1 February 2013

Nigeria: Kogi Guber - Wada Wins Again As Appeal Court Dismisses Echocho's Application

The Court of Appeal, Abuja division yesterday declined jurisdiction to entertain the appeal filed by the winner of the January 2011 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary election in Kogi State, Jibrin Isah Echocho challenging the decision of a Federal High Court in Abuja upholding the election of governor Idris Wada.

The trial court had earlier dismissed Echocho's suit challenging the election that brought in Captain Idris Wada as Kogi State governor.

The appeal court judgement which was initially fixed for December 20, 2012 was shifted to January 16, 2013 and was again postponed to Tuesday January 28, 2013 before the court later shifted it to yesterday, January 31; making it the fourth time it will be shifted.

The judgement which had suffered four adjournments was finally delivered yesterday with the lead judgement written by Justice Hussein Muktarh.

The Court of Appeal was filled to capacity by stakeholders in Kogi State politics and supporters of both Wada and Echocho.

Reading the unanimous judgement, Justice Akomolafe Wilson held that the lower court did not have jurisdiction to entertain the matter in the first place therefore the court was right when it declined jurisdiction.

She added that the pertinent issue in the appeal was the issue of jurisdiction and it became impossible to any court to go into the substantive matter of any case it does have jurisdiction.

The Court of Appeal however declined jurisdiction to consider the appeal.

The court therefore dismissed the appeal and upheld the earlier judgement of the lower court.

Echocho had earlier approached the trial court to challenge the election that brought in Wada on the ground that Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not follow the due process in recognising Wada as the candidate of the PDP in the governorship election.

Justice Abdul Kafarati in his judgement dismissed Echocho's suit on the ground that it was a post election matter and same should have been directed to the state governorship election petition tribunal and that he did not have locus standi to institute such suit.

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