By Noah Ocheni, Lokoja
Despite the court judgment ordering the swearing in of Hon. Daniel Ojata Enefola of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the elected lawmaker representing Ibaji State Constituency, the Kogi State House of Assembly refused to honour the court ruling.
Our correspondent gathered that Hon. Enefola who had collected his certificate of return from the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) on March 1, 2021 is yet to be sworn in by the speaker of the Assembly, Prince Mathew Kolawole 44 days after the court ruling.
When contacted, the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) deputy Publicity Secretary, Comrade Mohammed Kabir (KB) described the action of the Assembly as a rape of democracy and a total disregard for the rule of law.
However, the sacked lawmaker from the house, Mr Atule Egbunu has been attending sittings with the other 24 APC lawmakers in the Kogi State House of Assembly.
Recalled that Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, 29th January, 2021 ordered the removal of Mr Atule Egbunu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the house as a result of improper primaries and directed that he be replaced with the candidate of the party with the next highest votes in the December 5, 2020 by-election in the constituency.
“Consequently, Hon Ojata Daniel Enefola of the PDP with the next highest number of vote was declared winner of the bye election conducted on 5th December, 2020.
“On the 18th of February 2021, the defendant approached the appeal seeking an order for stay of execution which was struck out. Hence, INEC had no option than to give Hon. Daniel Ojata Enefola Certificate of Return after which PDP legal team wrote again to the Speaker seeking for the inauguration on the 9th of March, 2021.”
Mr. Egbunu’s removal as the lawmaker representing Ibaji was sequel to a suit filed by a member of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in the State, Mr Joseph Enemona who challenged the nomination of the sacked lawmaker as the party’s candidate for the by-election after the demise of a two time lawmaker in the constituency, Hon. John Abbah.
The plaintiff (Ojata Daniel Enefola) who had sought to contest for the APC ticket with Mr Egbunu and five others, alleged in his suit that the party (APC) failed to hold any primary election but rather came to the venue with a prepared result and deprived him and his agents of entry.
In his reaction, the Speaker, Kogi State House of Assembly, Hon. Matthew Kolawole said the PDP candidate for Ibaji state Constituency cannot be sworn -in yet, as the Legal department of the Assembly is still studying the Tribunal judgment that declared him winner of the 2020 December by-election.