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Appeal Court affirms Ahmed as Governor of Kwara, dismisses Ajibola’s suit

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The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has dismissed the suit filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2015 gubernatorial election in Kwara State, Senator Simeon Ajibola, challenging the emergence of Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed as the governor of the State.

A three-man panel of justices of the appellate court, led by Justice Peter Ige, in their ruling on Tuesday noted that the appeal lacked merit and dismissed it accordingly.

The court, therefore, upheld the election of Ahmed as governor of Kwara State.

Further in his ruling, Justice Ige awarded the cost of N2.5 million in favour of Ahmed, the first respondent, and the All Progressives Congress, the second respondent.

He also directed that the sum of N1 million be paid in favour of the third respondent, the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The PDP candidate had gone before the appellate court to challenge a verdict of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which had on April 15, 2016, validated Governor Ahmed’s election.

The suit was however dismissed by the Federal High Court, which held that the appellant lacked the locus standi to query the primary election that produced Ahmed as the APC’s candidate.

Ahmed, who argued through his lawyer, Adebayo Adelodun (SAN), maintained that the appellant had no right under any law to inquire into how primary election of another political party was conducted.

Dissatisfied with the judgment, Ajibola approached the appellate court.

In his reaction, Governor Ahmed described the verdict as a reaffirmation of mandate given to him by the people of Kwara State.

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THE NATION

Why we resort to contractor-financing of pipeline projects – NNPC

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has explained why it has resorted to contractor-financing of its pipeline and other facilities development in recent times in the Industry.

Delivering the Keynote speech at the Nigerian International Pipeline Technology and Security Conference (NIPITECS 2018) Tuesday in Abuja, the NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, stated that the recourse was to get around the prevalent funding challenge in the country, saying this has enabled the corporation to aggressively build the pipeline infrastructure within the Gas Master Plan as exemplified in the recent award of the Ajaokuta-Abuja-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline and all ongoing downstream pipeline infrastructure rehabilitation effort.

The NNPC GMD who was represented at the event by Dr. Babatunde Adeniran, Chief Operating Officer, Ventures, affirmed that pipelines remained the cheapest way of moving products across any distance, noting however that pipeline operation and construction in Nigeria had been an expensive undertaking.

He challenged members of the Pipeline Professionals Association of Nigeria (PLAN) and other stakeholders to proffer solutions that could lead to a dramatic change and expansion of pipeline business in Nigeria.

Dr. Maikanti Baru said such solution must be able to resolve the challenge which has hindered the growth and viability of pipeline venture in the country.

The GMD explained that emphasis should not be on what has been done in the past but to seek quicker, better, cheaper and more effective ways of how things should be done to achieve the feat.

“The poser I will like the conference to address is: Is cost really an inhibitor or is it the security challenges or financial models that are not properly structured and above all how do we make the pipeline business a financially viable investment?’’ he said.

Continuing, the GMD probed: “How do we build partnership with the required technical expertise to assemble new technology based-industries that are cheap to operate and can deliver products that are both locally and internationally marketable?”

He also wondered if Nigeria had a financially capable environment that could provide funds at rates that would be competitive and low enough to produce adequate returns.

He averred that the answer to these posers would enable NNPC restructure and develop policies that would encourage infrastructure development in the country.

Earlier in his welcome address, Engr. Geoff Onuoha, Chairman of PLAN, expressed delight at the high level of support accorded the association by the NNPC Management, assuring that the pipeline professionals would not only pick up the gauntlet and tackle the challenge posed to the group by the NNPC GMD, but would continue to work with other stakeholders to ensure the in-country viability of pipeline business.

Engr. Chidi Izuwah, the Acting Director General/Chief Executive Officer, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, commended the NNPC Management for embracing the contractor-financing model in the AKK project, noting that such an option should be replicated wholesomely in respect of other mega industry projects.

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No anointed aspirant for Lagos governor – Lagos APC elders

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) elders have declared that no aspirant has been adopted for Lagos State governor.

The Chairman of the Elders’ Forum, Alhaji Tajudeen Olusi, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, said the party would not have resolved to hold a primary if it had adopted an aspirant.

He was reacting to media reports that the chapter had adopted Jide Sanwo-Olu, the Managing Director of the Lagos State Property Development Corporation (LSPDC), as its governorship candidate.

Said Olusi: “All these things are speculations. They are not true. How can we plan to hold a primary to elect our candidate and then adopt somebody?

“If we are still going to hold our primary, why then should we adopt, or does the adoption cancel the primary? No.

“This is the political season; many interesting things happen, but I can tell you most of the things that have been reported on the matter are mere speculations and not facts. Nobody has directed any adoption.”

Olusi, referring to a video being circulated, said it was normal for individuals or groups to back or endorse aspirants ahead of any election, but said such endorsements should not be taken to be the party’s position.

Olusi said the determination of who would become the party’s candidate would be taken at the primary.

He described the APC as a democratic party, saying all aspirants would be allowed a level-playing field.

On the feasibility of holding a direct primary in view of the large number of party members, Olusi said there was no cause for alarm.

He said the right preparations were being done, expressing optimism that everything would go well during the exercise.

Olusi would not comment on the controversies over different modes of primary in some APC state chapters.

“Honestly, I do not want to comment on that. However, we are a growing democracy and we learn every day,’’ he said.

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Fayose: I will make myself available to EFCC after handover

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Ayodele Fayose, governor of Ekiti, says he will make himself available to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) after handing over to Kayode Fayemi, governor-elect.

Fayemi will be sworn in on October 16.

Fayose, in a letter dated September 10 and addressed to the chairman of the commission, said several actions of the anti-graft agency suggest “the commission’s desire to have me clarify some issues or answer some questions”.

This newspaper had reported that the EFCC had begun the investigation of Fayose, his wife Feyisetan and top aides over allegations of money laundering and abuse of office.

The report came after the commission, in a tweet it later deleted, hinted that it was dusting off its shelves on the N1.3bn fraud case it filed against Fayose in 2005.

The anti-graft agency gave the hint a day after Fayemi defeated Kolapo Olusola, Fayose’s candidate, at the July 14 gubernatorial poll.

Fayose, in the letter, said once his immunity from investigation lapses, he will, “as a responsible citizen”, make himself available to “answer questions within my knowledge”.

“Several and serial actions of your commission for some time now, including but not limited to freezing of my accounts and attempts to secure forfeiture of my properties, are indicative of the commission’s desire to have me clarify some issues or answer some questions but for the immunity I enjoy under section 308 of the 1999 constitution as the sitting governor of Ekiti state,” the letter read.

“I wish to inform you that my term of office pursuant to which I enjoy immunity against investigation and prosecution under the above provision shall lapse by effluxion of time on Monday 15th October, 2018.

“As a responsible citizen of our great country, who believes in the Rule of Law, I wish to inform you of my decision to make myself available in your office on Tuesday 16th October, 2018 at 1pm to clarify issues or answer questions within my knowledge.

“Kindly confirm the suitability of the above date or indicate by return, the commission’s convenient time.”

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