A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Dr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has said he is in support of Atiku’s decision to challenge the result of the February 23 presidential poll in court.
He, however, expressed doubts that Atiku would get justice because “President Muhammadu Buhari has subverted the Supreme Court by the removal of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Onnoghen, and the appointment of the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (Justice Muhammad Tanko).”
Agbakoba, who had earlier urged Atiku not to go to court to challenge the poll result, said his earlier advice was based on his view that the PDP presidential candidate would face “an uphill task, given the circumstances of challenging election results” in the country.
He said from his experience as one of Nigeria’s experienced election petitions lawyers, the burden of proof to succeed in an election petition “is unfairly huge.”
“We first have to prove that there are electoral irregularities and in my view, once you prove this, you should succeed. Unfortunately, even if you prove electoral irregularities you will have to show how that affected the results of the election.
“Remember that the gap between former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, and President Muhammadu Buhari is about four million votes. It is clear to me that the presidential election results were manifestly riddled with electoral irregularities.
“Now that former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has approached the court, it is important to emphasise that he is constitutionally entitled to do so. My personal advice has become irrelevant. I fully support and wish former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar every success,” Agbakoba said.
He, however, bemoaned the delay by the National Judicial Council in dealing with the case of the suspended Justice Onnoghen and the acting CJN, Justice Tanko.
He said, “My perception is that we need to resolve the status of the Supreme Court. I wonder what is taking the National Judicial Council so long. I am also worried about the historical precedent, as no petition on presidential election result has ever succeeded.”
Court Revokes Marina’s Son’s Bail, Orders His Arrest
The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday revoked the bail granted Faisal Maina, the son of Abdulrasheed Maina, and ordered his arrest for jumping bail in his trial on money laundering charges.
Justice Okon Abang also ordered that his trial on money laundering charges would proceed in absentia pending when the security agencies would be able to arrest and produce him in court.
The judge also summoned his surety, a member of the House of Representatives, Sani Umar Dangaladima, representing the Kaura-Namoda Federal Constituency of Zamfara State, to appear in court to show cause why he should not forfeit the N60m bail bond which he signed for Faisal.
The order for Faisal’s arrest came barely six days after the same court, on November 18, issued a similar order against his father, Abdulrasheed Maina, a former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Task Team, who is facing separate N2.1bn money laundering charges before the court.
On Monday, Justice Okon Abang, sent Maina’s surety, Senator Ali Ndume, to jail for his inability to produce the fleeing defendant in court.
Earlier on Tuesday, following the judge’s November 18 ruling, Maina’s trial held in his absence with three prosecution witnesses testifying behind him and his legal team.
At the resumed hearing of Faisal’s trial on Tuesday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s prosecution counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, said both the defendant and his surety had not attended court since June 24, 2020.
FG, S’South Govs, Leaders Set to Meet in Rivers Tuesday
A delegation from the Federal Government is expected to meet with Governors and leaders of the South-South geo-political zone in Government House, Port Harcourt today (Tuesday).
The Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, is expected to lead the presidential delegation.
A Government House source in Port Harcourt, who confirmed the meeting to our correspondent, said Gambari is on his way to Port Harcourt.
The rescheduled meeting is coming on the heels of the botched stakeholders’ forum, which angered the Southern Governor, during which the South-South Governors’ Forum, demanded an apology from the presidency.
Makinde Presents N266.6bn 2021 Budget to Assembly
The Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, on Monday presented a budget of N266.6bn as the 2021 budget to the state Assembly.
While presenting the budget tagged, ‘Budget of continued consolidation’ Makinde announced that 53.2 per cent of the total budget was being proposed for capital expenditure.
He said, “The 2021 budget is N12bn above the 2020 budget and this is to further drive a consolidation effort that we started this year.
“We were able to achieve 50.2 per cent of the 2020 budget implementation and you will agree with me that it was due to causes beyond our control like the COVID-19 pandemic and other crisis that bedevilled the nation and the world at large.”
Makinde further explained that the recurrent expenditure is N136, 262,990 while the capital expenditure is N130. 381bn.
According to him, 21 per cent of the budget, amounting to N56.348 bn, is allocated to education while infrastructure is to gulp N46bn, representing 17.2per cent of the budget.
For health, a total of N13.2bn, representing 4.9per cent of the budget was set aside for the establishment of primary health centers across 351 wards in the state.
“So, it is pertinent that we appreciate the members of the state House of Assembly for their support.”