Tuesday, February 11, 2020 10:21 pm
Richard Elesho/ Lokoja
Nearly three months after the November 16th Kogi State Governorship election was conducted, a State High Court sitting in Lokoja has fixed March 6th to determine the authentic candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the election.
This was announced on Tuesday by Justice Richard Olorunfemi after taking the final addresses of the parties to the case in Lokoja.
Engr. Musa Wada was the candidate of the PDP for the Governorship election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and which was won by Alhaji Yahaya Bello of the All Progressives Congress, APC
However, Alh. Abubakar Ibrahim had filed a suit against the declaration of Wada as the winner of the PDP primary.
He claimed that he won the primary of the party and should have been the PDP candidate.
Ibrahim alleged that the smuggling in of 600 ballot papers and the loss of another 241 after gunmen disrupted the exercise at the Confluence Stadium robbed him of victory.
Justice Olorunfemi fixed the date to deliver judgement in the matter brought by the first runner up in the September 3rd PDP Primary Alh. Abubakar Ibrahim after counsels to all parties in the suit adopted their written addresses.
Adopting his address, Rowland Otaru, SAN, Counsel to the claimant, urged the court to grant the plea of his client, as they are evidenced and premised on the rock of Gibraltar.
According to the learned silk, Alh. Abubakar Ibrahim won the PDP primaries. He alleged that the smuggling in of 600 ballot papers and the loss of another 241 after gunmen distrupted the exercise at the Confluence Stadium denied him of victory.
He urged the court to invoke section 167, 146 of the Evidence Act to show that the documents tendered by the police were documents submitted in their official capacity, pointing out that the defendantd even abandoned their pleading to prove that they didn’t import ballot papers, as their only witness failed to show up to deny the allegation.
He urged the court to rely on exhibits C13, C14 submitted by the police to give credence to the claimants plea, adding that the first defendant smuggled in ballot papers to make Engr Wada, emerge winner of the PDP primaries.
While noting that the issues of party primaries is not a domestic matter as claimed by the defendant, he explained that as long as the Claimant feels his rights have been injured, he has no choice but to seek legal redress.
Adopting his address, coubsel to Wada, J.S. Okutepa, SAN, described the claimants petition as full of fury, and urged the trial judge to dismiss the petition for lack of a solid foundation.
Okutepa described the mathematical calculation of the claimant as an exercise in futility. He urged the court not to rely on exhibits C13, C14 as it cannot carry weight more than D3, which is the INEC report, as they are constitutionally empowered to observe party primaries.
In his adoption, Counsel to the PDP disclosed that the matter of primaries is an internal affair of the party pointing out that the claimants fail to prove that there was missing votes or smuggling in of alleged 600 votes. He asked the court to jettison the petition for lacking in merit in its entirety.