KOGI EAST SENATORIAL TUSSLE ,KOGI YOUTH WARNS SENATOR AKPABIO TO STAY CLEAR
The coalition of political youth groups in Kogi State made up of youths cutting across various political youth groups in Kogi State, the Kogi State Youth Alliance has come out to ask Senator Goodswill Akpabio, the PDP Senate Minority Leader to stay clear of kogi East senatorial tussle. The association is the frontline youth group of the State. “As an Association, we are very disappointed with the ignoble role the Senate Minority Leader is reported to be playing. We have it on good authority that during the burial ceremony of late Chief Enenche at Imani in Kogi State over the last weekend, Senator Aidoko while inviting people to come and witness his swearing in by Senator Saraki on 10Jth January at the resumption of the Senate, boasted that nothing will prevent the swearing in because Senator Akpabio himself who is his personal friend is handling it personally. Aidoko was said to have boasted that Senator Akpabio, apart from being his personal friend also owes favours to Aidoko’s mentor, Senator Ahmadu Ali and has also assured the mentor”, the Group stated.
The Youth Group noted with concern the following issues in the Judgement delivered on the 14th of December, 2016 by the Appeal panel comprised of Justices of the Court of Appeal, Justice Hussein Mukhtar, T.O. Awotoye and Justice Fredrick Oho.
In the judgement delivered by Justice Oho on behalf of others, the Appeal Court upheld the appeal of Sen Aidoko Ali in his quest to replace Sen Isaac Mohammed Alfa as Senator representing Kogi East Senatorial District.
The entire 14 different youth groups from Kogi State represented by their Excos stated clearly at the Press time that they vehemently and absolutely reject the Kangaroo judgement delivered by Justice Oho as it has no basis in law.
The youths stated that their reasons for rejecting the judgements were as follows:
1- The judgement of the High Court was completely professional, sound and can never be justiciably faulted by any court of law. This was the judgement based on facts, sworn affidavits and unassailable documentary evidences
2- The same Court of Appeal threw out a forged document criminally smuggled in by the firm of Ikweto and Co, Counsel to Senator Aidoko Ali, a document that was never part of the High Court records.
3- Rather than prosecuting Ikweto and Co and their client Sen Aidoko for forgery, this same Court of Appeal simply let them off the hook.
4- The President, Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa played some roles that are difficult to understand in this particular case. First, she prevented the first panel of judges from going on holidays, solely for the purpose of prosecuting this case whereas there was nothing special about the case. Secondly, without any cogent reasons, she disbanded that Appeal Panel and posted the members out of the Federal Capital Territory and constituted a second 3-man panel headed by the presiding judge of the Court of Appeal. Surprisingly, and without any justiciable reason, she again, midway into the trial disbanded that Panel and constituted a third Panel of 3 judges, this time all Justices of Sokoto Court of Appeal.
5- Available records show that the only relief sought by Senator Aidoko in his appeal was for the case to be taken back to the Federal High Court to be tried by oral evidence and nothing more. Why the trial Judges ignored hard evidences to, not only grant Senator Aidoko’s relief but also added what was not pleaded for is novel in the anals of justice delivery. Why did the trial Judges order INEC to issue Certificate of Return to Sen Aidoko when this was never part of the relief? Is this normal?
If the trial Judges granted Senator Aidoko’s relief to go back to High Court to determine who the rightful candidate of the party is, how can the same Panel in the same vein order INEC to issue certificate of return to Aidoko? Does it mean that the Panel had assumed the role of the High Court, carried out the retrial by oral evidence already and awarded judgement to Senator Aidoko thereby qualifying him for the issuance of certificate of return by the INEC all in the same breath? We reject this judgement, we reject this injustice
It is a travesty of justice for Akpabio to try to smuggle Aidoko into Senate considering the fact that the case is before the Apex Court. Senator Akpabio, as a law maker should be seen to uphold the law instead of allowing his personal circumstances to becloud his judgment.
As the leader of his Party in the Senate, the least expected of him is neutrality. Senator Akpabio knows very well what section 143 of the Electoral Act says and it is very clear on this matter
Section 143, Titled “Person elected to remain in office pending determination of appeal” States as follows:
“143(1): If the Electoral Tribunal or the Court, as the case may be, determines that a candidate returned as elected was not validly elected, then if notice of appeal against is given within 21 days from the date of the decision, the candidate returned as elected, shall, notwithstanding the contrary decision of the Tribunal or the Court, remain in office pending the determination of the appeal.
(2) If the Electoral Tribunal or the Court, as the case may be, determines that a candidate returned as elected was not validly elected, the candidate returned as elected shall, notwithstanding the contrary decision of the Tribunal or the Court remain in office pending the expiration of 21 days within which an appeal may be brought”
So based on section 143 (1) & (2), of this Act, Senator Akpabio cannot justifiably vow to get Senator Aidoko sworn in by all means. Does the above section not mean that Senate should wait till appeal is determined?
We don’t care about who occupies the Kogi East Senatorial seat. It. can be Senator Alfa or Senator Aidoko, we don’t really care. But we as youths of Kogi State, whose future depends on integrity, equity and fairness, demand that we be allowed to select who represents us through popular balloting without a group of people usurping the role of the Almighty to impose their choices upon us for their personal reasons.
Lastly, we seriously want to warn the Senate Minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio not to interfer in the ongoing political tussle between Senator Attai Aidoko and Senator Isaac Alfa until the case is finally determined by the Supreme Court. The case here is a pre-election matter and only the Supreme Court has the final say. Therefore, the Senate Minority leader must not test our resolve on this matter, otherwise we will mobilise the entire Kogi State youths against him. If Senator Akpabio played any role in procuring the judgement for Senator Aidoko as alleged by Senator Aidoko, let his role in this matter end there.
We also warn Senator Ahmad Ali to steer clear and leave us to determine our choices. We expect Senator Akpabio to have learnt some lessons from the ongoing crisis within the PDP at the National Level as a result of culture of imposition and impunity. There is a saying that “there is no smoke without a fire”. Why is Senator Aidoko threatening people with Akpabio’s name? Let Senator Akpabio publicly come clear as that is the only action that will convince us of his neutrality. We ask Senator Alfa to confront Senator Akpabio and give us the true situation. He is our Senator and we elected him to represent us. He has the same right as every Senator while he is one.
As a Group from Kogi State, we totally reject this act of impunity. We understand that the case is pending in the supreme Court and any precipitate action by the Senate will amount to contempt of Court. We are waiting.
Ogbadu Ibrahim Omale
National Secretary Kogi State Youth Alliance