***The President’s fundermental rights must not be trampled upon
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) should sanction the spokesperson of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Barrister Dele Farotini, over his utterances against President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Rt. Honourable Mkpanam Obo-Bassey Ekpo has said
This was contained in a statement made available to journalists by honorable Ekpo in Qbuja on Friday
Hon. Ekpo, who is a former Member of the Cross River State House of Assembly, described the uterances credited to the Dele Farotimi as a denigrating usurpation of the powers of the judiciary.
Hon Ekpo querried the legal practitioner over his response to Dr Reuben Abati’s question with a comment that ‘the person occupying the highest office in the land is a career criminal’ when he recently appeared as a guest on Arise News TV Morning Show along with one Oladotun Hassan on 5th October, 2023.
Hon. Ekpo noted that despite being cautioned by Dr Abati to desist from using such derogatory language or making such conclusions since the allegation has not been pronounced upon by a court of competent jurisdiction, Dele Farotimi continued his callous assault on the person and integrity of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He said “There is no doubt that there is a well defined line between freedom, liberty or simply put, “freedom of expression” and unwarranted denigration of the rights/powers of other individuals and institutions including the judiciary.’
According to Ekpo, any legal practitioner should not only know the distinctive line between freedom of speech and unwarranted denigration of the judiciary and violation of the rights of others, but must also constantly respect same in his conduct and utterances especially in the public and media platforms.
He explained further that it has become virtually a normal routine for Dele Farotimi to address the Nigerian judiciary with vitriolic diatribes mostly riddled with disparaging remarks, innuendos and unsubstantiated claims or allegations. That he spares no arm of government in his largely callous and pedestrian incendiaries.
‘These are, to say the least, conducts and vituperation unbecoming of a supposed Legal Practitioner who talks so much about respect for rule of law, fundamental rights and democratic constitutionalism.’
Rt. Honourable Mkpanam said he wonders what has become of the presumption of innocence until found guilty in favour of anyone accuses of commiting an offence.
‘When has Dele Farotimi become “a court of competent jurisdiction,” to warrant his usurpation of the powers vested solely by the 1999 Constitution as amended on the very courts, nay judiciary that he holds in utter contempt, devoid of his duty to demonstrate conducts that show respect, integrity and professionalism towards the judiciary?’ He questioned.
He questioned Farotim’s status as a supposed human Rights acitivist who disdainfully desecrates the very sanctity of the rule of law and respect for human rights, and still have rhe moral turpitude to denigrate the judiciary.
The former lawmaker said another legal practitioner and former nollywood actor, Kenneth Okonkwo, who is also a spokesperson of the Labour Party and a member of its legal team, while appearing on the same TV station, was reported to have said that the ‘sitting President is ‘a certificate forger’.
‘A phrase that neither the Chicago State University nor its Registrar has used let alone has any court of competent jurisdiction adjudicated upon it and convicted President Bola Ahmed Tinubu at anytime as alleged till date.’ he stated.
Hon. Ekpo expressed dismay at the kind of democracy Dele and his cohorts are trying to save or enthrone by what he described as their constant cherry picking or pandering on narratives or mischievously cooked alternative facts, routinely bandied on the media merely to lubricate their inexplicable fixations or prejudices, masqueraded as love for Nigeria .
He, therefore, urged Dele Farotimi who is an acclaimed advocate of the rule of law, democratic constitutionalism and fundamental rights to respect the same constitutional order which he claims to defend.
He added, ‘The facts/issues on the validity of President Tinubu’s graduation from the Chicago State University and his certificate and or academic transcript, especially the depositions of the Registrar of the CSU under oath are not just in the public domain, but are before the Supreme Court to evaluate and give its verdict thereon one way or another.’
Rt. Hon. Ekpo reminded Farotimi that as an interested party and a member of the Labour Party, he should allow the Supreme Court to carry out its constitutional duty by determining the fate of president Bola Ahmed Tinubu devoid of despicable denigration and preemptive verbal assaults.
He further noted that it was hight time that Dele Farotimi and his cohorts were called to order, adding that it’s quite hypocritical for a human rights activist/lawyer to routinely accuse government’s prosecutory agencies of media trial and violation of the rule of law while indulging in same media trial against their political opponents, yet expect right thinking Nigerians and the international community to take them seriously.
In his words, ‘Democracy, respect for rule of law and fundamental rights of individuals and institutions, are not virtues that must be subjected or solely invoked to lubricate the parochial sentiments, prejudices and predispositions of any individual or group of individuals.’
Hon. Ekpo warned that as long as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is still the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, his fundamental rights and the respect that accrues to his Office must be duly accorded him especially by those who claim to be advocates of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights.
Appeal Court Sacks Nasarawa speaker
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has sacked the Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Hon. Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a judgement delivered on Tuesday, the court declared the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Hon. Sa’ad Abdullahi Ibrahim (Turakin-Opanda), as the rightful winner of the election for Umaisha/Ugya State Constituency.
Appeal Court affirms Hyacinth Alia’s victory as Benue Governor
The Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, on Monday, upheld the election of Hyacinth Alia as declared by INEC after the March 18th, 2023 election as governor of Benue State
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the March 18 governorship election, Titus Uba, had approached the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the tribunal that upheld Alia’s election.
At the tribunal, Uba accused Alia’s deputy, Samuel Ode, of presenting a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) contrary to Section 182(1)(j) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)
He also alleged that Alia’s name was submitted less than 180 days before the election date, and Ode was also not submitted to INEC after the party conducted a further re-run primary election.
A three-member panel of the tribunal, headed by Justice Ibrahim Karaye, dismissed the petition on the ground that it was a pre-election matter and was statute-barred.
Ruling on the appeal on Monday, the appeal court’s three-member panel led by Justice Onyekachi Aja Otisi held that Uba failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the allegations of forgery against Ode
As long as God remains on the throne our mandate will be preserved, says Mutfwang
Plateau Governor, Caled Mutfwang spoken with confidence that as long as God remains on the throne, the people’s mandate will be preserved and protected as he reiterated his commitment to the rule of law, while assuring the people that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Mutfwang who was reacting to the Appeal Court judgement that sacked him on Sunday described the verdict as a temporary setback that will not deter him from repositioning the state.
“We have unwavering faith in the judiciary and the Constitution of Nigeria,” he added.
The Governor said he has instructed his legal team to file an appeal at the Supreme Court, admonishing citizens of the state and PDP supporters to remain calm.
Mutfwang gave the indication in a press statement signed by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Gyang Bere, expressed optimism that the mandate overwhelmingly given to him by the citizens would be restored.
Mutfwang polled 525,299 votes in the March 18 governorship election in the state, while Goshwe polled 481,370 votes.
Goshwe challenged the victory of Mutfwang at the tribunal, claiming that the Governor was not validly nominated and sponsored by his Party, insisting there was non-compliance with the Electoral Act in the election.
In a unanimous decision, a three-member panel of the tribunal headed by Justice R. Irele-Ifijeh dismissed the petition for lacking in merit.
Displeased with the judgment, the APC candidate appealed the tribunal judgment.
The appellate court ruling on Sunday, led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, held that the PDP did not validly sponsor the Governor during the election.
She held that the Party violated a court order to conduct a valid Congress in that state’s 17 Local Government Areas.
She said there was no evidence that the PDP complied with a subsisting High Court order which had directed it to conduct a valid party congress before sponsoring the governorship and other candidates.
The court held that the issue of qualification is both a pre-election and a post-election matter contrary to the tribunal’s findings, which held that the appellant lacked the locus to contest the validity of the respondent.
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