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COVID-19- Is it really a cause of delaying elections in Hong Kong?

As the elections were just going to be held in Hong Kong but everything took halt due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country. No one ever expected that the explosion of this virus could cause such a situation that it will impact all the sectors in the economy. The reports suggest that the government of Hong Kong has made a press release that there will be no legislative elections on the date scheduled.

They are postponed for a specific time period until everything will become routine. Yes, the elections have been delayed for one year due to the wide outbreak of the corona pandemic in society. But the opponents are not accepting this thing as they think that it was a strategy for delaying the selection.

Words of the chief executive regarding the postponement of elections

  • The chief executive of Hong Kong, Mr. Carrie lam, suggested that it is really a very tough decision. The elections are an essential part of any of the countries as people have to choose their new representative, but it is crucial for delaying the election because of the enormous spread of the virus in the country.

  • Public safety and health are their essential desire because if they are safe, then elections can be conducted anytime. In other countries like USA and India, millions of people are affected by this deadly virus. This is why it is essential to pause all the significant activities to protect mankind from this virus.

  • As you know that the voting day is an essential day in the history of the ay city. Millions of people usually participate in voting for their deserving candidates on this day. This multiple the risk of infection of COVId-18 among the people. However, various social distancing rules have been implemented by the government. But still, they are not followed by the people, and the government does not want to take the chance of seeing people infected, leading to a massive loss for the country.

  • Even many of the citizens of China are on different continents and are deserving citizens to vote in the elections, but due to the outbreak of COVID-19, it is not possible for them to vote, which is another cause of shifting the dates of elections to another year. All the counties have imposed travel restrictions just for the people safety, and it cannot be compromised as the health of the people is more precious for them.

What was the reaction of opposition?

The opposition party of the legislative council election was blown off by hearing the news of a delay in the elections. This is because they were having a clear hint of winning in this election. This is because the people were highly disappointed by the former party and their service as the current government. Actually, their wish was to attain the victory and sweep down the new national security law, which is creating issues for several people.

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News

World Food Programme (WFP) Is Combating With World’s Hunger

The United Nations World Food Programme got this year’s Nobel peace prize for fighting with the issue of hunger around the world. WFP helps and delivers food to the communities which are affected by the war or are vulnerable at the way of helping themselves. WFP was founded in 1961 and is serving till the present date. This programme has helped in a lot of global emergencies, and last year they assisted 97 million people in 88 countries.

They get their main amount of funding from the government. The largest sources of its funding come from Germany, the US, and the UK. Some corporations and some individuals interested in donating for the food services also contribute funds to WFP.

Current areas of work

The main goal of this programme is to make peace all over the world by providing all the vulnerable communities the food security, which will also help them with improved nutrition in people. WFP is also allowing people to have a wide range of projects, which are mainly for making the chains of food supply really strong; it is also providing local markets and some help when there are risks regarding the local climate risks.

Let’s move on to the current areas of work:

# Yemen

Almost half of Yemen’s population is being fed by WFP, i.e., 13 million people. Yemen is having problems with poverty, and due to the problems that the country is always getting tossed into civil war, there is often a need for the food supply. Yemen has an inferior infrastructure, and the resources are very limited there. There are no international countries that are cooperating, and the funds are not supplied to them at all.

Yemen’s is near the breaking point at the matter of humanitarian crisis because the donors have stopped with their donations to the WFP, which they announced in April. This is the reason all the food chains of supply is obstructed.

# South Sudan

Even though South Sudan got its independence from Sudan in 2011, it is still facing poverty and lack of food. With the lack of food supply, there is a lot of violence that is not ethical and is between South Sudan citizens. 

60% of the population, which is almost 7 million people, are facing everyday struggles for getting food to eat for their basic survival. WFP has provided a lot of aids of food to half a million people and cash assistance with school meals. WFP has helped people get out of the problems of malnutrition. 

Other challenges:

There are a lot of successes, but a lot of countries have cut the funding, which has made WFP’s work hindered in many areas. Despite that, COVID-19 has also sabotaged the ability of the good work that was performed by the WFP. Due to this pandemic, WFP cannot perform the supply of food because all the countries have closed their borders from any outsiders to stay safe from the outbreak of the virus.

 

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News

How business journalism enhance economic and financial activities in society?

In today’s time, business journalism plays a crucial role in our society because there are various business ups and downs. One needs to b updated with this business news to grow and develop their mind from the business perspective. It makes a vital place in all over the world.

If you are a business enthuthioas, you need to be updated about the business world. Some of them are mentioned below.

So here I am discussing some business news.

  • Honda cars giving upto Rs 2.50 Lakh benefits on new purchases

On Friday, Honda announces its offer on new car purchasing giving upto Rs 2.50 lakh benefits, which are in various forms like discounts, warranties, maintenance, and exchanging to increase sales. This offers come with their new branded Amaze, 5th Gen City and civic, having upto Rs 30,000 benefits, which can be availed till 31 October across the country at all Honda dealerships.

These offers can also be availed by old Honda customers, formed in a bonus or claimed at exchanging time. Honda’s director said, “these offers are made by seeing the Covid-19 pandemic to enhance customers. Customers can buy at easy they offer low EMI packages.

  • HDFC bank try to pump up their credit growth by takes offers to rural India

HDFC Bank offers rural India or semi-urban areas to grow in their credit by using its vast network of villages and some merchants to giving deals at the regional areas. Users can benefit from loans that include home loans, car loans, two wheeler loans, gold loans, etc. this can be availed at a flat 5%-15% on various products.

It can also be accessed to discounts on loans and reduced EMI’s, which can be available during this period. It is also offering to process fees on Kisan gold loan and tractor loans booked in this period.

  • Hyundai India receives pre-booking of new Creta over 1.15 Lakh.

On Thursday, Hyundai Motor India received pre-books of new Creta over 1.15 Lakh across the country. Tarun Garg, Hyundai Motor Director, said it is only the immense love and trust of loyal customers who become a response to the Creta brand name. Fifty-eight thousand units of the new version were already sold, and there are 5.2 Lakh units of sales done since 2015. This enhances the company’s share to 26 percent in the SUV segment. The company’s passenger vehicle market also shares in the January-September period.

  • CLAT 2020 is refused to canceled by the Supreme Court

On Friday, the Supreme Court has refused to cancel the Common Law Admission Test(CLAT-2020) and make counseling of five candidates who were seeking to balance the exam to tell their offense to the committee. Justices informed the lawyer to consider the issue of the petition. Someone said that some questions were wrong in the online exam.

These are some business news that I have discussed above, and it shows how business journalism enhances our society’s financial activities and improves our skills.

 

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ElectionsNewsOur Priorities

We’ll Flush Out Corrupt Judges

Q: How has it been presiding over the Court of Appeal?

A: Very challenging. The court, being the second highest in the land, has a constitutional responsibility to oversee cases and appeals from all the courts below our level- State High Courts, Federal High Courts, Customary Courts of Appeal and Sharia Courts of Appeal. So you can see the huge outlets of activities; taking appeals from all of these courts are major assignments.

Q: What is your assessment of the judiciary at all of these levels you have mentioned, especially in recent times?

A: The judiciary is a human institution and no human institution is 100 per cent perfect. Human beings are the ones operating the system. So, some of them may be very bright, some very hardworking while some are just half way. To be fair to the judiciary, we have set up machinery for screening people before they get to the High Court because the High Court Bench feeds the Courts of Appeal, just as the Courts of Appeal feed the Supreme Court. So, you have these outlets out there and you just have to do your best to have the best materials at every level in these outlets, as it allows for a good standard. So far, we have been trying to achieve that objective. But as I said, in every human institution, there is bound to be one or two shortcomings. Those shortcomings also exist in the judiciary. Assessing the performance of the judiciary generally,

I think the Nigerian judiciary has performed very well, given the circumstances, environment and the attitude of the people. Largely, there is a lack of understanding of the processes we use. And of course, if you are ignorant of something, you tend to form your own opinion whether it conforms with the reality of the situation on ground. In all, people are entitled to their opinion. In my own humble view, I think we have done well so far. tn-cover-oct-06.jpg

Q: Is there no way the judiciary can promote public awareness in some of these issues that the public tends to misunderstand? A: Our work does not permit the judges to get involved in this kind of thing because we don’t want to join issues with people. We just want to be left alone to concentrate on doing our job. Of recent, yes, we saw the need to establish some kind of Public Relations department that can explain some of these things because it is made up of insiders, who will know the operations of the system and the difficulties. I think the creation of this department is very necessary in view of the recent happenings in the judiciary. So, in each of our courts now, there is a PR department. For example, I have a PR officer in this court. I believe the Supreme Court also has at the federal level. I believe it’s the same thing at the state level, too. They interact with the people and try to explain some grey areas of our work to the public. The PR department not only needs to be established, it also needs to be strengthened.

Q: There have been many criticisms of the election petitions tribunals sitting across the country. As the person saddled with setting up of these tribunals, are you satisfied with their performance?

A: As the President of the Court of Appeal, it will be very difficult for me to assess the performance of these tribunals. I have been given this constitutional responsibility to establish them. It is not my own making and it is the Constitution that gave me that power. I try as much as possible to make sure I get the best materials because the judges who do this work are not under me. I don’t know them, so I rely on the Chief Judges to give me a list of judges they think are credible. Now, I went a step further to collect the nomination from all the states. I tabulate them and what I do is to send the names of the judges nominated from each state to the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, of that state to comment on their character. The NBA knows them because its members practise before them. I don’t know them. Based on the recommendations of the NBA and also some justices of the Appeal Court that serve in those areas, I then select those I think will be able to serve on these tribunals. Another thing I do is that I don’t send a judge to his own state or any state close to his state. I send them somewhere far away. So if you are the chairman and you are from Lagos, for example, other members will come from Rivers, Borno, Benue or Sokoto. That is how we form the panels. Let us also appreciate that even though these judges have been dealing with cases, election petitions have peculiar proceedings because there is a lot of politics involved. And so, they have to be given special treatment. Don’t forget that the panel members are like five strange fellows coming from different parts of the country and probably meeting for the first time. But they have to sit and work together. So far, so good. They have done very well. I had problems in a few areas. In fact, I had to pull out one justice from a panel due to personal disagreement. But so far, we have moved on.

To expedite proceedings, I try this time around to introduce a new system – frontloading– into dealing with the petitions. I drafted a practice direction, which the tribunals are using for the first time. There have been some criticisms here and there; I admit that in every human endeavour, there are bound to be imperfections. The good thing is that we are testing this procedure for the first time. I think it has produced good results. Next time, we shall fine-tune it and I think it will work much better.

One way I think we have to also deal with election petitions is that the National Assembly has to come out with special rules that will govern the proceedings. To say that the tribunal should use Federal High Court rules and some other laws for the proceedings of election tribunal is too cumbersome. Most of the tribunal judges are from the State High Courts; only very few are from Federal High Courts. These judges are not used to the Federal High Court rules. They are used to the rules of their various states. So, for them to be given new rules at the tribunals is a little bit untidy. I think the National Assembly should come up with specific rules for the tribunals to use when dealing with election petition cases.

Q: Are you thinking of forwarding a paper to the National Assembly on this observation so that we will not have hearing of petitions going on for more than one year as we are having now? A: Almost all of the people in the National Assembly have been affected positively or negatively by the proceedings, so they should know where the shoe pinches. After all, they drafted the Electoral Act and passed it into law. Having done that, I don’t think they will have any difficulty making the rules that will guide the proceedings better because they have also experienced the process.

Q: How about sending a memo to the Electoral Review Committee? A: In fact, I am meeting with them tomorrow (last Thursday).

Q: Given the problems that the Election Petitions Tribunals have grappled with, as you have enumerated, would you say you are satisfied with their performances so far? A: Satisfied? Yes, because I know that members of the tribunals have gone through a lot of problems. Don’t forget that these judges are serving in states where they probably were visiting for the first time. Issues of accommodation and security are of very paramount importance when judges are made to handle election petition cases, which usually are very volatile. Some states are willing to assist in various ways, but in some states, you have to provide virtually everything. The tribunals have to get their own staff because they can’t afford to expose the proceedings to everybody. But we do use one or two local staff, just for convenience and to help the work of the tribunal. Remember that when they go to the different states for these assignments, they leave their families behind, leave their courts. Once in a while, you have to give them time off to go and see their families and so on. Travelling from one end of the country to another is not easy. Putting all these together, I think they have done very well.

The number of petitions they have dealt with is a testimony that they have done well. In 2003, we had a total number of 570 petitions. But in 2007, we had a total of 1,475 petitions. This is double the number of petitions in 2003. By the middle of August, almost all the petitions had been concluded. I hope you also know that every loser in an election is a petitioner. And petitions lost at the tribunal are moved to the appeal tribunal. So we have equal number, sometimes even higher number of appeals than what took place at the lower tribunal because in one suit, you may have two to three appeals owing to cross-appeal and all that. This is what is happening. We understand and we appreciate the anxiety of the people. We try not to keep these cases for so long. But there are a few sensitive appeals still pending.

Q: Why are they pending, why taking so long?

A: I like this question. You see, it is natural that when the lower tribunals conclude their cases and deliver judgment, one of the parties that lost will appeal.

Then, there will be a process of compiling record of the proceedings and some of them can be very bulky. Imagine the number of exhibits which are always attached. The registrar will work very hard to compile these records that the Court of Appeal will use in determining the merits of the appeal. After compiling the records, counsel to the parties will have to take a look at the records and certify that this is the true representation of proceedings at the tribunal.

That is the time it will now be formally filed in the registry. That is the time that appeal is entered. From that date, counsel to the appellant will, within 60 days, file his brief of arguments. After that, the counsel to the respondent will, within 45 days, reply. After that, the appellant will have 15 days to also reply. So, it is time- consuming. To file records before the court may take two months, then filing of briefs, from the calculation I made now, will take about four months, before all the papers will be in. In between, there are several motions to be heard and disposed of before the appeal is heard. These are the things that people don’t know. They just believe we are delaying the sitting of the tribunals because what they are interested in is the judgment. But they don’t know that we have to follow our own rules and procedure; we cannot go against the rules. If we do that, one of the parties will be affected.

Q: You spoke of assistance coming from state governments to the election petitions tribunals. Is there a ceiling to this assistance? A: I am a member of the Board of Governance of the National Judicial Institute, NJI, where all the Chief Judges meet. When there are tribunals in the states, we appeal to Chief Judges to assist when the judges for the tribunals get to their states. They are their colleagues. In fact, the Chief Judges have also recommended their judges for the same assignment in other states.

So, the appeal is not to the government, but to the state judiciary to provide assistance. For instance, if the Chief Judge has a guest house, we expect that it should be made available to judges serving on the election tribunals. If no guest house is available and I am informed, I will look for a hotel for the members of the tribunal and pay for it. They also help us with the local staff that will help our staff at the tribunal in the day-to-day operation of the tribunals. These include bailiffs to serve court processes. We are not concerned with state governments, but with the judiciary.

Q: But are you thinking of ways to reduce the processes that make the period of resolving election petitions so long? Can the process be abridged? A: There is the possibility. Even in our rules, you can abridge time. But in doing this, all the parties must agree. Because you cannot say out of 60, I will give you only 25 days without the consent of the parties concerned. There must be the cooperation of counsel of the parties concerned, otherwise the counsel can insist on the constitutional provision, which is 60 days for filing of papers.

Q: We have also heard instances of some former or retired judges putting pressure on members of these tribunals…

A: Don’t forget that we are human beings. I have discussed the human element part of these tribunal proceedings earlier. There is temptation to always approach these ex-judges to talk to members of the tribunals for one favour or the other. If they don’t take a strong position, they may fall into this temptation. They know it is wrong to do so.

What I expect these ex- judges to say is: ‘Look, I have done this job before; I never did this thing when I was in active service. Go and tell your lawyer what to do if you know you have a good case.’ I expect a respectable retired judge to talk this way, not saying: ‘Okay, I will see what I can do.’ From this what you can do, a lot of evil will follow. In most cases, the tribunal judges might not even be aware of what is going on. Don’t also forget that the National Judicial Council, NJC, will always sit to look at the merit or otherwise of every case. So, every judge found wanting would be flushed out. It is in the interest of any judge who is tired of the job to voluntarily retire than wait to be flushed out.

Q: Have you had cases where people petition you that so and so tribunal is not fair or this particular judge is found wanting in this particular case?

A: There are quite a number of petitions. But the problem is that in most of the petitions, what you see are general complaints. And if you say you are going to ask judges to respond to the petitions against them while they are still working, you will be dividing their attention. Which one will they do–to start answering queries or to concentrate on the job given to them? In any case, anybody who loses has a right of appeal.

I suggest that it is better to appeal than resorting to writing petitions. This is one of the areas we have to address properly in this country. Administration of justice is not just the work of the judicial officers. It involves other segments of the legal profession- the Bench, Bar and even the parties themselves. If the Bench will do its work in accordance with the law and oath of office of the judges, members of the Bar are supposed to assist the court to do justice. But they abandon their responsibilities and become part of the problems. Of course, the problems will remain.

It is also very disheartening that rather than present the merit of their cases, some parties will start looking for connection to the judges. All these things hamper the growth of the judiciary. In my view, the remuneration for judges has been enhanced. So, any judge who does not want to live within the this enhanced pay should find his way out voluntarily before he is flushed out compulsorily. Also, any member of the Bar that will resort to filing petitions against judges because he lost a case should go back to school to learn more about the ethics. I am happy NBA is organising some re-training programmes. I hope members of the Bar will appreciate their position as officers of the court and do what is right rather than abandoning their responsibilities and start aligning with their political clients, who give them money to start writing petitions against judges. Sometimes, you won’t see any merit in the petition, very insulting petitions.

Q: Are you saying there is no merit in the petitions? A: I am a member of the NJC and we received about 20 petitions against judges from the tribunals and none of them was substantiated. It is making the whole thing look bad, but it is not.

Q: Could it be lawyers that write the petitions? A: If you read the language, you will know it must be lawyers that wrote them because you see them citing cases.

Q: Are you saying the petitions are not supported whatsoever with evidence to prove the allegations they contained? A: They have no evidence. They just say they don’t agree with this judgment and that. It is very sickening.

Q: You said the judiciary has done very well. But are you concerned about the perception of the Appeal Court, with some people even going as far as describing it as the black sheep of Nigerian judiciary. In the run-up to the 2007 elections, for example, many decisions of the Appeal Court were overturned at the Supreme Court…

A: I am concerned because this is my constituency. But it is the opinion of those saying whatever they are saying. I cannot stop them. Let’s put elections aside. If you go to any division of the Court of Appeal today, take a look at what they have on their daily list. It is amazing. Sometimes, their list is just like that of the Magistrate Court. That shouldn’t happen, but this is because of the number of appeals coming to the court. But elections being what they are, there are personal interests and everybody wants to win. If he doesn’t win, then he must find somebody to put the blame on. And this is where these things are coming in those election matters and anybody who lost will be a potential petition writer or a commentator that will damage the image of the Court of Appeal because he didn’t win. But people should read our judgments, which are always supported by reasoning, before making comments.

Each judgment you read is supported by reasoning on why and how we arrived at that conclusion, but people don’t even bother to read the judgments, check the reasoning and the conclusion. But they just want to attack and say this is perversion, I have been denied my right. Read the judgment first, even if you don’t agree with it. And in any case, we are human beings who can make mistakes. But people also need to accept that there is a limit to the fight to occupy positions and even if they don’t get it this time, they can make it the next time.

Q: The new NBA President, Rotimi Akeredolu, recently said in a newspaper interview that you have not discharged your responsibility properly in constituting the tribunals?

A: Well, I have never been involved in controversies in my life and I want to leave it so. I don’t want to join issues with anybody. But what he must have said is his opinion.

Q: Is there a possibility of a review of the judgments by the tribunals after they must have disposed of the petitions?

A: No. The constitution is very clear about this.

Q: Not a review to punish erring judges or reverse the judgments? Won’t that, in the future, help to avert the contradictions we have seen in some judgments like those in Sokoto and Kebbi where the cases appear similar but different judgments?

A: What is wrong with Kebbi and Sokoto? Have you read the judgments? Go and read the judgments. There is reasoning behind these judgments. You don’t criticise a judgment until you read the reasoning. Those criticising the judgments have not read the reasoning. They just assume and it is not fair. They are so eager to criticise and condemn. These judgments are public documents after they have been delivered. They are no longer secret documents. In fact, Gani Fawehinmi publishes all of them. So if you buy one copy of Gani’s law report, you can get a collection of these judgments. If you can read, even without being a lawyer, you will be able to get to the point of what has been said. But people don’t read at all. We really need to encourage reading in this country. Though we appreciate criticism, people should endeavour to make it constructive. You don’t have to insult the judges because you don’t agree with the judgment.

Q: What steps are you taking to address this habit of judges not immediately making certified copies of judgments available? This is believed to be aimed at thwarting the effort of the appellant?

A: I don’t think that is true. Most of these judgments, when they are being delivered, usually leave those like the governors’ till the last day. And when they deliver them, they go home and leave copies with the secretary, who is supposed to reproduce for the parties.

Q: Would you have loved that you were not saddled with these election petitions because of the controversies?

A: No. I have been into those for long. I am not bothered at all. I do the best I can. Sometimes when a division is overloaded with work, I appoint a special panel to go and assist those on the ground to speed up the process and clear up the cases. What we do at the tribunal and because of the importance of the governorship cases, for example, I always make sure that I don’t leave it to a panel where they come from because there could be pressure on them because they live there. So, I take some people from other divisions and they go there as a team. If they like, they can write their judgment there, otherwise they can adjourn, hold their conference somewhere else and decide on the appeal.

Q: Can you tell us some of the trickiest cases you have handled in the course of your career? A: I have been a judge as far back as 1977. I was at the High Court and I handled both civil and criminal cases. To me, every case is important because the interest of somebody is at stake and you must not joke with it. At the Court of Appeal, we normally sit in a panel and the judgment is not just your own. You hold conference with your colleagues where everybody will come up with his/her own idea, before you decide how the appeal should go. So, one cannot say here that this is my judgment. It is the judgment of the court. It is at the High Court that judges sit alone and decide the cases on their own.

Q: If you come back to the world again, would you want to be a judge? A: I came from a judicial family. It is the greatest thing in my life. My parents and great grandparents were all judges.

Q: And your children? A: For now, I have three lawyers

Q: Considering the load on the Appeal Court, would you advocate the creation of more divisions?

A: I am already in the process of creating more divisions. This year, I have about three. In next year’s budget, I’ve proposed Makurdi, Borno, Adamawa and perhaps Katsina or Kano. The court is growing. That is why you find that the coordination of some of these issues can be very tricky. I can understand if you talk of some conflicting judgments at the Court of Appeal. They are understandable because many cases arise in a particular division. You must understand the perception. There are not two cases that are really the same. Though they call it conflicting, the truth is also that they didn’t bother to read the reasoning behind the judgment and they will just say: why give different judgments? But we have taken steps. I regularly meet with the presiding justices to discuss these issues. What we normally do, if any major issue has been decided at any particular division, the judgment should be circulated to all other divisions.

Q: Apart from the work load, what are the other problems confronting the Appeal Court?

A: Generally, in the Federal Judiciary, we don’t have much problems with funding. One has to be honest. The problems are in the states, simply because the governors there have refused to implement a section of the Constitution that enjoins them to hand over any amount appropriated to the judiciary for its operations. So, the judiciary is crippled. In the judiciary at the federal level, we have a long process of screening people coming in, but sometimes, there can be mistakes here and there. But there are also mechanisms set in place to correct these errors. Infrastructure wise, we are trying our best. In Calabar, we have a new complex being developed and we hope to finish it next year. The building that would serve as the headquarters is already in place and by October, we will move over. In Jos, we are also doing the same thing. We have virtually a new complex in Port Harcourt and many other places.

Q: When do we expect to have the pending appeals disposed of?

A: All the 1,475 petitions are being disposed of, but at the level of appeal, some retries have been ordered. I have already set up panels for these. We are doing our best and the panel will start sitting this week, and immediately after Sallah, it will be full blown.

Q: Any specific time frame?

A: Well, you will also need to consider the performances of the counsel to the parties. If they are up to it and their motions are disposed of without them coming up with more motions, the appeals will be taken quickly. Normally, we reserve judgment for a week or two. We on our own don’t take too long.

Q: Does it disturb you that some governors stay for up to two years before their elections are nullified, maybe on grounds of electoral malpractices and after a fresh election, they win a fresh term of four years ?

A: I don’t know. It is the system that allows it. I think the classical case is the Obi case in Anambra and the Supreme Court has decided on it. And as the highest court in the land, we have to follow its decision.

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News

Should Sudan Befriend Israel Because of Trump Said So?

Sudan is facing a lot of collapsing economic traits and is also experiencing a food crisis in the nation. The Israeli government and Donald trump are planning on having a hand of friendship extended for Sudan. Sudan has been facing non-violent protests, and that is going on for 18 months. Accepting the deal from Israel will help Sudan get over the economic crisis it is facing, and maybe it will help Sudan be adequately stabilized.

If provided, the sanctions were kept off because Sudan would have become the country that would have made the country to state failure. Now, if Sudan will stay blacklisted from the sanctions, that would be prevented easily. The sanctions are slowly making their way up because the people of Sudan are not able to get the proper nourishment that they need for their survival.

Now that they are not letting the sanctions pass, Trump has given Sudan a really good way out of the crisis they are facing. If Sudan accepts this deal of friendship, this will boost up the administration campaign, which will normalize the relations that the Arab people have with Israel at the ongoing talk of elections.

Is it a good deal for the generals?

The primary opponents were Islamists who are totally out of power now. Mr. Hamdok is in a situation where he knows if he accepts the deal that Trump has offered, the civilian supporters that he has would not be in his favor anymore for the coming future. Even though the decision will be in citizens’ popularity because then they would get the proper food resources and they will not have to face malnutrition. But the citizens are in the impression that it would degrade their dignity.

Mr. Hamdok is not the one with the yielding power; it is the generals of Sudan having wielding weapons’ total capacity. So the generals would be the people who would be dealing with Israel. Two troops were killed when there was an inconvenience in the democracy, which made the deal that UAE, US, UK, Saudi Arabia that they share the power with Mr. Hamdok.

They have separate issues.

The main thing is, military people are only tolerating the civilians because of the courtesy of getting respect. The citizens are not treated or put in their place because military officers need respect from international countries. The citizens of Sudan are outraged and disappointed in the military, and it is being said that they will not forgive them because they have treated them with just the brutality. They were never given any respect or just morally giving them any care.

All the commercial empires are operated and controlled by the officer-businessmen. These empires are getting stronger day by day in Israel. The central bank will eventually run out of money to pay them their salaries, and then they will have to beg generals for some cash. If they get the rewards they are looking for, there will be kleptocracy in Sudan.

 

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NewsPolitics

Celebrating Kunle Ajibade At 50—Ogunbiyi

On behalf of the Ajibade family, by which, of course, I mean TheNEWS family, I welcome you all to this important ceremony. For me, this is a particularly special event; for, not only have I known Kunle Ajibade from his early student days at Ile-Ife, I have also had the pleasure of following, with pride, the growth and development of his career as a journalist of distinction. Besides, Kunle Ajibade is also a close personal friend. So, when he got in touch with me to invite me to this event, I recall what my exact words were to him: ‘Kunle, for you, I’ll do anything.’

Therefore, in being present here today to honour Kunle on his 50th birthday and witness the public presentation of his collection of essays, What A Country!, I invite us to reflect briefly on the significance of today’s event, not just for Kunle and his immediate family, but also for the growth and development of the practice of journalism in our country. Because, the truth is that, in many respects, Kunle Ajibade represents the very best in the practice of that profession in our country today. And here, I speak, not only of the sense of commitment which you encounter in Kunle Ajibade’s works, but also of the presence of what Professor Wole Soyinka describes elsewhere as “editorial integrity and ethical rigour” in his journalistic writings. It is therefore not an accident that Kunle Ajibade has paid dearly for his firm commitment to a standard that has set him apart from many.

The more remarkable thing, of course, is that Kunle Ajibade has been able to achieve so much in so putrid an atmosphere such as our own where basic values are constantly under assault by a political leadership that is bereft of vision and direction. Unfortunately, this situation has sometimes been compounded by sections of the media itself, particularly that fringe section of print journalism, sometimes ingloriously referred to as junk media. So virulent is this fringe section and its effect that in certain quarters the media is also accused of some of the same excesses or inadequacies that it seeks to expose and discourage; inadequacies that include a blatant lack of self esteem, sheer incompetence, laziness and a lack of the basic tools of the profession.

Yet, this was not always the case. It is interesting to note that even among the first generation of Nigerians to found newspapers and practise the profession were to be found distinguished men of refinement, enlightenment and educational competence. For instance, between December 1859, when the Rt. Revd.

Henry Townsend, an Anglican missionary, founded the first Nigerian newspaper, Iwe Irohin fun Awon Ara Egba ati Yoruba in Abeokuta and about 1950 when partisan politics supplanted journalism as a full-time vocation, the roll-call of newspapermen was largely a galaxy of first-class professionals, lawyers, engineers, educationists and intellectuals, men who sometimes took active part in politics and determined, for better or for worse, the course of our national history.

These names include Richard Blaize, the wealthy businessman of Yoruba and Sierra-Leone origin, who founded the Lagos Times in 1880; J. Blackall Benjamin, a ‘Saro’, who founded the Lagos Observer in 1892; Owen Emerick Macaulay, student of Greek language and history and we are told, a grandson of Bishop Ajai Crowther and brother of Herbert Macaulay, who founded the Eagles and Lagos Critic in 1883; there was Dr. Akinwande Savage, a 1900 Edinburgh graduate of Medicine, who founded and wrote for the Lagos Spectator in 1893; there was Thomas Horatio Jackson, brilliant and affable scholar of the classics, who reactivated the Lagos Weekly Record in 1915; there was Christopher Josephus Johnson, a 1898 Economics graduate of Liverpool University, who founded the Nigerian Chronicle in 1908.

There was also Sir Kitoye Ajasa, cricketer, lawyer, Fabian philosopher and legislator, who founded the Nigerian Pioneer in 1914; there was, of course, the great and irrepressible Herbert Macaulay, civil engineer, nationalist, politician, essayist, a man of unusual literary gifts and courage, who reactivated the Lagos Daily News in 1927; there was also the great Ernest Sesei Ikoli, politician and essayist, who founded the African Messenger in 1921; there was Dutse Mohammed Ali, scholar and author, who came out with the Comet in 1933; there was the one and only Nnamdi Azikiwe, orator and nationalist politician, who founded the West African Pilot and finally, of course, there was Obafemi Awolowo, one of the finest minds of his generation, who founded the Nigerian Tribune, I believe, in 1949.

Several factors united these pioneer journalists: their love for their country, a passion for truth, a dispassionately scholarly mind, an unmistakable amount of self-esteem, one which was impelled by a sense of mission and ingrained in the socio-political reality of their time. However, following, it seemed, the emergence of modern-day political parties and party-controlled administrations by the end of the 1940s and early 1950s, journalism lost some of its best minds to politics, leading, as it were, to something of a vacuum in the profession. It would be almost a quarter of a century before that problem would be addressed. And ironically, the man who sought to rectify that situation and bring back into journalism men and women of sound education, in the holistic sense of the word, was not even himself a university graduate.

He was simply a hard-nosed, down-to-earth professional who knew what was wrong with the profession and sought to correct it. His name is Ismail Babatunde Jose. As Managing Director of the old Daily Times at the rather young age of 37, he set up a “graduate scheme for the training of journalists and other professionals”, who were, in some ways, to set the new agenda for the profession to this day in this country.

Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, unfortunately, my role as Chairman, confines me to merely welcoming you to this event and does not allow me the time to elaborate on these broad historical outlines I have made here.

Therefore, I am unable to establish concretely the links between then and now and what those broad historical strokes mean for this occasion. It is sufficient merely for me to end by saying that in honouring Kunle Ajibade with your presence, on the occasion of his 50th birthday and the public presentation of his book, we honour a man who comes, imbibed with a long tradition of commitment to professional excellence in his chosen profession, even if that commitment is not readily acknowledged in our country today.

Think, for instance, of the enviable work and battles that our journalists were engaged in during the nationalist struggles or the deprivations that people like Kunle Ajibade suffered under the terror that was Sani Abacha. Or think, for instance, of the ultimate price paid by my dear friend, Dele Giwa, for his doggedness and sense of commitment. It is only when these struggles are put in perspective can the full import of today’s celebrations be fully understood. Once again, I wish to thank you all for coming and to hope that you will all have a wonderful time.

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ElectionsNews

Senator Nzeribe And Fixing Our Elections?—Kanayo Esinulo

Any time Nigeria is at the brink, cliff or about to go under, it could be traced very easily to elections or election-related matters. Every election since 1963 has led to one form of political problem or the other. It is either the opposition was forced to take the extreme measure of totally boycotting the election or the election results got cooked up, rejected and declared unacceptable. When the United Progressive Grand Alliance, UPGA, rejected the results of the 1964 general elections, Nigeria found itself at a critical crossroad. The 1993 presidential election whose result was already public knowledge and eventually annulled by a cabal, is too recent to detain us here. The annulment helped to reveal the fragile nature of our democratic practice and an electoral process that did not get certain basics right.

Oftentimes, we miss the vital points. Yes, our system is bad and needs to be re-visited. The level of corruption in Nigeria is still high, and directly impacts on our politics, particularly our electoral processes. And we must not try to isolate what happens during our elections from the level of corruption that our country has painfully attained. We are not yet there with democracy.

Democracy has everything to do with popular choice and the building and strengthening of its infrastructures and institutions. In Nigeria, we have the habit of forgetting to associate the quality of our leaders with the type of elections that produced them. I have argued elsewhere that one sure way of getting things right in Nigeria–politics and economy–is to get our elections right by simply ensuring only those who won majority of the votes cast are allowed to govern. The point could, therefore, be made that only a tiny population of our elected representatives may have really won.

For many years and in different dispensations, Chief Francis Arthur Nzeribe represented me and my

people at the Nigerian Senate. Yet, an interaction with people of varied social categories at my senatorial constituency – workers, farmers, students, retirees, lumpen-proletariat and the self-employed – could not produce anyone who admitted that he ever cast his vote for the “Oguta boy”, as one retired Headmaster described him at Mgbidi, the next town to Oguta. Again, no one ever remembers attending any political rally addressed by Chief Nzeribe before or during political campaigns. Yet, he wins all the time. Since 1983, when Nzeribe abandoned his “flourishing businesses in the UK ’’ to be part of Nigeria ’s murky politics, the man has ‘won’ all the elections he contested, whether my people liked it or not.

How was Chief Francis Arthur Nzeribe able to perform these series of magic? My answer is: the man simply understood the system, how Nigeria works and what it takes, period! Give it to Nzeribe. But the man knows that beside the 1983 elections in which the late Chief Sam Mbakwe and Chief RBK Okafor loaned him their political network and platform that enabled him defeat a more popular Collins Obi of African Continental Bank fame for the Senate seat, Nzeribe cannot in good conscience claim that he won clean in the other elections that he took part in.

His successes in retaining Orlu Senate seat were governed largely by his untested claim that he had the capacity to match naira for naira, rice for rice, and okporoko for okporoko. Yes, the man understood, more than majority of Nigerian politicians, the critical role of the mass media in our electoral process: namely, that once the announcement was made by those “boys at the radio station and the other news rooms pick it up”, the battle has been won, and the opponent conquered and routed. The rest, Nzeribe’s erstwhile aides would tell you, is left between the victim and the Election Tribunals.

But this piece is not all about the man who claimed to have represented me at Nigeria’s upper legislative House a good number of times. The more critical point I want to make is that when a politician gets into Government House, state House of Assembly, or goes to the Federal House or the Senate on his own steam, through his own methods and channels, he may not necessarily be answerable to his people. After all, he did not really get there through the people’s votes. Was that why Senator Nzeribe never bothered to mention the horrible state that Onitsha/Owerri road, which substantially criss-crossed the constituency that Nzeribe claimed to represent, was for so many years? The unmotorable condition of that strategic highway and the number of accidents that occurred on it never struck the distinguished senator as a matter worth throwing up for public discourse.

That may also explain why the criminal gas-flaring and the pollution of our environment by multinational oil corporations at Egbema and surrounding oil locations, did not receive as little as a condemnation from Senator Nzeribe all his days at the Senate. He never brought the agony of our people in the oil-bearing areas where Shell Petroleum and Agip have exploited crude for decades, to the attention of those who govern the Nigerian state. But why should we hold Nzeribe accountable, or for this gross dereliction of duty, as it were, when he could easily argue, as he often did, that we did not put him there.

The point I make is simple: for Nigeria to get there, we must do something fundamental about our electoral system. Our elections must reflect popular choice. Neither the Electoral Act of 2006 nor the 1999 Constitution which was dutifully packaged, sealed and delivered for us by the military is the ultimate answer or solution. We may have to give serious consideration to those things and those factors that made the June 12 1993 election rig-proof, and possibly borrow from them. We may have to think about the number of political parties that we now parade. The discarded Option A4 of the Humphrey Nwosu era now needs to be re-visited, and the practice of counting and announcing election results at polling stations is good for any country whose democratic institutions are still fragile.

It was good that President Umaru Yar’Adua recognised the inadequacies of the electoral system that produced him, for soon after he assumed office, hae publicly admitted that the processes needed to be revisited and re-jigged. The bottom-line, however, is for those who get the largest number of votes cast to be declared winners, and allowed to represent and govern us.

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NewsPolitics

Who Is This Man, Obama?

There was nothing in his background to suggest that he would be a candidate for the Oval Office. First, the arrival of his Kansas-born mother, Ann Dunham, was greeted with apathy as Stanley Dunham, her father, craved for a male child. And against the prevailing bias against coloured people, Ann, a Caucasian, fell in love with a certain Kenyan student named Barack Obama during a chance meeting at the University of Hawaii. The result of the liaison and subsequent marriage manifested with the arrival of a baby boy named ‘Barack’, which means blessed in Arabic, on 4 August 1961. But the father soon went to study at Harvard and only came back once, when his boy was already 10 years old.

The young Barack unwittingly embarked on his first dalliance with international relations when he accompanied his mother to Indonesia to live with her on her second marriage to his stepfather, Lolo Soetero, an Indonesian. While in the Far East, Barack was exposed to the slings and arrows of acute poverty in the Third World country. He returned home to Hawaii after the break-up of his mother’s second marriage. But when his mother’s job as an anthropologist dictated that she must return to Indonesia, the young Obama, then known as Barry, opted to stay behind for high school education, under his maternal grandparents. After high school, Obama entered Occidental College in Los Angeles, where he started to use his birth name Barack in place of the Americanised Barry. At LA he took his first dive into politics, appearing as a speaker at an anti-apartheid rally.

With an appearance characterised by smart Afro hairstyle, those who should know say he never loved to dominate dormitory discussions about political issues at that time. “Whenever discussions came up on topical issues like the Soviet Union invasion of Kabul, he would allow everybody around to speak up,” intoned a close associate.

Soon he discovered that Occidental, though a Liberal College, was too small a pond for a potentially big fish like him. He moved to a bigger pond–Columbia University in New York–where he graduated with a Political Science degree. Just about then, tragedy struck. Obama received a call from an aunt notifying him of the death of his errant father in an auto crash in Mombasa, Kenya. The sad event, however, came to Obama as an opportunity for homecoming, as he visited the graveside of his deceased dad in tears.

From Colombia University, he moved to Chicago. Though he knew no one in the city, Obama was determined to start life anew. He embraced a low-paying job, which saw him motivating poor people to take part in the political process that traditionally excluded them. Armed with a city map, he navigated the streets driving his near rickety Honda.

The area of concentration was the South side of the city, made up of a cluster of neighbourhoods ravaged by the close of steel mills and factory jobs. While working for the Development Communities Project, he formed a working relationship with some black pastors. The group took it upon itself to mobilise people to agitate by way of lobbying for job training centre or cleaning up public housing. With time, some sceptics came on board. According to Lorreta Augustine-Herron, one of the project founders, “Obama looked so young and tender and the ladies soon dubbed him ‘Baby face Obama’. But he was very businesslike, very respectful. He had incredible people skills. He would keep us on task to move us along, to make things happen and if we would get distracted, he would shake his head and say, ‘come on guys. This is important’.”

Obama would later join the Trinity United Church of Christ and became friends with its leader, the firebrand Reverend Jeremiah Wright, whose controversial comments almost marred Obama’s presidential campaign.

Writing about his early days, David Gardner recalled that Obama then took a giant leap from Chigago’s gritty south side to the heady atmosphere of Harvard Law School, the training ground for America’s elite. At Harvard, he made history as the first Black President of the Harvard Law Review, regarded as the most prestigious law journal in the US. After his first session at Harvard, he worked at a corporate law firm in Chicago where his adviser was Michelle Robinson, another Harvard law graduate and product of a working class family.

They later married and had two daughters, Malia, now 10, and Sasha, seven. Gardner noted that as Obama prepared to leave Harvard, job offers poured in. But he had other ideas. He returned to Chicago for a political career. He started out by embarking on a voter registration drive, a project which added tens and thousand to the roles. Obama began to clear out the path that would position him for public office.

In 1996, he was elected to the state Senate as a Democratic senator, where some lawmakers dismissed him as an Ivory Tower liberal. But Obama soon wormed his way into the hearts of many colleagues after delivering his signature speech at the 2004 party convention. He easily won his US Senate seat in a landslide. Soon after that, rumours began of a presidential run. But many dismissed such speculation for good reasons. Hillary Clinton, the former First Lady, with six years experience at the US Senate, backed with support from many party bigwigs, was the undisputed favourite to pick the Democratic presidential ticket.

But Obama changed all that. Armed with a massive $600million war chest that shattered all fund-raising records and establishing a huge data base of young grassroots supporters, he put together what has been described by the US media as staff known for discipline and lack of leaks. Soon after the celebrated endorsement from Oprah Winfrey, the Obama support train grew by leaps and bounds. Later, Paul Volcker, US Federal Reserve Chairman, joined the group alongside Caroline Kennedy, daughter of slain President John F. Kennedy, and others. By the time the list of celebrity endorsements was exhausted, Hillary Clinton was blown off. And last week, McCain, the Republican candidate, was kicked into touch.

But who really is Obama? In so many ways, the Obama phenomenon is captured in the words of Valerie Jarret, his close friend and adviser. “His improbable journey was unconventional from the start. His biography, white mother, African father and childhood are unlike that of any other presidential candidate. He has this unusual combination of life experiences that don’t fit into any stereotype. He has something in common with everyone,” he said.

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News

Is the news right that COVID-19 broke out in the world last year, but China claimed it first?

Nowadays, the only topic which is broadcast by most of the new channels is regarding the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. No one was aware that within a very short time period, this virus would be shattering down the entire economy badly. Not only the economy but each and every sector would be facing a struggle that was really out of their knowledge.

The new is in the great trend that the Minister of China claimed that they had been given a mark about the cause of spreading the virus, but this is not at all true. They even mentioned that the Covid-19 outbreak in the different parts of the world, but the china was the first country to report it.

  • All the countries are dealing with China in a very bad manner as they are considering China as the main cause of virus spread in the entire world. Earlier the government of China was not responding to the blames marked by the other countries. But now they are clearly refusing to take the blame. They are only mentioning that they have only acted first and warned the country to get prepared for taking appropriate action for dealing with this pandemic.

  • The Hua Chunying, a foreign ministry spokesperson, mentioned that the COVID-19 is a new kind of virus that is spreading by taking new phases from time to time. The regular debates are going on in the news, and they only take credit for sharing the essential pathogens for dealing and handling the virus properly. But no one country is ready to accept this statement, which is mentioned by the Chinese government.

  • The statement was released by the Chinese ministry when the world health organization gives them a mark of origin of this COVID-19 virus. The reports suggested that currently, the virus has affected 50 million people in the entire world with the death of almost millions of people. The USA is the most affected country, which is reporting a thousand new cases in the regular routine. The probe of the origin of the virus has been sent to South China to get approval.

  • The Hua refused to take charge of this virus, as she mentioned that China had made the earliest decision to implement the lockdown and travel restriction to the entire world. At the time, there were only 9 confirmed cases of the virus, and the United States had only one case at that time. The second country to take a step was the US as they put a restriction for entry of china citizens to their border due to dozens of COVID positive in their country.

Thus, there is no vaccine for this virus, and you all are requested to protect yourself on your own. Even the news channels are requesting their viewers to follow proper social distancing rules and take care of yourself by using masks and sanitizers. This time, the only mask can cat as a vaccine to protect you from this killer virus.

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ElectionsNews

Who Wins It?

The Court of Appeal in Jos will, on 11 July decide the winner of the 21 April 2007 senatorial election between Senate President David Mark and Alhaji Usman Abubakar

By Sunday Orinya/ Jos

The long legal battle over the Benue South Senatorial District seat between Senate President, David Alechenu Bonaventure Mark and Alhaji Usman Abubakar, popuarly known as Young Alhaji, arising from the 21 April 2007 election was rounded off on 25 June at the Appeal Court, Jos following adoption of addresses by parties to the case.

Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa fixed 11 July for judgment in the celebrated legal tussle that started in July last year.Although David Mark, following his declaration by INEC as the elected senator representing the zone, went ahead to clinch the Senate presidency in a keenly contested election against George Akume, his Benue kinsman, Alhaji Usman dragged him to the Election Petitions Tribunal in Makurdi, asking that he be declared winner of the election or fresh election be conducted in the disputed areas of Okpokwu and Agatu local governments where he claimed the results were cancelled because of malpractices.

All attempts to prevail on him to withdraw the petition against Mark failed. In February this year, the Tribunal, headed by Justice C.I. Uriri, nullified the election and directed INEC to conduct fresh election in Okpokwu and Agatu local governments within 60 days. But both parties appeared unimpressed with the judgment, as they headed to the appelate court in Jos. While Senator Mark is piqued by the tribunal’s nullification of his election, Alhaji Usman felt shortchanged that the tribunal did not declare him winner despite acknowledging that he had beaten Mark in the seven local governments cleared. INEC also picked holes in the portion of the judgment that ordered for a fresh election to be held. The battle consequently shifted to the Appeal Court.

Damian Dodo, SAN, representing Mark, canvassing several grounds of appeal wants the appelate court to set aside the entire judgment of the tribunal. On the other hand, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, counsel to Abubakar, wants the court to declare his client winner, as, according to him, the judgment of the tribunal calling for another election was ‘guesswork’. Yet, Amaechi Nwaewu, SAN, representing INEC, wants the court to set aside the lower court’s decision calling for a fresh election.

Mark’s request to file an application against four interlocutory rulings of the election petitions tribunal that nullified the results of two of the nine local governments in the area was granted on 17 June, giving him more hope. Dismissing the objection by counsel to Abubakar that the request was an abuse of court process, Justice Bulkachuwa held that the merit in the application by Mark could not be ignored. The three applications were heard by the court on 25 June. In his address, Mark’s counsel argued, among other grounds of appeal, that while the tribunal accepted that election in Oju was free and fair, it failed to credit Mark with the 37,343 votes scored by the PDP in the local government, even when it was admitted in evidence and was not denied in the pleadings of Abubakar. He urged the tribunal to return the votes to the appellant.

He further argued that while the election tribunal predicated its judgment on the manifest relevance of the report of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Area Commander of Police and the unit commander of the Mobile Police Unit, to nullify Mark’s votes in Okpokwu and Agatu, none of the authors of the reports were made to give testimony to avail the appellant the opportunity to challenge the reports. He, therefore, requested the appellate court to expunge the report, as the evidence cannot be relied upon.

He declared that while none of the principal characters – the electoral officers of Okpokwu and Agatu and the district Returning Officer – consented to canceling the result in their evidence, the tribunal, relying on the report of people who did not come to court went ahead to cancel the election. Dodo averred that there is no credible basis for cancellation of his client’s election, describing the decision of the lower court as “capricious and whimsical”.

According to him, while the tribunal accepted that some documents were falsified it went ahead to base its ruling on the same document but refused to give Mark hearing when he sought for rehearing of the case when the allegation of falsification was brought before the tribunal. The counsel for INEC aligned himself with the submissions of Mark’s counsel. But Chief Olanipekun asked the court to dismiss the appeal as all the grounds of appeal have no bearing with the reliefs sought, describing it as a mere academic exercise. He said there was no cross-petition by the appellant in the election petitions tribunal for relief over the Oju result.

He averred that the court has no jurisdiction over the result of Oju and cannot “cancel the Opkokwu and Agatu votes which have been justified by the tribunal”. On his appeal that his client should be declared winner, the senior advocate argued that the decision of the Returning Officer is final. He said the election was for National Assembly which was not based on geographical spread but on simple majority vote of valid votes cast.

According to him, the lower tribunal’s decision not to declare his client winner should be set aside by the Appeal Court. But Dodo reminded the court that the tribunal only granted the relief sought by the appellant in his prayers at the tribunal and asked the court to dismiss the appeal.

Olanipekun, in his reply, however, said the relief was an alternative in the event that others were not granted. Though Justice Bulkachuwa said the day’s legal battle was tedious but worthwhile, for the parties to the case it is only on 11 July that they will know whether the energy and money spent in the last one year have been worth their while.

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