FOUR Nigerians who were challenging the eligibility of President Goodluck Jonathan to re-contest presidential election this on Wednesday, February 11, made a u-turn by withdrawing the suit from court. The suit was originally slated for hearing the same day. But when the case was called, Alex Okoja, counsel to Tunde Samuel, Junaidu Mohammed, Rasak Adeogun and Yahaya Ezeemoo Ndu, who were plaintiffs in case, asked the court to terminate further proceedings. Okoja said his clients had already entered a notice of discontinuance at the court’s registry. Okoja told the court that his clients filed the notice of discontinuance on February 4. He did not give any reason behind the decision to pursue the case. He said the withdrawal notice had already been served on President Jonathan.
Ade Okeaya-Inneh, SAN, counsel to the president, while acknowledging receipt of the notice for withdrawal of the matter, urged the court to award cost against the plaintiffs for filing a “frivolous suit” against him. In his argument, Okeaya-Inneh said: “My lord, we have been served and we have no objection, but we will be asking for cost. We have been in and out of court on this particular matter. We have already filed our processes. This matter was filed by seven SANs, and I assume with greatest respect that they should have taken out time to evaluate the merit of the matter before bringing us here.” The court awarded a cost of N50,000 against the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs had in the suit had sought for an order restraining President Jonathan from participating in the elections. In the originating summons filed through Yusuf Ali, SAN, their lawyer, the plaintiffs contended that Jonathan was ineligible for re-election.
Deputy Governor Ordered Out of Council Meeting
GOVERNOR Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, on Wednesday, February 11, ordered Ahmed Ibeto, his deputy, to stop attending the state executive council meetings following his defection from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Aliyu also alleged that Ibeto called him a thief during one of his campaigns. The governor in his opening remark before the commencement of the regular weekly state executive council meeting on Wednesday at Government House, Minna, said he would not chair a meeting where the deputy was seated. The governor, therefore, asked Ibeto to leave the council chambers because he could use information gathered at such meetings against the PDP.
The deputy governor hurriedly left for his office and parked his valuables after Aliyu allegedly threatened to use the security agents against him.
However, Israel Ebije, chief press secretary to the governor, in a statement on Thursday, February 12, said that the deputy governor was not chased out of the meeting. Ebije said Ibeto had sought a permission to stay away from the state executive council meetings and this was granted.
He added that apart from the permission granted, the state government also told him that he (the deputy governor) would still be enjoying all the benefits of the office.
However, the deputy governor described the statement as total falsehood. He said Ebije’s explanation did not represent the true picture of what transpired at the council. Ibeto said: “If this statement is coming from the government, let me react. It is not true that I excused myself. When I received notification for the council meeting of yesterday (Wednesday) I went as usual.
“But before the council started, the governor in his opening remarks said that people and members of the executive council were aware that I have defected from the PDP to the APC and that we had gone on campaign round the state. He said that he had the information and clips that I called him a thief and that he would not preside over the council where I am sitting.”
Ibeto said that the governor said he was no longer sure that he (Ibeto) would not use council deliberations against the PDP government. The deputy governor denied that he had ever called the Aliyu a thief. He, however, warned: “If I am stopped from attending council meetings, whatever decisions taken at such meetings are null and void.” He also promised to challenge his treatment at appropriate time.
I Did Not Endorse Buhari – Obasanjo
FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo has denied media reports that he had endorsed General Muhammadu Buhari, candidate of the All Progressives Party, APC, in the forthcoming presidential election.
At the launch of ‘My Watch,’ his new book in the United Kingdom, on Thursday, February 12, Obasanjo while responding to questions on reports that he had endorsed Buhari said that his wish was to see Nigeria headed by a strong president.
He told his anxious audience: “Well, whatever you get in the paper and in the press, please yourself. What I said, I maintain that I will say it again and I will do it. When the time comes for me to vote, I will consider the track record of all the candidates that are contesting and I will assess and based on my own assessment for who I believe have the best track record to perform the job of the Nigerian president, then he will have my vote. If anybody should know what the job of the Nigerian president requires, I should know.”
It is common knowledge that Obasanjo, who has served as military and civilian president s is not in a good term with President Goodluck Jonathan. But in trying to clarify his position, he said further: “Nigeria has a population of 180 million and you wouldn’t have anybody other than one person or two persons that can run the affairs of Nigeria? What the hell are we talking about?
“For me, there are millions who can run the affairs of Nigeria who are not even coming out. So, why should you die on behalf of one who is probably performing as a mediocre? With all due respect. Nigeria, if you love it, you would look for the best for Nigeria and I don’t believe that at this point in time we have the best for Nigeria.”
Many members of the ruling PDP have castigated the former president for the perceived endorsement of Buhari. On his part, the APC presidential candidate said the endorsement of his candidacy by Obasanjo would boost his chances in the March 28 elections.
APC Will Not Islamise Nigeria
THE General Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation has assured Nigerians that Buhari has no plans to Islamise the country if voted into office. Osagie Ehanire, coordinator of the General Muhammadu Buhari in Edo State, therefore, urged Nigerians to disregard the insinuations that Buhari, candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, would Islamise the country if elected president in the coming presidential on March 28, this year.
Ehanire said that the ridiculous rumours were being used by detractors to sway the minds of Christians against Buhari, a devoted Muslim.
Ehanire said Buhari cares less of religion being an open minded individual who practises his religion with sincerity. Besides, he said Islamisation of the country would be a tough hurdle for any leader to achieve.
— Feb. 23, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT