Osun Governorship: Court of Appeal nullifies tribunal judgment, pronounces Oyetola winner

Osun Governorship: Court of Appeal nullifies tribunal judgment, pronounces Oyetola winner

BREAKING: Court of Appeal nullifies Adeleke’s electoral victory

Halimah Yahaya
The Court of Appeal on Thursday in Abuja nullified the electoral victory of Ademola Adeleke in the Osun State governorship election petition tribunal.

This was after the appeal filed by the governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola, challenging the declaration of Ademola Adeleke as the duly elected governor by the state election petition tribunal.

The appellate court also set aside the judgement of the tribunal of March 22, which declared Mr Adeleke winner of the election.

A five-member panel of the appeal court led by Jummai Sankey delivered the judgement with three members of the panel agreeing with the lead judgement.

A panel member, Justice Mbaba, is currently giving a dissenting judgement.

Mr Adeleke contested the governorship election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The Independent National Electoral Commission declared Mr Oyetola winner after a supplementary poll but the tribunal said Mr Oyetola won the election at the first ballot.

Specifically, he faulted the judgment as unknown to the law because Justice Peter Obiorah who prepared and read the lead judgement did not participate fully during the hearing of the petition.

Mr Oyetola whose appeal was first heard by the court of appeal drew the attention of the court to the February 6 proceedings in which Mr Obiorah was absent at the tribunal and did not sign the proceeding of that day.

The appellant contended that what Mr Obiorah did amounted to judicial hear-say because the proceedings of February 6 when he was not in court was copiously copied in his lead judgement.

Insisting that judicial hear-say has no place in law, Mr Oyetola asked the appeal court to quash the judgement, allow the appeal and uphold the governorship election.

On his part, the counsel to APC, Akin Olujinmi, also faulted the judgment of the tribunal led by Ibrahim Sirajo, on the ground that the petition was based on the rerun election of September 27.

Credit: Premium Times

Buhari won’t accept Onnoghen’s resignation –Presidency

Buhari won’t accept Onnoghen’s resignation –Presidency

By Anule Emmanuel and Tunde Oyesina

The Presidency has confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari will not accept the voluntary resignation request from the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen. President Buhari had, on January 25, 2019, suspended the CJN on the orders of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) given on January 23. The CCT, last Thursday, convicted the suspended CJN and ordered for his removal from office, having breached the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) Act. The decision of the CCT came despite an earlier recommendation by the National Judicial Commission (CJN) to President Buhari, for his compulsory retirement from service.

Onnoghen had also reportedly sent his resignation letter to President Buhari barely 24 hours after the NJC concluded investigating him for various allegations of misconduct. A senior aide to the President, who prefers not to be mentioned in print, yesterday, told New Telegraph in an interview that the case of the suspended CJN was a closed matter. He said there is no way Onnoghen would have expected President Buhari to accept his resignation when the issues surrounding his case were already in court. The presidential aide also explained that the NJC, in its recommendation letter to President Buhari for compulsory retirement of the suspended CJN, failed to cite the issue of alleged gross misconduct. He said the NJC’s recommendation was not appropriate with regards to the matter as it affected the suspended CJN. “There is no way the President would have acted on the letter of the NJC which recommended for compulsory retirement of the suspended CJN. They were silent on the issue of gross misconduct.

“But the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is clear on the basis upon which the President can sack a CJN. They were silent on this. If the President acted on it, someone would have said that he acted against the Constitution. Some people would even say that he is looking for a short cut on the matter. “Now, he has been convicted by the CCT. The President will allow the court process to go on since Onnoghen himself has also filed an appeal at the Appeal Court,” the president’s aide noted.

The Federal Government had, in January, on the strength of a petition filed a six-count criminal charge bothering on nondeclaration of five accounts domiciled with Standard Chartered Bank on Onnoghen. About four months later, the Danladi Umar-led threeman panel of tribunal, last Thursday, convicted Onnoghen of the six-count criminal charge and consequently removed him as the CJN. The tribunal equally barred him from holding public office for 10 years for contravening the CCB laws on asset declaration for public officers. In addition, the tribunal also ordered the forfeiture of various sums of monies in naira, euros, pounds and dollars denominations found in his five bank accounts with the Standard Chartered Bank which he was said to have failed to declare.

The forfeited sums are N26.8 million, $137,700 and £13,730. However, not satisfied with the judgement, Onnoghen, who described his conviction as unconstitutional and premeditated, had approached the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division to challenge same. In his 16 grounds of appeal filed through his counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), Onnoghen prayed the court for an order that the lower tribunal lacks jurisdiction to entertain the case in the first place. He also prayed the court to make an order that the lower tribunal ought to have recused itself from the proceedings before it.

Onnoghen equally prayed the court for an order that the charge has become an academic exercise and should set aside the conviction of the appellant. He also wants the court to set aside the order of forfeiture of assets made by the tribunal. He equally prayed the appellate court to discharge and acquit him. There are about five different appeals filed by Onnoghen pending before the Appeal Court at the moment. Earlier, before the final judgement, the tribunal had refused Onnoghen’s no case submission, application challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal to entertain the matter and another application praying the chairman of the tribunal to recuse himself of the matter on the allegation of bias.

Credit: New Telegraph

Fawehinmi Would Have Been 81 Today: How Sapara Williams Influenced Him

Fawehinmi Would Have Been 81 Today: How Sapara Williams Influenced Him

Chief Gani Fawehinmi

By Ademola Adegbamigbe

The late Chief Gani Fawehinmi would have been 81 today. His birth anniversary was, last year, marked with two major events. The Lagos State Government unveiled a new statue to immortalise him at Ojota Park. Also, Professor Wole Soyinka gave a keynote address in his honour. Fawehinmi, popularly called Gani, born on 22 April 1938, the son of Saheed and Munirat Fawehinmi of Ondo, in Ondo State, was a lawyer, human rights activist and a nemesis of bad political leaders. He died on 5 September 2009 at the aged of 71.

This writer is one of those who will never forget Chief Fawehinmi. He was an interviewer’s delight in his Anthony Village Chambers and Ikeja GRA home, both in Lagos.

Before going there, a journalist had to be prepared. You must do your research well. You had to get your facts right. In fact it was always better to have more than enough questions. This is because, if you went there with five, by the time you ask number one question, Chief Fawehinmi would have answered all you had on your notepad and you would be there panting like a beached whale!

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Another striking way Fawehinmi granted interviews was his use of language. In an interview with TheNEWS, he described the late General Sani Abacha’s regime as “Nebuchadnezzaraic.” That was a reference to the brutal King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (605 BC – c. 562 BC). What’s more, Chief Fawehinmi would real out statistics to buttress his facts, a feat that would render the jaws of readers open.

I once asked who influenced him. He replied that apart from Lord Denning, an English lawyer and judge, it was Christopher Alexander Sapara-Williams, Nigeria’s first indigenous lawyer. No wonder, Sapara William’s eternal words adorned the walls of Fawehinmi’s Anthony Chambers: “The legal practitioner lives for the direction of his people and the advancement of the cause of his country.” That was exactly how Fawehinmi’s life and law practice could be summarised.

It was in acknowledgement of this that President Muhammadu Buhari, last year, paid tribute to Fawehinmi, describing him ‘‘as a true conscience of the nation, defender of democracy and people’s rights advocate.”

In the words of Buhari: “The late Senior Advocate of the Masses was not an arm chair-critic, nor a rabble rouser who fomented trouble for its sake; but a serious minded, articulate, cerebral and compassionate promoter of fundamental human rights, social justice, equity, fair play and national development.

“Gani was an extraordinary human being and a great reference for all progressive elements in society. He dared death and incarceration and was forced into prison 40 times without bowing to intimidation and molestation.

‘‘He fought for and stood by democracy with every ounce of his blood and immense intellect. He deserves a lingering respect,” the president said in his tribute.”

General Ibrahim Babangida, a former Military President, was quoted by Onigegewura, as saying this about Fawehinmi: “There was one vivid meeting that has remained in my memory about Gani, and that was in 1984. I was the Chief of Army Staff. Gani, in his characteristic manner, was as fearless as ever when we asked him to relate his own side of a particular issue as he blasted all of us irrespective of the fact that we were all generals in uniform and he was the only civilian among us and all what we did was to clap for him as we appreciated his courage.”

At a public function in Victory College, Ikare, Fawehinmi verbally attacked a former Ondo State military Governor in the Abacha years, Anthony Onyarugbulem, for having the cheek to badge in on and embarrass the late Chief Adekunle Ajasin (for hosting a meeting of the National Democratic Coalition in his Owo home). Fawehinmi’s boldness was legendary.

As narrated by Mary Odunuga: “Sapara-Williams had his roots from Ijeshaland. He was always proud of where he came from, he would fondly call it, ‘Ijesha wa’, meaning ‘Our Ijesha’. He did not love his roots only in words, he acted accordingly too by being instrumental to Nigeria’s decolonization. The part he played that wows me every time I read it was his condemnation of Seditious Offences Ordinances of 1909 and his collaboration with Herbert Macaulay to start the Anti-Slavery and Aborigines Protection Society. Sapara-Williams had a voice and he made sure his voice was heard.”

He, as Odunuga puts it, was Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association from 1900 to 1915. For him, the law is to be used as a force for positive social change and during his lifetime, he made this the basis of achievements and legacy to which we now remember him by. And the moral here is this: After you are long gone, make sure you make the history books – for good.”

Who Was Sapara-Williams?

Sapara-Williams, according to Wikipedia, was born on 14 July 1855. He was of Ijesha origin, but was born in Sierra Leone. He studied Law in London at the Inner Temple, and was called to the English bar on 17 November 1879. Returning from the United Kingdom, he began practising law in Lagos Colony on 13 January 1888. He had an unmatched reputation as an advocate, and had intimate knowledge of unwritten customary law. He enrolled in the Nigerian Bar Association on 30 January 1888, and was Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association from 1900 to 1915.

“Although Williams was the first indigenous Nigerian to formally qualify as a lawyer, he was not the only one to practice the law. Due to the shortage of qualified lawyers, until 1913 it was common for non-lawyers with basic education and some knowledge of English law to be appointed to practice as attorneys.

Political career

Williams was nominated to the Legislative Council, serving as a member from October 1901 until his death in 1915. In 1903 there was a crisis over the payment of the tolls that were collected from traders by native rulers, although Europeans were exempted. The alternative was to replace the tolls by a subsidy. Governor William MacGregor requested views from Williams, Charles Joseph George and Obadiah Johnson as indigenous opinion leaders. All were in favour of retaining the tolls to avoid upsetting the rulers. In 1903 governor MacGregor nominated Williams for a knighthood, but his recommendation was turned down.

In 1904 Williams moved that “the present boundary between the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria and the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria be re-adjusted by bringing the southern portion into Southern Nigeria, so that the entire tribes of the Yoruba-speaking people should be under one and the same administration”. Sir Frederick Lugard had opposed this proposal on the grounds of administrative convenience, and the eventual decision largely followed his beliefs. The principle applied was to group people who were at roughly the same political and social level into one province rather than to try to align the provinces with ethnic boundaries.

In 1905, Williams visited England. While there, he made several suggestions to the Colonial Office for changes to imperial policy. These included establishing a teachers training college in Lagos, and having more continuity of policy by the governors of the colony. Sapara Williams challenged the Seditious Offenses Ordinances of 1909, which suppressed press criticism of the government. He pointed out that “freedom of the Press is the great Palladium of British liberty … Sedition is a thing incompatible with the character of the Yoruba people, and has no place in their constitution … Hyper-sensitive officials may come tomorrow who will see sedition in every criticism and crime in every mass meeting”. Despite his plea, the bill became law. Williams encouraged Herbert Macaulay to convene an inaugural meeting of the Lagos Auxiliary of the Anti-Slavery and Aborigines Protection Society on 30 August 1910, which gave Macauley a platform for producing popular opposition to colonial practices.

When Northern and Southern Nigeria were united in 1914, the new legislative council was headed by the Governor, and consisted of seven British officials, two British non-officials and two Nigerians, one of whom was Williams.” He died on 15 March 1915.

-This piece by Ademola Adegbamigbe, Editor, TheNEWS, was adapted from the one he wrote on the late Chief Fawehinmi on this platform exactly one year ago. molagbe63@yahoo.com. 08055002056

Buhari extends tenure of acting CJN Tanko Muhammad

Buhari extends tenure of acting CJN Tanko Muhammad

By Solomon Fowowe |

President Muhammadu Buhari has extended the tenure of acting Chief Justice of Nigeria Tanko Muhammad by three months.

The National Judicial Council approved the appointment of Justice Muhammad following a recommendation sent by President Buhari.

Muhammad was sworn in as the acting CJN on January 25 by Buhari after the president suspended Justice Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria following the directive of the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

The first three months of Muhammad’s tenure expires on April 25.

A statement released by the NJC confirmed that it considered and approved the request for the extension of appointment sent by the president.

It also debunked a report that the council would meet to decide on the extension of the acting CJN’s tenure.

“The attention of the National Judicial Council has been drawn to an online newspaper and daily newspaper report stating that the council would meet next week to deliberate on the extension of the Acting Appointment of Honourable Dr. Justice I. T. Muhammad CFR, as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria,” the statement signed by Soji Oye, NJC spokesman, said.

“Contrary to the above, the Council actually met on Thursday 18th April, 2019 and at the 88th Meeting considered and approved the request of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for the extension of the Appointment of Hon. Dr. Justice I. T. Muhammad, CFR, as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria for another three (3) months and Council has since forwarded its approval to the President.”

Former CJN Onnoghen, on Thursday, was convicted by the CCT on a six-count charge of false declaration of assets and was barred from holding any public office for the next ten years.

Onnoghen has denied the charges and appealed the judgement.

Credit: The Guardian