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Oyetola, Adeleke Present as Appeal Court Hears Osun Guber Case, Reserves Judgment

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Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State, in company of his party, the All Progressives Congress, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) flag bearer in the september 22, 2018 osun Gubernatorial election, Senator Ademola Adeleke, were all present on Wednesday as the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal attempted to overturn or uphold the March 22, 2019 judgment of the state Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which nullified the governor’s victory and declared Adeleke winner.

A five-man panel led by Justice Jummai Sankey, heard all the three appeals and a cross-appeal filed in relation to the disputed election and reserved its judgments.

The date of the judgments is to be communicated to the parties via hearing notices that will be served on their lawyers whenever the judgments are ready.

With Justice Sankey presiding, other members of the appeal panel which heard all the four appeals on Wednesday were Justices Abubakar Yahaya, George Mbaba, Isaiah Akeju and Bitrus Sanga during the over five hours long proceedings.

INEC had declared Oyetola and the APC the winner of the Osun State governorship election on the basis of the cumulative results of the September 22, 2018 main election and the September 27, 2018 supplementary poll.

Dissatisfied with the result declared by INEC, the PDP and Adeleke had filed their petition before the three-man Osun State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, contending that they were the true winner of the election as they had already won after the September 22, 2018 poll and that there was no need for the September 27, 2018 supplementary election.

The tribunal, in its March 22, 2019 split judgment of two-to-one, nullified Oyetola’s victory and declared Adeleke and the PDP the winner of the election.

The tribunal’s chairman, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo, in his minority judgment, dissented from the majority judgment credited to Justices Peter Obiorah and Adegboye Gbolagunte.

The trio of Oyetola, the APC and INEC had filed separate appeals challenging the majority judgment.

Although, the majority judgment of the tribunal was in their favour, both Adeleke and the PDP had filed a cross-appeal to challenge the aspect of the verdict which held that they failed to prove allegation of over-voting raised in their petition.

At the Wednesday’s hearing of the appeals on Wednesday, Oyetola’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), urged the Court of Appeal to uphold his client’s appeal and nullify the majority judgment of the tribunal.

He argued that Justice Obiorah, who wrote the lead majority judgment, was absent from the tribunal’s proceedings of February 6, 2019.

The senior lawyer maintained that Justice Obiorah’s non-signing of the day’s proceedings was sufficient evidence that he was absent from the proceedings.

Citing various Supreme Court judgments to back his argument, Olanipekun said Justice Obiorah’s presence or otherwise “goes to the root of fair hearing.”

“Adjudication cannot be done by proxy,” Olanipekun said.

He added that contrary to the claim by the counsel for Adeleke and the PDP, there was no conflict in the tribunal’s record, as it was clear from the record that Justice Obiorah was absent from the proceedings of February 6, 2019.

Olanipekun also maintained that the deduction of results said to have been affected by non-compliance and the declaration of Adeleke as the winner by the tribunal clearly violated the provision of section 140(2) of the Electoral Act, which, according to him, only empowers an election tribunal to order a re-run when allegation of substantial non-compliance of the Electoral Act is proved.

Responding, the lawyer representing both the PDP and Adeleke, Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), urged the tribunal to dismiss the appeal and uphold the majority judgment of the tribunal.

On the issue of the absence of Justice Obiorah on the February 6, 2019 proceedings of the tribunal, Ikpeazu said there was a conflict in the record of the tribunal given the fact that the list of judges who sat that day contained Justice Obiorah’s name, but only that  the judge did not sign the proceedings.

He noted that the appellants ought to have filed an affidavit alleging that the judge was absent from the proceedings and have the same affidavit served on the judge so that he could respond to the allegation.

Ikpeazu said, “Looking at the totality of the record, there is a conflict and it can only be settled through an affidavit.”

He said for the Court of Appeal to come to a conclusion that the judge was absent; the judge must be heard first.

He added that in the event that the judge was truly absent at the proceedings during which only two witnesses testified compared to the over 100 witnesses that testified during the entire proceedings, that alone could not amount to a nullification of the totality of the judgment read by the judge.

Ikpeazu also defended the majority judgment’s deduction of the affected votes and the tribunal’s declaration of Adeleke the winner on the grounds that the section 140(2) of the Electoral Act cited by Olanipekun had been struck down by Justice Gabriel Kolawole (now of the Court of Appeal) who was then sitting as a judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Arguing the APC’s appeal, the party’s lawyer, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), said the majority judgment was wrong.

He said the petition filed before the tribunal was incompetent as it only sought an order declaring the petitioners winner based on the September 22, 2018 poll with the exclusion of the supplementary poll.

Olujinmi also faulted the cancellation of results of the September 22, 2018 election in 17 polling units on the grounds of non-compliance with the Electoral Act.

He added that the petitioners only complained of non-compliance in respect of the supplementary poll of September 27, 2018 but the tribunal, in its majority judgment, misdirected the complaints against the election held in the 17 polling units on September 22, 2018.

Olujinmi also noted that the judgment held that the uncertified result sheets tendered by the petitioners were merely dumped on the tribunal without linking them to the case, yet the majority members went on to rely on the said dumped result sheets to deduct the results recorded by both the APC and the PDP in the 17 polling units.

INEC’s lawyer, Yusuf Ali (SAN), also urged the Court of Appeal to set aside the majority judgment on the grounds that in one breath, it held that the petitioners failed to prove their allegations of over-voting and non-accreditation of voters, yet in another breath, went on to nullify the election in 17 polling units on the basis of “non-compliance.”

Ali said the petitioners’ witnesses admitted during trial that the non-compliance in the form of failure of the electoral officers to fill some columns on result sheets accounting for accreditation of voters and ballot paper usage in the 17 polling units did not affect the votes recorded for the various parties in the polling units.

He added that by virtue of section 138 of the Electoral Act, the non-filling of the columns on the result sheets did not amount to a substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act and never envisaged to be part of possible grounds of appeal.

In his responses to Olujinmi and Ali, Ikpeazu maintained that his clients, having “satisfied the constitutional threshold after the September 22, 2018 election, there was no reason why INEC should not have declared them the winner.”

He said his clients only waited for the supplementary election to be concluded since they could only file a petition after INEC must have announced the winner of the poll, contending that his clients’ petition was therefore not rendered incompetent for anchoring his prayers on only the September 22, 2018 election.

Ikpeazu also insisted that the non-filling of some columns of the result sheets went to the root of the transparency of the entire electoral process.

Mr Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), argued Adeleke and the PDP’s cross-appeal, which was also opposed by the individual lawyers representing Oyetola, the APC and INEC.

The Punch

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Second Term: My Bid to Return Out of Commitment to Democratic Ideals – Demola Doherty

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Hon. Demola Doherty is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and a House of Representatives aspirant in Ifako/Ijaiye Constituency, Lagos State. Addressing newsmen recently, Doherty highlighted his achievements as an Executive Chairman of Ifako Ijaiye Local Government and his desire for a second term.

“The administration in which I was the Executive Chairman remains a reference and legacy administration in Ifako-Ijaiye till date, the more reason the people yearn for my return as Chairman for 2nd term in office.

“The template for the infrastructural developments witnessed during our first term is still with us upon which successive governments have built their projects but we still have a lot to do to remove Ifako-Ijaiye from the sub-urban status.

“Classical examples of infrastructures visible on ground are drainages & road construction viz: Mojisola Str, Adekoya Str, Gospel Crusader, Abu Alfred, Aina Ajobo, Bola Ahmed Tinubu Rd. (Old Akute Road) et al.

“The health of the people was of utmost importance to us hence the concept of Ashabi Taiwo Maternity.

“My next term plan is to address strategic roads yet to be done, such as Oshola Str., Powerline, Ibari Str. and link Ogundimu to Olowo surbub. I also intend to team up with our Assembly member to accelerate construction of Abiola Onijemo bridge.

Health:

The health of the people was paramount to our being in govt hence the concept of New Ashabi Taiwo Maternity, upgrade of Ajilete PHC for 24hrs service.

Construction of New Ogundimu PHC; donation of 30 KVA Diesel Generator; Out Patient benches for Ifako-Ijaiye General Hospital and financial support.

Education:

Three new buildings, consisting 36 classrooms were constructed in Ajuwon (Ward F), Ogundimu (Ward F) Fagba (Ward D) and Rmrehabilitation of Bishop Oluwole Primary School (Ward C1).

Desks, chairs & tables were provided for pupils and teachers, respectively.

Yearly bursary to tertiary institutions students were increased by 50% and paid regularly. Indigent students were annually assisted with free WAEC/GCE forms and extra-mural classes.

Bags, English Language workbooks, exercise books and writing materials were provided free to 8000 pupils & students of Ifako-Ijaiye as dividend of democracy.

My next term plan is to wholly support Hon. Tope Adewale our Assembly member, to increase the number of free JAMB forms beneficiaries to 100% and to provide additional support to tertiary students in our local govt area.

Market:

Ishaga market was expanded and rebuilt to accommodate more market women and men. My next term plan is to rebuild NRC Area Office as well as Obawole/Ndike/Powerline Market.

Political Class:

The political class witnessed remarkable cohesion with local govt support during our last outing but there is a great deal of room for improvement.

My next term plan is to restructure wealth creation and poverty alleviation in a way that items relevant to the specific needs of the people shall be given out to reduce poverty in the land and make them self-sustainable.

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Cleric Offers Scholarship to Underaged Victims of Sexual Abuse

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A popular Islamic cleric, philanthropist, business and Estate mogul, and founder, Sebilu Nnajat TV, Sheikh Hammed Olanrewaju Alfulaany, has offered scholarships to two sexually abused underaged girls, aged 14 and 16, who were sexually molested by their parents.

The victims, Ayomide Rachael Johnson, and Motunrayo Ogunsanwo, were allegedly sexually assaulted by their fathers in Meiran, and Epe respectively before they were rescued by Lady of Africa Foundation.

The organization reported the matter to the police and the fathers were arrested. The case is presently in court.

The Cleric was approached by the Founder and National Coordinator of the Foundation, Princess Oluwabukola Fasuyi, to assist the victims in furthering their education. Since their case became public knowledge, the victims had been under the care of the Foundation.

Upon hearing the plights of the victims, the business mogul offered to sponsor their education to University level and promised to take care of their feeding and daily expenses.

The elated Princess Bukola Fasuyi expressed gratitude to the cleric for coming to the aid of the victims, and urged other philanthropists to follow suit by coming to the assistance of the Foundation in providing succour to the needy.

Apart from the victims, the business mogul also offered scholarships to a 22year old Barakat Hassan and her 24-year old sister, Azeezat, who were abandoned by their mother for 22 years after she packed out of her matrimonial home.

Their situation became worst after the death of their father, as they had no one to take care of them.

Barakat lost her sight in the process, placing a heavy burden on her sister to fend for both of them.

Their plight was brought to the attention of the philanthropist who offered to foot the medical bill of Barakat running into millions of naira. She is presently receiving medical attention in one of the top hospitals in Lagos.

The two sisters have also been given accomodation by the philanthropist and are on the verge of enrolling in school.

While eulogising the philanthropic gesture of Sheikh Olanrewaju Hammed Alfulaany, Princess Oluwabukola Fasuyi said the philanthropist has demonstrated there should be no religious or ethnic biases towards helping the needy, adding such gestures should be emulated by every Nigerian.

She called on International community, government and well-to-do Nigerians to support Sheikh Olanrewaju Hammed Alfulaany in his philanthropic gesture as well as come to the aid of Lady of Africa Foundation in it’s quest to give back to the society.

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Domestic Violence: Foundation Calls for Protection of the Girl-Child

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A women advocacy group, Lady of Africa Empowerment and Advocacy Foundation, LAEAF has called on government to ensure the right of girl child is protected amidst rampant cases of domestic sexual abuses of young girls.

While reacting to increase in cases of sexual abuses of teenagers, the founder of the group, Princess Oluwabukola Fasuyi, said it’s disheartening to hear cases of fathers sexually molesting their daughters.

According to her, children who are victims of such abuses ends up becoming wayward and live with the psychological effects of the abuse for the rest of their lives.

Citing the case of a 14year old girl at Meiran, Lagos State, who was sexually molested severally by her father before she was rescued by the organization, Princess Fasuyi said the victim is currently battling with the trauma, having been introduced to a wayward as a result of her father’s action.

She added the organization is making every efforts to assist the victim recover from the abuse and has enrolled her in one of the government’s school in the state.

“It’s high time government ensured the right of girl child are protected. It’s disturbing when.you hear stories of fathers sleeping with their daughters. We have a case of a 14 year old girl who was sexually abused by her father. At times the girl would ran out of the house in the middle of the night whenever the father wanted to.sleep with her. This happened on several occasions. W

When we got wind of it, we had to rescue the girl and report the matter to the police. The father was arrested, charger to court, and is currently in prison custody while the case is going on in court.

The action has made the girl wayward but the organization is trying to re-orientate her and give her a new life,” she said.

She also cited the case of a 17year old girl who was rescued in Epe after being severally sexually molested by her father. The girl was later rescued by the organization.

According to her, the organization reported the matter to the police and the father was arrested. The case is presently in court.

” We are urging the government to pay more attention to women by empowering them. It’s said when you build a woman, you build a nation. Many young girls who grow up to be wayward are victims of domestic abuses from childhood. Government must ensure violators are brought to book.

Law enforcement agencies must ensure violators are prosecuted and justice is served to victims. Girl child should be educated while parents, especially mothers should pay adequate attention to their daughters to protect them from randy father’s,” she urged.

Lady of Africa Empowerment and Foundation is a non governmental organization committed to the empowement and rapid development of women.

Over the years, the Foundation has been involved in several cases involving the welfare of women.

In 2009, the Foundation rescued one Dupe Olowoyo, a widowed and single mother of two who was down with cancer of the vagina. Several millions of Naira were spent on her treatment by the Foundation before she was cured of the disease, and was later empowered by the Foundation.

Likewise, one Yinka Popoola, a single mother of four, was treated of cancer of the mouth by the Foundation.

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