Legal Nigeria

Bello’s swearing-in: Kogi voters drag FG to court

THE controversy trailing the emergence of Al­haji Yahaya Bello as the governor-elect of Kogi State is far from ending, as some registered voters in the state have gone to the ECOWAS Court sit­ting in Abuja to stop his swearing-in in as the next governor of the state in about a week’s time.
The plaintiffs are Sule Audu, Ikeleji Agada, Labaran Dadido, Isiaka Isa, Abdul Audu, Ademu Abdullahi and Sulaiman Abdul.
They averred that Bello’s emergence as gover­nor-elect based on the outcome of the main but inconclusive election held on November 21,2015 in which the late Prince Abubakar Audu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was leading, and the supplementary election of December 5 , fell short of “the minimum standards of free, fair , transparent, genuine and credible elections which will be the sine qua non for the popular participa­tion of the people” in the governance of the State.
According to the plaintiffs, Bello’s emergence did not satisfy the universal basic criteria for the elections in that whatever authority he would ex­ercise as governor would not derive from the will of the people.
The plaintiffs alleged that, “all that the Feder­al Government and INEC did was to liaise with the ruling party to take advantage of the death of Audu and foist their favoured candidate as Gov­ernor-elect.”
Consequently, they would want the court to de­clare that the election of the next governor of the State held on December 5, 2015 in which Alhaji Bello emerged winner, was not in conformity and/ or consistent with Nigeria’s international obliga­tions and falls short of the internationally recog­nized standards and core democratic values and principles as established by existing international human rights instruments and the Federal Govern­ment’s obligation under international law.
The plaintiffs want the court to compel the de­fendants, their agents, servants and privies to en­trench universal values and principles of democra­cy and respect for human rights as veritable means to the attainment of representative governance ex­pressed through ultimate will of the people.
They specifically urged that the defendants should be compelled to, “conduct genuine, trans­parent and credible elections, on the basis of uni­versal, equal and secret suffrage by the expression of the will of the people and in strict adherence to democratic principles and the defendants’ com­mitments and obligations under international law.
Plaintiffs also want an order compelling the defendants to take constitutional, legal and other necessary measures to remedy and /or redress the aberrations and fundamental rights violations in the state, ”within a reasonable time and to inform the court of the measures taken.” No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit.
The Sun