16th February, 2012
Nnamdi Felix / Abuja
The office of the Governor of Kogi state was on Thursday thrown into fresh crisis following the failure of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to secure the seal of the Supreme Court following the decision of the apex court sacking 5 former governors, including that of Kogi state.
Soon after the decision of the court which held that the former governors’ tenure elapsed on 29 May, 2011, a crisis was created in the state over the directive of the Justice Minister that the Speakers of the respective states be sworn in as acting Governors.
Kogi state at that time, already had a Governor Elect awaiting inauguration.
A seven-man panel of the apex court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, dismissed the application brought by the PDP, asking for consequential orders in respect of the court’s decision in the tenure elongation case in view of the furore created in Kogi state.
The court in its judgment on the tenure of the 5 state governors on 27 January, had asked the then governors of Kogi, Bayelsa, Sokoto, Adamawa and Cross-River to vacate their offices immediately.
The apex court did not make any consequential order taking into consideration the peculiar realities in the state and this led to a confusion of great magnitude as both the Acting Governor and the Governor Elect, laid claims to the office of the Governor of the state.
The matter was resolved by the intervention of the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which directed that the Governor Elect, Wada, should assume office.
While dismissing the application, the court held that any request for a consequential order must flow from the reliefs sought in the case from day one. It further held that the court lacks jurisdiction to import extraneous issues not placed before the court in the name of consequential orders.
“We are duty bound to deal with matters as brought before us, we don’t have jurisdiction to make consequential orders based on what was not before us. The decision we delivered in the case was for the determination of the tenure of the affected governor which we did. Any consequential order must be one flowing from the reliefs sought in the matter abinitio”
The five governors went to the Federal High Court asking it to hold that their tenure started to run from their second oath of office and oaths of allegiance.
Their suit was upheld by the court and was also affirmed by the appellate court until the judgments of the two courts were upturned by the Supreme Court.
“We were not asked to make any order neither did applicant (PDP) filed any cross-appeal to request for consequential order when the appeal was brought before us” the CJN maintained.
With the dismissal of this application which would have consolidated the occupation of Capt Idris Wada of the state’s Government House, the gate is further opened to other interest laying claim to the office.
The former candidate of the party, Mr. Jibrin Isah Echocho who emerged as the standard bearer of the PDP from an earlier primary of the party is already challenging the emergence of Capt Wada at the second primary election and the matter is pending at the Federal High Court.