Court Sacks Senator Representing Kogi East, Aidoko

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja Wednesday ordered the immediate removal of the Senator representing Kogi East Senatorial District, Senator Atai Aidoko.
In his place, Justice Gabriel Kolawale, ordered that Air Marshall Isaac Mustapha (retd) be sworn in.
The Judge also ordered that Independent National Election Commission (INEC) to issue certificate of return to Mustapha.
The court said the Clerk of the National Assembly should swear Mustapha in immediately.
The order followed an application filed by Mustapha challenging the declaration of Aidoko as winner of the Peoples Democratic Party in the governorship primaries of the party in 2014.
Mustapha held that he was the winner of the primaries but the party, rather, declared Aidoko.
In the judgment that stretched to evening, the court held that Aidoko was not properly nominated by the PDP for the March 2015 National Assembly Elections and consequently ordered INEC to immediately withdraw the certificate of return issued to Aidoko in 2015.
In addition, the court ordered the Clerk of the National Assembly to withdraw all privileges being accorded Aidoko.
The National Assembly was also ordered to withdraw the recognition being accorded Aidoko on the grounds that he was not lawfully nominated and elected to the senatorial seat.
Justice Kolawole, who condemned the ways and manner in which the PDP subverted the result of it primaries, held that rogue documents were used by the PDP to subsitute Aidoko’s name to INEC.
The purported nomination of Aidoko by the PDP to INEC was an exercise in futility to rob the plaintiff the fruit of his election in the primaries, the court said.
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, and that this was corroborated by key witnesses in their statements made on oath.
The Judge also said that 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.
He held that the challenge of the court’s jurisdiction was an abuse of court process because it had earlier been resolved both at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme court against the Senator.
The court also ordered the electoral umpire to issue a fresh certificate of return to Mustapha being the winner of the December 7, 2014 PDP primaries into the National Assembly election.
Consequently, the court awarded a cost of N750,000 against Aidoko and the PDP respectively.
Recall that the matter went as far as the supreme court which in a judgment delivered on June 16, 2017, referred the suit back to the trial court and ordered that it be given accelerated hearing.

Author: News Editor

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