PDP holds BoT, NEC meetings July 17

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has fixed its expanded National Caucus, Board of Trustees (BoT), and National Executive Committee (NEC) meetings for Monday. July 17.

The notice of the meeting was jointly issued in Abuja on Saturday by Sen. Ben Obi, the National Secretary of PDP National Caretaker Committee, and Amb. Aminu Wali, the National Secretary of BOT for BOT Chairman.

It stated that the meeting of the expanded National Caucus would hold at 8 a.m, at PDP National Secretariat (Wadata Plaza), Abuja.

Those invited to attend the meeting were former presidents and vice presidents, PDP governors, NEC members, BoT members, National Assembly members, former PDP governors, former PDP ministers and all former national officers of the party.

It added that the BOT and NEC would also be holding separate meetings on Tuesday, July 18, at the same venue.

NAN

Obasanjo Warns Nigerians, Nobody Should Call Me Matthew Again, I’m Not A Tax Collector

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has officially denounced his Christian name, Matthew, and has also sounded a loud warning to Nigerians never to address him by the name or risk the bad side of him.
According to him, he took the decision to denounce the name because Matthew in the Bible was a ‘stupid’ tax collector.
The former president made the statement on Friday at an event organised by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) in commemoration of his 80th birthday celebration in Abuja.
Obasanjo explained that he adopted only Olusegun Okikiola Aremu as his names because they have lots of connotations in the African setting.
He was quoted by Leadership Newspaper saying ?When I was born in my part of Nigeria, the system was that after eight days, you must be given a name and for people to know that you were born into a Christian family, you will be given one Hebrew name.
?My mother and father decided to name me Matthew but when I grew up, I started asking myself the meaning of Matthew. Not only does it not have meaning as long as I am concerned, the biblical Matthew is a stupid tax collector. Anybody who does not want to see my eyes red should stop calling me Matthew?.

 

Nigerians Come For APC After The Party’s Twitter Handle Shared A Quote About Rain Being More Effective Than Thunder In Growing Flowers

So APC’s twitter handle decided to wish Nigerians good morning with this popular quote by renowned Persian scholar and poet, Rumi. Nigerians took it as an invitation to remind the party of its shortcomings and failure to deliver on campaign promises two years after taking office. See their tweets below…

famous Nollywood Actor Yul Edochie Declares His Intention To Run For Governor Of Anambra State

Yul who is a son of legendary actor, Pete Edochie, has declared his intention to run for governor of Anambra state in the Novermber 18th 2017 governorship election of the state. He shared his campaign poster this morning but did not indicate the political party he would be running on.

“My name is Yul Edochie. And I’m running for Governor of Anambra State. 2017. We need a new brand of Leaders who will put the masses first. The older ones have failed us for too long…They have come to THE LAST BUS STOP!!!” he wrote

 

PDP announces ‘amnesty’ for Sheriff, Cairo, others

The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party has announced what it called “general amnesty” for its members who it said participated in the crisis that engulfed the party in the last 14 months.

It said while it would overlook the sins committed by those set of people, it nevertheless warned that anyone who participates in fresh plot against the former ruling party would not be forgiven.

The Chairman of National Caretaker Committee of the party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, stated this in an interview with reporters in Abuja on Thursday.

The former governor of Kaduna State was reacting to a question on whether the party would sanction the sacked National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, and those in his camp who took the party to court over the outcome of its May 21, 2016 national convention.

Apart from Sheriff, some of those in his camp were the party’s former National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo; Sheriff’s deputy, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, and the acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Bernard Mikko.

Makarfi, who described the last 14 months as very worrisome for the party, however, said there was no need punishing those who made the party to experience the setback.

Speaking through the spokesperson for the caretaker committee, Mr. Dayo Adeyeye, Makarfi called on those with pending cases against the party at state levels, to withdraw them.

Adeyeye, a former Minister of State for Works, said the PDP would provide a credible alternative to the ruling All Progressives Congress ahead of the 2019 general elections.

He stated, “No, we won’t punish anyone for what had happened in the past. Our doors are open for everyone, including those who are not members of the PDP.

“It is general amnesty for all. It is when you begin to commit fresh sins or causing fresh troubles that we will then look at it.

“We want to appeal to everybody, those who have cases in courts, to withdraw them in the interest of the party. You can see that everybody is happy because of the outcome of the case.”

Adeyeye alleged that the APC had failed the people, saying Nigerians were looking for a party that would offer solutions to current challenges.

He stated, “APC is a monumental disaster. People are looking for alternative and now the Supreme Court has restored their hope. We will provide the alternative platform.

“As we can see now, 2019 election will be a walkover in our favour. APC will begin to see virile opposition henceforth.”

In his reaction, Sheriff said he was not sure that Makarfi could be calling for amnesty for him and his group, adding that until he was sure that the former governor made the call, he would not respond.

Sheriff, who spoke through Ojougboh, said, “He said that he was going to grant us amnesty? Are we criminals? No, he couldn’t have said that.

“Let’s wait and see. If he said that, then you would hear from me tomorrow. We are not criminals and how can someone be talking of amnesty?”

While pouring encomium on the members of staff of the party who are still being owed backlog of salaries, Adeyeye said that the party would make sure that their outstanding salaries “are paid.”

Earlier, Makarfi, while speaking when some former PDP ministers paid the members of the caretaker committee a courtesy visit, said opposition to the APC government would have died if the Supreme Court had ruled in favour of Sheriff.

Makarfi stated, the “APC is even afraid of holding NEC meeting not to talk of national convention. Maybe, the party is afraid that doing so could lead to its disintegration and that it could scatter.”

He said the PDP leadership would meet on Monday and Tuesday next week where decisions would be reached on when to call a NEC meeting.

Makarfi added that the party would also set up committees to resolve crisis in some states, especially in the South-West.

He promised to engage the sacked national chairman of the party and its group in discussions on how to bring unity into the party.

The former ministers, however, regretted that the crisis in the party would have been avoided if their objection to the appointment of Sheriff had been heeded.

The Chairman of the Former Ministers Forum, who is also a former Minister for Special Duties, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki (SAN), who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, said the party must not allow the euphoria of the Supreme Court judgment to mislead it.

He said, “If we are now telling Nigerians that we have realised our mistake, we must shed the toga of impunity. We must make sure that things are done in a transparent manner and there must be inclusiveness.”

PDP’ll retake Aso Rock in 2019 –Reps caucus

Also, the PDP caucus in the House of Representatives boasted on Thursday that the party would retake the Presidency from the ruling APC in 2019.

It said the Wednesday’s judgment by the Supreme Court, which resolved the leadership crisis in the PDP, had set the stage for the party to begin full preparations for the 2019 elections.

The members celebrated the court decision at the National Assembly shortly before the start of the day’s plenary.

The jubilant members of the House, who were led by the Minority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor, described the judgment as a “victory for democracy.”

Speaking for the group at a news conference attended by many of them, Ogor said, “By this turn of events, we can tell you that there is vacancy in Aso Rock.

“We are moving into Aso Rock in 2019. We earlier issued a notice to quit, but now, we can assure Nigerians that in 2019, PDP will move into Aso Rock.”

Ogor added that the members would quickly heal the wounds of the crisis by acknowledging that there was “no victor, no vanquished.”

He said, “For democracy to thrive, there must be virile opposition; the type the PDP will give to confront the inconsistencies of the APC in the past two years.

“For over two years, the APC has only succeeded in taking two steps forward and six steps backward.”

I’m in shock over judgment, says Sheriff

Meanwhile, Sheriff has said he is still in shock over the judgment of the Supreme Court, which removed him from office on Wednesday.

Sheriff said he was still waiting for his lawyers to brief him on the details of the judgment.

His reaction was sent to one of our correspondents on Thursday by his erstwhile deputy, Ojuogboh, and the former spokesperson for his faction, Mr. Bernard Mikko, in Abuja.

Mikko, who signed the statement, said Nigerians should continue to pray for the country.

The three-paragraph statement said, “We received with shock the 12th July judgment of the Supreme Court on the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party.

“We still await the written judgment of the highest court from our lawyers, who will fully brief us on the details of the judgment. In the interim, we ask all members and supporters to remain steadfast in prayers for Nigeria.

“Meanwhile, we continue with our avowed demands that the party must be given back to the owners at the grassroots to always elect their party officials and those to contest elections for them at all levels. Internal democracy must be institutionalised in the party.”

Sheriff was removed by a five-man panel of justices of the Supreme Court, which also recognised the Makarfi-led national caretaker committee as the authentic leadership of the former ruling party.

In a related development, the Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Senator Walid Jibrin, on Thursday, said he would have resigned if Sheriff had won at the Supreme Court.

Jibrin, who expressed joy with the victory of the Makarfi committee, in a statement issued in Kaduna on Thursday, added that the judgment came at the right time for the party to put its house in order before the next general elections.

“I would have resigned as PDP BoT chairman if Sheriff had won,” he said.

Women In Aso Ebi Welcomes Akwa Ibom State PDP Chairman At The Airport… Supreme court victory..

Women groups are seen dancing at Ibom International Airport, in anticipation of the arrival of the Akwa Ibom State PDP Chairman, Obong Paul Ekpo from Abuja.
The Supreme Court, on Wednesday declared Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

With the apex court?s ruling, Mr Makarfi?s position as chairman of the caretaker committee of the PDP has been restored, while senator Ali Modu Sheriff ceases to be the party?s chairman.

Ex-LG chairmen, councillors protest unpaid entitlements in Ekiti

Former local government chairmen and councillors in Ekiti on Tuesday protested the non-implementation of a Supreme Court judgment ordering the state government to pay their outstanding allowances.

The former chairmen and councillors across the 16 local government areas of the state were elected on December 20, 2008.

Their tenure, which was to end in December 2011, was terminated on October 29, 2010, by former Gov. Kayode Fayemi on assumption of office.

Fayemi assumed office on Oct. 16, 2010, following an Appeal Court judgment sacking the incumbent, Mr Segun Oni.

The protesters, who carried placards with various inscriptions, marched through state capital, expressing dismay that they had not been paid since the Supreme Court judgment delivered on December 9, 2016.

Some of their placards read “Ekiti Government Should Respect the Rule of Law,” “Gov. Fayose, Pay Our Money’’ and “No Individual is Bigger than Supreme Court.’’

One of the protesters, Mr Babalola Adekunle, told journalists that it was inexplicable that the state government had not effected payment in the last seven months.

Adekunle, who served as Special Adviser on Internally Generated Revenue in Oye Local Government Council, said the protest came after waiting for seven months.

He said some of their colleagues had died, while others were finding it difficult to meet up with their responsibilities.

“We don’t know why Fayose is delaying the payment of our entitlements as ordered by the Supreme Court.

“We are all PDP members like Fayose, he should pay us from the N9.6bn Paris Club Refund,’’ he said.

(NAN)

APC Akwa Ibom Chapter holding Prayer of Good Health for Buhari

By Effiong Samson

The APC Akwa Ibom State Chapter is organizing a prayer gathering towards quick recovery of the President, President Buhari. The prayer is being organized by the APC State Chairman and other members of the party.

APC members, well wishers and the general public are expected to gather at Four Lane for the prayer which will begin by 10AM tomorrow 23rd, June 2017.

The APC State Chairman stated that the prayer was not only for the good health of the President but for the betterment of Nigeria as a whole.

FG appeals, says Saraki’s acquittal unreasonable

By Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

The Federal Government, on Tuesday, filed 11 grounds notice of appeal against the June 14, 2017 judgment of the Code of Conduct Tribunal which acquitted Senate President Bukola Saraki of 18 counts of false asset declaration and other related offences.

The charges were preferred against Saraki, a former governor of Kwara State, in September 2015.

The CCT, in Abuja, had, on June 14, 2017, discharged and acquitted  Saraki of all the 18 charges.

The two-man panel of the CCT, led by its Chairman, Danladi Umar, unanimously upheld the no-case submission which Saraki filed after the prosecution closed its case with the fourth and the last prosecution witnesses testifying on May 4, 2017.

There were 48 documentary exhibits tendered in the course of the trial.

Umar, in his lead ruling, exonerated Saraki of all the charges on, among other grounds, that failure of the prosecution to invite Saraki for interrogation was fatal to the case.

In its notice of appeal, the Federal Government stated that the judgment “effectively” overruled previous decisions of the Court of Appeal delivered with respect to Saraki’s trial and other criminal cases.

“The judgment of the lower tribunal is unwarranted, unreasonable and against the weight of evidence,” the notice of appeal read in part.

The notice of appeal was signed by the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), and an Assistant Chief State Counsel in the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Pius Akutah.

Describing the judgment as “unconstitutional and without jurisdiction”, the appellant stated that the CCT erred in law by upholding Saraki’s no-case submission “when the onus of proof” was on the Senate President to show “that there was no infraction in the Code of Conduct Forms.

It added, “By the provisions of paragraphs 11 (2), (3) and (13) of Part 1, 5th Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), once the Code of Conduct form filled by the public officer is investigated and found to be false or that some assets are beyond the legitimate income of the public officer or that the assets were acquired by means of corrupt practices, the public officer concerned is deemed to have breached the Code of Conduct and it is for him to show to the tribunal that there is no infraction in the form.

“The honourable tribunal wrongly placed the onus of proof on the prosecution contrary to paragraphs 11 (2), (3) and (13) of Part 1, 5th Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) clearly excluded the presumption of innocence on the allegation of infraction of the Code of Conduct by public officers and the Tribunal wrongly applied the presumption of innocence contrary to the constitutional requirement.

“The tribunal’s decision is unconstitutional and without jurisdiction.”

But in the notice of appeal filed on Tuesday, the Federal Government sought two prayers which are “an order setting aside the ruling of the Code of Conduct Tribunal delivered on June 14, 2017 upholding the no-case submission raised by the respondent (Saraki) at the close of the prosecution’s case” and  “an order calling upon the respondent to enter his defence.”

The Federal Government in its notice of appeal faulted all the grounds on which the CCT predicated Saraki’s acquittal.

The appellant stated among others that the CCT “failed to analyse and evaluate the evidence of prosecution witnesses” before reaching the conclusion that there was no case made against Saraki.

It stated that the tribunal also failed to point out the evidence of prosecution witnesses discredited by the defence.

According to the appellant, the tribunal also failed to apply the provisions of sections 302 and 303 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

The notice of appeal stated in part, “The learned members of the tribunal, in their consideration of no-case submission, failed in their duty to look at the offences charged, the ingredients of the offence and the evidence adduced by the prosecution before upholding the respondent’s no-case submission.

“The learned members of the tribunal failed to analyse and evaluate the evidence of prosecution witnesses before reaching their conclusion that there is no case made out against the respondent.

“The tribunal failed in its duty to point out the material evidence adduced by the prosecution witnesses touching the ingredients of the offence charged that was discredited by the respondent’s counsel during cross-examination.

“The learned members of the tribunal failed to consider and apply the decision of the Supreme Court in Daboh v State (1977) 5 SC 197 at 315, where the Supreme Court held that if the submission is based on discredited evidence, such discredited evidence must be apparent on the face of the record and that if such is not apparent, then the submission is bound to fail.

“The learned members of the tribunal failed to point out any apparent discredited evidence on the face of the record before it upheld the submission of a no case.

“The tribunal failed in its duty to point out the essential ingredients of the offences charged and the evidence adduced by the prosecution to show that the available evidence could not establish the ingredients of the offences.

“The tribunal failed to apply the provisions of sections 302 and 303 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 in upholding the no-case submission made by the respondent.”

In the second grounds, the appellant held that in upholding the no-case submission, the tribunal ought to have only discharged Saraki, but wrongfully went ahead to discharge and acquit the Senate President.

The notice of appeal stated, “The power of the Tribunal when upholding a no-case submission is to discharge the defendant and not to acquit him.

“By section 302 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, the only order the Tribunal can make when a no-case submission is upheld is an order of discharge and not acquittal.”

Also, the appellant faulted the claim by the CCT that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which investigated the case against Saraki, failed to invite him for interrogation before charging him.

It contended that the CCT’s finding was against the evidence adduced by the prosecution.

It stated that contrary to the CCT’s finding, the EFCC invited Saraki and obtained his hand-written statement made by him under caution and the prosecution tendered the document before the CCT as exhibit 45.

It added that the decision by the CCT amounted to overruling its earlier ruling delivered on March 24, 2016 and the judgment of a superior court, the Court of Appeal, where “it was decided that the defendant (Saraki) needs not to be invited.”

The notice read in part, “PW1 never said that the EFCC did not invite the respondent in the course of investigation of the petition against him but that PW1 did not personally invite the defendant.

Continued from page 7

“The tribunal’s decision is against its earlier ruling delivered on March 24, 2016 and the decision of the Court of Appeal in Appeal No: CA/A/172C/2016 where it was decided that the defendant need not to be invited.

“The tribunal wrongly overruled the decisions of the Court of Appeal and itself.”

It argued that then CCT erred when it described the testimony of a prosecution witness as hearsay.

The notice of appeal read, “PWIII is an investigator with the Code of Conduct Bureau who gave evidence of the role he played, what he saw and the outcome of his investigation.

“The Tribunal failed to consider paragraphs 11 (2), (3) and (13) of Part 1, 5th Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which imposed the onus of proof on the respondent to justify his declaration.

“The evidence of PWIII is not hearsay evidence.”

In another grounds of appeal, the appellant faulted the decision of the co-member of the CCT, William Agwaza, who held that the joint investigative team, comprising operatives of the EFCC, the Department of State Services and the CCB was unknown to law.

The appellant stated, “The respondent, by his own application dated 1st March, 2016, had raised the same issue that it is only the Code of Conduct Bureau that could investigate him and that the power of investigation cannot be delegated to the EFCC or any other body or agency.

“The tribunal, by its ruling delivered on 24th March, 2016, ruled and dismissed the application of the respondent and he appealed to the Court of Appeal in Appeal No: CA/A/172C/2016.

“The Court of Appeal in the judgment delivered 27th October, 2016, by Aboki, PJCA, dismissed the appeal and held that “there is nothing in any law preventing the Code of Conduct Bureau, an agent of the Federal Government, from collaborating or acting in concert with any other organs of the Federal Government, which are also engaged in investigations and prosecution of criminal matters in order to achieve its mandate under the constitution and the law.”

“By the ruling of Hon. Agwadza, he has unwittingly sat on appeal and overruled the earlier decision of the Tribunal and the decision of the Court of Appeal.

“The decision of Hon. Agwadza borders on judicial rascality and impertinence.”

The notice of appeal also faulted the CCT pronouncement that the prosecution did not tender the original asset declaration forms of the respondent and his statement when they were available.

It stated, “Exhibits 1 to 6, 26 and 45 qualify as public documents under Section 102 of the Evidence Act, 2011, and there is no law that makes only the original of public documents admissible in law.

“The Tribunal failed to consider the provisions of Sections 102, 104, 105 and 146 of the Evidence Act, 2011 to the effect that a certified true copy of a public document or part thereof may be produced in proof of the contents of the public document or a part thereof.

“The Tribunal effectively overruled the decisions of the Supreme Court in Odubeko v. Fowler (1993) 7 NWLR (Pt. 308) 637 and the Court of Appeal in Tumo v. Muwana (2000) 12 NWLR (Pt. 681) 370 that courts must presume certified true copies of public document as genuine and act on it unless there is a contrary evidence.

“The Tribunal completely closed its eyes to the fact that the prosecution produced the original of the assets declaration forms before the Tribunal and requested the Tribunal and the defendant to compare the original with the certified true copies without any objection from the defendant.”

The notice of appeal added, “The Code of Conduct Tribunal erred in law in upholding the no-case submission raised by the respondent at the close of prosecution’s case and in discharging the respondent.

“By the authorities cited, the prosecution only has a duty to show that there are some infractions of the Code of Conduct prescribed for public officers under the Constitution and the prosecution had established those infractions through his witnesses.”

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