Court to Rule on Wada’s Swearing in July

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Felix Nnamdi/Abuja

Justice Abdu- Kafarati of a Federal High Court siting in Abuja has fixed July 5th to deliver judgment in a suit filed by a Peoples Democratic Party chieftain in Kogi State, Chief Oyebode Makinde seeking to nullify the swearing in of Captain Idris Wada as the governor of the state.

Oyebode is asking the court to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to conduct fresh governorship elections in Kogi State as according to him, he is a party interested in the conduct in a fresh governorship election in the state based on the judgment of the Supreme Court which had on January 27th held that the tenure of five governors including that of Kogi had lapsed.

Counsel representing the PDP Chieftain, Dr. Alex Izinyon, a senior advocate of Nigeria, argued that by virtue of the Supreme Court judgment, a fresh election ought to be held in Kogi State. He said that any action taken before the judgment of the Supreme Court with regard to the governorship election in Kogi State was a nullity. He asked the court to grant the claims of his client.

Responding, the Independent National Election Commission, INEC, through its counsel, Mrs. Victoria Olufunmilayo Awomolo, told the court that the Supreme Court judgment which Izinyon relied upon did not say that a fresh election should be conducted in Kogi. She further argued that the court lacked the jurisdiction to order a fresh election in Kogi because it was not sitting as election tribunal.

According to Mrs. Awomolo, “This court lacks the jurisdiction to compel INEC to conduct fresh governorship elections in Kogi state as that duty has been assigned to the governorship elections petitions tribunal for Kogi state which had finished its sittings and adjourned for judgment. Even if the plaintiff were to file a case at the tribunal, he lacks the locus standi as he was not a candidate in the elections.”

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Counsel to Governor Idris Wada, Chief Chris Uche, also a senior advocate, insisted that the plaintiff having not participated in both the primaries and the substantive elections from which Wada emerged as a governor, lacked the locus standi to challenge the election.

“Curiously the plaintiff did not take part in the primaries or the elections so he cannot effectively challenge the election that brought in the governor to office”.

He further argued that the court could not grant the reliefs sought by Chief Makinde since it lacked the power to compel INEC to conduct another election in Kogi state. He asked the court to strike out the case even as he described Makinde as meddlesome interloper who wanted to reap where he did not sow.

“He never bought a nomination form so there is just nothing connecting him to this matter, he was not a candidate in the December 3rd 2011 governorship elections and he has not shown himself as a person likely to take the oath he is complaining about he is not even a bailiff that would go about enforcing the judgment of the Supreme Court.” Uche added.

The PDP, represented by Chief Olusola Oke asked the court to throw out the suit because it lacked merit.

After listening to the arguments, Justice Abdu- Kafarati adjourned to 5th July for judgment.