As The Nation Awaits Court Pronouncement On Kogi Supplementary Election Today
The political class in Kogi State, indeed, the nation is today waiting with bated breath the outcome of the various cases instituted by interested parties concerning the gubernatorial debacle occasioned by the sudden death of Abubakar Audu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the inconclusive election of November 21 in the state.
The legal firework, which outcome will enrich the nation’s jurisprudence and add to legal lexicon, and of course, lay to rest the political logjam in Kogi, will be decided today – Friday December 4 – at the Abuja High Court.
The High Court is being asked to determine whether in view of section 181 of the 1999 constitution, as amended, the INEC ought to conduct a fresh governorship election in Kogi State.
The litigants want the court to go ahead and determine: “Whether having regard to the provisions of sections 31(1)(2)(4)(5)(6)(7) and (8), 33, 34, 36, 85 and 87 of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended, as well as sections 178-181 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, INEC, can lawfully conduct a second/supplementary election into the office of Governor of Kogi State on December 5, 2015, or any other date at all let alone accepting the nomination/substitution by the APC of any candidate on the basis of votes computed and credited to the deceased candidate of the APC when the new or substitute candidate was not part of the original election.
The High Court had on Monday, December 1, consolidated four suits challenging the legality of the supplementary election scheduled to take place in Kogi State tomorrow in its bid to speedily resolve all the legal issues that were thrown up by the death of the former governorship candidate of the APC.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole, who presided over the four suits, said there was need for the court to expeditiously determine the issues, “so that INEC will not conduct the election under a grave shadow of doubt as to the legal or constitutional validity.”
One of the suits lodged before the court is by Kogi State governor, Captain Idris Wada (retd). The second suit was filed by the governorship candidate of the People for Democratic Change, PDC, in the state, Hon. Emmanuel Daikwo.
A legal practitioner, Mr. Johnson Usman, also lodged one while a member of the House of Representatives for Ahiazu Ezinaihitte Mbaise Federal Constituency of Imo State, Hon. Rafael Igbokwe, filed another.
An electorate from Omala Local Government Area in Abelijukolo Ife of Eche Ward in Kogi State, Mr. Stephen Wada Omaye, has also decided to file a suit against the supplementary election.
Wada specifically prayed the court to determine “whether in view of the provisions of section 179 (2) (3)(4)(5) of the constitution, and other enabling provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended, and having regard to the doctrine of necessity, the plaintiff being the only surviving candidate with the major lawful votes cast at the Kogi State governorship election held on November 21, 2015, ought not to be declared and returned by the INEC as the winner of the election, having secured not less than one-quarter of the votes cast in two-thirds of all the Local Government Areas in Kogi State.”
At the end of the court session today another chapter may as well be opened for the Conference State. Other litigations like the one instituted by the James Faleke deputy governorship candidate to the late Audu, asking the court to declare him winner of the inconclusive election would take a central stage.
From the cacophonies of these, the nation’s political space would be better off. Precedent would have been laid to wade off future complication in the nation’s march to statehood and enthronement of democratic values