From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
A High Court sitting in Lokoja, Kogi state capital, yesterday declared the impeachment of former deputy governor of the state, Simon Achuba unconstitutional, null and void.
The court also ruled that the Peoples Democratic Party had no candidate in the November 16 governorship election in the state.
Justice John Olorunfemi in a judgement delivered at a Kogi High Court 4 said the decision of the State House of Assembly to proceed with the impeachment last October as an act of “legislative rascality devoid of reasoning”
Justice Olorunfemi said that he could not understand why the legislators, whose responsibility, “is to make laws for the state now turned out to be law breakers”, choosing to proceed with the purported impeachment even when the seven man committee set up by the chief judge of the state to investigate allegations of gross misconduct against the deputy governor, had declared him not guilty.
He, therefore, granted all the prayers of the defendant that the impeachment of the deputy governor carried out by the State Assembly and subsequent swearing-in of Chief Edward Onoja on October18, 2019 was null, void and of no consequence.
He said that the chief judge of the state, Justice Nasir Ajana, should not have gone ahead with the swearing-in of Onoja as no further action should have taken place after the “no guilty verdict” of the seven man committee set up to investigate the deputy governor.
Justice Olorunfemi also ordered that all the relieves sought by the claimant be granted without further delay.
Reacting to the judgement, Barrister Ojonimi Apeh who represented Jibrin Okutepa SAN described the courts decision as a victory for democracy and rule of law.
He commended the judge for the well researched and the industry put into writing the judgement adding however that they are prepared to meet their opponents at the appeal court should they not be satisfied with decision of the court.
Also speaking on the Court’s decision, Barrister Yemi Mohammed who represented the Chief judge of Kogi State,Nasir Ajana commended the judge for the well researched judgement but absorbed his client from all blame said that Justice center Ajana only discharged his administrative duty as there was no court injuction to a new deputy governor should not be sworn in at that time.
Court Rules out PDP Candidacy in Governorship Election
In a related development yesterday, the court also ruled that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had no candidate in the November 16 governorship election in the state .
Justice Olorunfemi also declared that the primary election conducted on September 3, 2019, which produced Engineer Musa Wada as the flag bearer of PDP, was fraught with irregularities.
He said as a result of over an hour downpour and sporadic gunshots, which led to delegates scampering for safety, such election could not be fair enough to produce a candidate.
The ruling was in a pre-election matter filled by the eldest son of a former governor of the state Ibrahim Idris, Abubakar challenging the candidature of Engineer Musa Wada as the flag bearer of the PDP in the November 16 2019 governorship election.
According to him, “neither the claimant, Alhaji Abubakar Idris nor the defendant , Engineer Musa Wada can lay claim to be the authentic flagbearer of the People’s Democratic party since the primary was inconclusive.
He pointed out that the claimant who averred that he would have won the primary conducted by the 1st defendant if the missing votes which belonged to him were added to his votes, could not convinced the court to deliver judgement in his favour.
Similarly, Justice Olorunfemi further submitted that the second defendant could not convinced the court that he actually won the party primary, which was marred with rancour and acrimony, arising from pandemonium, due to sporadic gunshots, that compelled the participants to scamper for safety.