Atai Aidoko Ali, a senator who was sacked by the Federal High Court in June has insisted he would not vacate the Kogi East senatorial seat until an appeal of the case, which he recently filed, is determined.
Mr Aidoko said a stay of execution on the High Court judgement has been issued rendering it unenforceable.
A Federal High Court presided over by Gabriel Kolawole in June ordered the immediate sack of Mr Aidoko, ruling that he was wrongly presented as the flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the December 2014 Primaries conducted by the PDP.
Following the presentation of Mr Aidoko as the party’s flag bearer, Mr Aidoko’s challenger, Isaac Alfa, began a legal battle for the nullification of Mr Aidoko’s election.
An appeal court had ordered parties to return to the trial court to allow it determine the rightful owner of the suit, thus rendering the seat vacant.
However, Mr Aidoko refused vacating the office and continued to appear at plenaries.
However, upon return to the High Court, the senator was sacked and ordered the PDP and Mr Aidoko to pay Mr Alfa N750, 000 each.
Despite the judgement, Mr Aidoko continued to attend Senate plenary upon return from break.
Addressing the press shortly after plenary on Wednesday, Mr Aidoko justified his action on the grounds that he had appealed the judgement and an ‘ambiguity’ of the High Court judgement.
“We are all aware of the judgement of the Federal High Court that determined that somebody, Air Marshall, is the candidate of the party. It is not the duty of the court to determine who a party’s candidate is, it is the party that determines its candidate. However, because I have appealed, I don’t want to go into the details of that judgement, it would be prejudicial.
“To put the record straight. It is common knowledge, it is the law that when the judgement of the Federal High Court is delivered and an application for stay and notice of appeal has been entered in the Court of Appeal, all the parties must stay action and that has always been the tradition. So, there is no point that the Air Marshall will begin to run around to say that he has a judgement and he needs to be sworn-in. I have already appealed and I have served the Senate President, Clerk, INEC and everybody involved.
“There are several Supreme Court judgements that said if an appeal and a motion is already entered, no party should take any step.
“Going around to say I have a certificate of return, I need to be sworn in, this is trying to hand-twist the Senate. And of course, if any institution will violate the law, it should not be the Senate.”
As second justification, Mr Aidoko said the High Court specification that the Clerk of the Senate should administer oath on Mr Alfa cannot be enforced. He said it is not the duty of the clerk but that of the Senate President to do so.
“The second issue why he cannot be sworn in is that the judgement of the court is unenforceable, that judgement cannot be enforced. The order the court made
“The court ordered that the clerk of the National Assembly shall immediately administer an oath of office on the plaintiff as senator representing Kogi representing Kogi East senatorial district
“It is not the function of the clerk to administer an oath of office, it is the function of the senate president by our rules, order 7 of the senate standing rule which is derived from section 60 of the constitution that every senator elect shall before taking his seat submit his certificate of return to the senate president as well as asset declaration and subscribe to oath and affirmation of allegiance, oath of membership as prescribed by the seventh schedule.
“If they want this judgement to be enforced, they will go back to the court to go and amend or alter this order to do the right thing.
“I don’t think the man should go around blackmailing people that he must be sworn-in until the appeal is determined. These two very serious issues are issues that will not allow him to be sworn-in until the appeal is determined. There are precedence, where trial courts give decisions, those people are still sitting. Am I the first person that is sitting in this National Assembly today as a result of judgement of the Federal High Court? The answer is No. The rules cannot be changed because of one person.”
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