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JUST IN: Supreme Court strikes out Buhari and Malami’s suit against new Electoral Act

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The Supreme Court, on Friday, struck out the suit President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, filed to void section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022.

The apex court, in a unanimous decision by a seven-man panel of the Justices led by Justice Muhammad Dattijo, held that it lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit which it said amounted to an abuse of the judicial process.

It held that President Buhari was not a proper person to approach it with such suit, owing to the nature of reliefs that were sought.

President Buhari and Malami had in the suit marked SC/CV/504/2022, contended that section 84(12) of the Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2022, was inconsistent with the provisions of sections 42, 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the constitution as well Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

The Plaintiffs, among other things, sought “a declaration that the joint and or combined reading of Section 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the Constitution, the provision of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 which also ignores Section 84(3) of the same Act, is an additional qualifying and/or disqualifying factors for the National Assembly, House of Assembly, Gubernatorial and Presidential elections as enshrined in the said constitution, hence unconstitutional, unlawful, null and void”.

“A declaration that having regard to the clear provision of section 1(3) of the Constitution read together with section 4 of the same Constitution, the legislative powers vested in the defendant do not permit or empower it to make any other law prescribing additional qualifying/disqualifying grounds for election to the national assembly, house of assembly, gubernatorial and presidential election outside the express constitutional qualification and disqualification provisions as already provided in each or all of sections 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), and without amendment to any of those sections is for the reason of inconsistency, unconstitutional and therefore null and void.

As well as, “An order nullifying the provision of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 by application of the blue-pencil rule, for being unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and having been made in excess of the legislative powers of the defendant as enshrined in section 4 of the constitution (as amended).”

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Appeal court affirms Umahi as Ebonyi south senatorial candidate

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A court of appeal in Abuja has affirmed David Umahi, Ebonyi governor, as the validly elected candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Ebonyi south senatorial election.

Ann Agom-Eze had challenged Umahi’s emergence as the APC candidate for the senatorial district.

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PDP NWC members return over N90m amid bribery allegation

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Some members of the national working committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have returned money reportedly credited to their bank accounts by the party leadership.

In recent weeks, there has been crisis in the PDP over the insistence of allies of Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers, on the resignation of Iyorchia Ayu, the party’s national chairman.

Amid the crisis in the party, there have been allegations of financial misappropriation against the Ayu-led NWC of the party, with claims that funds from sale of nomination forms have not been properly accounted for.

An insider had told newsmen that some of the NWC members also want an audit of about N1 billion that the party got from friends of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the party.

Last Friday, Wike, in a media chat, accused Ayu of receiving N1 billion from one of the presidential hopefuls in the party, while alleging that the national chairman is “very corrupt”.

Meanwhile, in separate letters seen by newsmen on Thursday, some members of the Ayu-led NWC said they have returned money received from the party’s bank accounts.

Stella Effah-Attoe, national women leader; Dan Orbih, national vice-chairman (south-south); and Taofeek Arapaja, deputy national chairman (south), are among the NWC members who said they have returned money to the party’s account.

The duo of Effah-Attoe and Orbih said they returned the sum of N28.8 million each, while Arapaja said he retuned N36 million to the party’s account.

In the letters addressed to the party, Effah-Attoe and Arapaja said the money was allegedly credited to their accounts by the party leadership for “housing allowance”.

In his letter addressed to Ayu, Arapaja cited a report which alleged that members of the PDP NWC were offered “humongous” amount of money to “silence” financial misappropriation in the party.

“This led me to browse through my various alerts, and I discovered a transfer of thirty-six million naira (N36,000,000.00) from the party. I have my reservation about this money transferred into my account and for personal reasons wish to return it accordingly,” Arapaja’s letter reads.

On her part, Effah-Attoe said she didn’t feel comfortable being in possession of the N28.8 million.

“Since after the lodgment of the money into my Bank Account, I have been inundated with many phone calls from party members, friends, family members and the general public, insinuating that the said money has been given as a bribe to bring me and other NWC members on the side of the National Chairman, following the crisis between him on one side and the Governor of Rivers State, H.E. Governor Nyesom Wike/Wike’s Group, on the other side,” her letter reads.

“In addition, some national newspapers/social media platforms have also carried stories accusing the NWC members of being placated with bribe of N28,800,000.00.

“This development has made me very uncomfortable, having found myself in such an embarrassing situation, I am hereby refunding to the Bank Account of our Great Party at the PDP National Secretariat.”

Orbih, who described discovering the money in his account as a “surprise”, said the return followed allegations that NWC members “were offered N28 million to gloss over scandalous financial misappropriation”.

“To my shock and surprise, it has been confirmed to me by my bank that the sum of N28,800,000 (twenty eight million eight hundred thousand Naira) has been credited to my account by the party. I hereby notify you of my decision to pay back the money to the party’s account,” his letter reads.

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Hilda Dokubo to contest House of reps seat under Labour Party

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Hilda Dokubo has declared interest in contesting the Asalga/Akulga federal constituency in the house of representatives under the Labour Party (LP).

The actress, on Wednesday, put out a banner announcing her intention in a now-viral tweet.

“My dear people, I write to apply. Yours obediently,” her tweet, branded with the Labour Party logo, read.

Dokubo has been very open about her support for Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the LP.

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