Richard Elesho/ Lokoja
It was multiple victories Saturday at the Court of Appeals sitting in Abuja, for the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello and the All Progressives Congress, APC his political party. The court today dismissed three appeals brought against Kogi Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal’s decision to uphold Bello’s second term election.
The five man panel of the Appeal Court upheld Bello’s election. The court at different times and for different reasons dismissed the appeals of Action People’s Party, APP, Democratic People’s Party, DPP and Social Democratic Party, SDP.
The court dismissed the appeal filed by APP challenging the election of Bello. In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Mohammed Shuaibu, the court affirmed the decision of the tribunal which dismissed the APP petition.
The court awarded a cost of One Hundred Thousand Naira against the appellant.
The APP in its appeal claimed that INEC unlawfully excluded it from the 2019 governorship election.
The Appeal Court also upheld the tribunal judgement the DPP. The party’s complained of unlawful exclusion from the poll. The judges held that the party could not proof it’s eligibility and preparation for the election.
The Court therefore refused to interfere with the findings of the Tribunal and held that the judgment of the Tribunal is affirmed holding that they could not even prove elementary facts such as the valid nomination of their so-called candidates.
In a related development the court threw away the appeal of Natasha Akpoti of the SDP citing inability to prove her case beyond reasonable doubts.
SDP’s claim that Edward Onoja, Bello’s running mate should have been left as a party to the suit since allegations were made directly against him was upheld. The Court of Appeal held he was denied his right to fair hearing when the Tribunal struck out his name to the petition.
The Court held that SDP as other appellants could not prove how the alleged misconducts and corrupt practices could have affected the outcome of election so as to invalidate the declarations by INEC.
On Edward Onoja it was held that all their allegations against him were not proved. Even if proved, they must still be related to a constitutional or statutory provision which affects the election in question. There is none before the court.