Barely a year to the expiration of the 8th National Assembly, the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday sacked Senator Attai Aidoko (PDP, Kogi East) from the Upper Legislative chamber.
In a 95-page judgment on pre-election suit delivered by Justice Gabriel Kolawole, the court declared Air Vice Marshal Isaac Alfa (rtd) winner of the primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the Kogi East Senatorial election held in Idah, on December 7, 2015.
Justice Kolawole also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Senator Aidoko forthwith and issue a certificate of return for Kogi East Senatorial district to Alfa.
The judge further directed the Clerk of the National Assembly to stop forthwith all privileges accorded Senator Aidoko and ordered the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to swear in Alfa as the Senator representing Kogi East in the Senate.
The judge said that Senator Aidoko was not qualify to have had his name submitted to the INEC for the election. But he colluded with some officials of the PDP to deny Alfa of the fruits of his victory at the primary election.
He said that from the documents before the court it was clear that Alfa won the primary election with 129 votes while Aidoko had 101 votes and Hajiya Alfa 80 votes.
He said that the 101 votes ascribed to Aidoko was even doubtful because at the point Aidoko disrupted the counting of his votes, he had only 10 votes.
The judge further held that he believed the evidence of witnesses of both the defence and plaintiff that Aidoko disrupted the counting of votes when he realised that he would not garnered more than Alfa’s votes as the votes of six other contestants have been counted.
According to the judge, Aidoko upturned the table where the votes were being counted just as his police escort sporadically shot into the air while election officials and delegates scampered to safety and fled the stadium.
” I have no reason to doubt the report of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Idah branch which stated that despite the disruption, the election results and material were intact” showing that Alfa scored the highest votes.
Justice Kolawole also held that Saidu Idoma was the appointed returning officer for the primary, contrary to the submission of Aidoko that the returning officer was Malam Umaru Sanusi.
“I have not found the result of primary or document signed by Sanusi”, the judge stated.
Justice Kolawole also condemned the ways and manner in which the PDP subverted the results of it primaries with “rogue documents” after its National Working Committee waited in vain for three days for the report of National Appeal Committee which never come.
The judge also said that the fact that the sacked senator refused to call his agent at the primary election, Mallam Francis Adejo, left a credibility gap on the side of Aidoko.
Justice Kolawole had earlier dismissed the preliminary objection by Aidoko, challenging jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter.
He described the preliminary objection as an abuse of court process employed by Aidoko to delay the trial.
The judge further held that the challenge of the court’s jurisdiction was an abuse of court process because it had earlier been resolved both at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme court against Aidoko.
Consequently, the court awarded N750,000 costs against Aidoko and the PDP respectively.
The Daily Times recalls that the matter which was filed in December 2015 went as far as the Supreme Court which in a judgment delivered on June 16, 2017 remitted the suit to the trial court for accelerated hearing.