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Kogi Gubernatorial Election: SDP and Ajaka Appeal Tribunal Verdict

Kogi Gubernatorial Election: SDP and Ajaka Appeal Tribunal Verdict

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its candidate, Murtala Ajaka, have appealed the tribunal’s decision affirming Usman Ododo’s victory in the Kogi State governorship election. They have asked the Court of Appeal to overturn the tribunal’s verdict and declare them the winners of the November 11 election.

In their appeal, filed by lawyer Pius Akubo (SAN), the SDP and Ajaka argue that the tribunal’s judgment was a miscarriage of justice. They claim to have won the election and request the appellate court to reinstate the testimony of their first witness and the documents the tribunal had excluded.

They also argue that Ododo was not qualified to run for governor, making all votes for him and the APC invalid. They seek an order declaring Ajaka as the duly elected governor of Kogi State. The appellants highlight that the tribunal acknowledged their timely petition and evidence of over-voting but still upheld the election results.

They added: “In their confusion they (members of the tribunal’s three-member panel) ruled that PW1 who displayed the documents with which they agreed there was over voting is not clear to them. They claimed they did not know if he was INEC staff or not.

“It was the tribunal that ordered INEC to provide the BVAS and someone who will power and display the BVAS in court and that PW1 came to the court with a certified letter from INEC stating that he was indeed the representative of INEC.

” PW1 was in the court with his identity card and other supporting documents to show he is INEC staff.

“Recall further that when the PW1 absented from the court, the tribunal ordered INEC to produce him or produce another person and they did comply to produce him yet, the tribunal members said they do not know him. What a contradictive judgement.”

The appellant argued that “the election of November 11, 2023 in Kogi State was not conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act. 2022 as well as manual and guidelines involving the conduct of elections having regards to the numerous instances of over voting.”

The appellants claimed to have demonstrated in a graphic and tabular form, before the tribunal, that they scored the majority of lawful votes in the election and not the second and third respondents (Ododo and the APC).

The appellants also claimed to have led evidence to the effects that, if the votes affected by over-voting are deducted from the overall votes, the appellants and not the second and third respondents will have majority of lawful votes.

The SDP and Ajaka added that clearly and unambiguously, they tendered all the necessary election forms and documents which completely demonstrated that the second respondents did not score the majority of lawful votes cast as held by the tribunal.

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