Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday dismissed a suit seeking the removal of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State from office.
Three plaintiffs, Michael Elokun, Ibrahim Sule and Mrs Hawa Audu, approached the court in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/488/2017 to seek the removal of the governor from office.
Other defendants in the suit are the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the Attorney General of the Federation.
In the suit, the plaintiff asked the court for “an order seeking the return and immediate swearing in of the former Governor of Kogi State, Captain ldris Wada as Governor”.
In his judgement, Justice Tsoho sustained the objection of the 1st defendant that the plaintiffs had no locus standi to institute the suit.
The court noted that the plaintiffs were neither members of the APC nor aspirants in the primary election that ushered in the (1st defendant) Governor Bello as the flag bearer of the party in the governorship election.
The court also agreed with the 1st defendant that the plaintiffs were not the only electorate in Kogi State.
Furthermore, the presiding judge held that the subject matter of the suit was not within the jurisdiction of the court as it was not a pre-election matter.
The court stated that the suit was bound to fail because it was filed almost two years after the 1st defendant had been sworn in as a democratically elected governor of Kogi State.
Specifically, Justice Tsoho sustained the grounds of objection raised by the 1st defendant to the effect “that the court lacks the jurisdiction to adjudicate on matters outside the purview of Section 251 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) as the subject matter and reliefs sought by the plaintiffs in this suit are predicated on issues which only an Election Tribunal can exercise jurisdiction pursuant to Section 285(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
The court also agreed that the “present proceeding is not a competent pre-election matter”.
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