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Ajaka appeals, claims victory in Nov. 11 Kogi guber elections

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Ajaka appeals, claims victory in Nov. 11 Kogi guber elections

The candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the November 11 Governorship election in Kogi State, Alhaji Muritala Yakubu Ajaka has taken the case to Appeal Court, insisting that he won the election.

Ajaka and SDP asked the Appeal Court to set aside the decision of the tribunal that affirmed the victory of Ahmed Usman Ododo of All Progressives Congress (APC).
They wanted the court to void Ododo’s victory and declare Ajaka the winner of the election.

Their requests are contained in a notice of appeal they filed against the May 27 judgment of Justice Ado Yusuf Birnin Kudu-led Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which sat in Abuja.

In the appeal filed by their lawyer, Pius Akubo (SAN), the appellants are contending among others, that the tribunal’s judgement was a serious miscarriage of justice.

In a 31-ground notice of appeal, Ajaka and his party insist that they won the November 11, 2023 governorship election and should be declared the rightful winners.

They want the appellate court to issue an order restoring the testimony of their first witness (PW1) as well as all the documents they tendered, but which the tribunal expunged from its records.

The appellants also want the Appeal Court to hold that Ododo was not even qualified to have contested the election into the office of Governor of Kogi State and that all votes ascribed and or allocated to him and the APC are wasted votes.

They are praying for an order granting the reliefs sought by the appellants in the petition and thereupon declaring the first appellant (Ajaka) as the duly elected Governor of Kogi State.

In faulting the tribunal’s judgment, the appellants noted that although the tribunal agreed that their petiton was filed within time and that there was over voting, the tribunal proceeded to uphold the election.

“In their confusion, they (members of the tribunal’s three-member panel) ruled that PW1 who displayed the documents with which they agreed there was over voting is not clear to them. They claimed they did not know if he was INEC staff or not.

“Recall further that when the PW1 absented from the court, the tribunal ordered INEC to produce him or produce another person and they did comply to produce him yet, the tribunal members said they do not know him. What a contradictive judgement.”

The appellant argued that “the election of November 11, 2023 in Kogi State was not conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act. 2022 as well as manual and guidelines involving the conduct of elections having regards to the numerous instances of over voting.”

The appellants claimed to have demonstrated in a graphic and tabular form, before the tribunal, that they scored the majority of lawful votes in the election and not the second and third respondents (Ododo and the APC).

The appellants also claimed to have led evidence to the effects that, if the votes affected by over-voting are deducted from the overall votes, the appellants and not the second and third respondents will have majority of lawful votes.

The SDP and Ajaka added that clearly and unambiguously, they tendered all the necessary election forms and documents which completely demonstrated that the second respondents did not score the majority of lawful votes cast as held by the tribunal.

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