KOGI LAWMAKER PETITIONS INEC OVER UNLAWFUL REMOVAL
An ousted member of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Hon. Damian Adejo has petitioned the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, alleging unlawful removal from office by the leadership of the Assembly.
The lawmaker, in a petition by his lawyer, Isaac E. Ekpa, explained that he was elected on April 26, 2011,on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Olamaboro Constituency and was consequently issued a certificate of return by the electoral commission.
But following a suit by one of the opponents with whom he contested the primary election of the PDP, Hon. Gabriel Yunisa Olofu, his election was upturned by a Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja on June 29, 2012.
Dissatisfied with the judgement, Hon. Adejo had filed an appeal and a motion for stay of execution, copies of which were served on INEC on July 2, 2012. As a result, the commission did not issue certificate of return to Hon. Olofu.
'Notwithstanding the pending suits, Hon. Olofu manipulated the Kogi State Government and the Speaker and he was sworn in on Thursday July 5, 2012, without the expiration of the stipulated period of time, on purported legal advice from the legal department of the Kogi State Assembly.'
The petition held that the act was a clear contravention of the provisions of Section 143(1) and (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 (As amended).
The petitioner urged on INEC not to issue any certificate of return to Hon. Olofu pending the hearing and determination of the case, particularly with the suit challenging the swearing-in of Olofu pending at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
'To do otherwise,' he said, 'would erode the independence of INEC and tantamount to discrediting the commission.'
The petition also urged the commission to make an official statement on the happenings in the state legislative house an save the situation. In the notice of appeal filed by Hon. Adejo, he is contending that the trial judge erred in law by assuming jurisdiction and deciding the case in favour of Hon. Olofu.