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Why Judgements Sacking Govs Should Be Reviewed – Falana

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Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, said the judgements of the appellate court sacking Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano State and Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State should be reviewed.

Falana made this call in an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.

According to him, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) failed in its duty to conduct proper elections in the country.

He said the votes of Nigerians should not be nullified by the courts because of the supposed negligence of the electoral umpire that shouldn’t have cleared candidates put forward by parties without primaries conducted.

He also said thousands of votes should not be invalidated by the court because INEC officials failed to stamp ballot sheets.

Falana noted that election matters should be concluded before the inauguration of any administrations.

Recall the appellate court sacked three governors that INEC declared as winners in the March 2023 poll. All the three governors sacked by the appellate court are in opposition parties.

The court sacked Yusuf of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) and declared his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, Nasir Gawuna, as the winner of the poll.

In Zamfara, the appellate court sacked Governor Dauda Lawal of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when it declared the poll inconclusive about eight months after.

The court ordered INEC to conduct a fresh election in three local government areas of the state. PDP’s Lawal and APC’s Bello Matawalle are the major contenders in the race.

On Sunday, the appellate court sacked PDP’s Mutfwang and ordered INEC to issue a Certificate of Return to APC’s Nentawe Goshwe. The court held that the party violated the court order that a valid congress be conducted in the 17 local government areas of that state.

However, the appellate court affirmed the election of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the APC in Lagos State.

But, peaking on the judgements of the appellate court, Falana said INEC failed to perform due diligence before and during the elections.

He said all those dissatisfied with the appeal court verdicts can go to the Supreme Court.

“If you look at what happened in Lagos is different from what happened in Plateau. You are being told in Plateau that there was a judgement of the high court to the effect that primaries have to be conducted. The judgement, as usual, was dishonoured and disobeyed and the election went on.”

He said the political class must learn to comply with the decision of the court.

“It is different from Kano where you are being told that voters can be punished. It is a very dangerous judicial policy to sanction voters for the mistake of electoral officers. We are being told that 165,000 votes are wasted, they are invalid because some electoral officers committed an error by not stamping them.

On how that affect the validity of election, Falana said, “I do hope that this time around the Supreme Court will resolve these needless controversies surrounding the non-stamping of ballot papers by INEC officials who have not been recommended for any sanction.

“This is why these judgements will have to be reviewed.”

 

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Sources: Perm Sec Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ambassador Lamuwa on Leave, not suspension

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Contrary to reports that the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Adamu Ibrahim Lamuwa, has been suspended from office over allegations bordering on intimidation and sexual harassment by an aide to the Minister, our correspondent can authoritatively report that the Permanent Secretary embarked on his annual leave some days ago.

A highly placed source at the office of the Head of Service of the Federation on Thursday evening upon enquiries told our correspondent that the Permanent Secretary, decided on his own to take his annual vacation to face the false accusations which he believed were hatched to distract him from his duty.

According to the source, “Civil Service Rules and Regulations are spelt out clearly and the Head of Service of the Federation is well experienced, she will apply the rules accordingly and ensure fair hearing in investigating the matter thoroughly before taking a decision on whether suspending the Ambassador or taking a punitive action against him if he is found wanting.

“Nigeria’s Civil Service is not a motor park where touts decide what happens. We have rules and processes. Yes an investigation has been instituted, but there is no suspension.”

He further added that the Office of the Head of Service is handling the matter carefully to avoid any misapplication of justice to the parties involved.

Ambassador Adamu Ibrahim Lamuwa, the embattled Permanent Secretary has maintained that the allegations of sexual harassment by an aide who doubles as the Chief of Staff to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Simisola O. Fajemirokun-Ajayi, were false and fabricated.

In a response provided by his legal representative, and seen by our correspondent, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry denied making any sexual advances at the Minister’s aide, stating that his insistence on financial prudence and due process led to his friction with Mrs Fajemirokun-Ajayi.

“We wish to state categorically that our client has never made any sexual advances towards Mrs. Simisola O. Fajemirokun-Ajayi, who he is aware is a married woman, neither has he ever made suggestive comments or innuendos that requested any form of untoward relationship between himself and her,” a part of the statement read.

It further explained that the Permanent Secretary’s jocular remarks and ordinary conversations with the petitioner were misinterpreted by the aide.

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World Bank Approves $2.25bn For Nigeria To Stabilise Economy

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Wale Edun, the minister of finance and coordinating minister of the economy, has announced the approval of two major “financial support packages” by the World Bank — valued at $2.25 billion.

According to a statement on Thursday, this is part of President Tinubu’s ongoing efforts to stabilise the economy, reposition it for sustained and inclusive growth, and provide urgent support to the poor and vulnerable.

The statement was signed by Mohammed Manga, the ministry’s director of information and public relations.

“The approved operations include $1.5 billion for the Nigeria Reforms for Economic Stabilization to Enable Transformation (RESET) Development Policy Financing Program (DPF) and $750 million for the Nigeria Accelerating Resource Mobilization Reforms (ARMOR) Program-for-Results (PforR),” the statement reads.

“The combined total of $2.25 billion will provide essential financial and technical support as the government continues to address economic distortions.”

Additionally, Manga said the support package will assist Nigeria in its long-term goal of increasing non-oil revenues and securing oil revenues to ensure fiscal sustainability and the delivery of quality public services.

He said ‘RESET’ aims to strengthen Nigeria’s economic policy framework, create fiscal space, and protect the poor and vulnerable.

The statement also noted that ‘Armor PforR’ supports tax and excise reforms, improves tax revenue and customs administration, and safeguards oil revenues.

Commenting on the approval, Edun welcomed the support of the World Bank.

“We have undertaken bold and necessary reforms to restore macroeconomic stability and put Nigeria on a path to sustainable and inclusive economic growth,” he said.

“These reforms will create quality jobs and economic opportunities for all Nigerians.

“We welcome the support of the RESET and ARMOR programs as we further consolidate and implement our policy reforms, consistent with accelerating investment and using public resources more sustainably to achieve our development goals.”

On his part, Ousmane Diagana, the World Bank vice-president for Western and Central Africa, lauded the country’s efforts in reforming the financial sector.

“Nigeria’s comprehensive macro-fiscal reforms are placing the country on a new path that can stabilize the economy and lift people out of poverty,” Diagana said.

“It is essential to maintain the momentum of these reforms and continue to provide support to the poor and vulnerable to mitigate the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.”

The vice-president said the financing package will strengthen the World Bank’s strong partnership with Nigeria and support efforts to rejuvenate the economy and expedite poverty reduction, serving as an example for Africa.

 

 

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Why We Must Protect Nigeria’s Democracy, Obasa, Fashola, Foreign Diplomats Speak

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Despite its challenges, democracy in Nigeria must be protected by every citizen, speakers at an event to commemorate the country’s 25 years of unbroken democratic governance organised by the Lagos State House of Assembly have warned.

Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, former governor of Lagos, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, foreign diplomats, and business experts argued on Wednesday evening that democracy has benefitted the Nigeria since 1999 when the country began its fourth republic.

Others who spoke at the event include Prof. Eghosa Osaghae of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Dr. Muda Yusuf, former chairman of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce, and Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM).

Dr. Obasa said Nigeria deserved to celebrate because in the last 25 years, the country has successfully transferred power from one administration to another, uphold the principles of representation, accountability, and the rule of law.

“Our democracy has endured despite challenges and setbacks. We have faced elections, protests, and debates, but our commitment to democracy has remained unwavering.

“We have demonstrated that democracy is not a destination but a journey, and we are proud to be on this path. We must continue to guard it jealously, for it is the foundation upon which the fabric of our nation’s progress is built.

“We must continue to promote democratic values, protect human rights, and ensure that our democracy remains perpetually unbroken,” the Speaker said while recalling the struggle and sacrifice made by well-meaning Nigerians during the struggle for democracy.

Obasa noted the roles so far played by the state legislature in the scheme of Nigeria’s progress to include promotion of good governance, accountability, and the rule of law as well as passage of bills that have transformed the lives of citizens.

“As a transformative and people-centric legislature, the House of Assembly has delivered impactful laws and representation, reforming justice, social welfare, and security systems, and driving tax reforms, infrastructural development, and transportation improvements.

“These have attracted significant attention from local and international admirers, leading to frequent visits from international representatives and private citizens seeking to learn from us, exchange ideas, conduct research, or participate in exchange programmes,” the Speaker said.

He urged Nigerians to continue to support state Houses of Assembly to further deepen democratic values and bring governance closer to the grassroots.

FASHOLA

The former governor of Lagos said 25 years of democracy has provided an opportunity for effective representation of the people as well as freedom to make laws.

Urging Nigerians to hold on to democracy very jealously, he argued that the federal system practised in Nigeria remains important to the country’s growth.

“For those who are understandably impatient with democracy, I hear them. It can be a tedious way to govern. There is no better way to order our affairs. I will not trade the liberties it offers for anything else.

“We are a federal state and let me tell you why. We have multi-level legislative houses from the local councils to the National Assembly. We have multi-level judicial system.

“We also find different levels of government exercising different forms of responsibilities and this you can find in the exclusive and concurrent lists and, of course, what you can’t find in those two lists, is the residual authority that resides in the states. For example, the Senate cannot make laws on landlords and tenants laws and rent control,” he said.

Speaking about some changes that have happened in Nigeria in the last 25 years, he recalled the ‘famous resource control case’ which originated from Lagos and was resolved through the constitution making some states earn better now. He also recalled the matter relating to local government creation during the administration of Asiwaju Tinubu as governor.

“As at 1999, if you wanted to build a house in Lagos, you would go and get permit in Abuja. It was the Lagos State government that went to court to stop it,” he said adding that the cases were fought and won because of the quest for a perfect union.

Urging support for President Tinubu’s administration, expressed optimism that wages and salaries and issues with the creation of state police would become reality.

FOREIGN DIPLOMATS

The Consul General of the French embassy in Lagos, Laurent Favier, while congratulating Nigeria, said “democracy is not a state of perfection but something people have to fight for at all times. It is a political structure that must be deepened.”

He expressed satisfaction with how democracy in Nigeria has ensured freedom just as he urged the country not to relent in making citizens happy.

On the other hand, Weert Börner, Consul General of Germany, said his country with 16 states, practises same federal system as Nigeria adding that this results in healthy competitions.

He affirmed that Nigerians enjoy freedom of opinions, one of the characteristics of democracy.

He commended Nigeria over its Electricity Act which gives states power to generate electricity noting that Germany followed same part 25 years ago resulting in about two million electricity producers in the country.

Consul General of the Embassy of Italy, Ugo Boni assured that the government of his country will continue to be a trustworthy companion of Nigeria while the British Deputy High Commissioner, Lagos, Jonny Baxter, said: “In these challenging times, it is important that we support each other in our shared commitment to democracy.

“Nigeria’s democratic resilience and significance in West Africa serves as an example to other nations seeking to strengthen and protect their own democracies.”

“The UK looks forward to partnering with Lagos and Nigeria in the next 25 years and more.”

Michael Ervin, political and economic section chief at the US Consulate General, Lagos, said Nigeria is an example of how diverse people can unite and ensure freedom for all.

He congratulated Lagos Assembly and noted that Lagos opens the door to the development of Nigeria.

 

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