Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has countered the claim made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that it doesn’t have the constitutional power to deregister political parties.
INEC had lamented that the number of political parties created logistical problems for them during the 2019 elections.
The lawmaker stated that the recent constitutional amendments carried out by the previous Assembly and assented to by president Muhammadu Buhari have the issue.
In a statement through his media aide, Uche Anichukwu., the lawmaker representing the Enugu-West Constituency in the Senate reacted to the recent statement credited to INEC Commissioner in charge of Nasarawa, Kogi, and Kwara States, Muhammed Haruna, that the electoral body lacked the powers to de-register political parties without further constitutional amendments.
The senator, therefore, called the attention of the commission to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No. 9) Act published in Official Gazette No. 77 Vol. 105 to be well guided.
Ekweremadu, who was chairman of the Constitutional Review for twelve years stated that the section spelt out various reasons that can make the electoral umpire deregister political parties.
“The size of our political parties constitutes a logistical challenge to the election management body.”
“More electorate now find it difficult to identify the logos of their preferred political parties.”
“The ballots and result sheets are getting too long and unwieldy. It also has cost and time implications on elections.”
“However, I believe INEC’s concern has already been substantially addressed by the 1999 Constitution as amended by the 8th National Assembly and assented by President Muhammadu Buhari.”
“We inserted a new Section 225A, which provides that the INEC shall have the power to deregister political parties for breach of any of the requirements for registration and failure to win at least 25 per cent of votes cast in one state of the federation in a presidential election or 25 per cent of votes cast in at least one local government in a governorship election.”
He further stated that the section empowers INEC to de-register any party that fails to win at least one ward in the Chairmanship election or one seat in the National Assembly or State House of Assembly election or one seat in the Councillorship election.
“What it means is that a political party may continue to exist. But once it appears on the ballot, it becomes compulsory for it to meet certain benchmarks to continue to exist.
“So, it is incumbent on INEC to filter out and de-register those political parties that appeared on the presidential election ballot but did not garner at least 25 per cent of votes in at least one state of the federation.”
He, therefore, urged INEC to look at parties that contested election in the states and de-register those political parties that did not poll up to 25 percent of votes in at least one local government area in those states they contested an election.
“The idea is to encourage political parties to see an election as a serious democratic exercise and to confine themselves to the level of an election they have reasonable structures, support base, and resources to win or show substantial strength; otherwise our elections will become unmanageable at a point”.
He added that the step to stop the unnecessary increase of political parties in the country started in the 6th National Assembly.
As long am the governor, no one will continue to lord over Edo State – Obaseki
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has said as long as he remains governor the state will not be used as a mere pawn in a political game by allowing a certain individual to continue to lord over the state, making all federal appointments and cancelling the elections he had conducted.
Speaking with members of the Benin Community resident in the Federal Capital Territory at Edo State Lodge, Abuja, on Friday, Obaseki said that individuals who were unhappy with his administration’s refusal to share state resources were behind the political crisis in the state.
The group led by Dickson Omoregie.
The governor further stated that he said he was focused on fulfilling his promise to the people of the state and that he would not be deterred even if he would serve for only one term.
Obaseki who also pointed tha5t he is not in office for money or fame insisted the state was peaceful despite the political crisis, adding that the people would have taken to the streets to protest against the decision of the House of Representatives to take over the state House of Assembly if there was no peace in the state.
“I did this (developing the state) silently behind the scenes for eight years before I became governor. The money we are getting from Abuja isn’t enough. So, given my background, I sought to bring investors so that they can engage our people.
“I have gone to great lengths to try to explain; it is about reform to change Edo from what it is to what we hope and pray for it to be.
“I don’t have any future political ambition, but only to finish by the grace of God and go back to my business which is suffering. I didn’t come to make money at Government House, I didn’t come to make a name. By the grace of God, He has given me one.
“Edo is for Edo people, not for individuals, no matter who they think they are, we all will play our own roles and leave, what will remain is our state.
“I have endured so much as governor. As governor, I have not been able to even nominate somebody for a federal appointment. Meanwhile, federal appointments are made every day, I will sit down they will call me from the Senate. Are you aware of this? I keep quiet; I cannot be governor and not be governor.”
Vice President Osinbajo Takes THE PUNCH To Court Over Fake News
Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osibajo will be taking THE PUNCH newspaper in an attempt to clear his name from the Corruption allegations against him.
The popular news outlet, PUNCH is in great difficulty as SimmonsCooper Partners, the law company formerly led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo gave the publishers 72 hours to withdraw a tale stating that Alpha Beta Consultation firm affiliated or engaged the company with an unlawful N100 billion tax.
The firm’s Managing Partner, Dapo Akinosun said;
“SimmonsCooper Partners’ (“the Firm”) attention has been drawn to certain allegations, assertions and other false accusations made against her in the front page of the Punch Newspapers of July 13th 2019, titled “Osinbajo’s firm linked to company fingered in alleged N100bn Alpha Beta scam” (“the Publication”);
“For the record, SimmonsCooper Partners refutes all the false allegations imputed against the firm, her members and persons currently or previously associated with the firm. The Publication singled out, not only SimmonsCooper Partners, but also Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) (GCON), a onetime senior partner and member of the firm, for public opprobrium;”
“The Publication contains untrue and highly defamatory statements towards the firm, some of which contain malicious falsehood. In doing so, defamatory statements are being communicated to millions of people throughout the world, diminishing the firm’s reputation and that of various individuals who have worked at, and continue to work, at SimmonsCooper Partners;”
“SimmonsCooper Partners states that it is not involved, in any shape or form, neither does it have a link with, the alleged tax evasion, money laundering, nor corruption claims alleged against any of the corporations identified in the Publication. For the avoidance of doubt, SimmonsCooper Partners has never retained a physical or correspondent address at “B5 Falomo Shopping Complex, South West Ikoyi, Victoria Island”.
“This address is copiously portrayed in the published CAC Form 2.1, purportedly, as proof of the linkage between the firm and the subject matter of the allegations, whereas, a cursory inquiry by Punch could have shown that this address is neither the firm’s registered address nor its principal office.”
“The firm categorically states that it has never been retained by Ocean Trust Limited to offer secretarial services as alleged by Punch Newspapers or at all. As is custom with filings as Company Secretary, there is no acceptance letter by the firm consenting to the purported appointment, or any other filing undertaken by the firm as Company Secretary at the registry of the Corporate Affairs Commission;”
“The Publication seems designed to damage the reputation of SimmonsCooper Partners and its past and current members rather than have any fair comment basis. The Publication was a false statement of fact, intentionally published in print and on the Internet, to millions of people within Nigeria and around the world. The malicious intent is demonstrated by the fact that a public search at the Corporate Affairs Commission shows that Ocean Trust Limited has a subsisting company secretary that had been appointed since 2011, which fact was curiously left out by the Punch Newspapers in the Publication. We believe that the Punch Newspaper’s admission to “rush to press” with the Publication, was motivated by malice and calculated to cause harm to the firm and its past and current members;”
“Further, the imputation that offering professional services to a company, by itself, creates an association with alleged wrongdoing, is neither customary nor reasonable. We are certain that Punch Newspapers has external legal advisers who will not be taken to be privy to, or actors in, the defamation alleged herein, or indeed in other matters of liability that may arise in the course of running Punch’s business. Offering professional services, by itself, cannot be characterized as wrongdoing.”
“The insinuation that the firm, its past and current members are somehow associated with alleged tax evasion, corruption, the suppression of investigation and obstruction of justice is not only unjustifiable and unreasonable, but also malicious in intent. Without more, the Publication has definitely held the firm up to scorn, ridicule, disgrace, and contempt in the minds of the readers of the Publication;”
“SimmonsCooper Partners, today, is a product of the combination of her members’ intellectual capital, industry and integrity garnered for several years. We are proud that Professor Osinbajo continues to epitomise these values even in public service. In line with international best practices, upon his election as Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Osinbajo resigned his membership of the firm;”
“The firm is aggrieved by the wanton, mischievous and most unprofessional manner in which the Punch Newspapers has published the defamatory statements in the Publication. SimmonsCooper Partners intends to seek redress to the fullest extent available in law and has requested the Punch Newspapers to do all of the following:”
• remove from publication in their entirety the defamatory publication and all online threads to prevent further harm to the Firm’s business;
• produce an apology and a declaration that the allegations referred to are false and defamatory and cause such apology and declaration to be published in each of the forums which have given or could give reason for our complaint (such apology to be approved by us prior to publication);
• provide details of the number of online posts made, together with website addresses;
• make proposals for the payment to us of damages for the harm caused to our reputation; and
• undertake to actively monitor and delete any newly published defamatory content relating to the Firm.
“If the defamatory Publication and threads are not permanently removed and the above undertakings are not complied within the stipulated period, SimmonsCooper Partners reserves the right to undertake further action as appropriate.”
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