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APPEAL COURT DISMISSES SUIT CHALLENGING OBI’S QUALIFICATION TO CONTEST PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

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Peter-Obi
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The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday dismissed an appeal by the Allied People’s Movement seeking to disqualify the candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, from contesting the forthcoming presidential election.

In the appeal marked: CA/ABJ/CV/1414/2022, the APM had approached the court, contending that the Independent National Electoral Commission, ought not to have recognized Obi as a valid candidate for the presidential poll.

This, the APM said, was in consideration of the time Obi defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the Labour Party.

The party argued that the period of Obi’s defection for the purpose of contesting the presidential election was in violation of sections 77(2) and (3) of the Electoral Act, 2022.

They also argued that before Obi’s defection, the LP already sent a list of its registered members to the INEC.

According to the appellant, the LP presidential candidate lacked the right to be recognized as a flag-bearer of the party because his name was not on the list of LP members that was forwarded to the INEC.

Consequently, APM urged the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which dismissed the suit it filed to challenge Obi’s candidacy.

The appellate court, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel of Justices, said there was no merit in the appeal filed by APM.

It held that the trial court ab-initio did not have the requisite jurisdiction to entertain the suit since the APM lacked the locus standi to institute the action.

In its judgment, however, the appellate court held that APM’s suit was not an abuse of the judicial process, waving aside the argument by both Obi and the LP that the suit was statute barred.

The court noted that whereas Obi resigned from the PDP on May 24, 2022, INEC published his name as a candidate for the LP on September 20, 2022.

It equally noted that following the publication of Obi’s name, the APM, being a registered political party that also has a candidate for the presidential election, filed its suit on September 30, 2022.

The court held that since the suit was filed exactly 11 days after Obi’s name was published by INEC, it was not caught by the 14 days limitation stipulated in Section 285 (9) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and therefore not statute-barred.

The appellate court emphasized that under section 157 of the Electoral Act, only an aspirant could challenge the nomination of a candidate to INEC and that APM did not qualify as an aspirant, adding that the duty of INEC was to publish names submitted to it by political parties.

The court held that by INEC publishing Obi’s name, “it has done no more than comply with provisions of the Electoral Act”.

Also, the appellate court held that though the APM alleged that Obi’s name was not on the register the LP submitted to INEC, it failed to present the said register in evidence.

Consequently, the appellate court struck out the suit and all the reliefs the party sought before the trial court and awarded a cost of N200,000 each, to both Obi and the LP.

Whereas, the panel which was led by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongbam-Mensem, and Justices Danlami Senchi, and Ugochukwu Ogakwu, concurred with the lead judgement.

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SENIOR JOURNALIST ACCUSES ONANUGA OF INSURRECTION AGAINST INDEPENDENT MEDIA

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Says it’s a reminder of Abacha’s dictatorship

A veteran journalist and rights activist, Mr. Richard Akinnola, has raised the alarm that the incoming government of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu will be intolerant of the free press.
Akinnola vowed that Nigerians would resist any planned “insurrection” against the independent media the way they fought Abacha’s dictatorship against the media.


Akinnola in an open letter dated April 1, 2023, written to the Director of Media of the Presidential Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Bayo Onanuga, expressed dismay that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) slammed Channels Television with a N5 million fine, following a petition allegedly written by Onanuga over an interview by the vice presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed.


NBC had last week slammed a fine of N5 million on Channels Television for allegedly breaking the broadcasting code in a programme with Baba-Ahmed.
The sanction came a few hours after Tinubu petitioned the station over its interview with the LP vice presidential candidate.
While fielding questions on a Channels Television programme, Baba-Ahmed asked the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, not to swear in Bola Tinubu as president.


The LP vice-presidential candidate said there is no president-elect because Tinubu did not allegedly meet the requirements of the constitution.
However, Akinnola, who in his letter reminded Onanuga of their long-time friendship, accused him of violating all the principles they both fought for under the military, particularly against the military onslaught on the free press.


He warned that Nigerians would resist any planned “insurrection” against the independent media the way they fought Abacha’s dictatorship against the media.
The letter read: “I hope you are now happy and satisfied that NBC has sanctioned Channels with a N5 million fine, following your petition over Datti Ahmed’s interview on Channels Television.


“Chief Gani Fawehinmi and Dr. Olu Onagoruwa (both of blessed memories) were the best of friends for several years but that friendship was truncated when the latter decided to join the Abacha junta as the Attorney-General, churning out despicable Decrees. Their relationship ended and Gani publicly upbraided his erstwhile friend.


“You and I have been friends for several years, fought many battles together against the military, particularly against their onslaught on the free press. I, therefore, feel pained that l have to publicly upbraid you for your recent public statements, particularly your petition against Channels Television, to NBC.
“Et tu, Bayo? I’m still trying to wrap my head around your sudden 360 degrees against all you fought for under the military. You are yet to be in government and you have started exhibiting intolerance against the independent media, the same thing you fought for all your years like Dr Onagoruwa did. I’m sure your principal, who has been a lover of a free press, would be embarrassed by your position.


“I watched the interview under reference and I must say, you are very unfair to Seun Okinbaloye, the anchor man who repeatedly cautioned Datti Ahmed for making some seemingly inciting comments, to the anger and discomfiture of Datti-Ahmed. So, in all conscience, what then is the basis of your petition to NBC? Can you compare that to your recent incendiary post against an ethnic group? Why are you making enemies for your principal, instead of friends, in a country so polarised? While your principal is preaching unity and healing, you are busy trying to make more enemies for him. Yesterday, it was ARISE NEWS Channel; today, it is Channels. Is that a foretaste of what to experience in the incoming government? So, we should be fixated on NTA and TVC? Isn’t that what you are trying to say proverbially? To say that I’m totally embarrassed by your silly conduct would be stating it mildly.


“For eight years, despite all vitriolic attacks on the president, Femi Adesina, as Special Adviser, Media to the president, did not petition against any medium but you wey never enter, don dey censor the media. What a shame! I can expect the disaster that awaits us if you become the presidential spokesperson. Do l subscribe to unfettered press freedom? No. I believe every freedom comes with responsibility. However, when you create a perception that the incoming government would be intolerant of the free press, we need to sound the alarm bell.


“My dear Bayo, it is often said that until a man tastes power or has access to money, you can’t judge his character. That may not be true because one of our mutual friends, Tunji Bello, has tasted both but has been the normal self that l have known for over three decades. His decent character has not changed, in and out of government. So, could it be that your real character is just unfolding? Just because you are now at the periphery of power, you are ready to obliterate all the values and principles you held all these years. What a shame!
“Take notice that we would fight this your planned “insurrection” against the independent media the way we, including you, fought Abacha’s dictatorship against the media.”

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NBC SLAMS N5M PENALTY ON CHANNELS TELEVISION FOR BREAKING BROADCAST CODE

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The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has slammed a fine of N5 million on Channels Television for breaking the broadcasting law in a programme with Dr Datti Baba-Ahmed, Labour Party Vice Presidential candidate.

This is contained in a letter addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of the television station and dated March 27.

The letter was exclusively obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.

The letter, with the title: “Broadcast of an Inciting Interview, A Sanction”, was signed by Balarabe Ilelah, the commission’s Director-General.

It read in part:” The NBC monitored the broadcast of a live interview of the running mate of the Labour Party Vice presidential candidate, Dr Datti Baba-Ahmed, by the anchor of Politics Today, Seun Okibaloye, on Wednesday, March 22.

“Dr Baba-Ahmed said it will be unconstitutional to swear in an elected president on May 29, 2023, because of election irregularities,” Ilelah said in the letter.

He noted that the broadcast was volatile and capable of inciting public disorder and therefore violated some sections of the broadcasting code.

This, according to him, includes the section that said no broadcast shall encourage, or incite, be repugnant to public feelings or contain offensive reference to any person or organisation, alive or dead or generally be disrespectful to human dignity.

Ilelah added that according to the broadcasting code, broadcasters shall ensure that no programme contained anything which amounted to subversion of constituted authority.

He recalled that the NBC had engaged Channels Television severally to consider public interest before any programme is broadcast.

This, he said, was to ensure that the country was not plunged into anarchy.

“Consequently, on the following infractions, Channels Television is hereby sanctioned and shall pay a penalty of N5,000,000 (five million naira) only in the first instance,” he said.

He added that any further infraction by the television station would attract higher sanctions.

“You are advised to pay within two weeks from the day of receipt of this letter or the penalty will be graduated,” the NBC Director-General said

(NAN) 

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JUST IN : IMO LABOUR PARTY GOVERNORSHIP ASPIRANT FOUND DEAD

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Labour Dead

A governorship aspirant under the platform of the Labour Party in Imo state, Chief Humphrey Anumudu, has been found dead in his house.

WITHIN NIGERIA reports that his death comes after his return from a meeting at the party’s national headquarters in Abuja on Friday.

He died in his Lagos house in what family sources described as a “spiritual attack.”

A close friend of the deceased said he died around 5:30 pm on Friday.

Neither his family, nor party has made official statement on the development.

This is a developing story…

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