By Shola Oyeyipo
The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, has been called upon to conduct a fresh governorship election in Kogi State in compliance with a Supreme Court order.
A group of agitated persons from the state, in a press statement, said the continued stay of Captain Idris Wada in office was “illegal and a clear invitation to anarchy in the state.”
Hon. Ibrahim Mamud, Hon. Sunday Ayodele, Mr. U.G. Akwu, Mr. J. O. Osaatoba, Mr. E. B. Olariyawa
Mr. Anas Umaori and Mr. Musa Akor insisted that INEC in Kogi State did not comply with the judgment of the apex court which called for fresh elections in the state.
The people recalled that as a way to avoid a vacuum in the administration of those states, the Supreme Court ordered that the Speakers of the state Houses of Assembly be sworn-in pending the conduct of fresh governorship election but that the case was not so in Kogi State while other states complied.
“The five Speakers were indeed sworn-into office as acting governors on the same day of the judgment, including that of Kogi State, who was sworn in by the state Chief Justice, Justice Nasir Ajanah.
“In an action calculated to ridicule and rubbish the Supreme Court, Captain Idris Wada procured the services of a Customary Court of Appeal judge to swear him into office on that same day. Thereafter, Wada, accompanied by heavily armed policemen, forced his way into the Governor’s Office in Lokoja, where he has remained illegally for over two years now.
“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, provides that the swearing in of state governors be performed by the Chief Judge or in his absence, by the Grand Khadi. The President of the Customary Court of Appeal is not vested with such power. No state governor has ever been sworn into office by the President of the Customary Court of Appeal”, the statement read.
Ironically, in compliance with the Supreme Court decision, INEC held governorship elections in Adamawa State on February 4, 2012, in Bayelsa State on February 11, 2012, in Sokoto State on February 18, 2012 and in Cross River on February 25, 2012 but did not hold fresh governorship election in Kogi State even with the subsisting Supreme Court judgment ordering it to do so.
The debacle in the state emanated when the Supreme Court had held that the tenure of office of the last holder of the office of governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris terminated on the May 28, 2011.
But INEC, in an application dated February 1, 2012, had prayed the court to exempt Kogi from the effect of the January 27, 2012 judgment, arguing that the commission had already conducted governorship election in Kogi State on December 3, 2011.
The Supreme Court, in its February 16, 2012, dismissed INEC’s application for the validation of its December 3, 2011 governorship election in Kogi State which translates that court ordered INEC to comply with the January 27, 2012 judgment by conducting fresh governorship election in Kogi State.