Supreme Court Dismisses Suit Against Kogi Governor

The Supreme Court has dismissed a suit filed by James Ocholi, governorship candidate of the now defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, in the December 3, 2011 election in Kogi State.

Through the lawsuit, Ocholi sought an order to sack Idris Wada, the state governor, who won on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, who delivered the lead judgment on Friday held that the appeal by Ocholi asking the court to nullify Wada’s election and declare him (Ocholi) the validly elected governor, lacked merit.

Ocholi, a senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN had instituted the suit asking that Wada be removed on the grounds that the Kogi State incumbent governor was not qualified to contest the December 3, 2011 governorship election since he was not a candidate for the election earlier scheduled to hold on April 26 of that year.

The Supreme Court had earlier decided the election petitions, filed by the now defunct, Action Congress of Nigeria and the All Progressives Congress, in favour of Wada.

The apex court’s panel in a unanimous judgment presided over today by Mahmud Mohammed, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, affirmed the concurrent judgments of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court ‎in Lokoja, which had both dismissed the appellant’s case.

Kekere-Ekun held that the Federal High Court, Lokoja had rightly dismissed Ocholi’s suit for lack of jurisdiction in a judgment delivered on July 10, 2013. The court also affirmed the judgment of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, delivered on September 24, 2012, upholding the Federal High Court’s verdict that the appropriate court where the appellant ought to have instituted his suit was the election petition tribunal.

Kekere-Ekun said the prayers sought by Ocholi, in substance and in nature, had become a post election matter that could only be determined by an election petition tribunal.

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