LP to Tribunal: Ignore Apapa’s letter to withdraw Obi’s cases against Tinubu; FG to airlift stranded Nigerians from Sudan via safe routes, cautions against dangerous travel | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • LP to Tribunal: Ignore Apapa’s letter to withdraw Obi’s cases against Tinubu
  • Ex-presidential candidate seeks court to stop Tinubu’s inauguration
  • Dual citizenship no barrier to election eligibility – Aondoakaa
  • Ondo speaker charged by EFCC for ‘N2.4m fraud’
  • FG to airlift stranded Nigerians from Sudan via safe routes, cautions against dangerous travel

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

LP to Tribunal: Ignore Apapa’s letter to withdraw Obi’s cases against Tinubu

The Labour Party (LP) has accused a self-proclaimed factional chairman, Lamidi Apapa, of attempting to undermine democracy by requesting the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to dismiss cases brought by the party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, against the victory of Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 25, 2023, election.

In a statement on Tuesday, LP acting National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, urged the Tribunal to ignore Apapa’s “antics,” as he is a suspended Deputy National Chairman of the party, and called on the police, DSS, and EFCC to arrest the “enemies of democracy.”

In an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Ifoh also claimed that Apapa and his co-travellers are attempting to satisfy their paymasters, who are determined to threaten Nigeria’s democracy.

“Approaching the tribunals to withdraw all the cases lodged by Labour Party candidates across board is the height of subterfuge and treachery, and Nigerians will resist this ploy to plunge the nation into unnecessary turmoil,” said Ifoh.

“Their actions show that they are working against the party and that they are working to destroy the party. If they claim that they have a problem with the national leadership of the party, will they also claim that they have a problem with the candidates of the party? What offence has the candidates of the party committed that they are now moving around to withdraw their matters from the tribunal?”

The LP called on the Presidential Election Tribunal to disregard any letter from the suspended National Legal Adviser, Samuel Akingbade, seeking the withdrawal of all LP cases and petitions. The LP also noted that earlier in April, Apapa had declared himself the LP national chairman following a fresh legal battle in the party.

However, Labour Party state chairmen in the 36 states of the federation have disowned the factional leadership, throwing their weight behind Julius Abure as the party’s leader. Nevertheless, Apapa insists he is the party’s national leader, claiming that the court has suspended Abure and national officers.

“Now, if that has happened, what else? The next person should take over,” he said on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.

Ex-presidential candidate seeks court to stop Tinubu’s inauguration

A new motion has been filed at the Court of Appeal in Abuja seeking to stop the President-Elect, Bola Tinubu, from being inaugurated as Nigeria’s new President on May 29, 2023. The motion was instituted by Ambrose Owuru, a presidential candidate in the 2019 Presidential election, and the defunct political party, Hope Democratic Party (HDP).

Owuru is seeking to prohibit President Muhammadu Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from inaugurating Tinubu.

Owuru is basing his argument on the grounds that he is the constitutionally adjudged winner of the 2019 election and has not spent his tenure as required by law.

He insists that Buhari has been usurping his tenure of office since 2019 because the Supreme Court has not determined his petition filed in 2019 in which he challenged the purported declaration of Buhari as the election winner.

According to Owuru, any form of handover inauguration organized and superintended by Buhari on May 29, 2023, outside the adjudged winner of the 2019 presidential election remains as an “interim placeholder” administration pending the hearing and determination of his substantive appeal on the constitutional interpretation thereof. The motion is supported by an 8-paragraph affidavit and Owuru is requesting an expeditious hearing before Tinubu’s inauguration.

In a statement, Owuru said, “We want to ensure that justice is done, that the rule of law is respected, and that the constitution is upheld. We believe that Tinubu’s inauguration will be illegal and unconstitutional if it goes ahead. We urge the Court of Appeal to act swiftly and decisively in this matter.”

No date has been fixed for the hearing yet.

Dual citizenship no barrier to election eligibility – Aondoakaa

According to Michael Aondoakaa, former minister of justice and attorney-general of the federation (AGF), dual citizenship cannot disqualify anyone who is a Nigerian by birth from contesting elections in the country.

Speaking in an interview with Arise TV on Tuesday, Aondoakaa explained that dual citizenship can only disqualify “a person who obtains such status by naturalisation or registration”. He went on to clarify that complainants must first establish that a candidate is not a Nigerian by birth before the issue of dual citizenship can even be brought up.

These comments come after reports that Bola Tinubu, the newly declared president-elect, allegedly obtained citizenship of Guinea, a country in West Africa.

Social media has been rife with arguments that having dual citizenship disqualifies Tinubu from contesting elections in Nigeria, citing section 137 (1)(a) of the 1999 constitution. This section states that “A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if — subject to the provisions of section 28 of this Constitution, he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a country other than Nigeria or, except in such cases as may be prescribed by the National Assembly, he has made a declaration of allegiance to such other country.”

However, Aondoakaa noted that the allegation of dual citizenship was not included in the electoral petition of both the Labour Party (LP) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and is “more of an academic exercise”. He further explained that it is too late to amend the appeal at this stage.

“It would be strange to say that the winner of the election, Tinubu, has the citizenship of another country. You must prove first that he is not a Nigerian by birth. That is the first challenge and if you can prove that. Then you can bring up the issue of acquiring another citizenship,” Aondoakaa said.

Ondo speaker charged by EFCC for ‘N2.4m fraud’

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned Bamidele Oloyelogun, the Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, and two others over allegations of fraud. The arraignment took place on Tuesday before Adegboyega Adebusoye, the presiding judge of the case, at the Federal High Court in Akure, Ondo State.

Oloyelogun was arraigned alongside Felemu Bankole, a lawmaker representing the Akoko South-West Constituency 2, and Segun Bankole, a staff of the assembly. They are accused of conspiring to share N2.4 million meant for a seminar in Lagos which they never attended.

The charge sheet against the defendants reads, “Bamidele Oloyelogun, Felemu Bankole, and others still at large, on or about the 15th day of December 2019, in Akure, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N2.4 million from the Ondo State House of Assembly under false pretence of using the money to facilitate a two-day seminar on behalf of the House of Assembly, which you knew was never held and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(2) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.”

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them. The EFCC prosecutor, Kingsley Kudus, prayed the court to remand the defendants at a correctional facility, but Femi Emodamore, counsel to the defendants, opposed the prosecutor’s prayer and urged the court to allow his clients to remain on administrative bail. Emodamore also asked the court to caution the nominal complainant, Iroju Ogundeji, for allegedly sending provocative messages to the Speaker.

In his ruling, Justice Adebusoye granted the defendants’ request to continue enjoying their administrative bail until the next hearing, which is scheduled for May 18, 2023.

FG to airlift stranded Nigerians from Sudan via safe routes, cautions against dangerous travel

The Nigerian government is making arrangements to evacuate its citizens who have been caught up in the ongoing crisis in Sudan, according to a statement from the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, and her Foreign Affairs counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama.

The statement indicates that the government has begun the process of ensuring the safe extraction of Nigerians, and that plans are underway to airlift them out of Sudan via identified safe transit areas. The statement also urges citizens to contact the Nigerian mission in Sudan for instructions on how to proceed.

The Director overseeing the Office of the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Janet Olisa, also released a statement in which she empathized with those stranded in Sudan and warned against embarking on dangerous journeys in a bid to return home.

Olisa further urged parents to advise their children in Sudan to remain calm and maintain regular communication with officials of the Nigerian Embassy in Sudan for further instructions and updates, assuring them that evacuation efforts are in progress.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed concern over the state of the National Public Health Laboratory in the capital city, Khartoum.

WHO officials revealed that they could no longer access the lab due to the ongoing conflict, and warned of a high risk of biological hazards due to power cuts making it impossible to manage stored biological and chemical materials properly.

The lab is reported to hold measles and cholera pathogens and other hazardous materials, and power shortages have also put stocks of blood bags stored in the lab at risk of spoiling. The lab is located near the centre of Khartoum and not far from the city’s main airport.

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