A Federal High Court has dismissed five suits arising from the death of the All Progressives Congress’ governorship candidate in the November 21 election in Kogi State, Abubakar Audu, clearing the way for the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct the supplementary poll scheduled for Saturday.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole in two separate judgments on Friday , held that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the five suits as the dispute had crossed the “threshold” of matters for the court since results in most of the polling units had been declared.
The judge ruled that the suits qualified as a post-election dispute that could only be entertained by the election petition tribunal which would be set up by the President of the Court of Appeal in line with section285(2) of the Constitution.
He ruled that he had not decided the cases on their merit, so “the issues can be re-argued at the election petition tribunal”.
The judge delivered the first judgment on four consolidated suits, including the one filed by the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate, the incumbent Governor, Idris Wada.
In his suit, Wada sought to be declared as winner of the November 21 poll being the surviving candidate with the highest votes.
But the rest of the suits consolidated with it sought an order compelling INEC to conduct an entirely fresh poll.
By his own suit, Faleke asked the court to declare him the governor-elect on the basis that the joint ticket which he shared with Audu had already won the election and in view of Audu’s death he (Faleke) as deputy governor-elect?, should be declared the governor-elect.
The candidate whom the APC presented to INEC as substitution for Audu, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, was during the hearing on Thursday joined as a party to all the suits.
He opposed all the suits, arguing that there was no basis to grant the prayers sought by Wada, Faleke and the plaintiffs in the rest of the three suits.