THE Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Lokoja, Kogi, has declared the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, winner of the 2023 senatorial elections held in the state on February 25.
The tribunal, led by Justice K. A. Orjiakoin, held on Wednesday, September 6 that Akpoti-Uduaghan scored 54,064 votes to defeat her closest opponent and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Abubakar Sadiku-Ohere who polled 51,291.
The three-man panel was unanimous on the judgment.
Orjiakoin also disclosed that the results were inflated in favour of the APC within nine polling units in the Ajaokuta Local Government Area (LGA), while Akpoti-Uduaghan’s was intentionally reduced in the areas.
The tribunal also ruled that results were deliberately not entered in favour of Akpoti-Uduaghan in three other polling units.
Sadiku-Ohere was also ordered to pay the sum of N500,000 to Akpoti-Uduaghan to cover the cost of the petition.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Sadiku-Ohere winner of the Kogi Central Senatorial election on Tuesday, February 28.
This came after several hurdles experienced by Akpoti-Uduaghan ahead of the elections, including the hiring of workers a few hours before the voting exercise to destroy roads leading to the Kogi Central Senatorial District by the state Governor Yahaya Bello, who assumed office under the APC platform.
While the PDP alleged that the destruction of roads was a deliberate act of the state to influence election outcomes, the government reacted by saying it aimed to prevent terrorists from accessing the area.
Akpoti-Uduaghan had also accused the APC of hiring thugs in military camouflage to disrupt the elections in some polling units in Kogi Central.