Fed­eral High Court Sacks Kogi East Se­na­tor


Alex Enumah

Jus­tice Gabriel Ko­la­wole of the Fed­eral High Court, Abuja, has sacked the Se­na­tor rep­re­sent­ing Kogi East se­na­to­rial district, Se­na­tor At­tai Ai­doko, of the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP),in the Na­tional As­sem­bly.

Jus­tice Ko­la­wole, who or­dered the sack while de­liv­er­ing judge­ment in a pre-elec­tion suit, also or­dered the Clerk of the Na­tional As­sem­bly to im­me­di­ately swear in Air Mar­shall Isaac Alfa (rtd.) also of the PDP to take the seat of Ai­doko.

The court held that Ai­doko was not prop­erly nom­i­nated by the PDP for the March 2015 Na­tional As­sem­bly elec­tions, and con­se­quently nul­li­fied his elec­tion.

Jus­tice Ko­la­wole, there­fore, or­dered INEC to im­me­di­ately with­draw the Cer­tifi­cate of Re­turn is­sued to Ai­doko in 2015 for not be­ing the law­ful can­di­date of the PDP.

In ad­di­tion, the court or­dered the clerk of the Na­tional As­sem­bly to with­draw all priv­i­leges be­ing ac­corded Ai­doko, adding that the Na­tional As­sem­bly should with im­me­di­ate ef­fect. with­draw the recog­ni­tion be­ing ac­corded Ai­doko as a se­na­tor.

The court also or­dered INEC to is­sue a fresh cer­tifi­cate of re­turn to Alfa, be­ing the win­ner of the De­cem­ber 7, 2014, PDP pri­maries for the Na­tional As­sem­bly elec­tion.

Jus­tice Ko­la­wole, who con­demned the way and man­ner in which the PDP sub­verted the re­sult of its pri­maries, held that rogue doc­u­ments were used by the PDP to sub­mit Ai­doko’s name to INEC.

He added that the doc­u­ments pre­sented by the de­fen­dants were of no pro­bate value for any court of law to rely on, hold­ing that the pur­ported nom­i­na­tion of Ai­doko by PDP to INEC was an ex­er­cise in fu­til­ity to rob the plain­tiff the fruit of his elec­tion in the pri­mary.

He said from the to­tal­ity of the ev­i­dence placed be­fore the court, it was clear that Sheidu Idoma was the Re­turn­ing Of­fi­cer for the se­na­to­rial elec­tion and not Umar Sanusi, adding that this was cor­rob­o­rated by key wit­nesses in their state­ments made on oath.

The judge also said the fact that the sacked se­na­tor re­fused to call his agent at the pri­mary elec­tion, Mal­lam Farouk Adejo, left a cred­i­bil­ity gap on the side of Ai­doko.

Ear­lier, Jus­tice Ko­la­wole had dis­missed the pre­lim­i­nary ob­jec­tion by Ai­doko chal­leng­ing ju­ris­dic­tion of the court to en­ter­tain the mat­ter.

He de­scribed the pre­lim­i­nary ob­jec­tion as an abuse of court process em­ployed by Ai­doko to de­lay the trial.

The judge held that the chal­lenge of the court’s ju­ris­dic­tion was an abuse of court process be­cause it had ear­lier been re­solved at both the Court of Ap­peal and the Supreme Court against the se­na­tor.

Con­se­quently, the court awarded a cost of N750,000 against Ai­doko and the PDP re­spec­tively.

In the doc­u­ment ten­dered in court, the for­mer Chief of Air Staff, Air Mar­shall Isaac Alfa, scored 129 votes to beat Ai­doko who pulled 101 votes, and an­other se­na­to­rial as­pi­rant, Hal­ima Alfa, who scored 80 votes to emerged win­ner of the pri­mary elec­tion held on De­cem­ber 7, 2014.

How­ever, PDP, while sub­mit­ting the list of can­di­dates for the se­na­to­rial elec­tion to INEC, sub­sti­tuted Alfa with Ai­doko’s name.

This prompted the plain­tiff to in­sti­tute le­gal ac­tion in 2014 to chal­lenge the le­gal­ity of the can­di­dacy of Ai­doko, but the le­gal ac­tion along the line went to the Court of Ap­peal and Supreme Court, from where it was re­mit­ted to the Fed­eral High Court for a fresh and ac­cel­er­ated hear­ing.

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