The Supreme Court, on Monday, affirmed the election of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State. The apex court, dismissed an appeal the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Musa Wada, lodged to challenge the outcome of the gubernatorial election that held in the state on November 16, 2019.
It upheld the earlier judgement of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, which had on July 4, dismissed the case of the PDP and its candidate, and validated the majority decision of the Kogi State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal that affirmed governor Bello’s election victory.
Though the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Ibrahim Tanko, led the seven-man panel that heard the case of the appellants, the lead judgement was however prepared by Justice Inyang Okoro and read by Justice Uwani Abba-Aji. The apex court said it was satisfied that the Court of Appeal neither denied the Appellants fair hearing, nor wrongly evaluated their case against the outcome of the Kogi State governorship poll.
“The appellants failed to prove before this court why it should disturb the concurrent findings of the two courts below”, Justice Okoro held in the lead verdict. The apex court stressed that the Appellants failed to substantiate their case, noting that they adduced evidence with respect to only 24 out of the 729 polling units in the state.
“It is abundantly clear that this appeal is devoid of any scintilla of merit and it is accordingly dismissed”, the court held. PDP and its candidate had insisted that governor Bello was not validly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the election.
In their petition at the tribunal marked EPT/KG/GOV/06/2019, they sought the annulment of governor Bello’s re-election, alleging that he rigged himself back to office.
The appellants alleged that the election was invalid by reason of widespread electoral malpractices, violence and substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.