Barrister Natasha Alpoti-Uduaghan, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP candidate in the Kogi Central Senatorial District election has been declared winner of the election. The Kogi State Election Petition Tribunal made the declaration while nullifying the victory of Sen. Abubakar Ohere of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Lokoja this Wednesday.
The Tribunal Chairman, Justice K. A. Orjiako who read the unanimous judgment of the 3-man panel, said Ohere results were inflated in 9 polling units of Ajaokuta LGA while that of Natasha was intentionality reduced in the same 9 polling units by the INEC Ward Collation officers.
He also stated that 3 other polling units results were deliberately not entered for Natasha in the same LGA.
The court said that Natasha results in the 9 polling units of Ajaokuta LGA was 1073 against the 77 that was recorded by the Ward Collation officers while that of the APC candidate, Abubakar Ohere was inflated to 1553 against the actual figure of 1031.
“The Tribunal is also convinced that the petitioners 996 votes in polling units 009, 046 and O49 polling units of Ganaja village of Ajaokuta LGA was deliberately not recorded at the Ward Collation centre.
The Tribunal said it is not the duty of Collation officers to reject results submitted by presiding officers from polling units in elections that followed the electoral guidelines substantially.
“The issues raised by the petitioner is hereby resolved in favour of the petitioners and after making the proper correction, Natasha Akpoti-Uduagan, PDP, having polled 54,074 against Abubakar Ohere (APC) who polled 51,291 is hereby declared the authentic winner.”
The Tribunal subsequently ordered the 3rd respondent (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Ohere and Issue same to Natasha.
The Court also chided INEC for deliberately going out of its mandate of conducting a free and fair election to conniving with political parties to subvert the will of the people.
He therefore ordered INEC to pay N500,000 to Natasha for ‘subverting justice’ in the Senatorial election.
Responding to the judgment, counsel to Natasha Akpoti-Uduagan, Johnson Usman (SAN) said the judgment has now validated the true winner of the Kogi Central election.
“This is a victory for the people of Kogi Central Senatorial district, victory for Kogi in general and victory for the election processes.