Kogi 2023: Tribunal To Deliver Judgment May 27

The Kogi governorship election petition tribunal has fixed Monday, May 27 for judgment on the petition filed by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate in Kogi 2023 governorship election, Murtala Yakubu Ajaka.

The petition challenges the election of Ahmed Usman Ododo as governor.

The tribunal, led by Ado Birnin-Kudu, communicated this date to the involved parties on Thursday.

Following the Kogi governorship election held on November 11, 2023, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Usman Ododo, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the winner with 446,237 votes. Murtala Ajaka of the SDP came second with 259,052 votes, while Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) secured 46,362 votes.

Disputing the results, the SDP and Ajaka filed petitions challenging Ododo’s victory. On May 13, lawyers representing the parties made their final submissions and adopted their written addresses.

During the proceedings, Ododo, INEC, and APC urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition, arguing it lacked merit. Kanu Agabi, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and INEC’s lawyer, described the petition as incompetent and insufficiently supported by evidence. He emphasized that only 3.6 percent of Ajaka’s witness depositions were adopted, which he argued was inadequate.

Agabi further noted that the petitioners’ witness could not confirm the use of the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) machines, and none of the witnesses called by the petitioners were polling unit agents.

Joseph Daudu, representing Ododo, contended that the petition was filed out of time and thus statute-barred. He also disputed the forgery allegations against his client, arguing that such issues should be addressed in pre-election matters, not post-election litigation.

Emmanuel Ukala, the APC’s counsel, also urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition due to a lack of merit.

In contrast, Pius Akubo SAN, representing the petitioners, argued that sufficient evidence was provided to support claims of election irregularities and corrupt practices. He requested the tribunal to overturn Ododo’s victory.

 

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