Supreme Court Upholds Election Of Yahaya Bello As Kogi Governor

Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello speaks on COVID-19 at the Government House in Lokoja on July 5, 2020.

 

The Supreme Court has upheld the election of Yahaya Bello as the Governor of Kogi State.

In its Judgement delivered on Monday, the Apex Court, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, disagreed with the appeal filed on five grounds by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Kogi Governorship Election, Musa Wada.

Mr Wada claimed that the election held on November 16, 2019, was riddled with serious electoral infractions; rigging and over-voting, and that Governor Bello didn’t secure the highest vote.

The apex court also dismissed the seven grounds of appeal filed by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its candidate, Natasha Akpoti, which includes an allegation of age falsification against the Kogi State Deputy Governor

Other members of the panel include Justices Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, Sylvester Ngwuta, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Inyang Okoro, Amina Augie, Uwani Abba-Aji.

Mr Wada approached the Supreme Court after his petition was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on July 4th, 2020 with a split decision of two to one.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) returned Bello as the duly elected governor on November 18, 2019, having scored the highest number of votes in the poll.

He got a total of 406,222 votes to beat his closest rival, Wada who scored 189,704 votes and Akpoti who garnered a total of 9,482 votes.

Supreme Court Set To Deliver Judgement In Kogi Governorship Appeal

A file photo of a courtroom at the Supreme Court complex in Abuja. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The Supreme Court will on Monday, deliver judgement in the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, and its candidate in the Kogi Governorship Election, Musa Wada, challenging the election and victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Yahaya Bello as the Governor of Kogi State.

Last week, A seven-man panel of the Supreme Court presided by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Mohammed heard the appeal filed by Mr Wada and fixed August 31 to deliver judgement.

Mr Wada who lost his appeal at the Election Petition Tribunal claimed that the Kogi election held on November 16, 2019, was riddled with serious electoral infractions, when he approached the Supreme Court after his petition was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on July 4th, 2020 with a split decision of two to one.

A five-man panel of justices of the appeal court upheld Governor Bello’s election and ordered Mr Wada to pay a sum of N100,000 each to Governor Bello, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and INEC, who were listed as respondents in the appeal.

READ ALSO: Leadership Absent In Nigeria, Govt Is Crippled – Pat Utomi

The apex court will also give a verdict in the appeal filed by the Social Democratic Party and its candidate, Natasha Akpoti.

Lawyer to Governor Bello, Joseph Daudu, and that of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Dr Alex Izinyon, urged the court to dismiss the appeal filed by Mr Wada through his lawyer, Jibrin Okutepa, for lacking in merit.

Mr Daudu asked the apex Court to toe the line of the Court of Appeal and the election petition tribunal which gave concurrent decisions by dismissing Mr Wada’s petition.

Meanwhile, the second appeal filed by the SDP and its candidate asked the apex Court to set aside the findings of the Court of Appeal and the Tribunal and allow their appeal to succeed.

The Appeal Court had held that Akpoti could not prove the allegations of corruption and voter intimidation against Governor Bello.

On November 18, 2019, INEC returned Bello as the duly elected governor having scored the highest number of votes in the keenly contested poll.

He polled a total of 406,222 votes to beat his closest rival, Wada who scored 189,704 votes and Akpoti who garnered a total of 9,482 votes.

Kogi: PDP Confident Of Justice At Supreme Court, Shocked At Appeal Court’s Verdict

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) claims that the judgment of the Court of Appeal in favour of Governor Yahaya Bello does not vitiate or detract from the fact, by hard evidence, that it won the November 16, 2019 Kogi state governorship election.

In a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said it noted with shock that the Appeal Court, in its judgment, decided to discount the merit of the evidences before it, which showed that the PDP candidate, Engr. Musa Wada scored the highest valid votes in the election.

According to the Ologbondiyan’s communique, the PDP observed that the judgment of the Appeal Court will be a major setback to our democratic process if left unchallenged, but expressed confidence that justice will be served on the merit of the case by the Supreme Court.

The statement further reads, “Our party holds that discounting of hard evidence of over-voting, massive thumb printing, voter intimidation, thuggery and other irregularities and malpractices used by the APC and compromised INEC officials to manipulate the results of the election would be reviewed at the Supreme Court.

“Justice on any matter is based on the weight of evidence before a court. The failure by the Appeal Court to consider key and essential ingredients of evidence before it on their merit, as already admitted and upheld by a judgment of a preceding court, amounted to a frustration of the course of justice in the matter.

“The PDP restates its insistence that the evidences are clear that its candidate is the genuine choice of the people in the November 16, 2019 election.

“The people of Kogi state now look up to the Supreme Court to reverse this injustice handed over to them, especially, given the evidence laid, as affirmed by the courageous verdict of Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele at the Election Tribunal”.

The PDP urged the people not to despair over the judgment of the Appeal Court but to remain calm and prayerful, “as justice will definitely be served at the Supreme Court”.

Kogi Gov Election: PDP’s Musa Wada Vows To Appeal Tribunal Judgment

 

The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the November 16, 2019, governorship election in Kogi State, Mr Musa Wada, has vowed to appeal the judgment of the election tribunal given on Saturday.

He said this in an exclusive interview with Channels Television in Abuja later on Saturday.

Musa had filed a petition challenging the election of Mr Yahaya Bello as the Governor of Kogi State.

But in a judgment of two to one, delivered by the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Kashim Kaigama, the tribunal held that the petitioner had failed to prove the allegations of over-voting, massive thumb printing, voter intimidation, and other electoral malpractices.

The tribunal also awarded a cost of one million naira to be paid by the petitioners, PDP and Musa Wada to INEC, Yahaya Bello and APC who are the respondents.

Read Also: Tribunal Affirms Election Of Yahaya Bello As Kogi Governor

Meanwhile, in a dissenting judgment, Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele nullified the election of Governor Yahaya Bello and ordered INEC to conduct fresh elections in seven local government areas where the petitioners proved their allegations of over-voting, thuggery, voter intimidation, massive thumb printing, and other electoral malpractices.

In reaction, Wada said the dissenting judgment by Justice Ovbragele is a clear indication that the election of Governor Bello was flawed.

He, therefore, insisted that the majority judgment of the Tribunal is not a true representation of the events of November 16, 2019, in Kogi State.

I Will Use Every Legal Means To Reclaim My Mandate – Wada, Kogi PDP Candidate

Musa Wada, Governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi State.

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Kogi State, Mr Musa Wada, have rejected the results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Wada who addressed journalists shortly after the results were announced on Monday described the election as a declaration of war against citizens of Kogi  State.

He also insisted on using every legal means to reclaim his mandate.

READ ALSO: Yahaya Bello Re-Elected Kogi State Governor

PDP agent in the election, Mr Joe Agada also maintained that the result announced by INEC is not a true reflection of the wishes of the voters.

He stressed that the election was marred by violence, intimidation, and ballot box snatching.

The reactions come hours after the returning officer for the election, Professor Ibrahim Umar, made the declaration at the INEC office in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.

According to the results announced, the APC candidate, Yahaya Bello polled a total of 406,222 while Mr Musa Wada of the PDP scored 189,704 votes.

Candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Natasha Akpoti, garnered a total of 9,482 votes.

Professor Umar declared the winner following the collation of results from all 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state, an exercise that lasted over 24 hours.

VIDEO: Suspected Thugs Storm Kogi PDP Governorship Candidate’s Polling Unit

 

Suspected thugs have attempted to snatch ballot papers in the Odu Ward 4, Odu-Ogboyaga ward 1 of Dekina local government area in Kogi state, where the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Mr Musa Wada cast his vote.

The thugs were confronted by youths and security officials who threw stones and objects to secure the electoral materials.

READ ALSO: Kogi Elections: Late Arrival Of Security Operatives Delay Voting In Lokoja – Itodo

Mr Wada who spoke to Channels TV tasked the security agencies to be more vigilant in the discharge of their duties with a view to preventing such an attempt at electoral violence.

Musa Wada Wins Kogi PDP Governorship Ticket

 

Engr Musa Wada has gotten the governorship ticket of the People Democratic Party (PDP) for Kogi State.

Wada polled a total of 748 votes to defeat his closed opponent Ibrahim Abubakar, who polled 710 votes.

READ ALSO: Kogi Governorship: PDP Condemns Attack At Primaries, Cautions Yahaya Bello

The election is slated to hold November 16, 2019.

He would be facing the incumbent governor, Yahaya Bello, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to win the seat of the no.1 citizen of the state.