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More SANS queue behind Agbakobo, say Tinubu not scoring 25 per cent in Abuja, fatal



More prominent lawyers are lining up on the side of the argument championed by former President of the Nigerian Bar Association( NBA), Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) that a presidential candidate must obtain 25 percent in the Federal Capital Territory(FCT), as a requirement to be declared winner of an election at that category.

The contentious issue which is one of the legs of the suit filed by Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in his challenge of the declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 presidential election, is provided in section 134 (1) (b) and (2) of the 1999 constitution.

Agbakoba, had on Wednesday, said his understanding of the provision was that a candidate must not only score 25 per cent in the 25 states in Nigeria, but in Abuja, however said that he was not speaking for the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), where the matter had since gone.

He said: “134 (2); It applies literally, because the rule of interpretation says if you read something and it’s so clear to you, then you don’t need to interpret it. The thing says you must win a quarter of the votes in ⅔ of 36 states AND the…and then what do you want to say? The answer is obvious.

“… I have broken it down. You want to put words in my mouth, which I won’t accept. It’s so simple, you get a quarter of the votes in of 24 states. That’s what the law says, which is 24. So that’s one part of it.

It goes on to say, ‘AND’. What does that mean? ‘AND the FCT’. So as far as I am concerned, you must also win 25% in the FCT. But that’s not for me to say because I would be pre-judging what’s before the tribunal. So we think the tribunal can answer this question quite easily in one hour. That’s my point. Quite easily, it’s not a difficult question to resolve,” he said.

Aligning himself with Agbakoba, who had actually written to INEC before the elections to clarify its position on the true interpretation of the section, Amobi Nzelu, who described the issue as a “time bomb,” said: “One major concern which is a time bomb is section 134 of the 1999 Constitution, which prescribed the requirements to be met by a presidential candidate to become the president of Nigeria. You can see that this section of the law is explicit enough as to whether the two-thirds votes a candidate must secure as mentioned in the law, would include or exclude the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

“For instance, to be declared winner of the presidential election, a candidate must win a quarter of votes in 24 states – which makes up the two-thirds– as well as the FCT, or without the FCT. Does this mean that the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja is incorporated in the 24 states? Or…does it mean that the presidential candidate must also score not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja?

“Can a candidate that scored not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in 36 states of the federation but fails to score one-quarter of the votes cast at the election at the Federal Capital Territory be duly elected as president of Nigeria? This is a serious matter and it is a time bomb because somebody can win in other states, but may not win in the FCT. I think the issue needs to be cleared by INEC.

Mike Ozekhome, a Professor of Law, in his own intervention, said: said: “ There is no doubt that the provisions of section 134(2)(b) of the Constitution is rooted in mathematics. It requires that a winning presidential candidate shall have “not less than one-quarter of the votes at the election in each of at least two-third of all the states in the Federation AND the Federal Capital Territory Abuja”. (Emphasis supplied).

“As lawyers, we should not shy away from embarking on this mathematical pathway to resolve the steaming controversy. Yes, mathematics is part of lawyers’ job in resolving disputes; and Nigerian courts are not strangers to mathematical judgments. After all, the 1979 presidential election involving Shagari and Awolowo was wholly litigated, won and lost on the basis of the Supreme Court’s mathematical interpretation of what amounted then to 2/3 of the then 19 states of the federation.

“The Supreme Court, in delivering judgment in favour of Shagari, ruled that the requirement of votes to win the presidential election was 25% in 12 states, and no more. It cautiously avoided the attendant fractionalisation of Kano State, so as to avoid absurdity in interpretation. It is my considered opinion that the scope of consideration of the FCT, Abuja, as a state, only applies to the enjoyment and vesting of executive, legislative and judicial powers by relevant bodies in the FCT. It does not apply to all matters, extents, and for all purposes.

“Further, an interpretation that Section 299 of the Constitution applies for all purposes is too narrow. It is not holistic or inclusive. It will render many other parts of the Constitution redundant, futile, unproductive, meaningless and therefore, unnecessary. Certainly, such could not have been the intention of the legislature or law makers.

“Section 134(2) of the Constitution must therefore be interpreted to mean that for a candidate to win the Presidential election, such a candidate must obtain 25% of the votes cast in two-thirds of all the States in the Federation (24 states); AND further, in the FCT, Abuja. This is a compulsory requirement for a valid return as president. It seems to me that INEC was not properly legally guided when it declared a president-elect.”


Imo massacre: Armoured vehicles procured for police used to rig elections – LP



Labour Party, palpably in anguish at the slaughter of eight soldiers in Imo State on Tuesday by some rampaging gunmen, has raised questions over the whereabouts of the nine Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) Athan Achonu, it claimed its governorship candidate for the November 11 election, repaired and donated to the authorities in the state.

The party, all but called out the leadership of the Imo State Police Command, to whom they claimed the equipment were handed over, alleging that the last time they APCs were seen was during the last general elections, where they were used by members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the party in power in the state to snatch ballot boxes for candidates in the national and state assemblies.

The claim, was made when Nick Opara-Ndudu  and Nnaemeka Onyeka Obiareri , chieftains of the party appeared as guests on The Morning Show, a breakfast programme on Arise Television to sell the candidacy of Achonu, whom they said would never have allowed the type of insecurity in the state to endure under his watch.

Both men, who said that Achonu, whose highest political office so far, was his short stint in the Senate, where he served via the 2015 election before he was removed through the courts, remained the only solution not to the insecurity, in the state and even the South East,  but the one to rescue the people from years of underdevelopment from poor leadership.

Obiareri, spokesman of the LP in the state, argued that if the APCs had been in place, Tuesday’s incident in which the military men were killed alongside some policemen and officials of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), would probably not have happened, said a check on the social media would reveal how they were used by party men of the APC for rigging the 2023 general elections.

He said: “The military men that were killed if they had armoured vehicles patrolling, they wouldn’t have been shot by those criminals. Athan Achonu, go and confirm from Innoson, paid hundreds of millions of naira to Innoson, Innoson is still alive, you people can still go and interview him, to repair nine armoured vehicles for the police. Five were supposed to be in Okigwe zone. Till today, we don’t know where those nine armoured cars are.

“If you go to Youtube, you’ll see Youtube record of members of the House of Assembly in Imo State using those APCs to carry ballot boxes. It’s there on Youtube, you can search it out. What Athan Achonu will do is very simple. Every local government area will have one humvy vehicle for the police. Police stations had been totally burnt in Imo State and Athan repaired most of those police stations.

“Then, there will be community vigilante. We’ll train those 50 youths per community – train them, equip them and arm them. They should guard their communities. When you have over 50,000 hectres of land, reclaimed from the bandits, and you have youths who are not only just farming, but who are trained to protect their communities, they’ll do the job.

“Then, we have to set up a security trust fund. Ndi-Imo are not scared. As at today, there are some communities in Imo State, where bandits – unknown gunmen, are ransacking and collecting levies from the communities. Basically, Athan Achonu will provide training, recruitment for people donated by the communities. Communities know those who are the terrible ones in their midst. And I tell you, in six months, they will flush them out.”

Opara-Ndudu, who dismissed the claim by the state governor, Hope Uzodimma that the carnage and other killings in the state were politically-motivated, blamed the governor for misplacing his priorities and failing to provide jobs for the teeming youth population in the state, questioning why nobody had been arrested and prosecuted fully in the courts if the insecurity in the state was all about politics.

Hear him: “The security problem has to do with objective conditions in the state. The young people are frustrated. The government is not making any investments in the areas that are required. We’re busy pursuing projects that are designs in deception. Look at the roads that are being done in Imo State, you know for you to deal with the problem of poverty and other economic challenges, you have to deal with the problem of infrastructure.

“In Imo State, the government has dedicated all of its time and half of its time to reconstructing federal roads without any attention – little or no attention paid to the rural areas. If you go to length and breadth of Imo State – Ngor Okpala, Ezinifte Mbaise, even in the governor’s local government – everywhere in Imo State, you find that the rural areas are looking desolate and abandoned.”

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Police find body of missing female student dumped in the bush, vow to get killers



Operatives of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), command, have vowed to fish out the killers of a university student, Blessing Karami, whose body was said to have been picked up from the bush days after she was declared missing on September 11.

The FCT police, which released the painful news on Thursday, said in a statement by its spokesman, Josephine Adeh that the remains were found in the woods in the Karimu area of the city.

The police spokesman acknowledged that her disappearance was reported to the police authorities last,  Thursday, September 14 added that 26-year-old Blessing, a student of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), was declared missing after leaving her place of work in Garki, Abuja.

She said in the statement: “The body of Blessing Karami Moses, a 26-year-old woman who had been missing since September 11, 2023, was tragically discovered in a wooded area in Karimo. Her disappearance was reported to the authorities on September 14, 2023,” the statement read.

She said Commissioner of Police, FCT, Haruna Garba, had directed that command should conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident, adding: “While we are working closely with the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) to facilitate the respectful retrieval of the decomposed remains acknowledging the sensitive nature of this task, we will continue to provide updates to the public as our investigation progresses.”

Adeh, a Superintendent of Police (SP), also commiserated with Blessing’s family and loved ones over the incident.

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Ogun cult massacre: DSS raid home, pick up PDP lawmaker, five others



Damilare Bello Mohammed, a serving member of the Ogun State House of Assembly (OGHA), is currently telling operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) his side of the story, after he was picked up over his alleged involvement in the rival secret cult clashes that occurred in Sagamu town.

Mohammed, recently elected on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to represent Sagamu State Constituency 1, was picked up on Wednesday by the agency over the incident in which at least eight persons were killed last weekend during the violent clash in the town, alongside five other suspected cultists allegedly involved in the cult violence.

The five other suspects; Debbo Animashaun, Bamidele Saheed, Ismaila Onitire, Adewale Otesanya and Tobi Owoade, were arrested by the DSS operatives during a sting operation after a tip-off at the early hours of Thursday within the residence of the lawmaker.

Lekan Adeniran, spokesman to Dapo Abiodun, the Ogun State governor, announced the development in a statement on Wednesday, saying the secret police tracked the six suspected cultists to the official residence of the lawmaker.

Accusing the lawmaker of providing shelter to the cultists, Adeniran, said in the statement, that the suspects were presently undergoing interrogation in DSS custody after many dangerous weapons, including guns, were recovered from them.

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