Kogi Guber: Certificate forgery scandal, provision of false information to INEC hit SDP; Yakubu, Abenemi in trouble
Three weeks to the conduct of the governorship election in Kogi State, an eligibility crisis has erupted in the Social Democratic Party (SDP). Murtala Yakubu (Ajaka) and Abenemi Sam Ranti are the governorship and deputy governorship candidates of the party for the November 11 election.
But, it is no longer at ease with the duo and their supporters as allegations of Perjury, False Declaration, Use of False Document and Possession of Forged Record are not only drizzling literally on their ambition, they are pouring seriously and obliterating any moral compass they have to stand for election and canvass for votes.
The latest scandal is now at the centre of every discussion among voters in the Confluence State. With official confirmation by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to the Department of State Services (DSS) that the running mate allegedly forged the 1979 GCE secondary school certificate he presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the duo may have kissed their dream of occupying the Government House, Lokoja bye bye.
In fact, legally, the candidate and his running mate are not on the ballot, going by similar cases in the past.
Documents obtained by Freedom Online in the build up to the election show that it is going to be an exercise in futility for the duo and they may have to wait till the 2027 election, that is, if genuine documents certified by government agencies are presented.
In essence, all votes cast for Yakubu and Abenemi on November 11 will eventually be declared by the Tribunal as wasted, win or lose, due to the established legal incapacity of Abenemi and SDP’s nomination as a whole unless they are able to provide admissible facts to the contrary.
Due to the alleged illegality involved in the documents submitted, the Director of Public Prosecution, Kogi State Ministry of Justice has preferred a four-count charge bordering on Perjury, False Declaration, Use of False Document, and Possession of Forged Record contrary to the provisions of the Kogi State Penal Code Law, 2019, against Abenemi Sam Ranti at the High Court of Justice, Kogi State.
Documents obtained by Freedom Online have shown that Yakubu and Abenemi are neck deep in allegations of submission of false information and forged certificate to INEC.
In a petition dated June 2023 and directed to the DSS and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), it was also alleged Yakubu might have submitted a forged certificate to INEC as the Date of Birth submitted to the electoral body on his Form EC9 – (Substitute) was 13/02/1978, whereas the Date of Birth on the WAEC certificate submitted to INEC upon verification shows that the Date of Birth on same is 2/11/1978. It was, therefore, alleged that Yakubu might have submitted false evidence on oath to INEC.
On July 5, 2023, one Shaibu O. Abdullahi, in a petition written to the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and the DSS, alleged that the “WAEC GCE Notification of Result with number 14709101 issued on 16/05/80 to one ‘Abenimi Ranti Samuel’ in respect of a General Certificate of Education, Ordinary Level December 1979 Examination’ is forged or fake.” The said Notification of Result was submitted to INEC by Abenemi for the November 11 election.
Details have now emerged that the DSS investigated the allegation of forged Certificate, and found that the candidate number stated on the said GCE Notification of Result submitted by the Deputy Governorship candidate belongs to another person and not Abenemi.
In response to official enquiries by the DSS, WAEC reportedly confirmed that the Deputy Governorship candidate was not the owner of the Candidate Number and the result contained in the GCE Examination Notification of Result submitted to INEC.
It was revealed that the candidate with the number sat for five subjects instead of the two stated on Abenemi’s alleged forged certificate.
Investigation also revealed that in his Form EC9-(Substitute)(Affidavit in Support of Personal Particulars), which the Deputy Governorship Candidate submitted to INEC on 26/5/2023, he stated on oath that he possesses a WAEC Certificate obtained in 1979, and, as evidence, attached the allegedly forged GCE 1979 Notification of Result.
His form EC9 also showed that while he claimed on oath to have a First School Leaving Certificate obtained in 1971, he did not attach same to the Form EC9. Hence, the only Certificate submitted by Abenemi in support of his qualification for the office of Deputy Governor of Kogi State was the allegedly forged 1979 GCE Notification of Result.
Consequent upon the foregoing, the Director of Public Prosecution, Kogi State Ministry of Justice preferred a four-count charge bordering on Perjury, False Declaration, Use of False Document, and Possession of Forged Record contrary to the provisions of the Kogi State Penal Code Law, 2019, against Abenemi at the High Court of Justice, Kogi State.
While the proceedings are ongoing, the development has raised concerns as to the eligibility or legal capacity of the candidates to participate in the elections and the overall effect of the alleged forgery should the SDP win the election.
With or without the conviction of Abenemi by the court, the fact of the forgery, having been confirmed by WAEC, has already created a burden for SDP and its candidates. While the SDP will not be precluded from participating in the election on the basis of the forgery, it is generally believed that there is no useful value to the party’s participation.
More or less, it would amount to an exercise in futility, according to political analysts and legal experts.
Interpreting the scenario, a frontline lawyer and activist from one of the Northern states, who spoke with Freedom Online on the condition of anonymity, said, “All votes cast for the party at the election will eventually be declared by the Tribunal as wasted votes, win or lose, due to the established legal incapacity of Abenemi and SDP’s nomination as a whole.
“The reasons for the foregoing prognosis are very clear: Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria prescribes the qualification criteria for a person to contest as a Governor and Deputy Governor (see 187(2)). One of such criteria (paragraph 177(d)) is that such a person ‘has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.’
“Hence, if a person does not have a minimum requirement or qualification to contest for the position of Governor/Deputy Governor of a State, it means that he is not qualified to so contest for the position.
In the case of Abenemi who has only presented a GCE Notification of Result, which has been verified to be forged by WAEC, it is clear that he is not qualified to contest for the position of Deputy Governor, hence the joint ticket, automatically becomes invalid by virtue of Section 187(2) of the 1999 Constitution(as amended).
“Another reason is the fact that Section 182(1)(j) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which provides for grounds for disqualification of a person from contesting the seat of Governor/Deputy Governor of a State specifically disqualifies a person who has provided a forged certificate to INEC in the following words: No person shall be qualified for election to the office of Governor of a State if … he has presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission.’
“The foregoing provisions which are clear and unambiguous and which must be given their natural meaning gives no room for any doubt as to the fatal effect of the forged GCE Notification of Result submitted to INEC by Abenemi.
“It is clear that in the event of the SDP winning the elections, the victory will no doubt be nullified on the basis of the candidates’ legal incapacity occasioned by non-qualification and presentation of forged certificate to INEC by Abenemi.
“This is reminiscent of the Supreme Court case of PDP & Ors v. Degi-Eremienyo & Ors (2020) LPELR-49734(SC) (Pp. 8-16 paras. D-D) where the joint ticket of David Lyon and his Deputy Governorship Candidate in Bayelsa State was held to be vitiated by the disqualification of the Deputy Governorship Candidate based on submission of false information/document to INEC.
“In fact, both candidates were disqualified by the Supreme Court and ‘deemed not to be candidates at the governorship election conducted in Bayelsa State.’”
It is generally believed that this is the fate which awaits Yakubu, Abenemi and the SDP at the election, should they win, according to opinion polls.
Also, in the case they do not win the said election, the SDP and their Candidates’ locus standi to challenge the victory of the winner of the election at the Tribunal will be incapacitated as the issue of their qualification may be raised in response to their petition or as a cross petition.
However, Section 33 of the Electoral Act 2022 allows political parties to substitute their candidates only in the case of death of the nominated candidates or withdrawal.
In the case of withdrawal, there is a deadline for such substitution. For the Kogi election, the deadline for the substitution of candidates set by INEC expired on May 26, 2023.
Indeed, this window of substitution brought in Yakubu and Abenemi as SDP candidates on May 20, 2023.
“Hence, the only ‘remedy’ which is most impracticable is death which nobody prays for. Sections 33 and 34 of the Electoral Act 2022 provides copious provisions on this process,” the lawyer said.
It must, however, be noted that in the entire history of democratic elections in Nigeria, only one substitution (arguably) occasioned by death has been recorded and coincidentally same occurred in the 2015 Kogi State Governorship Election which produced the current Governor, H.E. Yahaya Bello.
Going by this statistics, it is impracticable near impossible that this will repeat itself to save the troubled SDP ticket.
While the SDP will not be precluded from participating in the November 11 election based on the certificate forgery scandal, the futility of the party’s participation in the election is a big source of worry to the party, according to a top national SDP official who spoke in confidence to our reporter.
*Culled from Freedom Online.
PRESIDENT TINUBU CALLS FOR SUSPENSION OF SANCTIONS ON GUINEA, MALI, NIGER, AND BURKINA FASO
PRESIDENT TINUBU CALLS FOR SUSPENSION OF SANCTIONS ON GUINEA, MALI, NIGER, AND BURKINA FASO
Speaking at the Extra-ordinary Summit of ECOWAS in Abuja on Saturday, President Tinubu, who is the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the organization, stated that: “Everything we did was in hopes of persuading our brothers that there existed a better path, a path that would lead to genuine improvement of their people’s welfare through democratic good governance. And this was a path each of our nations had solemnly agreed with one another pursuant to formal regional treaty and protocol.
“However, the sanctions that we contemplated might help lead our brothers to the negotiating table have become a harsh stumbling block. In my mind and heart, that which is hurtful yet ineffective serves no good purpose and should be abandoned.
“ECOWAS was established for the unassailable objective of improving the lives of the people of this region through fraternal cooperation among all member states. This edifice was cemented on the strong foundation and apt conviction that, united as one, we can be the true masters of our destiny.”
The President further explained that ECOWAS took the steps it did based on the regional ideals of security, social stability; democratic governance, political freedom, broad-based prosperity, and sustainable economic development through fair opportunity for each and every one in West Africa.
He said neither hatred nor hidden motive influenced the steps taken and that there was never any intention to douse or undermine the legitimate political aspirations of any member state or to advance the interests of any outside party.
In calling for the suspension of sanctions, President Tinubu stressed that: “We must take note of the approach of the holy month of Ramadan and of Lent. Whether you pray in the mosque or in the church, this represents a time for compassion, hope, and harmony. It is a time that we must not only seek God but also a closer relationship with brother and neighbour.
“In the Spirit of the holy month and of the Lenten period, and with hearts bestirred by goodwill towards all our people, let us extend a hand as brothers and friends to those in Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea.
“What I suggest in real and practical terms is that we, my colleagues and fellow heads of state in ECOWAS, indefinitely suspend economic sanctions against Niger, Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso and against the leadership of the military authorities in those nations.”
The President asked that ECOWAS facilitate the unfettered flow of foodstuffs, medicines and other humanitarian items to the people of these nations, especially to the most vulnerable, adding that for Nigeria, this will also mean the prompt resumption of export of electric power to Niger.
“In this vein, suspension of sanctions is an important but initial step. What we seek is more than the breaking of the diplomatic logjam. We must use this very moment when things seem tense and progress unavailing, to forge greater cooperation within our community.
“We not only reach out to our brothers. Today, we say unto them — let us begin to work more earnestly together for the economic development of our people and towards confronting those modern challenges that respect no borders or boundaries. Challenges ranging from climate change to violent extremism to illegal pilfering of our precious natural resources require that we join together in progress or we fail separately.
“As leaders of ECOWAS, we have accepted the honour and duty to draft the history of the region and its people during our tenure in office. We have also accepted the honour and duty to reach out to our brothers, letting them know this regional home belongs to us all. I shall do my utmost in this regard. I humbly beseech that you do the same.
“For these reasons, we must suspend sanctions and return to brotherly dialogue. I call on the leadership in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, and Niger to embrace the hand extended,” the President stated.
Chief Ajuri Ngelale
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
February 24, 2024
PBAT is Working, No growth without Pain ! By Sen. Rilwan Adesoji Akanbi
PBAT is Working, No growth without Pain ! By Sen. Rilwan Adesoji Akanbi
Sahara Weekly Reports That It must be emphasized that the PBAT met a cancerous like Treasury and multidimensional problems. A courageous, dedicated and purposely determined administration of PBAT tackles all the problems gradually and head-on
The part payment of our foreign loans which shall raise our financial rating in the international capital market.
The much advertised release of food grains from the strategic national silo into our food chain shows that PBAT cares and is showing much concern.
The Policy formulation of PBAT is working indeed considering the above-mentioned parameters. Although it may not be possible for a quick approach and turnaround,there will surely be light at the end of the dark tunnel.
Carrying the State Governors in a synergy improves and capable of reducing the widespread impoverishment. Some Governors must be mentioned for the good work : Kwara State Governor who doubles as Chairman Governors forum , Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Prof Zulum of Borno, Kano State Governor and few others are doing their best although more need to be done to put smile on the faces of the citizens and some other Governors need to step up their actions.Our Governors should role out more palliatives programs to cushion effect on the present hardship.
The ongoing regulation of our financial institutions shows the ability of our current leadership.
It is worthy to mention the head-on tackle by the present administration on the insurgency and kidnapping that is becoming rampant.
At this juncture, we citizens must remember the fight back of political and economic saboteurs who wants instability and old order of feeding fat. We must not play into their hands, we must control our anger although, a hungry man is an angry man. We have no other country, we must watch our utterances and be guided. Support and Prayers for the administration success must be our priority. May the Lord Almighty continue to strengthen PBAT for the task ahead.
Ogun To Begin Sales Of 100 Trucks Load Of Rice At Cheaper Rate-Abiodun …the poor, elderly, vulnerable to get free allocation
Ogun To Begin Sales Of 100 Trucks Load Of Rice At Cheaper Rate-Abiodun
…the poor, elderly, vulnerable to get free allocation
Ogun State has purchased 100 trucks load of rice to be sold at cheaper rates to residents of the state to cushion the effect of the rise in the prices of goods in the country.
The state governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun stated this on Wednesday while speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting in Abeokuta, the state capital.
Prince Abiodun disclosed that the rice would be subsidized and made available at the rate it was before the recent astronomical rise in the prices of the commodities.
He, however, said the poor, the elderly, and the vulnerable would enjoy free allocation.
“We have decided to give our people foodstuffs like rice, garri, beans. I have ordered almost 100 trailers of rice, they will start offloading them tomorrow (today).
“We have decided that the poor, the elderly, and the vulnerable will be given the rice free of charge, while others will have to buy the rice at the price we formally bought it before the dollar rose very high so that it won’t be a one-off and we can continue till the issue of the dollar is settled,” he said.
Governor Abiodun assured the people of Ogun State that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is fully in charge and knows what he is doing.
According to him, the President is on top of the situation, adding that Nigerians will soon start seeing the manifestation of the several policies put in place to curtail the rising inflation
He added that the Central Bank Governor, Mr. Yemi Cardoso, at a meeting he had with him, has assured that the dollar would soon fall.
“Everything we are experiencing at the moment is very transient, it will soon pass away. Let me assure you, the meeting we had yesterday (Tuesday) and today (Wednesday) after I left that meeting this evening, I am convinced that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is fully in charge. He knows what he is doing.
“With the plan that he has begun to implement, you will soon begin to see the change. We must remain very hopeful.
“The last meeting I had was with the CBN Governor. He said I should quote him and tell you that, very soon, the dollar will crash,” he said.
Abiodun noted that his administration in realization of the present hardship facing the country took some steps to cushion the effect, even as he recalled that an intervention worth more than N5 billion was announced by his administration last week.
Tertiary students of Ogun State origin across the country will receive N50,000 each, the governor said.
The secondary and primary school category with about 800,000 students, Prince Abiodun noted, will be done in phases, with the first phase, comprising 100,000 students getting N10,000 each.
Those not captured now would get five exercise books while waiting for the next phase.
The governor said women and the elderly would benefit from free medical care with insurance cards worth N18,000.
Abiodun further noted that his administration would set aside about N500 million monthly to offset the payment of deductions for civil servants in the state public service.
Governor Abiodun urged Nigerians, especially the youths not to allow themselves to be used by unscrupulous elements to disrupt the peace of the country.
“It is now so bad that they have planned to use our youths, give them money to disrupt the peace of the country by staging protests.
“What we going through isn’t what other countries around the world haven’t also experienced. But they were very patriotic, calm because they know the solution is on the way,” he said.
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