Kogi tribunal: Gov. Ododo opens defence, tenders documents against SDP, Ajaka’s petition

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Gov. Usman Ododo of Kogi, on Wednesday, tendered bundles of electoral documents in seven disputed local government areas (LGAs) in defence of his victory in the Nov. 11, 2023 governorship election in the state.

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Ododo, through his lawyer, Paul Daudu, tendered the documents at the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja to open his defence against the petition filed by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its candidate, Murtala Ajaka.

It would be recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had, on Nov. 11, 2023, conducted the Kogi governorship poll.

However, the SDP and its governorship candidate in the poll are challenging the declaration of Ododo of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the poll.

In the petition, INEC, Ododo and APC are listed as 1st to 3rd respondents respectively.

INEC had on Tuesday closed its defence in the petition by SDP and Ajaka, after its counsel, Uchenna Njoku, tendered several documents to support the victory of the governor.

Njoku had told the three-member panel, headed by Justice Ado Birnin-Kudo, that electoral umpire would not be calling any witnesses after assessing the case of the petitioners.

Justice Birnin-Kudo, who declared the commission’s case closed, adjourned until today for Ododo to open his defence.

Upon resumed hearing, Ibrahim Mohammed, SAN, who led Ododo’s team of lawyers, told the panel that Daudu would be conducting the proceedings.

Daudu informed the tribunal of the 2nd respondent’s readiness to open his defence.

The lawyer said he would commence this with the tendering of the certified true copies (CTCs) of the documents which had also been served on the petitioners.

“It is only fair for them (petitioners) to peruse these documents to enable us take off,” Daudu said.

He, therefore, sought a stand down of the hearing for about 30 minutes to allow the petitioners (SDP and Ajaka) peruse the documents.

Pius Akubo, SAN, who appeared for the petitioners, did not oppose the application.

Justice Birnin-Kudo subsequently stood down the matter.

However, while the inspection of the documents was ongoing, the tribunal, through its secretary, announced the adjournment of the matter until Thursday for continuation.(NAN)

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