Two aggrieved members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have pleaded with an Abuja High Court to void and cancel the party’s Kogi governorship primary election, which was held on April 11.
Mr Realwan Akpanachi and Yahaya Seidu-Nuhu, in an originating summons filed by their Counsel, Mr Promise Ogbodu, sued six of the contestants as 1st – 6th defendants, APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as 7th and 8th defendants respectively, for what they called a violation of the Electoral Act 2022 and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The six contestants are Abdulkareem Jamiu (Chief of Staff), Jibril Momoh (Account-General), Yakubu Okala (Auditor-General), Asiwaju Idris (Finance Commissioner), Salami Ozigi (Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs) and Ahmed Usman-Ododo (Auditor-General for Local Government Areas).
They specifically prayed the court to disqualify the 1st – 6th defendants.
They claimed that the six defendants were still political appointees/public servants at the time they contested the governorship primary election of April 11.
They asked the court to determine whether the 1st – 6th defendants, “being political appointees/public officers currently in the service of the Kogi Government, can validly participate in the convention or congress of the APC for the purpose of vying for the nomination as the governorship candidate for the Nov, 11 governorship election.”
“Whether having regard to S 84 (12) of the Electoral Act (2022), the 7th Respondent (APC) can validly nominate any of the 1st to 6th Respondents as her Candidate for the Kogi State Governorship Election in the face of their failure as political appointees/public servants, to resign from service of the Kogi State Government at the time of the primary election,” they asked.
They also prayed the court to make a declaration that “being political appointees/public officers currently in the service of the Kogi Government, the 1st to 6th respondents, cannot validly vie for the APC’s nomination as its Governorship Candidate, for the Kogi Election Governorship scheduled for November 11.”
“A declaration that the 7th Respondent cannot validly nominate any of the 1st to 6th Respondents as her Candidate for the Kogi State Governorship Election in the face of their failure as political appointees/public servants, to resign from service of the Kogi Government at the time of the primary election.
“An Order disqualifying any of the 1st to 6th Respondents from seeking for the nomination of, and being nominated by the 7th Respondent as its Governorship Candidate for the Kogi Governorship Election, scheduled for November 11, ” they further prayed.
The court, however, has reportedly directed that a notice of hearing be immediately served on all the respondents to appear before it on April 27 for the hearing of the originating summons of the plaintiffs.
NAN reports that Usman-Ododo had emerged winner of the Kogi APC governorship primary election after the other five respondents, including the Deputy Governor, Chief Edward Onoja, and one other, stepped down for him.
According to Mr Patrick Obahiaghon, Secretary of the Kogi APC Primary Election seven-Member Committee, Usman-Ododo scored 78, 704 votes to beat six other contestants.
Obahiaghon, who announced the result of the governorship primary on Saturday morning in Lokoja, said Momodu got 1, 506 votes, Yahaya-Ashemogu, 1, 159, and Abubakar-Audu, 763 votes.
He added that Stephen Ocheni garnered 552 votes, Sanusi Ohiare, 424, and Smart Adeyemi, 311 votes.
Obahiaghon said that out of the 93, 729 voters, 83, 419 who were accredited voted for candidates of their choice