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OPINION

GTBank and Innoson’s day at the Supreme Court; how it went down, By Festus Igbinosa

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The long running case between Guaranty Trust Bank and Innoson finally had its day in the Supreme Court, and although there have been some wild tales on what transpired, here is the factual story of how it went down.

Even before the doors of the Supreme Court had shut for the day, what was meant to be a simple directive by the Apex Court on the case between Guaranty Trust Bank and Innoson had been turned on its head, with false versions of the Court’s directives spread online and across social media.

It began with the claim, contained in Press Release circulated by Innoson, that the Supreme Court had ordered “GTB to Pay Innoson’s N14Billion Judgment Debt into an Interest Yielding Account.” The records of the Apex court show no such thing, instead it asked both parties to return to the Court of Appeal, Enugu Judicial Division, for a hearing on GTB’s appeal scheduled for the 14th of June, 2018.

GTB has also released a statement on the actual events of the day at the Supreme Court. “The attention of GTBank has been drawn to false, mischievous and malicious statements circulating in the news and social media in respect of a purported directive by the Supreme Court of Nigeria to the Bank to make payments to one of its debtor Customers,” the Bank said in an official statement. “There was no directive or Order issued by the Supreme Court of Nigeria to the Bank to make any payment to any of its debtor Customers. We again reiterate that there is no iota of truth in the falsehood being peddled by desperate and mischievous elements and the General Public should disregard same in its entirety,” the Bank added.

In fact, the Supreme Court simply directed GTB and Innoson to return to the Court of Appeal for a hearing of the Bank’s substantive appeal on the matter. It is actually in the tradition of the apex court to issue definitive rulings only on Fridays, and what it delivered today was more or less a directive. However, court feelers say this is actually a win for GTB as it grants what the Bank has always wanted—and what Innoson has consistently stalled, which is for the Court of Appeal in Enugu to hear the Bank’s appeal.

The Bank’s appeal of a 2013 High Court judgment gotten by Innoson had stalled at the Court of Appeal for the past two years due to the pending motions filed by both parties at the Supreme Court. On Thursday, 7th of June, 2018 the Apex Court finally sat on the matter and asked both parties to withdraw their motions and return to the Court of Appeal, because GTB’s appeal at the lower court had not been heard.

“The implication [of the Supreme Court Directive] is that both parties are going back to the court of appeal for the Bank’s substantive appeal to be heard,” a source in one of the legal teams of the parties said. “The court said it won’t hear any applications and asked all parties to withdraw their applications.” One of the applications that was withdrawn and struck out by the Supreme Court is the plea filed by Innoson on 27th of February, 2015 askingfor the court to order GTB to issue a money guarantee to the court. This is interesting because it means that, rather than rule for the Bank to pay Innoson 14bn as the latter had claimed, the apex court struck out that particular request.

 

Back to the Appeal Court

Following the directive by the Supreme Court, the substantive appeal filed by GTB will now be heard at the Court of Appeal, Enugu Judicial Division, on the 14th of June, 2018.This appeal has been repeatedly delayed by the Innoson camp using moves such as itsmotion filed by on October 3, 2017to prevent the appeal from being heard. Back then, the Court of Appeal had expressed surprise that Innoson (the Judgment Creditor) is not desirous of allowing the appeal to proceed.

Again, in the proceedings of 24th October 2017 in CA/E/275/2015 between same parties, the same Prof. Mbadugha appearing for Innoson and other Respondents had scuttled proceedings when he refused to proceed with Appeal even though it was clear that the Appeal was ripe for hearing and opted to pay costs. Prof Mbadugha said to the courts: “I ask for an adjournment even though all motions have been taken… I offer N50,000.00. The Appeal Court responded; “This application for adj. has no basis, but in the interest of justice it is hereby granted. The appeal is ripe for hearing. Cost of N100,000.00 to the Appellant against the Respondents. Appeal adjourned to 17/4/18 for hearing.”

However, following today’s hearing at the Supreme Court, it seems all hurdles have been cleared for GTB’s substantive appeal to be heard by the Court of Appeal.

 

Festus Igbinosa is a financial analyst and he writes from Abuja

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OPINION

Atiku’s US Trip: So much ado about nothing, By Tunde Ajose

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For good watchers of the Nigerian politics, one thing has come to stay in our political experiment at getting it right in this country and that is the ability for smart politicians to easily sway the electorates with mundane issues.

The campaigns are no longer issue based but media sensationalism.

Latest of such was the sudden appearance of the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the United States of America! Then one begins to wonder why the opposition would think such is the needed magic wand to win the election.

And the euphoria may not be unconnected with the report that Atiku was barred from entering the States because of his fraudulent nature but the question is, why would any serious opposition believes such action would immediately translate into winning the Aso Rock.

One would have wondered why Atiku has chosen to travel with the current senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki? Could it be that he actually traveled under the diplomatic immunity of Saraki’s official delegation?

Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal immunity that ensures diplomats are given safe passage and are considered not susceptible to lawsuit or prosecution under the host country’s laws, but they can still be expelled.

We need to be circumspect as we move forward as a nation and be more discerning. The current government of Nigeria is focused more than before in ensuring that Nigerians, regardless of the class or status has a befitting country they could fall back to and call a home.

It is quite obvious that while the opposition are playing to the gallery, the presidential campaign organisation of president Mohammad Buhari is busy rolling up its sleeves and getting down to fields where the real electorates are and connecting with them.

This past week especially has been full of activities for the president despite his age. Within a spate of two weeks, Buhari had sat down to two interviews in-between journeying from the length and breadth of the country in getting the message of hope down to the people.

The president does not rely on his privilege as an incumbent, but insisted on talking to his people and ensuring that Nigerians are united as they go to polls come February.

No one is in doubt that his message also resonates well with the citizens as they troop out en masse to welcome and listen to what he has to say. With the multitude of crowd recorded today as he presented the gubernatorial flagbearer of the party to the good people of Delta State and the ovation that greeted it, there is no doubt that Buhari is truly loved.

As we count down to the elections, Nigerians need to bear it in mind that the 2019 election is about building on a new foundation which the present government has been able to achieve in the first four years and giving the solid foundation out to the marauders to destroy along with the better forgotten 16years in power.

If Atiku is in the United States today, there is no way the intelligence agencies of the federal government of Nigeria would not know about it.

 

Tunde Ajose, a political commentator, writes from Lagos.

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OPINION

Red alert on Kogi 2019 elections, By Omahi Umar

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2019 Kogi elections may end up being the bloodiest and the most rigged election in the history of Nigeria. This is not a question of being an alarmist. It is rather because the incumbent governor, having failed woefully in governance has principally resorted to the use of security agents to rig and manipulate the outcome of the elections in favour of the ruling government.

A taste of what to expect in the elections in Kogi has started manifesting. In the Kogi Central Senatorial District where the governor hails from, members of the opposition are now harassed, harangued, maimed, killed and kidnapped on regular basis. The latest victim is one Enesi who was recently killed by armed men while several others went missing in recent night raids and hunts for men of the opposition parties in the Kogi Central.

In the same central, it is an open secret that the houses of Commissioner for Water Resources, the Commissioner for  Local Government and many of the local government administrators have now turned armouries where a huge number of sophisticated guns and ammunitions are off-loaded at nights purportedly by “men in uniform” unchallenged. It was being speculated that over 3000 assorted automatic weapons have been acquired by the governor and hidden in different locations across the state. The state local tabloids and social media have the news of the governor vowing that he was ready to kill anyone who stands on his way in the coming elections.

The Kogi East will definitely be a battleground of sorts too. It is the home of the all powerful Chief of Staff who has vowed to deliver his constituency to the governor at all costs. Recently in Idah, many vehicles belonging to Atai Idoko were destroyed by APC members while on campaign rallies. Pockets of violence from Kogi East are reported on daily basis and will be on the increase as we approach elections. The most troubling aspects of this violence is that they are often committed in the glaring eyes of security agents who choose to look the other way while these crimes are being perpetrated.

It has been rumoured that the Ogohi of Anyigba’s palace is the armoury for Eastern Kogi with brother, the administrator of Dekina Local Government, Alhaji Isiaka and Alhaji Ahmed, the Kogi East Zonal chairman of the APC as field commanders.

The Western Senatorial District appears calm as of today but we believe it is an uneasy and heavily pregnant calm.  This Senatorial District is the home place of Dino. The governor is betting it everywhere with his life that he would rather die than allow free and fair elections  that would produce Dino. Since Dino enjoys cult followership in these areas, the modus operandi here will be to scare away many people from voting units so as to allow for heavily falsified results against Dino and Atiku.

The number of militants in training in Kogi is becoming very scary, worrisome, alarming and really frightening. The men of the Vigilante Service are now being secretly trained on the use of sophisticated weapons. The first batch of about 1000 men and women have passed out. Currently at the Lokoja Stadium, there are over 700 vigilante men/women in camp undergoing military training for the elections. Police and military uniforms are smuggled into the state for use in the elections.

Apart from this number being trained in the state, reliable information is that over 1000 militants are currently undergoing training in Yobe State for Kogi elections. The whole stories are really very worrisome.

The intention is to kill and harass opposition members as much as possible. It is also intended that many strong opposition members would be kidnapped prior to the elections. Information is that many should be scared away from voting, especially in the opposition strongholds.

By and large, the elections in Kogi may witness tales of anguish and failures except urgent steps are taken to counter the devilish plans of the state governor. The goings on in Kogi State must be exposed to the whole world by all means possible. This is a situation where a stitch in time will save nine.

 

  • Umar wrote in from Lokoja, Kogi State
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OPINION

Wait! Before you vote Atiku, By Musa Mohammed

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While the clamour for change in government from president Mohammodu Buhari to Atiku Abubakar may have been something that has taken over the national discuss and rightly so as the elections draw near, it may be noteworthy to pause and reflect on the character of the prospected replacement.

The big question on our mind should be can we trust Atiku? What really is the new thing he is coming to offer bearing in mind he was once the number two citizen of this great nation for 8years? If we insist the position of a vice president is not as powerful as the president, haven’t the achievements of Prof. Yemi Osinbajo knocked out such narrative?

The Nigerian vice president has proven times without number that he is as useful as the president of Nigeria and records are there to show for it. Where are the achievements of Mr. Atiku?

If you ask Nigerians, most of what they would remember about his days in office would be the national assets he sold to his colleagues and the long running battle he had with his principal, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

Aside from the fact that there should be no vacancy in Aso Rock, Osinbajo is more presidential than Atiku. Don’t take my words for it, below were some of the things his then boss said and wrote about him chronologically.

2003 “I regret picking Atiku Abubakar as my vice”.

2004 “I can no longer work with Atiku, his integrity is in question “.

2005 “Atiku cannot be trusted “.

2006 “Atiku cannot escape justice over corruption cases ”

2007 “Do not vote Atiku he is corrupt”.

2008 “Atiku is a corrupt leader”.

2009 “Nigerians can never forgive Atiku”.

2010 “Atiku is not an option to leadership in Nigeria “.

2011 “I have never seen a leader as greedy as Atiku “.

2012 “Nigerians should pray for leaders imbued with integrity not Atiku “.

2013 “Atiku should apologize to Nigerians over his political sins”.

2014 No political party with the aspiration to assume leadership should think of Atiku”.

2015 “Nigeria has grown beyond a corrupt leader like Atiku”.

2016 “I will never reconcile with Atiku “.

2017 “I never knew Atiku was this corrupt ” “I can never be on the same page with Atiku. God forbid!”.

2018 January to August “God will not forgive me if I support Atiku “.

2018 August “Atiku has the capacity to save Nigeria’s economy from collapse”.

If such verdicts could come from Obasanjo who was his direct boss, what doubts should Nigerians have in rejecting such bad market and move on to the next level with the present administration bearing mind that Obasanjo once said, “As an engineer, I know a point I can use tractor to hit and a storey building would come down within few minutes, but it would take years to erect such.”

Nigeria is undergoing transformation. The administration of president Mohammodu Buhari has used his first term to lay a good foundation for him to start building on in 2019 and it only make sense to key in.

God bless Nigeria.

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