000 bank notes reading the same serial number to the value of N26,000.

“At the conclusion of investigations, except for Bello Salisu, who was charged with abetment to commit an offense of possession of counterfeit banknotes, the other four suspects, including the native doctor counterfeiter, were arraigned on four counts of being in possession of counterfeit banknotes, which is an offense contrary to sections 5(1) (b) and 6(2) (b), and punishable under Section 5(1) (c) of the Counterfeit Currency (Special Provisions) Act, cap. C35, LFN 2004,” the statement added.

In his ruling, Justice Anka found the accused persons guilty on each of the four counts and sentenced them to cumulative 40 years’ imprisonment each, although the sentences would run concurrently.

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