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Monday, 2 July 2018

Why Senate May Reject Court Judgement On Aidoko


There are strong indications that the Senate upon resumption on Tuesday from a three week recess, may reject the court judgment on the Kogi East senatorial seat presently occupied by Senator Attai Aidoko Ali.

The likely rejection of the court judgment by the upper chamber stems from an order by the court in its judgement asking the Clerk of Senate, as against the Senate President to swear in Air Marshall Isaac Alfa as Senator representing Kofi East.

According to legal experts, the order by the court is capable of triggering a constitutional crises in the National Assembly over the engagement and disengagement of lawmakers.

A prominent member of the Nigerian Bar Association, Barrister Abdul Sadiq Esq, therefore urged the Senate to reject the judgment of ‎the court, and also cautioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the consequences of issuing a certificate of return without carefully studying the implication of the judgment.

Speaking during a radio program monitored from Abuja, the legal practitioner said the constitution of Nigeria was unambiguous about the provisions of the law relating to the procedure of engagements and disengagements of members of the National Assembly and lawmakers.

His words: “The ambiguity occasioned by the judgment of the federal high court by given order of judgment to the Clerk of the Senate, will trigger another lacuna and constitutional crises ‎when carefully studied, and only it’s un-applicability will give a leeway to legal interpretation on the Kogi East Senate judgment properly.

“According to the provisions, the Clerk of the Senate is the head of management, he or she has nothing to do with administering the oath of office of/on any senator, hence, the order of the federal high court was given to a wrong person.

“Further to these, Chapter 1 Order 7 of the Senate Standing Rules 2015, derived from section 60 of the constitution, obeying such order amounts to violating the constitution as the Clerk of the Senate is not party to the case and such an order of the court cannot be binding on him.

“You can’t give an order against someone who is not a party to the suit. The constitutional provision lies with the Senate President and not the Clerk, who without an order of the Senate can’t administer an oath of office on a senator, this has never been done anywhere.

“However, INEC’s decision on the issuance of certificate of return is a misnomer and the implication of the certificate issued to him was in bad faith. “Conversely, this is not new as Senator Albert Bassey, Akwa-Ibom North, is still in the Senate representing his constituency inspite of such certificate issued to Bassey Etim Akpan from the same area.

Other instances include, two members of the House of Representatives from Enugu state are typical incidences of this aberration. “There is already a Supreme Court decision that says, once there is a stay of order, an application for stay and notice of appeal, no party by decision of the Supreme Court is allowed to take further action."

Atai Aidoko Ali, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senator representing Kogi East in the upper legislative chamber, was recently sacked by Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Delivering judgment on Wednesday, June 13, the judge held that Aidoko was not properly nominated by the PDP for the March 2015 election. He also ordered that the Clerk of the National Assembly should immediately swear in Aidoko’s challenger, Air Marshall Isaac Alfa.

The judge went further to order that a fresh certificate of return should be issued to Alfa, by INEC and declared him the winner of the December 7, 2014 PDP primaries for the National Assembly.

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