Tribunal affirms election of Ododo as Kogi governor.

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Governor Ahmed Usman Ododo of kogi state.
The Kogi State governorship election petition tribunal in Abuja on Monday affirmed Governor Usman Ododo of the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s victory in the November 11, 2023, governorship poll.

The three-member panel of justices, headed by Justice Ado Birnin-Kudu, held that the petition against Mr Ododo’s victory was bereft of substance and accordingly dismissed.

The tribunal held that the petitioners, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its candidate, Murtala Ajaka, failed to prove the allegations of over-voting and non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2022 in the petition.

The panel, in a unanimous decision, held that all the witness evidence filed before it was incompetent and inconsistent.

It also agreed with the respondents’ submissions that the allegations of forgery in the petition were pre-election matters, which ought to have been raised 14 days after the documents were submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Mr. Ododo emerged as the winner of the Kogi off-cycle election after beating his closest rival, Mr Ajaka of the SDP, by a wide margin.

Mr.Ajaka, dissatisfied with the election’s outcome, filed a petition before the tribunal challenging Mr Ododo’s victory.

The case commenced in December 2023 and reached its highest point on May 13 when SDP, Mr Ajaka, APC, Mr Ododo, and INEC adopted their final written addresses. After that, the tribunal reserved judgment on the petition.

INEC, Ododo, and his party, APC, had prayed that the tribunal dismiss Mr Ajaka and SDP’s petition for being incompetent and lacking merit.

The trio, through their lawyers, Kanu Agabi, SAN; Joseph Daudu, SAN; and Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, respectively, told the tribunal so while adopting their final written addresses and presenting their arguments against the petition.

However, Ajaka’s lawyer, Pius Akubo, SAN, urged the tribunal to discount the respondents’ submissions and uphold their petition.

(NAN)

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