The Kogi State Election Tribunal has declared Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the 25 February Senatorial election in the Kogi Central Senatorial District.
Mrs Akpoti-Uduaghan disclosed this on her verified Facebook page.
The three-member panel of judges, led by K. A. Orjiako, at the Kogi State Election Petition Tribunal unanimously declared her winner of the election after nullifying the victory of the All Progress Congress (APC) candidate, Abubakar Sadiku-Ohere.
Mr Orjiako, a judge, stated that the earlier announced results in which Mr Sadiku-Ohere was declared winner by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) were inflated in nine polling units of Ajaokuta Local Government Area (LGA ) while the votes of Mrs Akpoti-Uduaghan were intentionally reduced by INEC Ward Collation officers.
The panel decided to make adequate corrections based on the evidence presented before it and declared Mrs Akpoti-Uduaghan as the rightful winner of the poll, having polled 54,074 against Mr Sadiku-Ohere (APC) who polled 51,291 votes.
“After making the proper corrections, Natasha Akpoti-Uduagan (PDP), having polled 54,074 against Abubakar Ohere’s 51,291, is hereby declared the authentic winner,” Mr Orjiako declared.
He explained further: “During the collation of results, three other polling units’ result was deliberately not entered for Natasha in the same Local Government.
“From the pieces of evidence before this tribunal, Natasha’s votes in the nine polling units of Ajaokuta were 1073 against the 77 recorded by the ward collation officers, while those scored by Ohere were inflated to 1553 against the actual figure of 1031.
“In view of this, we are convinced that the petitioners’ 996 votes in polling units 009, 046 and O49 polling units of Ganaja village of Ajaokuta were deliberately not recorded at the Ward Collation Centre.
“It is not the duty of collation officers to reject results submitted by Presiding Officers from polling units in an election that followed the electoral guidelines substantially. That officer failed in his duty.”
According to him, all issues raised by the petitioner have been resolved in her favour.
The chairman ordered the 3rd respondent (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Mr Ohere and issue the same to Mrs Akpoti-Uduaghan.
The tribunal strongly chided INEC for deliberately going out of its mandate of conducting a free and fair election to connive with political parties to subvert the will of the people.
Before the judgement
After the collation of the Kogi Central Election results, INEC had declared Mr Sadiku-Ohere of the APC as the winner of the election in the district.
The INEC returning officer, Rotimi Ajayi, a professor, said Mr Sadiku-Ohere polled a total of 52,132 votes against Mrs Akpoti-Uduaghan’s 51,763 votes.
He stated that the APC got the highest number of votes to defeat the PDP candidate as the senator-elect.
“Abubakar Sadiku-Ohere of the APC, having scored the highest votes in the election for the Kogi Central Senatorial seat, is hereby declared the winner and is therefore returned elected,” Mr Ajayi said at the time.
The tribunal on Tuesday nullified the victory of Jibrin Isah of the APC as the winner of the Kogi East Senatorial Election. It ordered INEC to conduct supplementary elections in the district.
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