Frustrations of a man who has only tasted the office of senator for a period of about three months.
Ordinarily, I would not join issues with the pretender senator cum democrat, but for the fact that he has decided to mislead the public, misrepresent facts and indulge in blackmail.
In his said press statement, Air Marshal Alfa stated that he “petitioned Senator Aidoko’s lawyers, Barrister P. I. N. Ikwueto SAN and Barrister F. S. Jimba (my humble self)”, as such, it is needless to further re-introduce myself except to add that by virtue of being Senator Aidoko’s lawyer, I have the facts and history of Air Marshal Alfa’s case at my finger tips and wish that constraint of space would not force me to limit this piece.
The background of the case is simply that on 7th December, 2014, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) conducted a primary election at Idah for the purpose of nominating the PDP candidate for Kogi East Senatorial District for the 2015 general Election.
At the conclusion of the exercise, Senator Atai Aidoko emerged winner and his name was forwarded to INEC as the PDP candidate for Kogi East Senatorial District. Air Marshal Alfa wrote a petition to PDP alleging that he won the primary election and attached a photocopy of a result which he said was issued to him by Seidu Odoma. PDP, being the party that conducted the primary election stated that the result sheet that Air Marshal Alfa is relying on is a photocopy that bears the same serial number as the result sheet used for the Dekina Bassa Federal Constituency primary election and not the result sheet that was meant for the Kogi East Senatorial primary Election, hence the Party maintained and has consistently maintained that Senator Atai Aidoko is its authentic candidate for Kogi East in respect of the 2015 elections.
Air Marshal Alfa went to the Federal high Court and Justice Nnamdi Dimgba gave judgment in his favour on the 18th day of April, 2016. It needs to be pointed out that before then, the General Election had been conducted on 28th March, 2015 and the candidate of the APC was declared winner. It was the election petition of Senator Aidoko and the PDP that resulted in the election being nullified wherein a fresh election was ordered on 20th February, 2016 but the election was declared inconclusive and later concluded on 23rd July, 2016.
When Air Marshal Alfa approached the Senate to be sworn in on the strength of Justic Dimgba’s judgment, he was told that the practice in the National Assembly, as backed by section 143 of the Electoral Act is that when a judgment affecting any seat in the National Assembly is given by a High Court, the National Assembly would usually await the outcome of any appeal from the said decision before acting on the judgment. Air Marshal Alfa pleaded that his situation was peculiar because as at the time the Federal High Court gave judgment, there was no senator representing Kogi East District and that if the Court of Appeal Judgment turned out against him, he will abide by the decision of the Court of Appeal. Thus, Air Marshal Alfa was sworn in as a senator as a result of the above circumstances and contrary to the norm at the National Assembly. Sadly, Air Marshal Alfa is now turning around to blackmail those people whose only sin against him is that they allowed him to be sworn in on the basis of a Federal High Court judgment when he ought not to be sworn in.
But then, both Senator Aidoko and PDP filed separate appeals to the Court of Appeal and the Court of Appeal on the 14th day of December, 2016 delivered judgment in favour of Senator Aidoko and Senator Aidoko was sworn in on the basis that the judgment of the Federal High Court on which Air Marshal Alfa was sworn in as a senator has been set aside.
Air Marshal Alfa appealed to the Supreme Court and his appeal against the Judgment of the Court of Appeal was dismissed on 16th June, 2017, howbeit the Supreme Court ordered that the case should be tried afresh by the Federal High Court.
Contrary to the perception of Air Marshal Alfa, the legal implication of the above is that all the parties must return to the position they were before the case started and to start the case afresh – and the position of each party before the case started is that Senator Aidoko was the candidate of the PDP and therefore entitled to the benefit of being the Senator on the Platform of PDP.
Indeed, on the 13th June, 2018 the Federal High Court presided by Justice Kolawale gave judgment in favour of Air Marshal. Air Marshal has gloriously described justice Kolawale as an incorruptible judge, but since justice Kolawale is not the one putting himself forward as such, and since he remains a justice of the Court of Appeal and I remain a legal practitioner, I shall exercise restraint in making any comments on this point not because I do not have things to say but only because of the circumstances I have disclosed – professional obligation and courtesy.
Admittedly, Appeals against justice Kolawale’s judgment to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court were struck out on the basis of the provision of the Fourth Alteration to the Constitution, which came into force on 7th June, 2018 and the decisions of the Supreme Court in Appeal No. SC/307/2018 and SC/308/2018.
In the judgment of the Supreme Court in the above appeals, the Supreme Court held that the amendment to the Constitution which came into force on 7th June, 2018 takes effect immediately and affects all cases pending in any court as at that date. The Fourth Alteration to the Constitution states that every pre-election case, such as Air Marshal Alfa’s case, must be heard and determined by the trial Court within 180 days and all appeals from every pre-election case must be heard and determined within 60 days.
Thus, since the law which came into force on 7th June, 2018 takes immediate effect and Air Marshal Alfa’s case was filed on 18th December, 2014 while judgment was given on 13th June, 2018, his case which lasted more than 180 days at the Federal High Court and the Judgment delivered on 13th June, 2018 after the coming into force of the Fourth Alteration to the constitution is therefore unconstitutional, null and void – a judgment that is null and void confers no rights or benefits (on Air Marshal Alfa) and creates no duty or obligation (on Senator Aidoko or Senate President Saraki).
May I pause here to ask, if indeed Air Marshal Alfa has six judgments in his favour all saying that he should be sworn in as he stated, should he not initiate the necessary process to enforce those judgments rather than the cheap blackmail he has resorted to?
Air Marshal Alfa Stated that “when they could not influence Hon. Justice Binta Nyako, one of the known and acclaimed incorruptible judges, Aidoko and his lawyer petitioned her”, but let me make an aside statement first by reminding or perhaps bringing it to Air Marshal Alfa’s attention that the EFCC has written to the NJC, and this was severally reported in the media, and requested that no EFCC case should be assigned to Justice Nyanko.
But more importantly, there is a popular saying that when people speak ill of you, they define themselves and not you. So Air Marshal Alfa must be reminded that his insinuation that Senator Aidoko and his lawyer could not influence Justice Nyako only defines Air Marshal Alfa and who he is – a person who goes about trying to influence people to do his bidding.
May I also address a very fundamental issue here that since Air Marshal Alfa believes that judges are to be influence before judgment can be given in one’s favour, we want the world to note that Air Marshal Alfa is in court again challenging Senator Aidoko’s emergence as PDP candidate for the 2019 election. When this his new suit came up for hearing at the Federal High Court, Abuja on 14th December, 2018 Air Marshal Alfa’s lawyer applied to the court that his case should be transferred to Lokoja. We had suspected that there must be something sinister about such an application for transfer coming from the same person who took the case to a particular court, and our suspicion is now given vent by the contents of Air Marshal Alfa’s press statement. However, we will not draw any conclusions yet, but we are watching to see if there shall be another ridiculous outcome from that frivolous suit at the Federal High Court, Lokoja.
Now, to show that Air Marshal Alfa goes about trying to influence people who have anything to do with his case, I will give only two instances; while the case was yet at the Court of Appeal in 2016 and I was then representing PDP in the Appeal, Air Marshal Alfa approached Dr. Cairo Ojougboh then PDP National Deputy Chairman to Ahmodu Sheriff in order to get a letter from Dr. Cairo Ojougboh denouncing me as PDP lawyer and acknowledging him, Air Marshal Alfa, as the PDP candidate as against Senator Aidoko. But Dr. Cairo turned his request down. I know this because Dr. Cairo is my client and I was within the vicinity of his house on the day Air Marshal visited his house in the company of his wife.
Similarly, Air Marshal Alfa also approached Hon. Absalom Jimba, my cousin, with a request and a threat that I should desist from supporting Senator Aidoko in the case or else I was going to be petitioned to NBA.
At least, these two instances and the contents of Air Marshal Alfa’s press statement indicates that he believes that the high position he once held as Chief of Air Staff entitles him to muzzle and get people to do his bidding. When he cannot so muzzle or influence people as he wishes, he resorts to blackmail as he has done in his press statement.
Well, Air Marshall Alfa only needs to be reminded that we are in a democracy, not a military rule, and in a democratic setting, the rule of law prevails.
One last word, Air Marshal Alfa’s petition to NBA against me was that I represented parties and filed processes against him without being instructed by such parties. I have since responded to the Petition and I think I should send him a copy of my response. However, the long and short of my response is that the right to legal representation is as provided by the constitution which is that in any civil or criminal proceedings, a person may appear in person or he may be represented by “a legal practitioner of his choice”. Thus, only a person who is being represented by a legal practitioner can complain that such a legal practitioner is not one of his choice or was not instructed by him. Air Marshal Alfa’s complaint against me to NBA in the circumstance makes him what is legally described as “a meddlesome interloper” in the matter.
I have taken my time to state some of these rather elementary and rudimentary principles of law because I am convinced that Air Marshal Alfa’s press statement is a clear evidence of a man who is destitute of sound legal advice and ignorant of the workings of the law. Indeed, I was in court on the 22nd February, 2018 in Air Marshal Alfa’s case when Justice Kolawale made the following remark “Mr. Air Marshal, I am sorry, but I must tell you that you have a very poor lawyer”
My final words to Air Marshal Alfa is this, get yourself a good lawyer so you can get good legal advice and safe yourself from the frustrations that results from not being properly advised.
F. S. Jimba, Esq.
Principal Partner, F. S. JIMBA & CO
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