Kogi indigenes take govt to ECOWAS Court over Bello

Bello (right) signing a document, Kogi State’s Chief Justice, Nasiru Ajana
Bello (right) signing a document, Kogi State’s Chief Justice, Nasiru Ajana
• ‘Why we nominated Egbunu’
SENIOR lawyers yesterday continued to differ on the implications of the new Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello being sworn in without a deputy.
Meanwhile, 24 hours after Bello was sworn in, a group of concerned indigenes have approached the ECOWAS Court of Justice seeking to nullify the election in which Bello was declared a winner.
In another development, campaign coordinators for Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello in the Eastern Senatorial District of the state, yesterday offered an insight into why they nominated an Abuja-based publisher, Mr. Gowon Usman Egbunu as their preferred deputy governorship candidate.
A Lagos-based Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) has said that the absence of a deputy during Wednesday’s inauguration of Bello as the governor of Kogi State did not affect the validity of Bello’s inauguration at all.
Pinheiro, who was reacting to the situation in a telephone interview said the fact that Bello did not contest the election in the first place revealed the lacuna in the constitution.
According to him, the absence of a deputy has not affected the validity of the inauguration at all.”
But constitutional lawyer, James Ezike thought otherwise, describing the action as an aberration and demonstration of an end to an era.
To the lawyer, there is nothing about the present government that is constitutional. According to him, it is strange for a man who overthrew a democratically elected government Alhaji Shehu Shagari to now be talking about treasonable felony.
In a suit, the plaintiffs , Sule Audu, Ikeleji Agada, Labaran Ismail Dadido, Isaka Isa Abdul Audu Ademu Abdullahi and Sulaiman Abdul, through their attorney, Festus A. Ogwuche, stated that the election of Bello was not in conformity or consistent with Nigeria’s international obligations.
Consequently, they sought an order of the court compelling the defendants, which is the Federal Republic of Nigeria, their agents, servants and privies, to entrench universal values and principles of democracy.
The campaign coordinators explained that Egbunu was nominated primarily to douse the tension generated by the sudden death of Abubakar Audu before the final result of the election was announced.
The coordinators equally dismissed the claim that their signatures were forged in the letter nominating Egbunu for the deputy governorship slot, maintaining that the nomination was done in utmost good faith without any prompting.
The leader and Senatorial Coordinator of the campaign, Dr.Yakubu Ugwalawo distanced themselves from allegations that the signatures of the coordinators were forged and that Egbunu was never nominated for the deputy governorship slot of the Kogi State.

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