Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Friday, adjourned till November 21, 2019, to continue in the hearing of the suit challenging the eligibility of governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi to contest the Saturday, November 16 governorship election in the state.
The judge held that the decision to adjourn the case was to give governor Yahaya Bello, who applied to be joined in the matter, a fair hearing.
According to the court, all preliminary objections in the matter would be taken at the adjourned date, adding that, any party absent on the day would be deemed to have adopted them.
When the matter came up yesterday, Yahaya Bello, through his counsel, Mike Enahoro, filed a motion to be joined in the matter as a respondent.
Counsel to the plaintiff, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), who acknowledged receipt of the motion for joinder filed by the governor yesterday morning, said that the motion was intended to stop the proceedings of the court in the matter.
The senior counsel urged the court to throw out the motion considering the fact that the election, which his client is challenging Bello’s eligibility is slated for Saturday.
On his part, Counsel to the All Progressive Congress (APC), Abdulwahab Mohammed, said he would need more time to study the motion.
Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Alhassan Umar (SAN), on his part, said he had no objection to the motion.
In the suit numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/122/2019, Akpoti wants the court to disqualify Yahaya Bello over alleged double registration as a voter and to also bar him from holding public office for ten years.
She also prayed for an order compelling INEC to “thoroughly investigate the act of double registration” and “to immediately prosecute Bello upon the expiration of his first tenure in office as governor of Kogi State in January 2020”.
Ozekhome, who filed the suit on behalf of the plaintiff contended that Bello’s act of double registration as a voter was a violation of section 24(e) of the Electoral Act.
Akpoti had alleged that Bello first registered as a voter in Abuja in 2011 and procured the second voter registration in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital in May 2017.