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KOGI GUBER: COURT DECIDES PDP CANDIDATE FEB 17

By NBF News
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A Federal High Court has kept the fate of aspirants jostling for the governorship slot of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi State hanging when it reserved its judgment on the subject till February 17.

In the suit before Justice Gabriel Kolawole, one of the contenders for the governorship position on the platform of the PDP, Alhaji Abdulrasak Kutepa, is seeking the order of the court to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from recognising Alhaji Jubrin Isah as the PDP governorship candidate in the state.

Meanwhile, the governorship candidate of the party, Jubrin Isah and his running mate, Clarence Olorunfemi sought and got the order of the court to be joined as defendants.

During the hearing of the case yesterday, counsel to plaintiff, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), contended that the PDP had earlier issued a press release signed by its Publicity Secretary, Prof. Rufai Alkali stating the decision of the party to organise a rerun in some states in which Kogi was inclusive.

Besides, he prayed the court to discountenance the extract of the National Working Committee (NWC) minutes of meeting which claimed that Kogi was not part of the states where rerun would be held stating that by the provision of Section 150(4), Evidence Act, it was the entire minutes of the meeting that should be attached.

Olanipekun therefore urged the court to accede to the reliefs sought by the plaintiff.

In his own submission, counsel to PDP, Chief Olusola Oke argued that the inclusion of Kogi State in the list of places where rerun would be held was an error, adding that the NWC had the final decision on all disputes relating to the conduct of primary election and such decision was binding on all organs and members including the plaintiff.

Oke who is also the legal adviser to the party added that the party had at no time ordered a rerun in Kogi State as alleged by the plaintiff stating that any other document coming from any other person was inconsistent with the decision of the NWC and should be discountenanced.

He therefore urged the court to dismiss the plaintiff's claim on the ground that it was baseless and lacking in merit.

Counsel to INEC,  H.M. Liman told the court that the only primary election, which the commission monitored in Kogi State was that of January 9 and no other information or communication that the said primary had been cancelled adding that the commission was not aware of any rerun primary..

He urged the court to hold that INEC was only carrying out its statutory duties under Section 85, Electoral Act, 2010 and that the publication of the names of the 3rd and 4th respondents was in accordance with its statutory power in view of the only primary election it has monitored.

He prayed the court to dismiss the originating summons of the plaintiff as lacking in merit.

Counsel to the 3rd and 4th respondents, B.A Akubo SAN argued that there was overwhelming evidence to the effect that the primary election took place in Kogi State on January 9, 2011 under the watch of INEC.

He added that the result with the electoral body showed that the 3rd respondent scored the highest votes of 361 while the plaintiff came second with 303 votes adding that the plaintiff did not include this fact in his averments.

He further submitted that the plaintiff alleges cancellation but did not show any evidence as such adding that the matter which was instituted vide  originating summon is in appropriate, he urged the court to strike out the suit for lacking merit.

The trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole adjourned the matter till February 17, 2011 for judgment.