Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
It was jubilation galore in parts of Lokoja, the Kogi State capital as a Federal High Court presided by Justice D. U. Okorowo, yesterday, struck out a pre-election suit filed by the Action Democratic Party (ADP) to upturn the election of Mr. Yahaya Bello as governor of Kogi State.
The suit with No. FHC/LKJ/CS/136/2019 was filed by Mr. Sule Solomon Itanyi and two others against INEC and the governor, but was struck out due to lack of diligent prosecution by the claimants.
In the case filed on November 4, 2019, the claimants alleged that INEC failed in its duty when it refused the party (Action Democratic Party) to substitute Mr. Ndakwo Abdulrahman Tanko, its original governorship candidate for Mr. Sule Solomon Itanyi prior to the conduct of the election.
The 1st respondent (INEC) and the 2nd respondent (APC) in reaction to the suit challenged the jurisdiction of the court on the grounds that the suit was filed outside the mandatory statutory 14-day period from the date of the occurrence of cause of action. They also claimed that the 180 days provided for the trial court to hear and determine the suit had also lapsed due to negligence of the claimants.
Justice Okorowo in his judgement upheld the objections of the respondents on the two main grounds, saying that the suit is “statute bar.”
The suit was therefore struck out for lack of diligent prosecution by the claimants.