Two legal luminaries, Prof. Itse Sagay and Chief Afe Babalola, on Sunday said the judgment of the Supreme Court on Friday did not invalidate the governorship election in Kogi State in which the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Captain Idris Wada, and his running mate, Mr. Yomi Awoniyi, were declared winners.
Following the judgment, Wada, the Kogi State Governor-elect, and Awoniyi were sworn-in by the President, Customary Court of Appeal, Shaibu Atadoga.
However, the Speaker of the Kogi House of Assembly, Mr. Abdullahi Bello, was later sworn-in by the Chief Judge of Kogi State, Justice Nasir Ajanah after a directive from the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke.
But in telephone interviews with our correspondent on Sunday, Sagay and Babalola argued that Wada’s election was valid.
Sagay said it was “impudent” for Adoke to have given directives to the affected states on who to swear in.
He also added that it was also wrong for Atadoga to swear in Wada and Awoniyi, stating that the Chief Judge of the state, Ajanah, should have sworn them in.
Sagay said, “My view is that the Supreme Court judgment takes effect from the date it was given. So it can not affect the election that was already held. The election in Kogi was held after a valid decision as at that time of the Court of Appeal. So my view is that it should be allowed to stand since it was held before the Supreme Court’s decision.
“It is very impudent and insulting of Adoke to give instructions to states about who to swear in.
The Federal Government has no authority at all to give such instruction. It appears a Unitary state. He should withdraw it.
Babalola said, “To my mind, the Supreme Court never considered an election that was held as at that time. It was not an issue before that court. It can not therefore invalidate an election that had been held.
Meanwhile, a group of Kogi State indigenes, under the aegis of Kogi Concerned Stakeholders, on Sunday condemned the directive of which led to the emergence of the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Abdullahi Bello, as Acting Governor.
The Kogi stakeholders said the situation in the state was different from that of Bayelsa, Cross River, Sokoto and Adamawa – the other states affected by the apex court judgment.
The Kogi stakeholders spoke at a news conference in Abuja.
The group was represented by Mr. Oluwafemi Emmanuel, a legal practitioner; Mr. Omeiza Abubakar, Chairman, Egbira Consultative Assembly; Mr. Adayemi Olabode John, Chairman Kogi Youth Leaders Forum; and Comrade Mesele Joe, former National Senate President, National Association of Kogi State Students.
Babalola also said Wada should have been sworn in adding that the swearing of Bello was unnecessary.
CREDIT: Punch Newspapers