G5 Governors Meet With Tinubu at Aso Villa; Tinubu Signs into Law Bill Raising Judges’ Retirement Age to 70 | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • G5 Governors Meet With Tinubu at Aso Villa
  • FG Declares June 12 Public Holiday to Commemorate Democracy Day
  • Peter Obi Seeks Order to Interrogate INEC on ICT Experts Used in 2023 Elections
  • Tinubu Signs into Law Bill Raising Judges’ Retirement Age to 70
  • INEC Officials Testify Inability to Upload Presidential Results on IReV at Tribunal

Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldn’t miss

G5 Governors Meet With Tinubu at Aso Villa

In a significant political development, President Bola Tinubu engaged in a meeting on Thursday with a faction of dissatisfied politicians from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) known as the G5 or the Integrity Group.

The gathering took place at the Aso Rock and saw the participation of one serving governor and four former governors affiliated with the PDP.

Notable attendees included Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, along with former Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu). The current governor of Enugu State, Peter Mbah, was also present.

During a press briefing, Governor Makinde explained that the purpose of the G5’s visit was to update the President on recent developments and emphasize their commitment to fairness, equity, and justice in the country.

Recognizing the arduous task of nation-building, Makinde stressed the importance of continuous evaluation. The G5 intends to maintain regular discussions with the President to chart a constructive path forward for the nation.

The formation of the G5 alliance stemmed from the party’s presidential primary in May 2022, where all five members served as two-term governors before relinquishing their positions on May 29, 2023.

The alliance demanded the resignation of the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, to be replaced by a candidate from the southern region, as a prerequisite for supporting the party’s presidential nominee, Atiku Abubakar, in the recently concluded February 25 elections.

Despite the G5’s ultimatum, both Atiku and Ayu remained firm and did not succumb to their demands during the election campaign.

FG Declares June 12 Public Holiday to Commemorate Democracy Day

In a recent announcement, the Federal Government of Nigeria has officially declared Monday, June 12, 2023, as a public holiday in honor of this year’s Democracy Day.

The declaration was made by Dr. Oluwatoyin Akinlade, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Interior, on behalf of the government.

In a statement released in Abuja, Dr. Akinlade extended congratulations to all Nigerians on this significant occasion. She acknowledged that Nigeria’s democratic journey, much like in other nations, has witnessed both challenges and successes.

However, she emphasized the unwavering commitment of the Nigerian people, the country’s institutions, and the ship of state itself to the principles of democratic governance.

Dr. Akinlade invited Nigerians and friends of Nigeria to take a moment to recognize the progress made, celebrate the milestones achieved, and look forward to a brighter future for the nation’s democracy.

She concluded the statement by extending warm wishes to all Nigerians for a joyous and memorable celebration of Democracy Day.

Peter Obi Seeks Order to Interrogate INEC on ICT Experts Used in 2023 Elections

On Thursday, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25 election, Mr. Peter Obi, approached the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) seeking an order to question the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) regarding the experts in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) employed for the conduct of the election.

Presented through two separate motions presented by Mr. Patrick Ikweto, SAN, Obi aimed to ascertain the expertise and quality of the ICT professionals utilized during the election.

In these motions, Obi and LP put forth 12 questions to be directed to the electoral body, seeking answers that would support their claims of misconduct, particularly instances of malpractice, during the election.

Obi argued that if granted, this request would assist him in presenting his petition contesting the declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of the election.

However, INEC, represented by Mr. Kemi Pinhero, SAN, objected to Obi’s attempt to subject the commission to interrogation through incompetent applications.

Pinhero contended that Obi’s applications were untimely as they were filed outside the legally allowed time frame. He specifically argued that such an application should have been presented and debated during the pre-hearing session. By bringing the application outside that session, Pinhero maintained that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear it.

He insisted that the application should be dismissed as it would be a waste of the court’s time, emphasizing the importance of not expending valuable court resources on such a request.

President Tinubu, represented by Chief Akin Olujimi, SAN, and the All Progressives Congress (APC), represented by Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, also opposed the granting of Obi’s request, asserting that the application is fundamentally flawed and incompatible with the law.

Meanwhile, the Presiding Justice, Haruna Tsammani, has reserved ruling on the applications.

Justice Tsammani has also scheduled further hearings for June 9 regarding the petition.

Tinubu Signs into Law Bill Raising Judges’ Retirement Age to 70

President Bola Tinubu, in accordance with the powers vested in him under the amended 1999 Constitution, exercised his authority by signing a fresh amendment to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The signing took place at the State House on Thursday.

The amendment bill, titled “Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fifth Alteration) (No.37), 2023,” was presented by the outgoing 9th National Assembly and has now been enacted into law with President Tinubu’s signature.

One of the significant provisions in the amended Constitution is the harmonization of retirement age and pension rights for judicial officers, bringing about uniformity in these matters and addressing related issues.

During the signing ceremony, President Tinubu’s spokesman, Abiodun Oladunjoye, highlighted that the President reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to strengthening the judiciary, upholding the rule of law, and empowering judicial officers to effectively carry out their responsibilities.

INEC Officials Testify Inability to Upload Presidential Results on IReV at Tribunal

During the proceedings at the Presidential Election Petitions Court, two officials from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) admitted that they were unable to upload the results of the February 25 presidential election on the Result Viewing Portal (IReV). Interestingly, they were able to upload the results of the Senatorial and House of Representatives elections on the portal.

The disclosure came as the Labour Party (LP) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) called additional witnesses to testify in their case against the victory of President Bola Tinubu from the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The PDP presented two witnesses who were presiding officers during the presidential election in Abia and Bauchi States. They informed the court that they encountered difficulties uploading the presidential election results on IReV, unlike the Senatorial and House of Representatives results, which were successfully uploaded during the same poll.

However, the counsels representing INEC, President Tinubu, and the APC requested the Tribunal not to accept the witnesses’ submissions. As a result, the judges recessed for one hour to deliberate on the matter.

Upon reconvening, the Tribunal adjourned the PDP’s case until the following day.

After another hour of recess, the LP called a single witness, a software engineer, who conducted an investigation into the reasons behind INEC’s failure to upload the presidential election results. The witness stated that he uncovered evidence of sabotage.

However, the counsel representing INEC objected to the witness’s submissions.

The LP was also granted permission to present additional evidence from Bayelsa State before the Tribunal. The case of the LP was adjourned until Friday, June 9, 2023.

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