Court sacks Kogi Senator, orders INEC to withdraw certificate of return
BARELY a year to the expiration of the 8th National Assembly, the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday sacked the Senator representing Kogi East Senatorial District, Sen Attai Ai’doko from the Upper Legislative chamber.
A 95-page judgment delivered by Justice Gabriel Kolawole held that Air Vice Marshal Isaac Alfa was the rightful winner the primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the Kogi East Senatorial Election, conducted in Idah, on December 7, 2015.
Justice Kolawole who ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw forthwith, the Certificate of Return issued to Senator Aidoko, also ordered the Clerk of the National Assembly to swear in AVM Alfa to replace the sacked lawmaker.
Having held that that Aidoko was not properly nominated by the PDP for the March 2015 National Assembly Elections, the court ordered the clerk of the National Assembly to withdraw all privileges being accorded Aidoko.
The National Assembly was also ordered to withdraw the recognition being accorded Aidoko on the grounds that he was not lawfully nominated and elected to the senatorial seat.
Justice Kolawole, who condemned the ways and manner in which the PDP subverted the result of its primaries held that rogue documents were used by the party to submit Aidoko’s name to INEC and added that the purported nomination of Aidoko by PDP to the electoral body was an exercise in futility to rob the plaintiff of the fruit of his election in the primary.
Justice Kolawole said from the totality of the evidence placed before the court, it was clear that Saidu Udoma was the Returning Officer for the Senatorial election and not Umar Sanusi, and that this was corroborated by key witnesses in their statements made on oath.
Earlier, Justice Kolawole had dismissed the preliminary objection by Aidoko challenging jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter and described the object as an abuse of court process employed by Aidoko to delay the trial.
He held that the challenge of the court’s jurisdiction was an abuse of court process because it had earlier been resolved both at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme court against the senator.
The court, consequently awarded a cost of N750,000 each, against Aidoko and the PDP, to be paid to Air Marshal Alfa.
Recalled that, in the December 7, 2014, primary election, held at the Idah township stadium, Air Marshal Alfa, a former Chief of Air Staff scored 129 votes to beat Aidoko, who pulled 101 votes and another Senatorial aspirant, Hajia Halima Alfa who pulled 80 votes to emerge the winner at the election.
However, the PDP, while submitting the list of candidates for the Senatorial election to INEC, substituted Alfa’s name with that of Aidoko for undisclosed reasons.
This prompted Alfa to file the court action in 2014 to challenge the legality of the candidacy of Aodoko, but the legal action, along the line went to the Appeal and the Supreme Court, from where it was remitted to the Federal High Court for fresh hearings.