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Supreme Court fixes August 31 to give judgement on Kogi governorship election petitions

THE Supreme Court sitting in Abuja has fixed August 31 to give judgement in the appeal filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Musa Wada against the election of Yahaya Bello, the Governor of Kogi State.

The apex court is also going to give verdict on another appeal filed by Natasha Akpoti, candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

Wada is challenging the victory of Bello who was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the November 16, 2016 governorship election in Kogi State.

While the PDP insisted that its candidate won the governorship election, Wada claims that irregularities marred the election that brought in Bello as governor of the state.

A seven-man panel of the Supreme Court presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, fixed the date to deliver judgments in two separate appeals challenging the victory of Bello shortly after hearing submissions of lawyers to parties in the separate suits.

Wada through his lawyer, Jibrin Okutepa pleaded with the Apex Court to allow his appeal.

However, lawyer to Bello, Joseph Daudu, and that of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Alex Izinyon, urged the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.

Daudu specifically pleaded with the apex court to affirm the concurrent decisions of the Court of Appeal and the state governorship election petition tribunal which dismissed Wada’s petition.

While arguing their brief, the two appellants had pleaded with the panel of the apex court to set aside the findings of the Court of Appeal and the Tribunal and allow their appeal to succeed.

Counsel to INEC, Alex Izinyon and Joseph Daudu in their separate arguments prayed for an outright dismissal of the appeal.

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A third appeal filed by the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) and its governorship candidate, Usman Mohammed was, however, dismissed after it was withdrawn by the appellants.

The appeal was a sequel to the Court’s prompting on the eligibility of its candidate who was said to be 31 years instead of the mandatory 35 years.

In May, Wada lost his petition at the election tribunal which sat in Abuja

In the judgment of two to one, delivered by Justice Kashim Kaigama, the Chairman of the Tribunal, it held that the petitioner had failed to prove the allegations of over-voting, massive thumb printing, voter intimidation, and other electoral malpractices.

The tribunal also awarded a cost of N1 million to be paid by the petitioners, PDP and Musa Wada to INEC, Yahaya Bello, and APC who are the respondents.

Thereafter, Wada lost his appeal before the Court of Appeal, being dissatisfied with the judgement, he approached the Apex Court.

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