Kogi Guber: Court Reserves Judgment, To Rule May 12 In Case Against Wada

Source: thewillnigeria.com

BEVERLY HILLS, CA, March 18, (THEWILL) - A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja Tuesday  fixed May 12 for ruling  in a case brought against  the  Kogi State governor , Captain Idris Wada (rtd).

Presiding judge, Justice Abdulkadir Abdulkafarati,  fixed the date  after listening to arguments from lawyers to parties in the suit instituted by a chieftain of the now defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Kogi State, Mohammed Jamiu Audu.

The defendants in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/311/2012 are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Wada, Jibrin Isa Echocho, the People's Democratic Part (PDP), former governor of the state, Abubakar Audu and the Attorney General of the Federation.

The plaintiff alleged  that the process which led to the conduct of the December 3, 2011 Kogi governorship election, which produced Wada  as a major beneficiary, was allegedly manipulated by INEC in violation of the Electoral Act.

Maintaining that   he participated in the ACN's primary and emerged its Deputy Governorship candidate, with Professor Yusufu Obaje as Governorship candidate prior to May 28, 2011, the plaintiiff  argued that he remained a legitimate candidate of the party even when Obaje went to another party.

Audu who queried the legitimacy of INEC's decision to substitute him and Obaje with Abubakar Audu in the December 3, 2011 election, argued that the process that produced Wada as the PDP's candidate for the election violated the Electoral Act, particularly section 33.

Raising  five questions for the court's determination, he asked the court to, among others, declare that he was the valid and legitimate winner of the election, and therefore entitled to be made the state governor.

He also prayed  the court to order Wada to vacate office, and for the state's Chief Judge to swear him into office immediately.

He also  asked   the court for an order of perpetual injunction, restraining Wada from further parading himself as the state's governor, and an order directing the AGF to enforce all the orders made by the court.

The  plaintiff's lawyer, Mackings Nezianya adopted his final written address filed with his originating summons on Tuesday.

The plaintiff  also argued his counter affidavit to the separate objections filed by INEC, Wada and PDP.

The other defendants failed to respond to the case.

In relation to the substantive suit, Nezianya urged the court to grant his client's prayer and discountenance the counter arguments by the defendants.

He argued that as against the contention by the defendants, his client had the locus standi to institute the suit.

He added that the court had the jurisdiction to hear the case in view of the provision of Section 87(9) of the Electoral Act.

Nezianya urged the court to engage in a community reading of Sections 31, 33 and 87(9) of the Electoral Act before deciding case.

The plaintiff's lawyer had, while responding to the defendants' preliminary objections, argued that their contention was misconceived.

He argued that the case cited by Wada's lawyer, Chris Uche (SAN) were misconceived.

He said they do not support the issue at stake in his suit.

Relying on Order 26 Rule 3 of the Federal High Court's Civil Procedure Rules, he urged the court to disregard the objections by INEC and PDP on the ground that the were incompetent, the defendants having failed to indicate any ground supporting their objection.

Uche argued that the plaintiff lacked locus standi to institute the case on the ground that the plaintiff not being a member of the PDP, he cannot contest the process adopted by PDP in choosing it's candidate.

He observed that Audu failed to sue his party, which allegedly substituted him with another candidate and under whose banner he stood election.

Wada' lawyer also challenged the court's jurisdiction to hear the suit.

He argued that the suit related to post-election issues that could only be taken before the election tribunal.

But counsel to INEC and PDP also  argued in similar manner and urged the court to dismiss the suit.