Kogi: Tribunal to deliver Judgment In Ajaka, Ododo Governorship Election Dispute Today Monday

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According to Vanguard, The Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja has set May 27 as the date for delivering judgment on the petition lodged by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its gubernatorial candidate, Murtala Ajaka, contesting the victory of Governor Usman Ododo. The three-member panel, led by Justice Ado Birnin-Kudu, conveyed the decision to the parties’ counsel via its secretary, David Mike, in a message disclosed to the press on Thursday in Abuja.

The off-cycle election in Kogi took place on November 11, 2023, resulting in the triumph of Usman Ododo from the All Progressive Congress (APC) over his closest contender, Ajaka of the SDP, by a significant margin.

Ajaka, discontented with the election outcome, filed a petition with the tribunal challenging Ododo’s win. The legal proceedings, initiated in December 2023, reached a climax on May 13 when SDP, Ajaka, APC, Ododo, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) presented their final written addresses. Subsequently, the tribunal reserved judgment on the matter.

INEC, Ododo, and APC urged the tribunal to dismiss Ajaka and SDP’s petition entirely, asserting its incompetence and lack of merit. Their lawyers, including Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN; Joseph Daudu, SAN; and Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, respectively, advocated for the petition’s dismissal during the adoption of their final written addresses.

However, Ajaka’s legal representative, Pius Akubo, SAN, urged the tribunal to disregard the respondents’ arguments and uphold their petition. Chief Agabi, representing INEC, argued that the petition lacked merit and competency, citing recent judgments by higher courts. He recommended that the tribunal strike out or dismiss the petition.

Ododo’s counsel, Daudu, supported by Ukala, emphasized the petition’s alleged statute-barred nature and refuted allegations of forgery against his client. They contended that certain electoral provisions cited by the petitioners were inapplicable.

In rebuttal, Akubo contested Daudu’s assertion regarding the timeliness of the petition, citing evidence provided by the respondents themselves. He urged the tribunal to recognize the petition as being within the statutory timeframe.……Seé Moré

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