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Court of Appeal dismisses suit challenging Bello’s election

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In a unanimous decision by a three-member panel, the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal has dismissed a suit challenging the election of Yahaya Bello as Governor of Kogi State. 

The appeal was brought before the court by Michael Elokun and two others. Presided by Justice Steven Adah, the panel agreed with the earlier judgment by Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, who is now the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court. Tsoho’s court, in 2018, dismissed the suit for want of jurisdiction.

In the judgment of the Court of Appeal, yesterday, Adah held that the Kogi governorship election, challenged by the appellants, was held in 2015 and that the plaintiffs at the lower court filed their suit in 2016, making the suit incompetent in the face of the law.

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The appellate court agreed with the lower court that the plaintiffs had no sufficient interest in the Kogi election to warrant the legal action.
It, therefore, upheld the judgment of the Federal High Court, which dismissed the plaintiffs’ suit for lack of jurisdiction, saying they lacked the locus standi to file the action.

In the judgment, Justice Adah read that it was the political party that could nominate a candidate for the party.He added: “We have nothing to add to the decision of the lower court on the issue of locus standi of the appellants. The Appellants have not sufficiently shown any interest in the Kogi State governorship seat to challenge the decision of the lower court.

“The decision of the lower court is hereby affirmed,” Adah stated and consequently dismissed the appeal.
Tsoho had, in 2018, dismissed the suit on grounds that the plaintiffs, Michael Elokun, Ibrahim Sule and Mrs. Hawa Audi had no business instituting the case.

The plaintiffs were asking the court to grant an order for the return and immediate swearing in of former governor of the state, Idris Wada.

In his judgment, Tsoho upheld the objection of Bello that the plaintiffs had no “locus standi” to institute the action. He held that the plaintiffs were neither members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) nor aspirants in the primary election that made Bello the candidate of the party in the governorship election.

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In this article:
Steven AdahYahaya Bello
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