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Reps probe controversy over alleged parallel minority caucus

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The House of Representatives has resolved to probe the controversy surrounding the issue of Minority leadership.

This development followed an adopted motion raised by Hon. Ben Ogbakpa alleging that Hon. Kingsley Chinda and three others were parading themselves as Minority leaders against the confirmed minority leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu.

Others are Chukwuka Onyema, Umar Barde and Muraina Ajibola.

The lower chamber, therefore, mandated its committee on ethics and privileges to investigate a matter of privilege brought before it by a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker from Delta State, Ben Igbakpa.

Chinda and his group have recently released at least three statements on behalf of the PDP caucus of the house.

The deputy speaker, Idris Wade, who presided over the plenary, mandated the committee to investigate the matter and report back to the house.

The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, few months back named Ndudi Elumelu as the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.

The announcement caused confusion in the parliament as the PDP, which is the largest minority party in the House, had nominated Kingsley Chinda for the position.

Other nominees by the PDP for other minority positions were also rejected by Mr Gbajabiamila.

The PDP had nominated Chukwuka Onyema as Deputy Minority Leader, Yakubu Barde as Minority Whip and Muraina Ajibola as Deputy Minority Whip.

Gbajabiamila, instead, named Toby Okechukwu as Minority Leader, Gideon Gwani as Minority Whip and Adesegun Adekoya as Deputy Minority Whip.

Both Messrs Elumelu and Chinda are PDP members.

The PDP Board of Trustees had mandated a committee to look into the minority leadership crisis that has rocked the PDP caucus. But that committee was later accused of corruption by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike; an allegation denied by the board.

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Politics

Dickson breaks silence over alleged rift with former President Jonathan

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Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa state has addressed reports of a rift with former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Dickson blamed ‘political jobbers’ for making misleading comments and misrepresenting his actions with Jonathan over the choice of the PDP governorship candidate.

Dickson said those who claimed to be working for Jonathan did not mean well for the former President.

He said that Jonathan remained his leader, adding that he served as a political strategist to the ex-president.

He, however, added that those sowing seeds of discord between them were unfair to him.

“I do not want to say much but those of them sowing seed of discord were not there when I fought battles for the former President,’’ he stated.

Dickson noted that he stood with Jonathan and never compromised during his re-election bid in 2015 as some did, NAN reports.

“I told him then that the election was our own and those who wanted to impose a successor on me are unfair.

“I will reveal more in my memoirs when I leave office and people will have the details,” Dickson said.

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Appeal court delivers judgement on suit seeking El-Rufai’s removal from office

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The Court of Appeal sitting in Kaduna has dismissed an appeal by Isah Mohammed Ashiru challenging the verdict of the election petitions tribunal which affirmed governor Nasir El-Rufai’s victory at the 2019 Kaduna state gubernatorial election.

According to sources, the court ruled that governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai was duly re-elected as Governor of Kaduna State.

Recall that the gubernatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, lost at the tribunal and headed for the Appeal Court.

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Kogi guber: Court faults INEC’s disqualification of SDP candidate, says electoral umpire lacks power

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Justice Folashade Ogunbiyi-Giwa of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Thursday held that the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC was wrong to have disqualified candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the November 16 governorship election in Kogi State.

Justice Ogunbanjo-Giwa in a judgment delivered held that INEC has no power to disqualify any candidate for an election as it is the exclusive reserve of a competent court of law.

According to the judge, the provisions of sections 31(1) and 83 of the Electoral Act which holds that INEC cannot disqualify or reject candidate nominated by a political party for an election is aimed at ensuring that it does not lie within the executive realms of INEC to determine who participate in an election.

The Judge disclosed that the intention of the law is to make INEC a true unbiased umpire.

Justice Ogunbanjo-Giwa accordingly granted reliefs 1 to 7 of the plaintiffs and ordered INEC to include the names of the governorship and deputy governorship candidate of the SDP as well as the party’s logo on the ballot in the November 16 governorship poll in Kogi State.

The governorship candidate of the SDP, Barrister Natasha Akpoti, his running mate Adams Khalid and SDP had approached the court to challenge their exclusion from the 2019 Kogi State governorship election by INEC.

The commission had refused to accept the candidature of Khalid in replacement of the earlier nominated deputy governor, Mohammed Yakubu on the grounds that Yakubu was not qualified in the first place to be fielded as a deputy governorship candidate in the election on account of his age.

But the plaintiffs in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1129/2019 and filed on October 3 by their lawyer, Ola Olanipekun SAN, sought a declaration of the court that INEC’s declaration vide a letter with reference number: LEG/PP/23/T/107 that the nomination of Mohammed Yakubu as the Deputy Governor of the SDP in the November 16 gubernatorial election is “invalid” on the grounds of qualification is ultra vires the statutory powers of INEC and it’s therefore null and void.

The court in the judgment set aside the letter of the electoral body as null and void having been issued in utter breach of the law.

INEC was ordered to accept and recognize the candidates of the party for the forthcoming gubernatorial election.

The electoral body was barred from giving any further effect to the purported exclusion of the party and its candidates in the governorship election.

Shortly after judgment, thunderous jubilations rented the air at the court premises from about two thousand supporters and followers of the candidate who escorted her to court for the judgment.

Our correspondent observed that the security agents had hectic battle at the court gate to control the crowd that came from Okene to witness the proceeding.

In the end, several people wearing .the ‘T’ shirts crested with the image of the woman governorship candidate alone with her running mate were restricted to avoid court congestion.

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