Court Sacks Kogi Senator, Orders Swearing In Of Alfa
Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has sacked the senator representing Kogi East Senatorial District, Attai Aidoko, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the National Assembly.
Justice Kolawole held that the plaintiff, Air Marshal Isaac Alfa (rtd.), also of the PDP was the rightful winner of the party’s primary election for Kogi East Senatorial Election, conducted in Idah, on December 7, 2015.
Trouble started when in December 7, 2014, the PDP held its senatorial primary election at the Idah Township Stadium.
At the end of the exercise, Air Marshal Alfa, a former Chief of Air Staff, scored 129 votes to beat Aidoko, who polled 101 votes.
Another senatorial aspirant, Hajiya Halima Alfa, got 80 votes at the primary election.
But, the PDP, while submitting the list of candidates for the senatorial election to INEC, substituted Alfa’s name with that of Aidoko for reasons best known to it.
Miffed by the development, Alfa headed to court in 2014 to seek redress.
He challenged the validity of the candidacy of Aidoko.
The legal battle shuttled from the trial court to the Appeal and Supreme Court, from where it was remitted to the Federal High Court for hearing of the case on merit.
The 95-page judgment delivered on Wednesday was sequel to a pre-election suit filed by Alfa challenging the emergence of Aidoko as the party’s candidate in the main election.
Consequently, the court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw forthwith the Certificate of Return issued to Senator Aidoko in 2015.
The court, also awarded a cost of N750,000 each, against Aidoko and the PDP, to be paid to Air Marshal Alfa.
More so, the trial judge ordered the Clerk of the National Assembly to swear in Air Marshal Alfa to replace the sacked lawmaker.
In addition, the court directed the clerk of the National Assembly to withdraw all privileges being given to Aidoko.
The judge also ordered the National Assembly to withdraw the recognition being accorded Aidoko on the grounds that he was not lawfully nominated and elected to the senatorial seat.
The court noted from material and affidavit evidence tendered by both parties in the suit that the process that led to the emergence of Aidoko as candidate of the PDP in the March 2015 senatorial election was marred by irregularities, unconstitutional and breached relevant provisions of the Electoral Act and the PDP constitution.
From the totality of the evidence placed before the court, Justice Kolawole was convinced that Saidu Udoma was the Returning Officer for the senatorial election and not Umar Sanusi.
This fact, the court noted, was corroborated by key witnesses in their statements made on oath.
Justice Kolawole found out from affidavit evidence that rogue documents were used by the party to submit Aidoko’s name to INEC.
He condemned the ways and manner in which the PDP subverted the result of its primaries, and substituted names of rightful winners of primaries.
The court insisted that the purported nomination of Aidoko by PDP to the electoral umpire was a wild goose chase to rob the plaintiff of the fruit of his election in the primary.
Before delving into the substantive matter, Kolawole had dismissed the preliminary objection by Aidoko challenging jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter.
The court said the objection was an abuse of court process employed by Aidoko to delay the cause of trial.