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Tribunal upholds Kogi Assembly member’s election

By Sulaiman Achema, Lokoja
The National and State House of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Lokoja, Kogi State has upheld the election of Mr Friday Alih-Adoyi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Ofu Constituency of Kogi.
His opponent in the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Salifu Idachaba, had challenged outcome of the election that produced Alih-Adoyi the winner of the February 20 and July 23, 2016 supplementary polls of State House Assembly.
Joined in the petition by Idachaba were the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Idachaba’s petition alleged injustices against his candidacy and called for the nullification of the polls and the conduct of a fresh one.
A member of the panel, Mr Naheem-Omolaja Durojaiye while giving his judgment on Wednesday in Abuja, dismissed Idachaba’s petition for lacking in merit.
According to him, the petition has no substantial ground to hold on the country’s electoral law.
He said that the Court of Appeal had already decided on the issue of the petitioner with the appeal held on Dec. 2, 2015.
He further added that the tribunal had no jurisdiction to decide on the matter.
Durojaiye said that the question raised by the petitioner on his exclusion from participating in the election had been overtaken by events.
“We have considered the argument of all on the issue of nomination; there can be no fresh nomination of candidate where event has overtaken issues.
“The second petitioner, APC was erred to say the nomination of the first petitioner is valid, where nomination papers were not submitted within a time frame; there cannot be a valid nomination.
“Therefore, we resolve this issue against the petitioner and consequently dismiss the petition. The cost of N100, 000 each is equally awarded in favour of the first and second respondents,’’ Durojaiye said.
The tribunal had also upheld the election of Air Marshall Isaac Alfa as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for Kogi-East Senatorial District on PDP platform.
Mr Abdurahman Abubakar of the APC had challenged Alfa`s election, saying it was devoid of electoral principles.
Abubakar called for the cancelation of the election and the conduct of a fresh.
A recent judgment by the Abuja Court of Appeal had sacked Alfa followed a pre-election appeal against him by Sen. Atai Aidoko-Usman.
Aidoko-Usman was then declared the right candidate and winner of the election on PDP platform.
In the judgment, the tribunal held that there could be no fresh nomination of candidate when the time given by INEC for submission of nomination forms had lapsed.
According to Durojaiye who read the judgment, the second petitioner, APC is not entitled to nominate.
He said that this was so because of the circumstance on ground before the election, adding that the purported nomination of the first petitioner was invalid.
“Where the nomination form is not submitted within the time frame, there cannot be valid nomination, we resolved the two issues against the petitioners and subsequently dismiss the petition,’’ he said.

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