Appeal Court rejects request to sack Kogi Gov

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has dismissed a case brought to challenge the nomination of Yahaya Bello as a candidate in the governorship election held in Kogi State in December 2015.

A three-man panel of the court, in a unanimous judgment on Thursday, held that, not only was the suit filed late at the High Court, the then plaintiffs (now appellants) did not show that they have sufficient interest to protect by challenging Bello’s nomination as a governorship candidate.

The judgment was on an appeal marked: CA/A/107C/2018, by Michael Elokun, Ibrahim Sule and Hawa Audi.

In the judgment read by Justice Stephen Adah, the appellate court upheld the March 20, 2018 judgment by Justice John Tosho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, where he held that the plaintiffs not only lacked losus standi, they did not properly invoke the court’s jurisdiction having filed the suit almost two years after the election was held.

Elokun, Sule and Audi (who claimed to be registered voters in Kogi State) had sued before the Federal High Court, Abuja on 16 June 2017 to challenge Bello’s nomination by the All Progressives Congress (APC) as its candidate for the governorship election held in December 2015.

The plaintiffs claimed that Bello was not a registered voter in Kogi State and therefore, was not eligible to have been nominated as a candidate for election that was held in the state.

They prayed the court to, among others, disqualify Bello and declare Captain Idris Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner of the election.

In his judgment in 2018, Justice Tsoho upheld the objection raised by Bello, to the effect that the plaintiffs lacked the locus standi to institute the suit.

Justice Tsoho noted that the plaintiffs were neither members of the APC nor aspirants in the primary election from which Bello emerged as the candidate of the party in the governorship election.

The judge held that the plaintiffs, who claimed to be registered voters in Kogi State, were not the only voters in the state.

He further held that the subject matter of the suit was not within the jurisdiction of the court as it was not a pre-election matter.

Justice Tsoho held the suit was bound to fail because it was filed almost two years after the election was held and the winner, Bello assumed office as the democratically-elected governor of Kogi.

Listed with Bello as defendants in the case are the APC, the PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Attorney-General of the Federation.

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