Jibrin Echocho had asked the Judge to declare the Kogi governor’s swearing-in void

Kogi governor, Idris Wada. Inset: Jibrin Echocho

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, Wednesday dismissed a suit filed by Jibrin Isah Echocho asking the trial court to declare the swearing-in of Idris Wada as the governor of Kogi State invalid.

The winner of the January 2011 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries, Jibrin Isah Echocho and a governorship aspirant, Oyebode Makinde, had concurrently instituted suits against Wada.

A three-member panel of the Court of Appeal, Abuja, presided over by Justice Zainab Bukalchuwa had remitted the case back to the trial court which dismissed the suit for being an abuse of court process and awarded the cost of N100, 000 against the plaintiff.

While delivering judgment in the suit, Justice Abdul Kafarati said Echocho lacked the locus standi to initiate the suit having not participated in the governorship election that brought Wada into power adding that the court also lacked the jurisdiction to hear the suit.

Justice Kafarati said it is a post-election matter which only the election tribunal can adjudicate upon since said telection took place in December and the action was filed in February.

Reacting to the judgment, the Special Adviser on Public Communication and Strategy to Echocho, Phrank Shaibu, said his boss will appeal the judgment stating that they will continue the struggle. Until they achieve victory.

“Our team of lawyers shall move to the higher courts at the shortest possible time and we are encouraged by the presence of the several fearless men and women of the Bench in our present day judiciary,? he said.

In his suit, Echocho wanted the court to give a directive stopping Wada’s swearing in and order INEC to conduct a fresh election pending the judgment of the Supreme Court in January 27.

He demanded a ruling putting INEC under duty to obey and conform to decision of the Supreme Court delivered on January 27, 2012. The Supreme Court,  on January 27, 2012 sacked five governors, including that of Kogi state.

He also prayed the court to declare that INEC, being the appellant in Appeal No. SC/357/2011 between INEC (as appellant) V Alhaji Ibrahim Idris (as respondent) which prayed the Supreme court to decree and declare that the term of office of the last holder of the office of Governor of Kogi state constitutionally ended on 28th May,2011 by the virtue of Section 180(2) of the Constitution and which appeal the Supreme court allowed cannot rightly and in good conscience be heard and allowed to jettison or mis-interprete in any way the said judgment of the Supreme court to again defeat the clear wordings of Section 180(2) and (2A) of the same Constitution.

Counsels to Echocho and Makinde, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and Alex Iziyon (SAN) respectively had argued during the case hearing that the election and swearing-in of the governor was not in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.

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