The Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Senator Smart Adeyemi, the son of Former Kogi State Governor, Shuaibu Abubakar and three other Aspirants in the just concluded All Progressives Congress APC’s governorship primary election have demanded immediate cancellation of the exercise. In an interview with journalists outside the Federal High Court in Abuja, where the suit was filed, the plaintiffs called on President Muhammadu Buhari, the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Vice President-elect, Senator kashim Shettima and the Arewa Consultative Forum to intervene in order to save democracy in Kogi State.
The plaintiffs are specifically asking the court to declare as illegal, unlawful and invalid the purported direct primary election said to have been conducted by APC which produced Ahmed Usman Ododo as the governorship candidate of the party for the November governorship election in the state. The aggrieved governorship aspirants are also asking for a court order to compel APC to conduct a fresh primary election and to give all aspirants equal opportunity as prescribed by the Electoral Act, 2022.
Apart from Adeyemi and Abubakar, other aspirants who have already commenced legal action against the outcome of the primary include; a former Minister of State for Education, Professor Stephen Ocheni, Deputy National Publicity Secretary of APC, Martala Yakubu Ajaka and Dr Sanusi Ohiara. The plaintiffs amongst others are praying the court to invoke Section 177 of the Constitution, Section 29 and 84 of the Electoral Act and Article 20 of the APC’s Constitution, to declare the purported primary election invalid.
They also asked the court for an order compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reject and refuse recognition of the name of Ahmed Usman Ododo as APC’s governorship candidate on the grounds that he emerged from an invalid primary election. Senator Adeyemi’s suit and that of Abubakar are instituted on their behalf separately by Dr Adekunle Oladapo Otitoju. In a 35 paragraph affidavit in support of his own originating summons, Senator Adeyemi claimed to have obtained his nomination and expression of interest form at N50 million upon which he was screened and cleared to participate in the primary election slated for April 14, 2023.
Adeyemi further claimed that while waiting at his constituency to cast his vote along with his people, he was shocked when information came to him that the purported primary election had been conducted and a purported winner had emerged. Addressing a joint press conference shortly after filing the suit Senator Adeyemi and Abubakar described the purported primary that produced Ododo as a phenomenal rape of democracy and must not be allowed to stand if democracy is to thrive in the country. Adeyemi alleged that the governor had asked all the aspirants to step down for his preferred candidate who is from the same zone with him, adding that it is the turn of Kogi West which had not produced a governor in the history of the state to do so.
While noting that some aspirants have been subdued already, the Senator assured that he would fight the injustice to the last in the interest of Kogi people and democracy. “If election was rigged, we know that election was rigged, but election never took place at all”, he said. Similarly, Abubakar stated that what happened in Kogi State during the purported primary election was contrary to the constitution, and should not be allowed to stand. They accused the governor of Kogi State, Mr Yahaya Bello of manipulating the whole process that produced his first cousin from the same polling unit, from the same ward, from the same local government and from the same tribe, Mr Ahmed Usman Ododo against the laid down rules and regulations.