- As tribunal in split judgment upholds election of Bello as Kogi governor
Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the November 16, 2019, governorship election in Kogi State, Mr Musa Wada, on Saturday said they would be proceeding to the Court of Appeal to challenge the majority judgment of the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which upheld the election of Yahaya Bello as governor of Kogi State.
Lead counsel to the PDP and Wada, Mr Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), speaking to journalists in Abuja, shortly after two justices of the three man panel of the tribunal dismissed the petition of PDP and Wada against the election of Bello for lacking in merit.
The tribunal in a split judgment delivered by Justice Kashim Kaigama upheld Bello’s election on the grounds that the petitioners failed to prove allegations of rigging and other malpractices in the November 16, 2019 governorship election.
According to the majority judgment the petitioners failed to prove their allegation of over voting beyond reasonable doubt as required by law.
Justice Kaigama accordingly dismissed the petition with a cost of N500, 000 each in favour of the respondents.
However in a dissenting judgment, Justice Ohimai Obviagele who disagreed with his colleagues held that their were evidence of massive fraud in seven Local Government Areas in the state where election took place.
Justice Obviagele subsequently ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a rerun election within 90 days in the seven Local Government Areas.
However, expressing their dissatisfaction with the majority judgment, Okutepa said that even the blind and deaf were aware of what happened during the Kogi governorship election.
“We are going to appeal the judgment”, he said in response to questions from journalists.
PDP and Wada had in December 2019, filed their petition against INEC, Bello and the All Progressives Congress (APC) before the Kogi State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja.
They had prayed the tribunal to declare that the second respondent (Bello) was not duly elected and/or returned by a majority of lawful votes cast during the election.
According to them, neither the second nor the third respondent scored the majority of lawful votes cast at the election to the office of the state governor.
They therefore prayed the tribunal to issue an order nullifying the Certificate of Return issued to Bello by INEC and in addition, issue an order nullifying the entire governorship election conducted in the state by reason of substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the Constitution and extant Electoral Act 2010 (As amended).