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Drama at Kogi guber tribunal as SDP witnesses disown depositions

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There was a mild drama at the Kogi state election petition tribunal in Abuja on Monday when witnesses of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) disowned their depositions before the panel.

Four witnesses from Adavi LGA, Kogi state, gave their evidence before the three-member panel of justices led by Ado Birnin-Kudu.

When they were called to testify, the witnesses gave similar accounts of what happened on November 11, 2023, during the governorship election, though they were from different polling units.

They all adopted their written witness depositions on oath.

However, during cross-examination by the defence counsel, they made claims different from what is in their depositions.

Upon viewing their deposition, they denied writing it and clarified that they were random voters rather than polling agents.

Rufai Muhammed, one of the witnesses, had stated in his deposition that there was no validly accredited voter for the election.

But, upon cross-examination, Muhammed said he was validly accredited to vote before voting.

When his attention was drawn to his witness deposition on oath, he denied writing the testimony.

Another witness, Yakubu AbdulAzeez, in his deposition, said he stood at a particular point throughout the voting period on election day observing the proceedings noting that it was from that point he saw that there was over-voting.

AbdulAzeez, however, contradicted his claim, insisting that he could not stand during the tribunal hearing.

The witness told the panel that he had been suffering from a leg problem since 2008. The panel directed that he should be given a seat.

Claiming that he stood for hours in a spot to monitor an election that took place in November 2023 thus became an issue of concern.

Also, Hamza Abdul Azeez, another witness said he wrote a letter of complaint to the tribunal that there was over-voting.

But when asked how many votes each political party scored in his polling unit, Abdul Azeez said he did not know.

The witnesses claimed that their lawyers wrote their depositions for them, but added that they could not remember the names of the lawyers.

The tribunal adjourned the matter until April 2.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced Usman Ododo, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the winner of the Kogi state governorship election.

Ododo polled 446,237 votes to defeat Murtala Ajaka, SDP candidate who came second with 259,052 votes, and Dino Melaye, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who scored 46,362 votes.

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38-year-old Omobayo to replace impeached Shaibu as Edo deputy governor

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Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo, has picked Omobayo Godwin as his deputy, hours after the impeachment of Philip Shaibu.

The 38-year-old Omobayo is scheduled to be sworn in at the Edo government house in Benin City, the state capital, in the next couple of hours.

Born on July 19, 1986, Omobayo hails from Akoko Edo LGA of the state.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical electronics, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Benin (UNIBEN).

Shaibu was impeached on Monday by the Edo house of assembly.

His impeachment followed the adoption of the report of a seven-man investigative panel.

The panel was set up by Daniel Okungbowa, chief judge of Edo, and was headed by S. A. Omonuwa, a retired justice.

Shaibu was accused of “misconduct, perjury and disclosure of government secrets”.

Obaseki fell out with Shaibu after the latter showed interest in contesting the governorship election.

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I’m not leaving LP — we’ll resolve all issues, says Obi

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Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 elections, says he is not leaving the party.

Obi spoke on Sunday during the inauguration of a borehole he donated to traders at Pantami cattle market in Gombe state.

The former Anambra governor said he would financially support 100 traders to boost their businesses.

Responding to whether he would leave the LP due to the recent leadership crisis, Obi said there is no such thing, adding that issues in the party would be resolved.

“No, there is no such thing. I am for peace. I like peace. I believe that we are one. We are one people and our concentration should be on peace and I believe we will resolve all issues,” he said.

On the speculation linking him with Nasir el-Rufai, the former governor of Kaduna, for the 2027 elections, Obi said he is more interested in the welfare of Nigerians than in the election.

“We are always concentrating on the election rather than what Nigerians are going through,” he said.

“My commitment is about Nigerians living in a better society, given a better life. You could see this business (market) without water for years. That is what we should care about and that is my concern.”

The LP has been embroiled in crises, ranging from allegations of misappropriation of funds, and leadership tussles and calls for the resignation of the party’s national chairman

On March 27, the LP conducted a national convention in Anambra state to re-elect Julius Abure as its national chairman.

Obi did not attend the convention, fuelling speculations that he might be scheming to dump the LP for another platform.

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Ondo guber: Police disown report on certificate forgery against Aiyedatiwa

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The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have disowned a report claiming that the force had concluded investigations into the certificate forgery allegations against Lucky Aiyedatiwa, governor of Ondo.

Recently, a report, purportedly signed by “DCP Tahir Usman”, on the probe of O’level certificate of Aiyedatiwa, made the rounds on social media.

In the report, it was claimed that “there is no proof to show” that Aiyedatiwa attended Ikoyi High School, Ikosi-Ketu, Lagos.

In a statement on Friday, Muyiwa Adejobi, force spokesperson, said the alleged signatory to the report does not have the authority to release such a document on behalf of the force.

Adejobi said the force is currently investigating the source of the document and circumstances surrounding the circulation.

“The document alleges fraudulent misrepresentation, certificate forgery, examination malpractice, and perjury against the governor,” the statement reads.

“We wish to clarify that the said document did not originate from the Nigeria Police Force.

“The alleged signatory, a deputy commissioner of police, does not have the authority to release such a report on behalf of the force criminal investigation department (FCID) or any other such departments within the Nigeria Police Force.

“We urge the public to exercise caution and refrain from spreading unverified information that could potentially tarnish the reputation of individuals or public officials.”

Ahead of the November governorship election in Ondo, there have been a raft of allegations bordering on certificate forgery against Aiyedatiwa.

In January, the Ondo State Redemption Initiative (OSRI) accused the governor of “forging a certificate he claimed to have gotten from the University of Ibadan”.

“He claimed to have acquired an Advanced Diploma in Business Administration from the University of Ibadan in 2001 but checks have proved that an Advanced diploma in business administration was not available at the University of Ibadan as of 2001,” Adebayo Ogunsanmi, the group’s president, had said.

Responding to the allegation, Ebenezer Adeniyan, the chief press secretary to Aiyedatiwa, asked the group to provide evidence to back their claims.

On Thursday, Aiyedatiwa submitted his nomination forms at the headquarters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja.

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