Appeal Court sacks Kogi senator, orders fresh hearing at trial court

From left, Attai Aidoko and Isaac Alfa

The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, on Monday, nullified the election of Senator Attai Aidoko, representing Kogi East senatorial district in the upper legislative chambers.

Delivering judgment in the pre-election matter brought before the appellate court, Justice Abdu Aboki, who presided over a three-member panel of justice of the court, ruled that the certificate of return issued to the sacked senator was no longer valid.

Justice Aboki further refused Aidoko’s application and directed all the parties in the appeal to go back to the Federal High Court for fresh hearing on the matter, as directed by the Supreme Court initially.

The apex court had held that the trial lower court was in error to have come to a conclusion without calling for oral evidence in resolving the dispute in the affidavits of both Senator Aidoko and Isaac Alfa.

While Aidoko claimed he was the duly nominated as the candidate of the party for the rerun primaries, Alfa, on the other hand, said he remained the duly nominated candidate of the party.

Justice Aboki, in the judgment, ordered that Aidoko should cease from parading himself as a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as his seat had been declared vacant.

The Court of Appeal, in the judgment delivered on Monday, ordered Aidoko to pay the sum of N1 million to Alfa, whom the court held was the lawfully nominated candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election.

Alfa, a former Chief of Air Staff and a member of the PDP, was declared the winner of the rerun primaries of the PDP, but the party substituted his name with that of Aidoko, who came second in the primaries.

Not happy with the development, Alfa filed a pre-election matter in April before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Justice Dimgba, in his judgment in the matter, upheld the claims put forward by Alfa.

Angered by the judgment, Aidoko approached the Court of Appeal for the setting aside of the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had, on July 24, 2016, declared a former Chief of Air Staff as the winner of the rerun held at the senatorial district.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) did not participate in that election due to an appeal court judgment which prohibited it from fielding a candidate.

After that rerun, Aidoko engaged in a legal battle with the former Chief of Air Staff, claiming to be the authentic candidate of the PDP for that election.