Tribunal upholds Kogi Governor's election

The Kogi Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal on Thursday upheld the election of Idris Wada as the duly elected governor of the state.

The tribunal dismissed the petition filed by the candidate of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Abubakar Audu, which prayed the tribunal to cancel the governorship election.

In the judgement delivered in Lokoja, the Chairman of the tribunal Justice, Suleiman Anbursa, held that the petition was doubtful and lacking in merit.

He said that the petitioners had failed to discharge the onus of proof on them in all the allegations levelled against the respondents and therefore dismissed the petition in its entirety.

Mr. Anbursa said the tribunal had considered four issues for determination, which include the qualification of the first petitioner to contest the election and whether the conduct of the election substantially complied with the provisions of the amended 2010 Electoral Act.

The chairman stated that the tribunal had also considered whether the evidence adduced met the standard of law and whether Wada got the majority of lawful votes cast in the election.

He stated that the evidences by the 88 witnesses of the petitioner on alleged irregularities, malpractice and voters intimidation in some parts of the 18 local government areas were not tenable.

The tribunal also faulted the authenticity of the forensic analysis conducted by the petitioners, saying the analyst lacked relevant experience to analyse electoral materials.

On compliance with the Electoral Act, Mr. Anbursa said section 139 of the Act provided that non-compliance must substantially affect the result of an election to warrant its nullification.

“It is our view that the petitioners failed to provide evidence to prove the allegation of non-compliance with the Electoral Act.”

Flanked by Justice Ademola Bola and Justice Peter Obiora, Mr. Anbursa said the petitioners had also not presented another set of results other than that declared by INEC upon which the tribunal may rely.

He therefore dismissed the petition as baseless and lacking in merit, afterwards he upheld the election of the governor in line with section 179(2) of the Electoral Act.

Mr. Audu had joined INEC, the Deputy Governor, Yomi Awoniyi, the PDP and the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) as respondents in the petition.

Reacting to the judgment, counsel to the governor Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) expressed satisfaction with the judgment while the counsel to the petitioner Haruna Abdullahi said they would appeal against the judgment.

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