Senator Gabriel Suswam of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been returned as the senator-elect for Benue North-East as the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sacked Senator Emmanuel Udende of the All Progressives Congress (APC)
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Udende as the winner of the Benue North-East senatorial election held on February 25.
Suswam, a member of the 9th senate, had lost his bid to return to the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
But he had proceeded to the court, arguing that Udende did not score majority of the lawful votes cast in the 25th February, 2023 for the Benue North East Senatorial District election.
Chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Ory Zik-Ikeorha and another member, ruled in the favour of Suswam and PDP.
The duo, in their judgment, averred that Suswam and PDP fulfilled the requirement of the law in proving their case of irregularities such as mutilation, non-signing of documents, non-inclusion of lawful votes, among others.
But, in a minority judgement, Justice Umar Mohammed, opposed the decision of the two other members of the panel, saying that the petitioner failed to proved his case.
Mohammed held that Suswam who called 19 witnesses most of who were irrelevant as the irregularities complained about were at the polling units and instead he called ward agents instead of polling unit agents.
Suswam and PDP’s petition was predicated on the ground that Udende did not score majority of the lawful votes cast during the election.
Justice Mohammed held that the evidence by Suswam was grossly insufficient to sustain his petition.
He therefore, dismissed the petition and awarded the cost of N100,000 in favour of each of the respondents against the petitioner.
Meanwhile, Innocent Daagba, on behalf of the APC, said, “we are not satisfied with the decision and will advice my client to appeal.”
The PDP, through Bemgba Iortyom, the State Publicity Secretary has applaude the judgment and congratulated the Senator.
The immediate past Governor of the State, Dr. Samuel Ortom, has also sent his congratulatory to Senator Suswam over his victory at the tribunal.
Ortom said the victory of Senator Suswam has further proven the capacity of the judiciary to uphold justice and serve as the bastion of democracy.
Myriads of challenges bedevil Nigeria for lack of connect, collaboration -Akpabio
***says, the 10th NASS will listen to feel the pulse of the nation
The President of the senate Godswill Akpabio has indicated that because relevant groups and stakeholders in the Nigerian project fail to connect, cooperate and collaborate Nigeria is bedeviled by collective action problems.
Akpabio who spoke in his remarks at the National Assembly leadership retreat holding at the Four Point by Sheraton Hotel (Marriot) Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State said the 10th national Assembly leadership can achieve positive outcomes for the country if it properly understands and effectively use collective action processes in the official conduct of business.
“As leaders of those who represent our people, it behooves us to set collective action templates for our nation’s developmental efforts, and a collaborative legislative agenda for solving our nation’s challenges.
“A template that would eschew such issues in collective action problems like the tragedy of commons, senselessly exploiting common resources and depleting them; free riding, being inordinately concerned with consumption and not production of our wealth; information asymmetry, hoarding information in order to have an imbalance of power; and opting for sub-optimal equilibrium where we could go for agenda setting.
“Dear friends and colleagues, this retreat seeks to identify priority business for the Tenth National Assembly and develop strategic objectives for the Legislative Agenda of the respective chambers.
“I believe our first priority, as leaders, should be people. We represent people whose pains we should alleviate; whose concerns we should address; whose hopes we should not betray.
“Therefore, listening to the people in order to feel pulse of our nation should be a critical component of our legislative agenda. But, no matter the problems we face let us never forget that what is morally wrong cannot be politically right.
“The National Assembly must be seen as partners-in-progress with the Executive Arm and we must create the enabling legal environment for Mr. President to justify the confidence reposed in him and his vice president by the electorate.
“We must remember that in every democracy, the legislators are the foot-soldiers marching for the masses.
“We are also here to share experiences, bond with each other and have candid exchanges on critical issues before the National Assembly.
“I urge us to be frank and open because a chain is as strong as its weakest link. More so, the candle does not lose anything by lighting another candle.
“There is this story about one of the world’s best musical conductors, Sir Michael Costa. His massive orchestra was rehearsing. Trumpets were blaring. The drums were booming. The trumpets and trombones were pulsating. The violins electrified the atmosphere with sweet melodies. The piccolo is a very tiny musical instrument. “The piccolo player said to himself, “”What good am I doing? I might just as well not be playing. Nobody can hear me at all, anyhow.” So, he kept the tiny instrument to his mouth without blowing it. Suddenly Sir Costa paused and shouted, “Stop! Stop! Where is the piccolo? Where is the piccolo?”
“You may think that what you are doing does not matter, but if you stop, the beat will stop. No part is too small and no part is too big, we are all playing different roles and we need each other. And if we win, we win together. And if we fail, we fail together.
“But I dare to believe that if we all play our parts, we would cause this nation to confess that this National Assembly is the Assembly that should come and is come to change our destiny as a nation.”
He thanked the Vice President of our dear country, Senator Kashim Shettima for honoring the leadership of the National Assembly with his presence in this retreat.
“We know that the executive arm is steering our country through turbulent waters. The mark of a great sailor is not how he fares in calm waters; it is in how he powers through the rough seas.
“If His Excellency Senator Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and your good self must take the ship of state to harbors of bliss and development, then you must steer us out of the sheltered shore, through the rolling waves and stormy gales, and set the sails to whether every storm, safe in the knowledge that you are not alone.
“Tell Mr. President, that the leadership of the Tenth National Assembly (and by extension the entire National Assembly) says that he will never walk alone.”
Admonishing his colleagues on need for unity, he said,
“As the leaders of the Tenth Assembly, we must remember that the success of a leader depends on the achievements of the led. We must not only be worthy leaders but also dealers of hope for the entire membership of the National Assembly in particular and our nation in general.
“It does not matter which political party you used to get to the Red or Green Chamber, right now we are in the Nigerian boat. If we all put our hands on deck, the Tenth Assembly shall surmount every challenge.
“It is in our hands to make this Assembly the last hope of the common man or the lost hope of the common mam the choice is ours.
“As leaders let us see every problem through the broad windscreen of national interest; not through the tiny side mirror of politics.
“Let us be the symphonic voices of reason; not the raucous echoes of tribal or religious sentiments.
“Let us not make the mistake of thinking that our problem is APC or PDP or LP or SDP or any other party. That is an error.”
Akpabio debunks impeachment rumour, says Senate is stable, harmonious
The Senate President Godswill Akpabio has debunked the rumour that some senators were plotting to impeach him.
Reating to the insinuation through his special adviser (Media and Publicity) Eseme Eyiboh in a statement, he said the Senate is stable and harmonious as it cannot be distracted by the innuendo of the merchants of political tar brush.
Eyiboh describe the rumour as a syndicated media attack from outside the precincts of the National Assembly
Reacting to what he described as syndicated reports in some weekend newspapers about plots to distabilise the Senate and its leadership, Eyiboh said the reports were complete imaginations and sometimes laced with malice to achieve what senators are yet to comprehend.
According to him the Senate has since gone past the experience of the keenly contested leadership election
Eyiboh said the plot to drag in Senators who initially did not support the emergence of the present leadership into a conspiracy that does not exist was uncharitable to the senators and a needless umbrage.
“Senators are presently concluding their holidays in their constituencies and other places they have chosen to spend their time after the rigours of the inauguration and ministerial screening and other constructive engagements,” Eyiboh said.
“All senators are also refreshing themselves ahead of the resumption, therefore, any suggestions that they are presently engaged in other subversive plots against the institution is rather uncharitable. “It is mostly uncharitable for those senators who initially did not support the emergence of the leadership but who have all unanimously endorsed the Senator Akpabio-led leadership. Continuing to link these senators with needless conspiracy with barely disguised innuendo is rather unkind.
“We call on the media not to give in to the conspiratorial tales, and not to give damage to the reputations that they have built over time,” Eyiboh concluded.
Senate says, rumour of impeachment of Akpabio is a ruse
The Senate on Saturday described as a ruse the rumour making the rounds in some media that some Senators were planning to impeach the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio.
A press statement by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Yemi Adaramodu said, “our attention has just been drawn to a syndicated satanic verses in a section of the media, of purported and illusory plots of leadership change in the Senate.
Top politicians strongly opposed to the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, were alleged to have planned to remove him when the Senate resumes later this month.
The forces were reported to be upset that the former Akwa Ibom State Governor is playing the role of a lap dog for President Tinubu rather than serving the overall interest of lawmakers and Nigerians
They alleged that Akpabio’s closeness to the president has made him not pay full attention to his colleagues and work hard enough to meet the expectations of Nigerians despite the challenges in the country.
But Adaramodu said,
“The Nigerian Senate is one united and fraternal family. This imaginative composition is in the realm of the fake and fallacious story of 100m per legislator. It’s apt to note that the 10th Senate, under the leadership of Senator Godswill Akpabio, has carried out its legislative and constitutional duties diligently.
“Within a span of less than 60 Legislative days, the Senate has passed life enhancing bills and motions. It has screened and confirmed service chiefs and ministers, among others, apart from very essential oversight functions.
“We urge the fifth columnists, who operate undoubtedly outside the Senate, desperate to cause disharmony through media stunts and thus clipping the wings of Nigeria’s democracy, to take caution.
“The Senate should be allowed fresh air to settle down for its national assignments so that the Nigerian project can move forward. The media, too, should be discerning not to be used as hand tools to these retailers of fake and bad news,” the statement added.
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