Abuja Court to Rule on Kogi State Governorship Election Today
The Federal High Court in Abuja will today (Friday) deliver judgment on the contentious issues that emanated from the November 21, 2015 governorship election in Kogi State which was declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC).
At the resumed hearing of the matter before the Justice Gabriel Kolawole on Thursday, the counsel to all the parties adopted and argued their various briefs for and against the decision of INEC to proceed with tomorrow’s supplementary election.
The court also heard the arguments from counsel on the burning issues with respect to declaratory reliefs sought by the contending politicians and their political parties.
In its arguments, 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, while Mr. James Falake who was the deputy to the late All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the elections, Abubakar Audu, is also 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, asked the court to compel the electoral body to conduct a fresh election in the state following the death of Audu.
In canvassing 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 other hand, Falake’s counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, Pius Akubo for PDP and Chris Uche for Governor Wada disagreed on the grounds that since no candidate has been declared winner, the matter cannot be heard by the election petition tribunal.
After hearing submissions of the counsel in the suits, the trial judge slated today for judgment.
The electoral body had scheduled the supplementary election in 91 polling units in Kogi State for Saturday December 5, having declared the governorship election in the state inconclusive.
The plaintiffs are praying the court to determine whether, “having regards 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- 181of the 1999 Constitution, INEC can lawfully conduct a second/ supplementary election into the office of Governor of Kogi State on December 5 or any other day, let alone accepting nomination/substitution by APC, on the basis of votes computed and credited to the late Audu.
“Whether in view of the provisions of section 179 (2)(3)(4)(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and other provisions of the Electoral Act and having regards to the doctrine of necessity, Wada being the only surviving candidate with the majority votes cast at the election ought not to be declared winner of the election having secured not less than one -quarter of votes cast in two-thirds of all the local government Areas of Kogi State.
“Whether in view of Section 181 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 (as amended) INEC ought to conduct a fresh Governorship election in Kogi State”.
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