Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, sacked Senator Atai Idoko representing Kogi East Senatorial district on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP.)
In a 99-page judgment on the pre-election dispute, Justice Gabriel Kolawole ordered the immediate swearing-in of Air Marshall Isaac Alfa (retd), who is also of the PDP, by the Clerk of the National Assembly as the authentic elected senator for the district.
The court sacked Aidoko on the ground that he was not properly nominated by the PDP for the March 2015 National Assembly Elections.
Consequently, the court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC]) to immediately withdraw the certificate of return issued to Aidoko in 2015.
In addition, 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 the PDP subverted the result of it primaries held that rogue documents were used by the PDP to submit Aidoko’s name to INEC.
The purported nomination of Aidoko by PDP was an exercise in futility to rob the plaintiff the fruit of his election in the primary, the court ruled.
He said from the totality of the evidence placed before the court, it was clear that Sheidu Idoma 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.
The judge also said the fact that the sacked senator refused to call his agent at the primary election, Mallam Farouk Adejo, left a credibility gap on the side of Aidoko.
Earlier, Justice Kolawole had dismissed the preliminary objection by Aidoko challenging jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter.
He described the preliminary objection 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 also ordered the electoral umpire to issue a fresh certificate of return to Alfa being the winner of the December 7, 2014 PDP primaries into the National Assembly election.
Consequently, the court awarded a cost of N750, 000 against Aidoko and the PDP respectively.
Recall that the matter went as far as the Supreme Court, which in a judgment delivered on June 16, 2017, referred the suit back to the trial court and ordered that it be given accelerated hearing.