For the Socialist Democratic Party (SDP) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi, the ruling of the Supreme Court on Monday, August 31, concerning the last gubernatorial election in the state meant the end of the road.
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The apex court delivering its judgment in Abuja favoured the verdict of the Court of Appeal which had earlier upheld the verdict of the election petition tribunal certifying the victory of Governor Yahaya Bello.
A seven-man panel led by Chief Justice of Nigeria, (CJN)Justice Tanko Muhammad had listened to the allegations brought before it by the PDP and the SDP.
Both opposition parties alleged that the election was marred with over-voting, card reader manipulation and other corrupt practices which violate the provision of the Nigerian constitution and that of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Moreover, the SDP had claimed that the state's deputy governor, Edward Onoja, falsified documents, submitted false information to INEC and is thus not qualified to occupy the office.
However, the court on Monday ruled that the claims against Bello lack merit and have been dismissed.
Reading the verdict, Justice Uwani Abba-Aji said: “Having resolved all the five issues against the appellants, it is abundantly clear that the appeal is devoid of any scintilla of merit and it is accordingly dismissed.”
The apex court maintained that both Musa Wada, the PDP's guber candidate and Natasha Akpoti, the SDP's flag bearer in the said election failed to prove their claims beyond a reasonable doubt.
Earlier, the court upheld Bello as the winner of the governorship election in Kogi state. The apex court in a seven-man panel led by Tanko dismissed the appeal filed by the PDP and its candidate in the election, Musa.
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In its judgment, the court upheld the concurrent decisions of the trial tribunal and the Court of Appeal that the petitioners failed to prove their claim that Bello was not lawfully returned by INEC as the winner of the election held on November 16, 2019.
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In another judgment, the Supreme Court dismissed the request by the SDP and its candidate in the last governorship election in Kogi state, Natasha Akpoti, for the nullification of the election of Governor Bello.
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