The recently-announced winner of the last Kogi East senatorial election, Air Marshal Isaac Mohammed Alfa (retd) has said that the leadership of the Senate has no reason not to inaugurate him as the representative of Kogi East senatorial seat.
Alfa, who spoke to reporters in Abuja, said that the declaratory judgement of the Federal High Court, Abuja, mandated the leadership of the Senate to swear him in as the Senator representing the senatorial district.
He stated that three judgements given in his favour were binding on the Senate to do justice to him by swearing him in without further delay in the interest of justice and fair play.
The Federal High Court, Abuja, had in a judgement on June 13, 2018, declared Alfa as the rightful winner of the Kogi-East Senatorial seat.
The court directed the Clerk to the National Assembly to “forthwith withdraw all the privileges, rights and perquisites of office which the 3rd defendant (Aidoko) hitherto enjoyed as a member of the Senate and shall convey to the Senate President, the decision of this Court that he should forthwith withdraw further recognition to the 3rd defendant as a member of the 8th National Assembly…”
But Senator Atai Aidoko told reporters that he has a pending appeal in the Court of Appeal which must be decided to know the rightful occupant of the seat.
He faulted the judgement which directed the Clerk to the National Assembly to swear Alfa in, pointing out that the Clerk not being a party to the suit cannot be ordered to swear in a new comer.
Alfa insisted that Aidoko was only buying time by refusing to vacate the seat.
Alfa said, “The Supreme Court judgement referred the case to the High Court and decided that the High Court should determine the rightful person to occupy Kogi East Senate seat.
“As of the moment, I have three court judgements in my favour.
“First, the Supreme Court judgement decided that the case should be tried afresh. The judgement went on to say emphatically that the ruling by the High court shall determine who represents Kogi East in the Senate.
“By the judgement, the Supreme Court was saying that Kogi East had no senator in the Senate.
“Despite the judgement, which we forwarded to the leadership of the National Assembly, the National Assembly still allowed Atai Aidoko to resume in the Senate.
“The second judgement of the Court of Appeal which refused to interpret the Supreme Court judgement and not only ruled that by the judgement of the Supreme Court any certificate of return earlier given to Aidoko became null and void and of no effect whatsoever but went further to punish Aidoke for abuse of court process by awarding N1m cost in my favour.
“This also reinforced the fact that Aidoko could not continue to sit in the Senate because he had no valid certificate of return from anywhere.
“Despite sending their clear and unambiguous judgment to the National Assembly, the National Assembly decided to keep Aidoko in the Senate.
“The third, the latest judgement in obedience to the Supreme Court order to try the case afresh and determine who is the rightful owner of Kogi East seat was also given in my favour in a declaratory judgement asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue me a certificate of return and asking the National Assembly to swear me in and asking the National Assembly to cease forthwith any perquisites accorded to Aidoko as a senator. The order was with immediate effect.
“Despite that, even when we forwarded the judgement to the National Assembly, with the consequential order and another court order refusing to stay execution, the National Assembly has, up till now, not sworn me in.
“In a fragrant disregard of the four court orders, the Senate still allowed Aidoko to remain in the Senate.
“Several people have called me and pointed out to me evidences of the National Assembly in this case indulging in double standard and based on the fact that when I was in the Senate and Aidoko brought a court judgement, I pointed it out to the Senate leadership that I had already appealed to the Court of Appeal.
“The Senate leadership told me clearly that they only obey court order and not notice of appeal. Now that I have a valid court order and my certificate of return, why are they not swearing me in especially because precedence had been set already? Why the double standard?”
Alfa insisted that Aidoko was sitting in the Senate illegally by all the explanations he has given.
According to him, “Aidoko has nothing to stand on to appeal. The Senate cannot put something on nothing. It cannot stand because by virtue of the three judgements, Aidoko is not in the Senate whatsoever.
“It is obvious that the Senate leadership has kept him there illegally.”
He continued, “To my mind, the Senate is going through a lot in the public opinion of the citizens of this country right now that it cannot out of favour or personal reasons, connections, allegiance, friendship and otherwise afford to sacrifice its reputation in the interest of just one person who the various courts in the land had declared unqualified to occupy that seat.
“To continue to keep Aidoko in the Senate and to continue to refuse to swear me in, the Senate is disobeying legitimate multiple court orders and have no moral rights to criticize the executive.
“But I’m hopeful that the leadership of the Senate, because of the sanctity of the institution will eventually resolve to put justice above personal favour and loyalty and do the right thing by obeying the court orders and swear me in as quickly as possible because the life of the 8th Senate is almost running out.
“Protecting the sanctity of the Senate is paramount when compared to personal loyalty consideration.
“Doing the right thing will prevent the Senate from unnecessary public attention over numerous and uncountable litigations that might follow especially from citizens of Kogi East who feel so aggrieved that the Senate has for so long denied them of their choice of representation.”
On the order that the Clerk to the National Assembly should swear him in, Alfa said: “The Clerk to the National Assembly is the administrative head of the National Assembly. The Senate President is chairman of the National Assembly,
“At the inauguration of the 8th Assembly, it was the Clerk that administered the oath of office to all the senators. It was after they were inaugurated that they voted to choose Saraki as Senate President.
“When a new senator is to be sworn in, it is the Clerk of the Senate that administers the oath of office in the presence of the Senate President. The Senate President never reads the oath nor administers the oath.
“Therefor the judge was right in his ruling and pronouncement.
“The judge in his ruling even directed the Clerk to inform the Senate President accordingly that all perquisites should be withdrawn from Aidoko.
“The judgement is declaratory and binding on all those mentioned and it is so unfortunate that Senator Aidoko according to some uninformed lawyers can be exposing their absolute ignorance of the law to the public.”