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Election Timetable: INEC Talks Tough As 18 Parties Fail To Conduct Primaries

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The Independent National Electoral Commission has vowed not to extend the June 3, 2022 deadline for primaries even as none of the 18 political parties had conducted their presidential primaries three weeks before the deadline.

A document obtained from INEC on Monday showed that the Accord Party scheduled its primaries for June 2 while the Action Alliance fixed its own for June 3.

The African Action Congress is also expected to hold its own on June 3 while the African Democratic Congress and the Action Democratic Party will hold theirs on June 1 and May 30 respectively.

The All Progressives Congress will complete its presidential primary on June 1; the All Progressives Grand Alliance will conduct its primary on June 1 while the Allied Peoples Movement will conduct its primary on May 30.

The Action People’s Party stated its primary for May 27, the Boot Party will conduct its own on June 3, Labour Party on June 3, and the New Nigeria People’s Party on June 1 and 2.

The National Rescue Movement fixed its Presidential primary for June 1 and 2, the Peoples Democratic Party will hold its own on May 29, the Peoples Redemption Party will conduct its primary on May 28, and the Young Progressives Party will hold its own on June 1 while Zenith Labour Party will hold its primary on June 1.

It was gathered that the Social Democratic Party, which had fixed its primary for May 14, failed to do so.

Sources told our correspondent that parties had fixed their presidential primaries for the last minute to carry out negotiations and also lobby INEC.

A PDP chieftain said, “What many of these smaller parties usually do is to hold their primaries very late to adopt the candidate of one of the big parties. They use this to get funding. Also, because everyone is still lobbying INEC for an extension of time, everyone is trying to push their primaries towards the deadline just in case INEC obliges.”

Meanwhile, the PDP has again postponed its governorship primary, for the third time this month.

The opposition party had first fixed its governorship primary for May 21 and then extended it to May 23. However, in a fresh letter dated May 16 which was addressed to INEC, the party indicated that it would now hold its governorship primaries on May 25.

The party also shifted its House of Assembly primaries from May 7 to May 21 while the House of Representatives primary will take place on May 22. The PDP noted that its senatorial primary will be conducted on May 23 as against the initial May 14.

The letter which was signed by the National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, and the National Secretary, Samuel Anyanwu, read in part, “In the case of the South-East region, due to the sit-at-home order currently observed on Mondays, the Senate primaries will now hold on May 24, 2022, in the South-East zone.

Attempts to get a reaction from the National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Debo Ologunagba, proved abortive as he did not respond to repeated calls.

Terminal dates for primaries are firm and fixed, no going back – Commission

In a related development, INEC has said that it is too late to tinker with the schedule of activities for the 2023 general elections.

Mr. Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner, and Chairman of, the Information and Voter Education Committee, stated this while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Abuja.

NAN reported that Okoye spoke against the backdrop of the two months extension of the deadline for the conduct of the parties’ primaries recently sought by the Inter-Party Advisory Council.

According to him, any change in the June 3 deadline will affect other activities for elections.

“The timetable and schedule of activities released by the commission are derived from the constitution, the Electoral Act, and the Regulations and Guidelines of the commission.

“The chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made it clear that our timetable and schedule of activities and the terminal date for the conduct of party primaries are firm and fixed.”

Why INEC won’t accept fresh requests by parties to change electoral timetable – Igini

Also, Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mike Igini, said that INEC won’t accept fresh requests by political parties to change electoral timetables including June 3, 2022 deadline for parties to submit their candidates for the 2023 general elections.

Igini noted that the 18 political parties have been in the habit of constant requests for an extension of the deadline for the submission of candidates.

He said, “Within the broad outline of the timetable issued, political parties have been making changes and sending letters almost every day shifting dates, venues, and time. As disruptive as these changes to our internal workings, these shifts have all been accommodated by the commission to the extent that our staff now work in the field during weekends.

“These changes have been at a huge cost to the commission that deployed staff members to various states from Abuja and within states.

“If l may observe and ask, why is it that political parties decided to leave out the whole of April that they should have commenced the conduct of primaries? Why is it that some of these parties chose almost the last few days to the end of May for these all-important activities when they know that the submission deadline is the 3rd of June 2022? Haven’t they been hearing and reading the chairman’s consistent refrain of constitutional and statutory timelines are “fixed and firmed” at all stakeholders’ meetings?

“Look, as l have said, changes of venues and time within the framework of the already issued constitutional timetable by the commission, no problems and they have been doing that but a fundamental shift is what the commission has advised against to allow for the certainty of timeline for the 2023 elections otherwise we will continue to shift and shift the timetable.”

BIG STORY

Ekweremadu Narrates How David, “Kidney Donor” Refused To Return To Nigeria

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The former deputy senate president, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has explained that David Ukpo Nwamini, the would-be kidney donor of his daughter, Sonia refused to return to Nigeria after it was discovered that his kidney was not compatible with his daughter’s.

The Enugu-born federal lawmaker gave the details in a suit filed along with his wife, Beatrice, against the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) over the controversy surrounding the real age of Nwamini.

Ike Ekweremadu and his wife were recently arrested for allegedly bringing a minor to the UK to harvest his organ. They were subsequently remanded in custody till July 7.

However, Ekweremadu had written to the UK high commission to support the visa application of a “kidney donor” for his daughter Sonia.

Although the UK police said the donor was 15, he was listed as 21 years old on his international passport and the Bank Verification Number (BVN) portal.

In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/984/2022 and filed on June 27 by Adegboyega Awomolo, counsel to the senator and his wife, before Inyang Ekwo, justice of a federal high court in Abuja, the Ekweremadus prayed the court for an order directing the NIMC to supply them with the certified true copy (CTC) of Ukpo’s biodata, The Cable reported.

They also sought an order directing the NIS comptroller-general to supply the applicants with Ukpo’s documents and application form presented for the issuance of his international passport.

The suit is also seeking an order directing Stanbic IBTC Bank and UBA to supply the applicants with the certified true copy of the “mandate card and account opening package of Ukpo’s bank accounts”.

Awomolo, who gave 20 grounds why the prayers should be granted, said Ukpo offered to donate one of his kidneys to the daughter of the applicants if his kidney was compatible.

He said Ukpo informed the applicants that he was 21 years old, after which Ekweremadu supported his visa application to the United Kingdom with a letter to the British high commission in Nigeria, explaining the purpose of the visit.

“After conducting various medical tests, the Royal Free Hospital in London decided that the said David Nwamini Ukpo was not a suitable donor because his kidney is not compatible with that of Sonia Ekweremadu,” he said.

According to Awomolo, Ukpo was then asked to return to Nigeria but rather than do so, he approached the authorities in the UK, claiming he was 15 years old.

“The applicants require documents from the respondents to assist in the fair criminal investigation and as facts in their defense to establish their innocence of the allegation in the charge and to prove that David Nwamini Ukpo is not a minor and indeed consented to the medical examination in the United Kingdom,” he said.

Ekwo fixed July 1 for a hearing of the matter.

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JUST IN: Court Dismisses Kanu’s Application For Revocation Of Bail

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The Abuja division of the Federal High Court has dismissed an application by Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), seeking an order discharging the earlier order revoking his bail.

Justice Binta Nyako in her ruling on Tuesday ruled that Kanu has not provided sufficient reasons to warrant the court to set aside its order.

She accordingly dismissed the application for being an abuse of the court process.

In the dismissed application which was filed by his lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, Kanu also prayed for an order setting aside the order made on March 28, 2019, directing for his arrest and continuation of his trial in absentia.

Justice Nyako had, on March 28, 2019, revoked the bail Kanu, ordered his arrest, and directed that his trial should continue in his absence.

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CJN Resignation: Public Confidence In Judiciary System At All-Time Low – Olumide Akpata

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Olumide Akpata, president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has reacted to the resignation of Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad as CJN, saying public confidence in the judiciary is currently at “an all-time low”.

In the statement, Akpata thanked the retired CJN for his service to the nation and prayed for his quick recovery.

“In the course of previous publications and communications, I have consistently appreciated the outgone chief justice of Nigeria for the cordial working relationship between the bar and the bench under our respective administrations. I must do so again today as he bows out,” the statement read.

“It is however impossible, to consider his lordship’s retirement in isolation of the recent unprecedented developments at the supreme court where 14 justices of the court censured the outgone chief justice of Nigeria over his lordship’s handling of their welfare and related issues.

“Beyond this, there is near-universal agreement that public confidence in the judiciary and indeed the legal profession is at an all-time low.”

The NBA chairman added that “there is now more than ever the need for urgent reforms in the judiciary and to rebuild the almost dissipated confidence that Nigerians have in the judiciary and the wider legal profession in Nigeria”.

“These should form the immediate first tasks for honorable Mr. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, who is expected to now take over as the acting chief justice of Nigeria,” he said.

“The NBA welcomes the appointment of honorable Mr. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola and pledges its readiness to work together with his lordship and the judiciary in cleansing the Augean Stable and addressing the ills that have continued to plague not just the Judiciary but the entire legal profession.”

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