Still on the upheavals trailing the Kogi 21st November elections and the sudden controversial death of the APC flagbearer and supposed winner of the elections, there are high hopes that the saga would finally be put to an end as the court will be in session today to trash out all contentions and controversies before the imminent supplementary polls scheduled for tomorrow, 5th December.
This hope bothers on the recent report that Justice Gabriel Kolawole of a Federal High Court in Abuja will today deliver his judgement over the propriety of the conduct of supplementary poll in Kogi state. Justice Gabriel Kolawole gave the indication yesterday after taking arguments from parties in the five cases which, with the agreement of lawyers in the cases, he consolidated and heard together.
According to reports, judgment will be delivered in five suits arising from the disagreement over the poll declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The five suits filed are:
1. Suit filed by the Deputy Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Party (APC), James Abiodun Faleke, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/977/2015, where he faulted the decision by INEC to declare the election inconclusive; asked the court to among others compel INEC to declare his joint ticket with the late Abubakar Audu, winner of the election and to restrain it (INEC) from proceeding with its planned supplementary election.
2. Suit filed by Governor Idris Wada and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and his party, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/962/2015, in which they stated that they want the court to compel INEC to declare Wada winner of the election, on the grounds that he is the only surviving candidate in the election who scored the second highest votes after the late Audu, the APC candidate.
3. Suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/973/2015, which was filed by Emanuel Daiko, who claimed to have contested the election as a candidate of the People for Democratic Change (PDC) and wants the court to among others hold the supplementary election as illegal, prevent APC from substituting its deceased candidate and to prevent APC from participating in the election on the grounds that it no longer has a candidate.
4. FHC/ABJ/CS/958/2015, filed by Raphael Igbokwe (a PDP member of the House of Representatives from Imo State) and Stephen Wada Omaye wants the court to annul the election and conduct a fresh one. It has INEC and APC as defendants.
5. Suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/952/2015 was filed by a Johnson Jacob Usman (who claimed to be an indigene of the state, a registered voter and a lawyer). He seeks among others, to compel INEC to suspend all actions in relation to the election pending the determination of the suit and a declaration that the election ought to be cancelled. It has the AGF and INEC as defendants.
It could be recalled that shortly after Prince Audu’s death, controversies erupted in the camp of the APC on who to succeed him. While some group of people backed the son of the late Audu, Mohammed Audu to succeed his father, some others preferred James Faleke, Late Audu’s running mate.
However, leaders of the APC after series of meeting decided to select Yahaya Bello, the runner up in party’s primary election to succeed the late Audu. This move was however been completely rejected by both Faleke’s supporters and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s candidate, Governor Idris Wada as both approached the Federal High Court to seek redress.
While Governor Idris Wada is urging the court to compel INEC to issue him a certificate of return as the only surviving candidate with the highest number of votes in the election, Hon James Faleke is asking the court to order INEC to declare him winner of the election.
Other plaintiffs in consolidated suits – Emmanuel Idakwo, John Jacob Usman and Hon. Emmanuel Igbokwe – had in their various suits, (as earlier stated), asked the court to compel the electoral body to conduct a fresh election in the state following the death of Audu.
In soliciting for their various arguments, counsel to both INEC, Yahaya Bello and the APC, submitted that the court has no jurisdiction to adjudicate on the issues raised by the plaintiffs, stating that the appropriate court is the election petitions tribunal.
On the contrary, Faleke’s lawyer, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) argued that the court possessed the jurisdiction to resolve all issues raised in his client’s case. He said the case was not one for electoral tribunal because the plaintiff only requested the court to apply constitutional provisions in determining the various questions. He also insisted that since no candidate has been declared winner, the matter cannot be heard by the election petition tribunal.
However, it is expected that at the end, the court will among others, decide whether or not INEC could proceed with its planned supplementary election scheduled for tomorrow.
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