Kogi guber election: Appeal Court reserves judgment in SDP, PDP suits

Mrs Natasha Akpoti, SDP Guber Candidate for Kogi

The Court of Appeal  in Abuja on Monday reserved judgment in two suits filed by Natacha Akpoti of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Musa Wada of the People Democratic Party (PDP) .

They are challenging the decision of the Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which upheld the election of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state.

A five-member panel headed by Justice Adamu  Jauro reserved after hearing arguments from all parties in the appeal.

Jauro said the  judgments are reserved and a date would be communicated to the parties.

Akpoti  and the SDP are challenging  the decision of Kogi  governorship election petition Tribunal on the  grounds that the tribunal  erred in their judgment.

She alleged that the tribunal did not by not take into consideration the evidences and exhibits that were  tendered as proof that the petitioner was excluded from the Kogi State governorship election held on November 16, 2019.

Counsel for Bello, Joseph Daudu, SAN ,  Dr Alex Izinyon, SAN, Counsel for APC and Ahmed Raji ,SAN, counsel to  INEC filed  preliminary objection challenging the competent of the appeal .

They urged the Court to hold that the entire appeal is incompetent.

The appellants’ lawyer, Mr  Reuben Egwuaba urged the court to dismiss the respondents preliminary objections for lacking in merit.

On the main appeal which was filed on June 19, 2020, the appellants prayed the court to  allow the appeal.

They urged the court to upturn the decision of the Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.

Iziyon in his brief of argument urged the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.

Raji and Daudu also prayed the court to dismiss the  entire appeal.

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Earlier when Wada and PDP appeal,  were heard, their counsel, Jibrin Okutepa ,SAN, had urged the Court to upturn the decision of Kogi governorship election petition tribunal and cancel the election.

He said that there were overwhelming evidence that the  election was marred by electoral malpractices, yet the tribunal ignored them.

But counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission Izinyon  urged the  Court to dismiss the appeal for lacking  in merit.

Daudu,  Raji ,counsel for Bello and APC, respectively aligned with Izinyon in praying the court to dismiss the appeal.

They said that it was clear that  the petitioners were unable to substantiate their allegations of electoral malpractice before the the tribunal.

Wada  and his party had on December 14, 2019, approached the tribunal, urging it to order INEC to disqualify Bello for irregularities and violence that characterised the election that brought  him back to power.

But not satisfied with the majority judgment, PDP and its candidate headed to Appeal Court