Kogi Tribunal Upholds Governor Ododo’s Victory, Dismisses SDP, Murtala Ajaka’s Petition

Ahmed Usman Ododo
Ahmed Usman Ododo

Kogi Tribunal Upholds Governor Ododo’s Victory, Dismisses SDP, Murtala Ajaka’s Petition

POLITICS DIGEST- Murtala Ajaka, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) governorship candidate in the Kogi State, has lost at the state Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja.

The Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal last week fixed May 27 to deliver judgment on the petition filed by the SDP and its governorship candidate, Ajaka, against the election victory of Governor Usman Ododo.

 Kogi held its off-cycle election on November 11, 2023, amid allegations of rigging and vote-buying.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Ododo of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the winner of the election.

However, in the judgment delivered on Monday, the tribunal ruled against Ajaka.

The parties had adopted their final written addresses in the course of the proceedings.

In the petition, INEC, Ododo and the APC are listed as the 1st to 3rd respondents respectively.

When the case was called on Friday, April 26, INEC, Ododo and APC’s lawyers opposed the move by Jibrin Okutepa (SAN) to lead the witness, Edidiong Udoh, a digital forensic expert, in evidence.

Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN); Alex Iziyon (SAN) and Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), who appeared for INEC, Ododo and APC respectively argued that the petitioners did not list the name of the witness in their proof of evidence and that the witness statement on oath was not front-loaded alongside the petition.

 They also contended that the petitioners served the reports of the witness’ analysis on them 20 minutes before the commencement of the proceedings.

 But Okutepa insisted that the forensic expert was listed on Page 56 of the petition as item 10, adding that his statement was also front-loaded.

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