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Appeal court upholds Ododo’s election as Kogi Governor

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its candidate, Murtala Ajaka, lost their legal battle to unseat Governor Ahmed Ododo of Kogi State as the Court of Appeal dismissed their appeal on Thursday.

The appellate court, in a unanimous judgement, affirmed the declaration and return of Ododo of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the validly elected governor of the state.

The three-member Court of Appeal panel unanimously held that the appellants failed to prove the allegations in their petition challenging Ododo’s election beyond a reasonable doubt, as required by law.

The court further held that the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which sat in Abuja, was right to expunge the evidence of the petitioners’ first witness for being based on hearsay.

According to the court, the allegation that Ododo forged documents submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was a pre-election matter, falling under the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, not the Tribunal.

Having resolved all issues raised in the appeal against the appellants, the court dismissed the appeal for lacking merit and upheld the Tribunal’s judgement.

On 27 May, the Tribunal, led by Hon. Justice Ado Yusuf Birnin Kudu, had affirmed Governor Ododo’s victory in the 11 November 2023 Kogi governorship election, dismissing the petition for lack of substance.

Dissatisfied with the Tribunal’s decision, Ajaka and the SDP approached the Court of Appeal. They sought an order setting aside the Tribunal’s judgement, an order restoring the testimony of their first witness (PW1) and all expunged documents, and a declaration that Ododo was ineligible to contest the governorship election, rendering votes for him and the APC wasted.

The Sun

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