HomeNewsTribunals Affirm Govs Ododo And Diri Duly Elected In Kogi, Bayelsa

Tribunals Affirm Govs Ododo And Diri Duly Elected In Kogi, Bayelsa

Two governorship election petition tribunals sitting in Abuja, on Monday, affirmed Usman Ododo as the valid winner of the gubernatorial contest that held in the state on November 11, 2023, and Douye Diri as the election winner in Bayelsa State.

In the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, Justice Ado Birnin-Kudu led three-member panel dismissed the petition that was brought before it by the candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Murtala Ajaka.

The tribunal held that Ajaka failed to prove his allegation that governor Ododo, who was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, did not secure the highest number of valid votes cast at the election.

It equally dismissed Ajaka’s allegation that the election was not only fraught with irregularities, but also conducted with substantial non-compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.

The tribunal held that it found no reason to dislodge the result the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declared in favour of Ododo and the APC.

It will be recalled that INEC had announced that Ododo polled a total of 446,237 votes to defeat Ajaka who came second with 259,052 votes and Dino Melaye of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, came a distant third with 46,362 votes.

Meanwhile, the Bayelsa Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which sat in Abuja on Monday, upheld Gov. Douye Diri’s election victory.

The three-member panel, chaired by Justice Adekunle Adeleye, dismissed the case filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva, as lacking merit.

The tribunal, in a unanimous decision, held that the petitioners failed to adduce any credible evidence to substantiate any of the allegations they raised against the outcome of the state’s governorship poll.

It struck out as incompetent, all the additional proof of evidence as well as statements on oath of some of the witnesses that testified for the petitioners.

According to the tribunal, the law expressly provided that an election petition must be filed not later than 21 days after the result of an election was declared.

The tribunal held that the decision of Sylva and his party to file their additional proof of evidence and statement on oath of witnesses, long after they had filed the petition, was “tantamount to a surreptitious attempt to amend the case of the petitioners.”

More so, the tribunal dismissed the allegation that the deputy governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, tendered forged University Degree Certificate and NYSC Exemption Certificate, to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in aid of his qualification to contest the election.

It held that the allegation was a pre-election matter that ought to be litigated before the Federal High Court, adding that the matter had become statute barred since the petitioners failed to challenge the genuineness of the certificates, 14 days after it was submitted to INEC.

Besides, it held that the issue of Ewhrudjakpo’s educational qualification was previously determined by a court of competent jurisdiction.

The tribunal said it took judicial notice of the fact that the 3rd respondent, Ewhrudjakpo, is a legal practitioner, saying it was satisfied that he was eminently qualified to contest the election.

The tribunal equally noted that though Sylva and his party prayed the panel to declare that they were the valid winners of the governorship election, it said they also applied for the same election to be declared invalid.

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