Godwin Tsa Abuja
The Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja in a split decision of two to one affirmed the declaration and return of Yahaya Bello by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the validly elected governor of Kogi State.
The majority judgment delivered by the Chairman of tribunal, Justice Kashim Kaigama, dismissed the petition brought by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the November 16 governorship election, Engineer Musa Wada against the outcome of the polls for lacking in merit.
But in a swift reaction, counsel to the petitioners, Jibril Okutepa (SAN), vowed to challenge the judgment at the Court of Appeal.
Justice Kiagama with another member of the three-man panel, Justice Baraka Wali, dismissed the petition on the grounds that the petitioners failed woefully to prove any grounds of their petition.
He therefore awarded the cost of N500, 000 against the petitioners in favour of the respondents.
However, in his dissenting judgment, Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele, upheld the petitioners’ case by nullifying the results in seven out of the 21 local government areas in the state.
He ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to governor Bello and ordered the electoral body to conduct a fresh election in seven local governments within three months.
Wada and his political party had in their petition contested the outcome of the governorship election in seven out of the 21 local government areas of the state.