Kogi State Governor, Captain Idris Wada
By Shola Oyeyipo
Kogi State Governor, Captain Idris Wada Monday won another judicial victory as a Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja struck out the suit filed against his candidature by the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and its governorship candidate in the December 3, 2011 election, Chief James Ocholi (SAN).
Ocholi, who instituted the legal action against Wada, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Prince Abubarka Audu, the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Ubolo Okpanachi, claimed the process which the parties urged in electing their candidates were illegal and that he should be declared the rightful governor of the state.
The presiding judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, however, threw out the case on the ground that the plaintiffs did not provide enough evidence to prove that the process that brought Wada into office was wrong.
While noting that the decision that led to the change in the date of the election was administrative, he stressed that the plaintiff did not show where the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) influenced the change in the date of the election, describing the inability of the plaintiff to prove the party’s involvement as: “Conjecture and speculative, because the onus lies on the plaintiff to provide documentary evidence to show where the parties influenced the change in the date of the election.”
While emphasising that the court had the jurisdiction to hear the matter since it was pre-election dispute, Ekwo stated that the Governorship Election Tribunal had decided the post-election litigation.
He however noted that the plaintiff’s argument against the December 3, 2011 election and that he lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter was faulty.
He also said that: “It is not the place of the court or the plaintiff to determine a candidate for any party and the right to nominate and sponsor candidates is the reserve of the party.”
Reacting to the judgment shortly after delivered, Wada described it as “victory for democracy and rule of law.”
Wada stated that he now has time to pursue the transformation agenda of his government and urged opposition members to join him to develop the state.