Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Kogi Polls: Court to rule on Wada’s suit on Friday

Kogi Polls: Court to rule on Wada’s suit on Friday...
 
A total of four suits have been filed so far on the 21 November Kogi State gubernatorial elections with one of them being that of Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State.

Wada is asking the court to declare him the winner of the election in view of the death of Prince Abubakar Audu, the All Progressives Congress, APC candidate who died as the result of the election was been compiled in Lokoja, Audu led Wada by over 41, 000 votes in the election which was declared inconclusive.

INEC had fixed a supplementary poll for this Saturday in 91 polling units where elections did not take place or were disrupted on 21 November after which the winner of the poll will be declared.

At the hearing of the suits which began on Tuesday morning at Federal High Court, Abuja, the presiding judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole appealed to the counsels in the different suits to allow them to be consolidated so that they can be disposed off on Friday, 4 December, a day before the supplementary election planned by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

All the counsels agreed that the cases should be consolidated.

The judge said consolidation of the cases was necessary so that the Saturday poll will not be conducted by INEC under an uncertain legal shadow.

Consequently, the Judge asked all the counsels in the four suits to frame three or four simple issues as can be distilled from the cases for determination by the court. Justice Kolawole said the issues to be framed must be short and concise to avoid a constitutional crises that may lead to break down of law and order if judgements in the different cases are not delivered by Friday.

Lawyer to Governor Wada, Chris Uche and another lawyer in the suit asked the Judge to help formulate the issues, but Justice Kolawole refused as he contended that the cases are political in nature.

Justice Kolawole subsequently stood down the cases for one and half hour to allow the lawyers to meet and formulate the issues.

In the original suit, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate in the 21 November gubernatorial election, Governor Idris Wada is asking the Federal High Court, Abuja to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, from conducting the December 5 supplementary election.

They also asked the court to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to issue him (Wada) with a Certificate of Return and declare him the winner of the inconclusive November 21 governorship election being the only surviving candidate with the majority of lawful votes cast at the Kogi State Governorship election.

Wada also asked the court to issue an order of injunction restraining All Progressives Congress, APC, from organising or holding a fresh primary election for the purpose of any supplementary or other election for the Kogi State governorship election 2015.

Wada said that in view of the death of the APC’s candidate, Abubkar Audu, he should be declared the winner of the botched election being the only surviving candidate with the majority of lawful votes cast at the Kogi State governorship election held on November 21, 2015.

INEC, the Attorney General of the Federation and the APC are joined as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants respectively. In the main, the plaintiffs also filed another application praying the court to restrain INEC from conducting the December 5 supplementary election.

The governor also asked the court to declare that APC could not organise and hold a fresh primary election for the purpose of the supplementary election, having regard to the immutable statutory timeliness provided by enabling sections of the Electoral Act 2010 and the INEC timetable for Kogi Governorship election.

He also asked the court to declare that the AGF was not competent to issue directives to INEC to allow APC to substitute its candidate for the Kogi governorship election after the commencement of the election and those directives are null and void for inconsistency with the provisions of the constitution.

They also asked the court to hold that APC could not lawfully nominate a candidate for the supplementary governorship election slated for the 5th day of December 2015, without a valid and legally cognisable primary election of the APC conducted within the mandatory timeliness specified by the Electoral Act.

Wada and PDP further asked the court to declare, “having regards to the provisions of Section 141 of the Electoral Act, 2010, voted scored by a candidate who died during an election cannot be inherited by or transferred to a person who was not a candidate at the said election and who did not participate in all stages of such election, for the purpose of concluding such election.

In a36 paragraph affidavit deposed to by the PDP State Collation Agent for the governorship election conducted in Kogi State, Joe Agada stated thus: “That with the demise of APC’s candidate, the two leading candidates became Wada with 199,514 votes and and that of the Labour Party with 8, 756 votes.

“That I know as a fact that INEC on this basis ought to declare the Wada the winner of the governorship election of 21st November 2015, being the only surviving candidate with the highest number of votes and scoring 25 per cent of the votes in all the Local Government Areas of the state.