The Kogi State Election Petition Tribunal has annulled the victory of Sen. Abubakar Sadiku-Ohere, as the winner of the Kogi Central senatorial election.
The Tribunal ruled in favor of the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senatorial candidate, Mrs. Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan against Abubakar Sadiku-Ohere of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
The Court declared Akpoti- Uduagan winner of the February Senatorial election in Kogi Central in the petition tribunal ruling on Wednesday, September 6, 2023.
In the unanimous judgment of the 3-man panel, the Tribunal Chairman, Justice K. A. Orjiako, said Ohere’s results were inflated in nine polling units of Ajaokuta Local Government Area. He further confirmed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had unintentionally reduced Natasha’s results in 9 of the same polling units. He said in 3 other polling units, results that were deliberately not entered for Natasha in the same LGA.
Upon correction of the errors, the court declared Natasha Akpoti-Uduagan the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate as winner of the poll.
Akpoti-Uduagan had polled 54,074 votes to defeat APC’s Ohere who polled 51,291.
Counsel to Sadiku-Ohere, APC, had prayed the tribunal to dismiss Akpoti-Uduaghan’s petition for lack of merit.
Abdullahi argued that their petitionioners could not provide solid evidence to their claims and therefore, had only embarked on mere academic exercise.
“In those paragraphs, 31 – 44 and even paragraph 47, there are no evidence in support of their claims in the petition, which goes to show that it is but a sheer academic exercise.
“My Lord, in the absence of evidence in these crucial paragraphs, there’s no way this petition can stand. So l urge your lordship to dismiss the petition for lack of merit,” he argued.
Abdullahi alleged that the petitioners merely dumped documents on the tribunal without witness evidence.
“We pray that those paragraphs in which the petitioners couldn’t activate should be expunged and the petition be dismissed for want of evidence,” he pleaded
However, the counsel to Akpoti-Uduaghan, Umeh Kalu (SAN) and Johnson Usman (SAN) debunked the claims and prayed the court to disregard their submissions.
“My Lord, the replies of the 1st and 3rd respondents are frivolous and of no effect and should be disregarded. We urge your lordship to grant all our prayers in the petition “INEC is the conductor of the election and didn’t deny all the wrongs on the day of the election even as we cited authorities to prove that,” Usman argued.
“Again, 1st and 3rd respondents alleged we failed to activate our statements. What about Prosecution witnesses (PWs) from the 2nd to 18th, who were eyewitnesses of all that happened at the polling units that came here and testified?
“Therefore, there are no other evidences that overshadowed those of PW2 – PW18. What’s even more concrete, is that PW20 is an INEC official, that gave evidence in this case.
“We have brought before this tribunal facts and figures, which your lordship only need to calculate and come out with the actual results of that election for Kogi Central Senatorial seat.
“What’s more? We tendered three results at different occasions and all these results from the same origin and in contents and are clear as to our client’s victory and to mean that this petition stands unchallenged.
“If we just go by the results tendered, and pick only one in which reads 751 votes that was suppressed, Akpoti-Uduaghan is a clear winner of that election.
“This is because they claimed Sadiku-Ohere won with only 369 votes. Therefore, if the 751 votes
are added to Akpoti-Uduaghan’s, that one alone settles the matter to declare her as the winner of that election,” he prayed.
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INEC had declared Abubakar Sadiku-Ohere of the APC as winner of the Feb. 25 election for
Kogi Central Senatorial District.