The State High Court sitting in Lokoja, Kogi State capital on Monday adjourned hearing in the application brought by Simon Achuba over his impeachment as the deputy governor of the state.
Achuba is seeking to join the Clerk of the State Assembly as a co-defendant and for hearing on the originating summon.
Justice Richard Olorunfemi adjourned till January 15th as date to rule on whether the Clerk has locus standi to be joined in the matter and for the commencement of the hearing on the originating summon.
It will be recalled that Achuba had challenged his impeachment by the Kogi State Assembly and sought for relief of the court to declare his impeachment as illegal and to be reinstated as the rightful deputy governor of the state.
In their submission, counsel to the impeached deputy governor, Jibrin Okutachi (SAN), in a 13-page counter affidavit, submitted that the court should discountenance the application by the Clerk, describing it as a breach of court order 11, rule 2, subsection 4, and section 115 subsection 4 of the evidence act.
Okutachi described the Clerk of the House as an interloper. He also described his application as a waste of the court’s time, geared towards irritating the claimant. He urged the trial judge to dismiss the application.
In reaction, counsel to the Clerk, Adetunde Oso described the Clerk as the custodian of record of the Assembly. He added that his seeking to be a party on the matter would help clear the air on the exhibits submitted by the claimant.
Justice Olorunfemi, in his ruling described the matter as one that is time bound, adding that he would ensure that the matter is dispensed with within the time frame.
He then adjourned the matter for ruling on the motion for joinder and hearing of the originating summons.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has presented the Certificate of Return to Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello.
Governor Bello received the certificate on Thursday, three days after he was declared as the winner of the just concluded governorship election in the state.
INEC’s National Commissioner in charge of Nasarawa, Kogi, and Kwara States, Mohammed Haruna, presented the certificate to the governor at a ceremony attended by the Commissioner of Police in Kogi which held at the INEC office in Lokoja, the state capital.
The re-elected Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello on Tuesday reacted to his victory at the just-concluded election which he described as free and fair.
Bello who spoke during an interview on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily accepted that there was violence during the election but added that this is not enough to the election.
“The conduct of the election was quite very credible, a level-playing field was provided and it was free and fair. In every election, there is bound to be one issue or the other and you can’t take a pocket of issues to judge the general conduct of the election.
“Regarding the comment of the civil society organisation, they are entitled to their own opinion but let us know the parameters with which they are judging this election.
“How many polling units did they visit out of 2,548 polling units, 239 wards and 21 local governments across the difficult terrains of this state? How many people have they reached out to?
“Have they interviewed all the electorates? So what are their yardsticks.?” The governor queried.
Bello’s reaction comes after criticisms by many civil society groups including the European Union (EU) which condemned the reports of widespread incidents of violence and voter intimidation.
The Diplomatic Watch on Sunday expressed alarm at the reports of fatalities and missing people during the Kogi election and urged stakeholders to call for calm.
“We express our alarm at reports of widespread incidents of violence and intimidation, some of which were witnessed by our teams in Kogi. There are reports of fatalities and people missing, including INEC staff. Our thoughts are with all victims and their families,” their statement read in part.
The Diplomatic Watch deployed teams from Austria, the European Union Delegation, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States to monitor Kogi and Bayelsa state elections on November 16.
Also, the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA Africa), on Sunday called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a new election in Kogi State following reported cases of violence, vote-buying, and manipulation of voters.
YIAGA explained that the elections in the state did not reflect the preferences of voters because they were not given genuine opportunity to exercise their right to vote.
The Centre for Democracy and Development, (CDD), on Monday said 10 deaths and 129 cases of violence and electoral crimes were recorded in the just concluded polls in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
The Spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Campaign Council, Kogi State, Faruk Adejoh-Audu says he cannot congratulate Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello because Kogi State was turned into a war field during the Saturday election.
Adejoh-Audu said the election was marred by violence, claiming that nine PDP members were killed during the election.
He also explained how the PDP women leader of Ochadamu Ward in Ofu Local Government Area, Salome Abuh, was burnt to death in her home by political thugs.
“I will have congratulated Governor Yahaya Bello but unfortunately, I cannot because he won no election. What he won was a war waged by him and the Nigerian Police, so I cannot congratulate him.
“His claim that there were just pockets of violence is incorrect. There is hardly any ward in Kogi State except a few that did not experience violence.
“Violence is not necessarily when people die, but in this case, people died. At least nine people died, all of them were PDP members. The 10th person was killed after the announcement of result yesterday and it was the PDP woman leader of Ochadamu ward,” Audu said.
He also insisted that the Kogi election was a war and not an election.
“We came out for an election but it turned out to be a war with the Nigerian Police, the security agencies and Yahaya Bello members of staff.”
Meanwhile, the PDP governorship candidate in Kogi State, Mr Musa Wada, have rejected the results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He described the election as a declaration of war against citizens of Kogi State and insisted on using every legal means to reclaim his mandate.
It was a tough day in Kogi and Bayelsa States where INEC conducted elections on Saturday last week as the exercise recorded loss of lives, attack on polling units by suspected thugs, and ballot box snatching among other unfortunate incidents.
While residents of both states headed to various polling units in their respective local governments to cast their votes, the people of Kogi West senatorial district had an extra duty to perform.
The electorate in the senatorial zone also voted in the rerun election to choose who would represent them in the Senate chamber of the National Assembly between Senator Dino Melaye of the PDP and APC’s Senator Smart Adeyemi.
Although the poll favoured Senator Adeyemi who scored 80,118 votes as against the 59,548 votes garnered by Senator Melaye, the election was declared inconclusive.
The returning officer for the election, Professor Olayinde Lawal, explained that the margin of 20,570 votes between both candidates was lower than the 43,127 registered voters in 53 polling units of 20 registration areas in the zone where elections were cancelled.
He informed party agents and others present at the collation centre that he was constrained by the law to declare a winner in such a situation.
The collation of the Kogi governorship election results continued on Monday at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Headquarters in Lokoja, the state capital.
This comes barely one day after the commission postponed the exercise till Monday, following the collation of results from 19 out of the 21 local government areas of the state.
INEC’s Returning Officer for the election and Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Professor Ibrahim Umar, had informed party agents and others at the collation centre on Sunday that the exercise would continue on Monday.