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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Tribunal reserves judgment on Kogi gov poll

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Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

The Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Abuja, on Thursday, reserved judgment on the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate in the November 16, 2019 election in the state, Musa Wada.

The petitioners are challenging the victory of Governor Yahaya Bello of the All Progressives Congress at the poll.

The three-man panel of judges headed by Justice Kashim Kaigama reserved judgment in the case after parties adopted their final written addresses on Thursday.

Petitioners’ lawyer, Jibril Okutepa (SAN), in his closing argument, urged the court to uphold the petition and order Wada to be returned as the duly elected Governor of Kogi State.

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Okutepa, who contended that Wada and his party, won the majority of lawful votes cast in the election, urged the tribunal to reject the objection raised by the respondents in the case.

But the respondents in the petition – the Independent National Electoral Commission, Governor Yahaya Bello, and his party, the APC, urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition.

The respondents were represented by their lawyers, Dr. Alex Iziyon (SAN), Joseph Daudu (SAN), and Ahmed Raji (SAN).

They noted that that the petitioners disputed the results of the election in 2,548 polling units in seven out of the 21 Local Government Areas of the state, yet they only presented 32 witnesses to prove cases of alleged election malpractices, substantial non-compliance to electoral rules and other forms of irregularities.

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