West Africa’s regional court has ruled as ‘inadmissible,” a suit brought by seven persons who claimed they were disenfranchised by the process for the 21st November 2015 election of the governor of Nigeria’s Kogi State.

Delivering the ruling in the suit, a three member panel of the Court presided over by Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke, agreed with the defense counsel, Mr. Ibrahim Hassan, who held brief for counsel to the defendant, Mr. A.A. Foelong, who challenged the jurisdiction of the Court to entertain the case.

In its analysis, the Court observed that while the plaintiffs exercised their rights to vote, these were allegedly transferred to another candidate who did not contest the election.

The Court held that it cannot assume jurisdiction on matters of electoral law which come under the laws of Member States nor examine the decisions of national courts.

The Court also noted that the cause of action established by the plaintiffs fall under the scope of competence of the Member State and that it was not characterised by human rights violations.

In suit no ECW/CCJ/APP/02/16, Honorable Sule Audu and six others alleged that though the electoral processes and procedures for the governorship election were carried out in line with the electoral laws of Nigeria, the emergence of Yahaya Bello, as replacement for the leading candidate, Late Prince Abubakar Audu who passed away on the day of the election, constituted a breach of their rights.

The Plaintiffs filed the case on 11th January 2016 seeking reliefs from the Court for the alleged violation of their rights of suffrage, equal participation in the election of the Governor of Kogi State and right to electoral justice.

They claimed that the Yahaya Bello, who won the election, neither participated in the campaign prior to the elections nor present his manifesto to the electorate to enable them hold him accountable if elected.

Consequently the plaintiffs sought orders of the Court including a declaration that their votes, which is inalienable and non-transferable, determines who becomes Governor, and that the emergence of Yahaya Bello as winner contravened core democratic values and principles of free and fair elections.

 The other two panellists include Justices Hameye Foune Mahalmadane and Alioune Sall.