Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has said that stopping the Kogi Supplementary Election is an “invitation to constitutional and judicial anarchy”.
Governor Idris Wada, Hon. James Falake and two others had gone to court to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from going ahead with Saturday’s supplementary election.
INEC had declared the November 22 poll inconclusive ordering a rerun in 90 polling units.
The court held that only the election petition tribunal had the jurisdiction to hear the cases before it.
It also held that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) could go ahead with the conduct of its supplementary election in the state, scheduled for December 5.
In his ruling, Kolawole said: “Only the election petition can entertain this case. The court does not have the affirmation to make definitive pronouncements.”
The court had received four suits from different parties on the November 21 governorship election in Kogi state.
The suits were later consolidated into one, with three issues outlined for determination. The issues were why Idris Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should not be returned as governor having secured the second highest votes in the election, whether the late Abubakar Audu died with his votes being the leading candidate in the election, and if the December 5 supplementary governorship election should hold.
The personalities behind the suits were James Faleke, Audu’s deputy in the inconclusive election, who asked the court to declare him governor of the state as well as to stop Saturday’s supplementary governorship election; Wada, incumbent governor of the Kogi state, who asked the court to declare him winner on the grounds that he secured the second highest votes in the election; Emmanuel Daiko, who contested the governorship election on the Platform of Peoples Democratic Change (PDC), and asked that the supplementary election be declared illegal; Raphael Igbokwe (a PDP member of the house representatives), who asked the court to order the Independent National Electoral Commission (the first defendant) to hold a fresh election in the state, and Johnson Jacob, a native of Kogi state, who asked the court to cancel the election.
The court struck out all the reliefs sought by Wada, Faleke, Daiko and Jacob for want of jurisdiction.
It observed that aggrieved candidates in an election would hurriedly run to the court with the aim securing quick advantage over opponents; hence the need for the court to be circumspect in delivering judgment.
However, it also held that it would not fail to deliver a balanced judgment if it had the jurisdiction to entertain the case.