Tribunal dismisses Wada’s petition, affirms Bello as Kogi governor

Tribunal dismisses Wada's petition, affirms Bello as Kogi governor

The Kogi State Governorship election tribunal sitting in Abuja has dismissed a petition brought before it by Idris Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), challenging the re-election of Yahaya Bello as governor.

Mr Wada had approached the tribunal to challenge the re-election of Mr Bello and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In the election, Mr Bello polled 406,222 votes to defeat the (PDP)’s candidate, Mr Wada, who scored 189,704 votes.

The petitioners lawyer, Jibril Okutepa, had urged the tribunal to uphold the petition and declare Mr Wada as the duly elected governor of Kogi state.

Mr Okutekpa argued that his clients won the majority of lawful votes cast in the election.

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They called a total of 32 witnesses to prove their claim that the election was marred by irregularities, violence, ballot snatching and non-compliance with the electoral act and the constitution.

But Mr Bello and the APC’s lawyer, Joseph Daudu, said the petitioners were unable to prove their claims, and urged the court to dismiss the petition. Only one witness was called.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was represented by Alex Izinyon and no witness was called.

Tribunal’s decision

Delivering the judgement on Saturday, with one out of three justices dissenting, the court, led by, Kashim Kaigama, held that the petitioner failed to prove the allegations of over voting, massive thumb printing, voter intimidation and other electoral malpractices.

In his dissenting judgement, Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele, nullified the election of Mr Bello and ordered INEC to conduct fresh elections in 7 local government areas where the petitioners proved their allegations of over voting, thuggery, voter intimidation, massive thumb printing and other electoral malpractices.

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