There are indications that the just concluded Kogi Central senatorial election might hit a brick wall at the Kogi State election tribunal sitting in Lokoja if petition to challenge and fault the process that allegedly produced Mohammed Salami Ohiare as the All Progressive Congress (APC) flagbearer is pursued to a logical conclusion.
The APC primary election is described as questionable and a clear violation of the electoral act that guides the conduct of party primary election in Nigeria.
Independent sources revealed that one of the aspirants in the APC, Senator Saliu Ohize might have approached the election tribunal praying the tribunal having consider all documents forwarded to it; that it be determined and declared that the APC candidate Mohammed Salami Ohiare who was declared to have polled the highest number of votes cast in the election held on the 28th day of March, 2015 was not lawfully elected to represent the party in the first place to have been qualified to participate in the election.
The source revealed that there are convincing evidences to prove that the APC primary election that was conducted on the 8th Day of December, 2014 in the district was not conducted in line with the provision of the electoral act and this therefore translate that Mohammed Salami Ohiare was not qualified to participate in the election at the time the election was conducted by INEC on the 28th Day of March, 2015.
Citing the Attai Idoko Vs Dagana case where the appellant court declared Atta Idoko of All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) the lawful winner of the Aprill 2011 Kogi East Senatorial Election due to irregularities that characterized the People Democratic Party primary election that produced Dagana as its flagbearer.
The source proved that the APC primary election held in the district was not concluded and as a result no winner was declared to have emerged to have lawfully represent the party in the election.
The source further revealed that the inconclusiveness of the APC primary in the district was formally consented to with written signature by all the major players such as the INEC officials, Mohammed Salami Ohiare himself, the other co-aspirant Saliu Ohize and a reputable lawyer.
The primary electon which was then agreed to be slated for a later date never held again.
However, it was later discovered that Mohammed Salami Ohiare in connivance with some INEC officials forged another document to unlawfully present himself as the party flagbearer as against the agreement earlier reached that the party primary election remained inconclusive and to be slated to hold on a later date where a winner was expected to emerge after the previous one was inconclusive.
In the petition said to be allegedly filed by Saliu Ohize, he prayed the tribunal determine where and when the APC conducted her conclusive primary election in which he is expected to have participated as an aspirant in the party and as required by law.
Moreso its also revealed that one Barr. Nwerem and another barrister in Lokoja who are believed to be working for APC have approached INEC officials in which money was exchanged for the removal of some vital papers from the INEC election documents. This papers are said to carry enough weight capable of nailing the APC at the tribunal but the INEC officials are said to have turned down the offer.
Similar case is said to have occurred in the two other senatorial districts of Kogi West and Kogi East where APC never conducted any primaries.
In Kogi West, the APC candidate, Dino Melaye is said to have hijacked the party primary election materials to an unknown location for thumbprint but unfortunately after the Kangaroo primary election INEC wrote a letter to declare that the APC never held any primary election in the district. Dino Melaye’s fate is also expected to be determined by the tribunal as primary election irregularities and electoral impunity is said to be peculiar to all the APC Senatorial primary election process in the state.
In addition, another source indicated that a 200-page petition might have been forwarded to the National Assembly Election Tribunal revealing corrupt, fraudulent and arbitary practices in the election, insisting that some of the irregularities during both the APC primary election and the March 28th, 2015 election are mutilations of result sheets, falsification of results, replacing original documents with forged documents and therefore prayed the tribunal issue an order declaring that the APC primary election was a total fraud, an order withdrawing the Certificate of Return issued to Mohammed Salami Ohiare as the winner of the general election and an order disqualifying the candidature of Mohammed Salami Ohiare into the Kogi East Senatorial District Election held on 28th Day of March, 2015.
Pundits have argued that the People Democratic Party Candidate may also approach the tribunal to serve another petition, the PDP flagbearer seem to remain the major beneficiary if the tribunal threw out or disqualified the candidature of Mohammed Salami Ohiare and decides not to call for a fresh poll in the district.
All ears are on ground as unexpected developments unfolds itself.
– Abdulmalik Momoh, Okene