Edo Guber:Wike to lead PDP Campaign as Ize-Iyamu Gets July 2 for Fraud trial

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Edozie Udeojo , Abuja

The Peoples Democratic Party’s National Working Committee has appointed Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike as Chairman, Edo State Governorship Election National Campaign Council.

The party also appointed Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, as the deputy chairman of the council.

National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, announced this on Friday.

“@OfficialPDPNig NWC appoints @GovWike as Edo State Governorship Election National Campaign Council Chairman. The deputy chairman is Adamawa State Governor, Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Fintiri,” he disclosed via Twitter.

The party’s candidate, Governor Godwin Obaseki, would face Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress as well as other contenders in the September 19 governorship election in the state.

“With the people of Edo State on the side of Governor Obaseki and the PDP, the coast is already clear and any attempt by anybody to subvert the will of the people will surely be met very stiff resistance,” Ologbondiyan noted.

A Federal High Court in Benin, Edo State, has fixed July 2, 2020 for commencement of a fraud case instituted against All Progressives Congress governorship aspirant, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, which had failed to begin over two years after they were first arraigned in court.

Ize-Iyamu, who was the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in 2016, was charged alongside a former Minister of Works, Tony Anenih; a former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Lucky Imasuen; the PDP Chairman in Edo State, Chief Dan Orbih; and two others for money laundering to the tune of N700m.

However, the presiding judge, Justice P.I Ajoku, was transferred and the case had to begin all over again.

The case was subsequently re-assigned to Justice M.G Umar.

When the matter came up on March 2, 2020, the case again could not go on as the lawyers to the defendants urged the court to strike out the charges because Anenih, who was named as a co-defendant, had died and the charges had yet to be amended.

However, the counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Larry Peters, told the court of the prosecution’s readiness to proceed with the case and prayed the court to order the defendants to take their plea.

Ize-Iyamu’s lawyer, K.O. Obamugie, told the court that there were flaws in the charges brought against his client and that he had filed a motion challenging the charges.

He also told the court that Anenih was dead and that the prosecution had not amended the charges to reflect that.

The same argument was canvassed by the defence team, who argued that there was no dispute that Chief Anenih was dead and so his name ought to be struck out from the charge.

He further argued that mentioning Anenih’s name in the charge was to situate the matter and to show the date the alleged offence was committed.

The EFCC counsel therefore urged the court to discard the submissions of the defence team, describing their positions as “a ploy to prevent their clients from taken their plea”.

At the resumed hearing on Thursday, the EFCC counsel, Francis Jibro, told the court that the matter was for ruling on the competence of the charges preferred against the defendants.

Justice Umar ruled that the charges filed by the commission against the defendants were not defective.

Soon after the ruling, counsel to the first defendant, Charles Edosomwan (SAN), told the court that he had filed a motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court.

“In spite of the ruling, we have a motion dated June 1, 2020, challenging the jurisdiction of this honourable court to entertain proceedings”.

The same position was canvassed by counsels to the other defendants.

However, the EFCC counsel told the court that based on the ruling of the court which found the charges not defective, the next thing was for the defendants to take their pleas.

“Ferdinand Orbih (SAN), counsel for Dan Orbih said he was not challenging the ruling of court but the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to hear the matter.

Justice Umar adjourned the case till July 2, 2020 for hearing.

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