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Tribunal dismisses SDP’s petition, upholds APC’s Usman Ododo as Kogi governor



Kogi Tribunal Upholds Usman Ododo as Governor

In a significant ruling on Monday, the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Abuja, upheld the election of Governor Usman Ododo of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The three-member panel, led by Justice Ado Birnin-Kudu, dismissed the petition filed by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its candidate, Murtala Ajaka, challenging Ododo’s victory in the November 11, 2023, governorship poll.

The tribunal found that the petition lacked substance. It held that the allegations of over-voting and non-compliance with the Electoral Act, 2022, were not proven. The panel also noted that the witness evidence presented was incompetent and inconsistent.

Furthermore, the tribunal agreed with the respondents that the forgery allegations in the petition were pre-election matters, which should have been raised within 14 days of the documents being submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The November 11 election saw Ododo of the APC emerge victorious, defeating his closest rival, Ajaka of the SDP, by a wide margin. Dissatisfied with the result, Ajaka filed a petition before the tribunal in December 2023, which culminated in the final judgment on Monday.

INEC, Ododo, and the APC had all called for the petition to be dismissed, arguing that it was without merit. Their lawyers, Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, Joseph Daudu, SAN, and Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, maintained that the petition should be entirely rejected.

On the other hand, Ajaka’s lawyer, Pius Akubo, SAN, had urged the tribunal to consider the petition favorably. However, the tribunal’s unanimous decision favored Ododo, confirming his position as the duly elected governor of Kogi State.

Lawrence is a dynamic digital journalist known for his expertise in creating SEO-focused content that drives business success. Alongside his journalism career, he also serves as an AI tutor, leveraging his knowledge to educate and empower others in the field. Lawrence graduated from Moshood Abiola Polytechnic with an HND in Mass Communication and has had his work referenced in Wikipedia and various online media outlets.