The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the petition of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and its candidate, Musa Wada against the declaration of Governor Yahaya Bello of All Progressives Congress, APC as the winner of November 16 Kogi governorship election.
In the judgment delivered on their behalf by Justice Uwani Abba Aji, the seven man panel of the apex court led by Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mohammed Tanko held that the appeal is devoid of merit and is accordingly dismissed in the unanimous judgement.
The panel held that the petitioners abandoned their pleadings on their written briefs that the election was marred with irregularities at the lower courts.
The panel therefore ruled that having failed to prove their allegations with results from the election and failed to prove that the respondent did not win majority votes in the election. It also ruled that the petitioner failed to prove its claim of electoral malpractices by calling polling unit agents.
The panel held that the appellant only proved over-voting in 24 out of the 729 polling units were conducted.
The apex court also ruled that the forensic expert called by the appellants was not a qualified fingerprint expert.
The judgment was prepared by Justice Iyang Okoro, ABBA Aji said before she began the delivery of the judgment
In the dismissed petition, the governorship candidate of the PDP Musa Wada and his party had asked the apex court to annul the victory of Bello over claims that his election was marred by irregularities
The Supreme Court panel had fixed today for the delivery of judgment after parties in the appeals adopted their various written briefs last Tuesday.
Governor Bello’s victory had earlier been affirmed at the Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal on the grounds that Wada and his party failed to prove the allegations of electoral malpractices in their petition.
But Wada had last Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to set aside the judgments of the tribunal and that of the court of Appeal and declare him the winner of the election or order a fresh poll.
While arguing his position, the PDP candidate, through his counsels, told the panel of Supreme Court panel hearing his appeal last Tuesday that the judgments of the appellate court should be set aside on the grounds that the Court of Appeal discarded evidence of rigging and violence in seven local government areas of the state.
The PDP and Wada were also hopeful that the Supreme Court will uphold the minority judgment of Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele which annulled the November election and ordered a rerun at seven local government areas of the State over allegation of vote rigging at the tribunal level.
The tribunal, in a majority judgment delivered by Justice Kashim Kaigama had upheld the election of Bello, as it said the petitioners failed to prove their allegations of vote rigging.
But in her minority judgment, Justice Ovbiagele held that there was evidence of electoral malpractices in seven LGAs of the state.
He therefore annulled the APC candidate’s victory in the election while ordering a rerun in the seven local government areas of the state.