THE NATION FRIDAY, JANUARY 20, 2012
NEWS Ruling on Ondo local govt case for March 21 From Damisi Ojo, Akure
THE Court of Appeal, sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital, will rule on March 21 in the appeal filed by former local government chairmen, who served in the Dr. Olusegun Agagu administration. The chairmen are praying the court to declare their dissolution in March, 2009, illegal. Justice Kudirat KekereEkun yesterday fixed the date after listening to arguments and submissions by the counsel. Counsel to the appellants Mr. Sina Olaniyan prayed the court to allow the appeal on the premise that the former chairmen were illegally removed before the expiration of their term of office. Leading the Director of Civil Litigation, Mr. Rotimi Olamide, counsel to the second respondent, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), adopted all processes in respect of both main and cross appeals and prayed the court to dismiss the case. Jegede said all the issues raised by the appellants had been addressed by the Supreme Court, which held that the Electoral Act is superior to a state’s law. Counsel to the first respondent (Governor Olusegun Mimiko) Mr. John Baiyeshea (SAN) said the subject matter of the appeal has been overtaken by events and it would be subversive of the court to act on an issue that has not or deemed not to have existed.
‘Ondo LP crisis needs solution’
Fed Govt, EFCC can’t try me, says Daniel
ORMER Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel yesterday told the State High Court, sitting in Abeokuta, that the Federal Government and its agent – the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) – lack the jurisdiction to try him for alleged offences committed in the state. Daniel is standing trial before Justice Olanrewaju Mabekoje on a 43-countcharge of stealing, fraudulent conversion of Ogun State property to private use and failure to truthfully declare his assets. Daniel argued that the Ogun State Government, the Ministry of Justice, the State Attorney–General and the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) have not petitioned the EFCC regarding any offence committed by him. His counsel, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan, raised a motion
From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta
seeking “an order quashing all the 43-count-charges on the grounds that the Federal Government and the Attorney–General of the federation lack “the locus standi” to prosecute or initiate “criminal proceedings” against Daniel regarding alleged offences committed against the Ogun State Government. Osipitan said the EFCC Chairman, on whose behalf the charges were filed, is a “non juristic entity.” He argued that only the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has the power to prosecute corruption cases and not EFCC, adding that some of the charges “are illegal and
unconstitutional,” as they infringe on Daniel’s right to “silence.” Osipitan averred that assuming EFCC succeeds with the case, assets recovered would go to the Consolidated Revenue Base of the Federation, thus making the Federal Government the beneficiary instead of the state. “What is happening is not a case of one crying more than the bereaved, but that of EFCC crying where there is no bereavement. If left unchallenged, it would amount to robbing Peter to pay Paul,” he added. EFCC’s counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, citing Wike Vs FGN AP/CA/A/85/C/2009; Comptroller of Prison Vs Adekanye 2002; and NWLR and Amadi Vs FGN 2008; said the anti–graft agency can
investigate and prosecute anybody with or without complaints from any quarters. Arguing that the Federal Government has jurisdiction to prosecute state offences, he said: “The fact that we operate a federation does not mean we should not fight corruption in states. No law says only the AGF should initiate criminal proceedings against anyone. “It is a misconception of the law to say that only Ogun State or its local governments can complain that its money has been stolen before EFCC can swing into action.” There was a heated argument between both counsel on whether Daniel should be docked or not when the case was mentioned by the court clerk. When the case was men-
tioned, Daniel stood up to signify his presence and sat down. When the clerk motioned to him to come to the dock, Osipitan, who was accompanied by two Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) – Tayo Oyetibo and Mrs. Titilayo Akinlawon, objected. He said before Daniel would enter the dock, fundamental issues bordering on jurisdiction of the court and the constitutionality of the charges, have to be resolved. But Jacob insisted that Daniel must go into the dock. Justice Mabekoje went on recess for 40 minutes, and when he returned, ruled that the “accused ought to have entered the dock” and allow his counsel to argue his motion. He ordered Daniel to go into the dock and the former governor obeyed.
Ekiti fire victims get relief From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti
•Amosun presenting the textbooks to pupils...yesterday
Ogun pupils get free textbooks
From Dele Anofi, Abuja
A FACTIONAL leader of the Labour Party (LP) in Ondo State, Mr. Kunle Odidi, has said Governor Olusegun Mimiko may lose next year’s election, if the party’s internal crises are not resolved. The former House of Assembly member spoke to reporters yesterday in Abuja. Citing the mass exit of party members in recent times, Odidi said the alleged imposition of the governor’s loyalist as a factional state chairman has created a wide gulf in the LP. He said: “The belated imposition of the said loyalist was a ploy by the governor to gain total control of the party and use it to feather his political nest while in office and after his exit. “The governor’s leadership style is at variance with the principles of the party and that is why many prominent members dumped the party last December.” Odidi said the factionalisation of the party would do no one no good and urged the governor to be cautious about matters pending in court.
•Urges court to quash charges
GUN State Governor Ibikunle Amosun yesterday distributed free textbooks to pupils of public primary and secondary schools. The textbooks are on the following subjects: Mathematics, English Language, Social Studies, Basic Science, Yoruba Language, Computer Studies, Civic Education and French Language. Others are Agricultural Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Government, Geography, Literature in English and Economics. The event was held at the Memorial Arcade Ground in Abeokuta, the state capital. Explaining that education is a fundamental human right, Amosun said: “Education is a means of improving the quality of life of the people and an essential part of social and human development. “This explains why every credible leader in government
accords education a primary place of honour. Every child in Ogun now has the opportunity to get the best of education and compete with his/her friends in top private schools.” He urged the pupils to make good use of the textbooks and other instructional materials provided by his administration. The governor reiterated his New Year’s promise to renovate 100 secondary schools and build 50 model secondary schools across the 20 local government areas. Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology Olusegun Odubela said the Amosun administration is determined to improve the standard of education. Also at the event was Deputy Governor Segun Adesegun, House of Assembly Speaker Suraj Adekunbi, members of the Executive Council, traditional rulers, Ogun Parents/Teachers Association and representatives of pupils from all the local councils.
Fashola cautions transporters, traders on price increase
AGOS State Governor Babatunde Fashola has appealed to residents, especially traders and transporters, not to increase their prices/fares unnecessarily, following the increase of petrol pump price to N97 per litre. Fashola spoke yesterday while briefing reporters on the fourth quarter performance of the state’s 2011 budget, which recorded a performance of 77 per cent. He said the new pump price should not be an excuse for arbitrary price increment, adding that such practices will unleash more hardship
•2011 budget records 77per cent performance By Miriam Ndikanwu
on citizens. The governor also appealed to commercial bus operators, whose vehicles run on diesel, to maintain their old fares. He said the price increase applies only to petrol and not diesel, urging them to adjust their fares in the interest of the people. Fashola said: “Wherever there has not been a price change, please do not jump on the bandwagon. We must show compassion for our-
selves. “The government is working out modalities with commercial transport workers on how we can isolate vehicles that drive on petrol, identify the impact on their businesses and how we can mitigate this cost.” He said the state government is also making plans to cushion the effects of the oneweek strike by Labour on farmers, who trade on perishable goods, through compensation. On last year’s budget, Fashola said the last quarter
budget performance recorded an impressive performance of about 120 per cent, but the quarter could not be isolated from the performance of the first three quarters. He said although it is an impressive figure, it is still short of government’s 90 per cent target for the year. Fashola attributed the shortfall to some disruptions in the course of governance, especially the 2011 general elections, as well as the implementation of the N18,000 minimum wage. He said the state would improve on the performance of this year’s budget.
HE Ekiti State Government has redeemed part of its pledge to victims of a fire, which consumed a mechanic workshop in Basiri, Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, last week. Deputy Governor Mrs. Funmi Olayinka last week promised to assist the victims, who lost property worth about N2 million to the fire. Yesterday, in part fulfillment of this pledge, the government handed over a new working space to the victims. It is situated behind Odua Textile Mills in Ado-Ekiti. The deputy governor, who was represented by the Director-General of the State Enterprise and Economic Development Agency, Mr. Oska Seyi Ayeleso, said the gesture is the first phase of government’s relief plan for the victims. He described the new accommodation as “more befitting and strategic” to their trade, when compared to their former place. Ayeleso said: “This is a demonstration of this government’s commitment to the welfare of all Ekiti indigenes, especially the artisans.” He said the government plans to provide tools and electricity for the mechanics, as well as financial assistance for the erection of sheds. Responding on behalf of the victims, Mr. Idowu Ogunkuade thanked the government for coming to their aid, barely a week after the incident. He admitted that the location is good, spacious and conducive for their trade. Ogunkuade urged the government to hasten up the promised financial assistance to enable them resume work.
Afe Babalola for lecture FOUNDER of the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), will tomorrow deliver the 13th Pastor S.A. Odunaiya Memorial Public Lecture at the auditorium of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) in Ebute-Metta, Lagos. The theme of the lecture is: “University Education in Nigeria: Problems and Prospects.”
The Nation January 20, 2012