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Tribunal affirms Kogi gov’s election

The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal for Kogi State, on Tuesday, has affirmed the election of incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello, dismissing the petition of former governor of the state, Captain Idris Wada, for lack of merits.

The tribunal Chairman, Justice Halima Muhammad, upheld the election of Governor Yahaya Bello of APC in the 2015 governorship election.

In her judgement, Muhammud held that “the tribunal having critically examined the conduct of the election, the petitioner has failed to prove his case; his petition lack merit and legal incompetence.

“Therefore, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, is hereby declared winner of the Kogi election,’’ the judge said.

She said Bello having participated in the primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC), he was qualified to contest the election.

The chairman added that since Bello participated in his party primary election, he was the closest candidate the APC could have nominated to replace late Abubakar Audu.

The tribunal chairman also said that there was no evidence of irregularities during the election as alleged by the petitioner.

“The evidence of the PW1 and PW3 did not gives this tribunal prove that there were alleged irregularities at the polling unit during the election.

“The tribunal cannot attach probation to this evidence by the petitioner; therefore, the grounds of the petitioner were not in consonant with Section 138(1) of the Electoral Law.

“Going by the constitution, anybody can contest election if he is a Nigerian; and must have attained 35years of age.

“The PW2 also did not show prove of the petition as contained in the Evidence Act as an expert,’’ Muhammad said.

Muhammad also said that votes cast during election belong to the party and not the candidate as insinuated.

Meanwhile, the former governor was said to have gone to Mecca for Umrrah, but his deputy, Mr Yomi Awoniyi, said they would appeal the judgement.

Awoniyi told newsmen, shortly after the judgement of the tribunal, that consultation was already going on within the party’s legal team of lawyers on how to appeal the judgment.