You Can’t Remove CJ, Court Tells Kogi Gov, Assembly

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• 20 APC guber aspirants kick against indirect primary

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja

The Kogi State High Court sitting in Koton-Karfe yesterday ruled that the executive and the legislature, jointly or unilaterally, cannot remove the state Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajanah, without recourse to the National Judicial Council (NJC).

This is coming as 20 governorship aspirants on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state have kicked against the adoption of indirect primary by the Governor Yahaya Bello-led faction of the party ahead of the party’s primary in August.

The court also declared that the Chief Registrar of the state High Court held a statutory position as the accounting officer of the judiciary and was therefore, not subject to the control and supervision of either the executive or the legislature.

Justice Alaba Omolaye-Ajileye, the presiding judge, made the declaration in his judgment on the suit brought against the assembly, the governor and three others by Justice Ajanah and the Chief Registrar, Alhaji Yahaya Adamu.

Omolaye-Ajileye who granted all the reliefs and declarations sought by the claimants in the suit said, “On the whole, I find merit in this action and it succeeds. All the declarations sought are allowed.

“To allow only the House of Assembly and the governor of a state to remove a Chief Judge of a state or any judicial officer for that matter, without the input of the NJC, will be monstrous and outrageous as it is capable of destroying the very substratum of justice and introducing a system of servitude, utterly inconsistent with the constitutional independence of judges,” he said.

Meanwhile, 20 governorship aspirants on the platform of the APC in the state have kicked against the adoption of indirect primary by the Governor Yahaya Bello faction of the party ahead of the party’s primary in August .

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had fixed November 16, 2019 for the governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states.

The aspirants who came together under the auspices of APC Kogi Stakeholders Forum, said that the party in the state was divided and warned that APC would have to be extremely careful so that the party does not lose the state to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The leader of the forum and one of the APC leaders in the state, Senator Alex Kadri, while addressing a press conference in Abuja, called on the national leadership of the party to do the needful by setting up an independent caretaker committee to run the activities of the party in the state until after the election.

He stated: “As we are preparing for the gubernatorial primaries, we want it known that we, the leaders of the APC in the state, as well as the 20 aspirants of our party are opposed to the Yahaya Bello’s contrived method of doing primaries, because we are told that he gathered his appointees at Lokoja over the weekend and they endorsed indirect primaries.

The aspirants who attended the meeting include; Prince Mustapha Audu, Dr. Timi Diche, Alhaji Aliyu Zakari Jiya, Alhaji Yusuf Ali, Alhaji Sani Lulu Abdullahi, Alhaji Idris Usman, Mr. Sunday Edibo, Alhaji Mohammed Ali, Gen. Patrick Akpa (rtd), Alhaji Yakubu Mohammed, Mr. Gowon Egbunu, and Alhaji Yahaya Audu.

Others include, Prince Yahaya Sani, Admiral Jibril Usman (rtd), Dr. Aminu Audu, Prof. Seidu Mohammed Oga, Engr. Kasim Ali, Dr. Haruna Sheu, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Audu, and Prince Shaibu Sani.