YAHAYA BELLO PICKS APC KOGI GUBER TICKET, AS COURT DISMISSES MOTION TO STOP PRIMARY

Governor Yahaya Bello, the incumbent Kogi state governor, has clinched the All Progressives Congress, APC gubernatorial ticket, to emerge as flag bearer for the party in the forthcoming November 16, governorship election in the state.

Monitored reports indicate that Governor Bello emerged winner of the by polling 3,091 votes to beat eight other aspirants who contested the governorship primaries conducted by the party at the Confluence Hotel, in Lokoja, the state capital.

The breakdown of the results of the APC Kogi governorship primary is as follows:

Yahaya Bello: 3,091 votes

Babatunde Irukera: 109 votes

Hassan Abdullahi Baiwa: 44 votes

Yahaya Odidi Audi: 10 votes

Sani Lulu Abdullahi: 7 votes

Engr Abubakar Bashir: 3 votes

Yakubu Mohammed: 0 vote

Hadiza Ibrahim: 0 vote

Engr. Danlami Umar Mohammed: 0 vote

Ikele Aisha Blessing: 0 vote

Invalid: 54 votes.

Chairman of the Kogi governorship primary election panel, that conducted the election, Gov. Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, said that 3,596 accredited delegates voted during the primary election out of which 54 votes were declared invalid.

However, the Kogi guber primary process was marred by controversy as one of the governorship aspirants, Hassan Bewa, staged a walkout from the Confluence Stadium, Lokoja venue of the primary, even as the process was ongoing, alleging that the primary had been compromised.

Bewa, who is a serving member of the House of Representative representing Dekina /Bassa Federal Constituency, lamented in a reported telephone chat, that he could not cope with the level of manipulation going on at the venue, especially the buzzard claims by nearly all the delegates that they illiterates who could neither read nor write.

Also, even as the primary election was going on, the vacation judge sitting at the High Court of Justice headquarters, Lokoja, Kogi State, Justice Abdul Nicodemus Awulu, delivered a ruling in which he declined the ex parte application filed by Mustapha Mona Audu to stop the Kogi governorship primary election from holding in the state capital on Thursday, August 29.

Recall that Mona Audu, son of former Kogi State governor late Abubakar Audu, had vowed to go to Court to stop the guber primary, after the Senator Hope Uzodimma Screening committee had disqualified him and a few others from participating in the process and the disqualification had been upheld by both the Appeals panel and the NWC of the party, which produced a final list of eligible contestants for the primary.

Audu had then made good his threat and filed an ex parte application before the vacation judge, “pursuant to section 6(6)a and (b) of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria as amended and order 11 rule 7, sub 1 & 2 of the Kogi State (Civil Procedure) 5 Rules 2006.”

He had sought among other prayers, that an interim order restraining the defendants from conducting the Kogi State’s governorship primary election scheduled to hold on 29th August, 2019, pending the determination of the motion on notice before the court.

He also sought an interim order to restrain the defendants from organizing any activities connected to the conduct of the election and any other order that the court may deem necessary to make in the circumstance.

Defendants in the suit are Adams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of the APC; the Chairman of the APC Governorship Primary Election; the Chairman of the APC Governorship Primary Election Appeal Committee and the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Mona Audu’s application had been based on the grounds in the originating summons with suit no HCL/34/2019 and dated 28th August, 2019; that the exclusion of his name from the governorship aspirants in the list of governorship candidates of the APC was a breach of his right and that the conduct of the screening exercise by the party was in breach of the party’s constitution, among others

He, therefore, prayed the court to direct that he be included as one of the aspirants contesting the primary election and an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from conducting the primary without including his name, claiming that he will suffer irreparable loss if the defendants were not restrained from conducting the primary election.

The motion was supported by a fifteen paragraph affidavit deposed to by the applicant with another affidavit of urgency of seven paragraphs.

Counsel to the applicant, D. D. Dugbanya, had relied on the affidavits and adopted the written address filed along with the motion.

Ruling on the matter on Thursday 29th August, Hon. Justice Awulu, after listening to D.D. Dugbanya, however declined to stop the conduct of the governorship primary election.

Justice Awulu in his ruling, said: “I have perused the application vis-à-vis the affidavits in support and of urgency along with the written address of counsel. I have refrained from raising the issue of jurisdiction suo moto at this stage to prevent entry into the arena. Let me save that until the motion on notice.

“However, the issue to resolve is whether a court can restrain by an order of injunction the holding of a primary election by a political party. This is my view and I so hold that the holding or conducting a primary election by a political party cannot be stopped by an order of injunction.”

In addition to supporting this position with a decision of the Court of Appeal where it was, “held that courts have no power to grant orders of injunction restraining the conduct of party primaries”, Justice Awulu said, “Also, Section 87(10) of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended, provides as follows,“Nothing in this section shall empower the courts to stop the holding of primaries or general election or the processes thereof under this Act pending the determination of a suit’”

He therefore, concluded that “based on the law, and even without determining the issue of jurisdiction yet, I hold that the orders of interim injunction sought in so far as these are to prevent the governorship primary election of the second defendant is refused and hereby dismissed.”

Governor Bello, with the APC guber ticket now firmly in his grip, waits patiently and confidently, for the winner from the main opposition PDP gubernatorial primary, slated for September 3, before going into the ultimate political battle on November 16, 2019; the date for Kogi state governorship election.

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