Politics

Kogi ballot: Appeal Court reserves judgment in SDP, Ajaka’s attraction

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has reserved judgment within the attraction filed by the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, Muritala Ajaka, towards the May 27 2024, judgement of the state election petition tribunal.

Recall {that a} three-member panel of the Tribunal had affirmed the November 11, 2023, election victory of the state Governor, Usman Ododo, who ran for the seat below the All Progressives Congress.

The tribunal held that SDP and Ajaka didn’t show the allegations of over-voting and non-compliance with the Electoral Act, 2022 as acknowledged of their petition.

The panel, in a unanimous determination, held that every one the witness proof filed earlier than it was incompetent and stuffed with inconsistencies.

It additionally agreed with the submissions of the respondents that the allegations of forgery raised within the petition had been pre-election issues, which should have been raised 14 days after the paperwork had been submitted to INEC.

At Thursday’s sitting, a three-member panel of Justices of the appellate courtroom reserved judgment within the attraction to a date that will be communicated to events concerned after the adumbration and adoption of addresses.

In their arguments, the respondents prayed the courtroom to dismiss the appellants’ attraction whereas within the cross-appeal the appellants urged the courtroom to dismiss the cross-appeal in its entirety.

He stated, “We urge your Lordships to indulge this course of and dismiss this attraction for missing in benefit. There is a matter of jurisdiction arising from the place of the appellant in prayer 8 of web page 25 of the appellant’s transient of argument.

“If you claim that the election was invalid, how do you ask to be declared the winner of the election.”

He additionally argued that the proof of the petitioners was grossly inadequate, citing a Supreme Court determination.

Agabi argued that when the proof known as is grossly inadequate, there isn’t any proof. He stated the petitioners solely known as 25 witnesses out of the 660 listed.

He additional argued that out of the 25 witnesses known as by the petitioners, there was no single polling unit agent amongst them.

He added that the prosecution witness 1 didn’t file any witness deposition beforehand as required by legislation and as such can’t give proof in an election petition.

He stated “You should file a witness deposition beforehand. My Lord the witness didn’t file a witness deposition beforehand and the tribunal rejected his witness.

“The witness also hinged that he cannot authenticate that the BVAs machine before him in court was the one used in the election. How then can the tribunal go through with his testimony”?

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Agabi argued that there have been inconsistencies within the case of the appellants.

He stated the Appeal Court had determined that if the grounds of a petition had been inconsistent with each other, and weren’t in line with the reliefs, it needs to be struck out.

Joseph Daudu, who appeared for Ododo, argued that no single proof of PW1 was admitted as proof by the courtroom on the bottom that the appellants didn’t front-load their witness assertion beforehand.

Daudu stated the tribunal did no mistaken to have expunged the proof of PW1.

He contended that the tribunal already declared it inadmissible as a result of the appellants didn’t show the allegation of over-voting of their petition.

He additionally urged the tribunal to dismiss the allegations of forgery towards his consumer, saying it bordered on a pre-election matter, which the apex courtroom had determined in Gbagi’s case towards INEC.

Daudu, who stated they didn’t show allegations of over-voting, additionally argued that Section 137 of the Electoral Act cited by the petitioners on allegations of over-voting didn’t apply within the on the spot petition.

He prayed the courtroom to dismiss the attraction and affirm the judgment of the Tribunal which upheld the election of Ododo.

APC counsel, Emmanuel Ukala, prayed the appellate courtroom to dismiss the petition for being incompetent.

Ajaka’s counsel, Pius Akubo, whereas adopting processes, urged the courtroom to put aside the judgement of the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and declare Ajaka because the governor of Kogi state.

Ajaka and his celebration within the attraction hinged on 31 grounds, insisted that they’re the winners of the November 11, 2023 governorship election and needs to be declared so.

The appellants argued that the judgement of the Tribunal which affirmed Ododo’s election was a severe miscarriage of justice.

He additionally urged the panel to dismiss the cross-appeal of the respondents who prayed to the courtroom to dismiss his petition.

Kogi had on Nov. 11, 2023, carried out its off-cycle election which produced Ododo because the winner of the polls.

Ajaka, his closest rival, got here in second place in response to the outcome introduced by the electoral physique.

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