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Osinbajo lights Torch of Unity to herald 21st National Sports Festival holding in Asaba

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Osinbajo lights Torch of Unity to herald 21st National Sports Festival holding in Asaba

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo lit the Torch of Unity on Tuesday in Abuja signalling the beginning of its movement for the 21st Edition of the National Sports Festival.

The festival is scheduled to hold in Asaba for Nov. 28 to Dec. 10.

Performing the exercise at an arena in the State House, Osinbajo said the Torch of Unity, which heralded the festival, symbolised peace and unity in Nigeria.

He said that the torch was also meant to create awareness about the festival amongst Nigerians and also the world at large.

The vice-president said the festival was a crucial activity in Nigeria’s sporting calendar as it had been the avenue to discover many outstanding talents that would go on to become world champions.

“Some of the great champions who we know today were actually discovered at various National Sports Festivals.

“They include the likes of Blessing Okagbare, a world medallist in the 200 meters Olympics and World Championship; and also the medallist in long jump at the Olympics.

“Chioma Ajunwa, notable for being the first Nigerian to win gold at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, and the first Black woman to win an Olympic Gold in any field event.

“Of course, you also have Olusoji Fasugba who was the African record holder and gold medallist in the 100 meters event with the time of 9.85seconds.

“This was until Akanni Simbine beat that time in 2021 with a time of 9.84seconds; then, Lucy Ejike, a gold medallist and world record holder at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics through to 2021 in Tokyo.

“And Enifiok Udo Ubong, the only Nigerian to win two bronze medals in the 4 x 400 meters relay and also silver medal in long jump.

“Of course, the now legendary Toby Amusan, OON, the current World, Commonwealth, African  Champion in the 100 meters hurdles; she is also the recorder holder in these three competitions,’’ Osinbajo added.

According to him, stakeholders are looking forward to even more successful hurl of great stars at 21st National Sports Festival.

He said that the nation was still basking in the euphoria of the outstanding performance of Team Nigeria at the just-concluded Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK.

“We are committed to supporting the sports sector to sustain this height – the height that has already been attained.

“We realise that the overall goal of using sports as a tool for meaningfully engaging our young and also for uniting our country is a very sound objective.

“It is one that we intend to continue to pursue on a regular and daily basis,’’ the vice-president stressed.

Osinbajo commended the Minster of Sports and Youth Development, Mr Sunday Dare and the host Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa, for their efforts at bringing the festival to fruition.

Earlier in his remarks, Dare said that the event was very significant in the history of sports development in Nigeria.

Dare recalled that the vice-president, at the same arena, received the Queen’s baton to signal Nigeria’s participation at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

“As we light the Torch of Unity at this venue for what is the flagship sports event in Nigeria, we refer to it as the Nigerian Olympics.

“It is from the sports festival that we hope to select our best and brightest to form Team Nigeria for the France 2024 Olympics.

“The torch is the Torch of Unity and over the years, it has united our country’s men and women.

Thirty-Six states and the FCT, 16,000 athletes, more than 28 different sports for age groups between 18 years and 25 years will participate at the National Sports festival.

“The torch is expected to move around the states and the FCT arriving in Asaba to be received by the governor,’’ he said.

The minister thanked the Federal Government for identifying with the festival and providing the support and the resources necessary over the years.

In his goodwill message, Gov. Okowa thanked the Federal Government, particularly the sports ministry for accepting that Delta should host the 21st National Sports Festival.

He said that the state was ready and was working very hard to ensure it provided the best in terms of organisation.

“We are also looking forward very keenly to other states competing with themselves excluding Delta.

“This is because we know we have already won, even ahead of time; but we will like to see other states competing with us,’’ he said.

The symbolic carrying of the torch was led by Mary Onyali, a former Nigerian sprinter.

The torch was afterwards handed over to the vice-president who returned it to the Minister of Sports.

A ceremonial mascot was also handed over to the vice-president by Gov. Okowa.

 

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We have barely 200,000 uncollected PVCs in Enugu State — INEC

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We have barely 200,000 uncollected PVCs in Enugu State — INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has 203,921 uncollected Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) within its 17 local government offices in Enugu State.

The collection of PVCs had gone back to INEC local government offices throughout the state from the ward levels from Jan. 23 and the exercise would end on Jan. 29.

Mr. Rex Achumie, INEC Head of Department for Voter Education and Publicity (VEP), in Enugu State, said this on Wednesday that the uncollected PVCs were 203,921 as at the beginning of work today, Jan. 25.

Achumie said that the distribution of PVCs in the state had been ongoing seamlessly and progressively each day.

According to him, if you look at the total registered voters and the balance of uncollected PVCs in the state, one can confidently say ‘we are doing well’.

“We have a total of 203,921 cards left and I believe it will continue to reduce daily as residents of the state come for their PVCs daily.

“INEC is also praying that the massive number of people that came out to collect their PVCs within this window of PVCs collection, will actually come out to vote on D-day (election day).

“INEC is once more assuring Nigerians and the good people of Enugu State that their votes will count.

“There is a whole lot of improvement in INEC, a new Electoral Act and the use of technology to ensure efficiency and that there is no human interference in the system,” he said.

On the remaining uncollected PVCs, Achumie said that the commission in the state is not relenting to see to the total collection of the remaining PVCs.

“We are seriously working hard to ensure that most of the PVCs are collected before the expiration of the PVCs collection on Sunday, Jan. 29,” he added.

A total of 2,112,793 eligible voters had been registered by INEC in Enugu State.

It is highly likely that most of them are desirous to vote in the forthcoming general elections.

INEC had fixed Feb. 25 for Presidential and National Assembly elections as well as March 11 for the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections nationwide

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Ogun PDP governorship: Supreme Court dismisses Lawal’s appeal, others

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 The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed four appeals filled by the Ogun state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship legal battle.

Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, leading a panel of five-man Justices, dismissed the appeals following their withdrawals by the respective lawyers.

The appeals instituted by the governorship aspirants, Otunba Jimi Lawal and some ward delegates were dismissed on the grounds that the appellants had no cause of action.

In one of the appeals, filed by Tayo Olabode against the PDP governorship candidate in Ogun state, Oladipupo Adebutu, the appeal was dismissed on the ground that the delegates who filed the action lacked locus standi (legal right) to do so.

It was agreed that the delegates who claimed to have been disenfranchised in the PDP primary election that produced Adebutu cannot initiate any court action against the primary election since they were not aspirants in the election.

The apex court held that the law is clear that only an aspirant in a primary election conducted for the purpose of nominating candidates for election, can lawfully challenge the outcome and not any other party member.

In another appeal, that was predicated on the failure to serve to originate summon on the defendant, the court held that since the aggrieved defendant participated in the matter from the beginning to the end, the issue of service can no longer take the front burner.

Tayo Olabode, who led a team of the ward delegates, had in his suit on behalf of his colleagues, alleged that they were disenfranchised from participating in the governorship primary election.

Specifically, he requested the court to quash the primary election that produced Adebutu on the ground that unlawful delegates conducted the primary election.

The apex court unanimously agreed that notwithstanding the anger of the aggrieved ward delegates, they are not legally permitted to challenge a primary election in which they were not aspirants.

Based on the findings, the appellant lawyers Chikwudi Enebeli and Deji Eniseyin said that they were painfully withdrawing the cases of their clients.

kekere-Ekun, consequently dismissed the appeals on the ground that they have no legs to stand upon.

Recall that the apex court had in a lead judgment by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa ordered speedy hearing of the suit after holding that the Federal High Court has jurisdiction to hear the matter.

In line with the Supreme Court’s order, on December 1, 2022,. a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja,   dismissed a suit by Otunba Adebisi Lawal, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, seeking to remove Oladipupo Adebutu, as a candidate for the 2023 Ogun state PDP governorship election.

Lawal and Adebutu had both laid claims to the gubernatorial candidate of the party ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The presiding judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo in a judgment held that he did not see any concrete documentary evidence by the plaintiff to support his claim that an unlawful delegate list was used by the PDP to conduct the April 30, Ward Congress in Ogun state.

The court noted that the plaintiff, by the suit, played a role of a spoiler, and held that the suit is a product of an afterthought.

It was the opinion of the court that Plaintiff had in a further affidavit, included pleadings not contained in the originating summons.

“I have no reason to say that the primary election was invalid, null and void.

“Upon reviewing the evidence, I find that the plaintiff attempted to use a further affidavit to amend his originating summons.

“The case of the plaintiff has been debunked by exhibits of the defendants.

“I find that the case of the plaintiff lacks credible evidence and I make an order dismissing the case,” the judge said

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Supreme Court Restores Akpabio as APC Senatorial Candidate for Akwa Ibom North Senatorial

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Supreme Court Restores Akpabio as APC Senatorial Candidate for Akwa Ibom North Senatorial

 The Supreme Court on Friday restored former Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godwin Akpabio as the Senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress APC for Akwa Ibom North Senatorial District.

In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, the Apex Court upheld the judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja which in September last year granted a verdict in favour of the immediate past Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.

Saulawa after reviewing the arguments canvassed by Akpabio said that his appeal was meritorious and therefore was allowed.

The judgement was on an appeal filed by Akpabio challenging the judgement of the Court of Appeal Abuja, which set aside his victory at the Federal High Court Abuja.

In arriving at the decision, the Supreme Court in a unanimous judgement said each of the 10 issues formulated by the appellant was resolved in his favour, and against the respondent.

It held that the court below lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case, adding that whatever decision arrived at by the court amounted to nullity.

It would be recalled that the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal had on November 14, 2022, set aside the judgment of Federal High Court Abuja, removing Godswill Akpabio as the All Progressives Congress candidate for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District.

A three-member panel of Justices led by Justice Danlami Senchi held that Akpabio failed to file a proof of arguments within the time provided by the rules.

The panel further ruled that Akpabio, having contested the presidential primary of the APC, could not participate in the valid primary of the party held on May 27 and monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which produced Udom Ekpoudom as a candidate.

But Justice Emeka Nwite of a Federal High Court Abuja had on September 22, 2022, ordered the INEC to reinstate Senator Akpabio as APC’s candidate, being the candidate nominated by the party in the second primary of June 9.

The trial court had directed INEC to accept the former Minister of Niger Delta as the APC flagbearer.

Nwite also ordered INEC to publish Akpabio’s name as APC senatorial candidate for Akwa Ibom North/West senatorial district in 2023, stating that the Commission acted illegally by refusing to accept and publish the former governor’s name when it was submitted to it by the APC as its candidate.

He added that Akpabio was validly nominated as the Akwa – Ibom North/West Senatorial District candidate of the APC from the primary conducted by the party’s National Working Committee on June 9, 2022.

The trial Judge faulted INEC for electing to monitor the May 27 primary, conducted by an illegal faction of the party led by Augustine Ekanem as against the June 9, primary authorized conducted by the APC NWC.

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