A Federal High Court in Abuja, presided over by Justice Abdulkadir Abdulkafarati, has punished a politician in Kogi state, Mohammed Audu ordering him to pay the sum of N1.5 Million fine for seeking to remove Governor Idris Wada, through a suit which constituted a gross abuse of court process.
Justice Abdulkafarati said that the Kogi State Election Petitions Tribunal could have heard the suit as the issues raised were post-election matter, thus ordering the the plaintiff to pay N500,000 each to governor Wada, the Independent National Electoral Commission and another defendant in the suit.
The plaintiff, a chieftain of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), had through his suit, asked the court to remove Wada because the processes leading to the December 3, 2011 Kogi governorship which produced him as governor violated the Electoral Act.
The plaintiff, who said he participated in the ACN’s primary election and emerged as the deputy to the governorship candidate, Professor Yusufu Obaje, argued that he remained a legitimate candidate of the party even when Obaje crossed to another party.
He contented therefore that the choice of reflecting Abubakar Audu as the governorship candidate of the ACN in the December 3, 2011 election had rendered the emergence of Wada in the election invalid.
He had therefore, urged the court to order Wada to vacate the seat and he (the plaintiff) be sworn in as the governor of the state.
Justice Abdulkafarati descended on the plaintiff’s counsel, Mackings Nezianya, describing the lawyer as being among those who refuse to give “honest advice to clients.”
He upheld the contention of Wada’s lawyer, Mr. Chris Uche (SAN), that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter because the dispute was post-election issue which could only have been entertained by the Kogi State Elections Petitions Tribunal.
The judge added that the plaintiff, not being a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, on whose platform Wada emerged as the candidate of the party, he (the plaintiff) lacked the locus standi to challenge the primary election which produced the governor. [myad]