* East Senatorial District Anxiously Waiting For ‘Court’s Affirmation’
* PDP Will Replicate Natasha’s Victory In Guber Poll – Dino Melaye
It was jubilation galore as the Court of Appeal in Abuja on Tuesday affirmed Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan as the winner of the election for Kogi Central senatorial district of Kogi State held on February 25, 2023.
The Kogi State National/State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal had earlier ruled that Mrs Akpoti-Uduaghan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won the election.
Abubakar Sadiku-Ohere of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was earlier declared winner of the poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Similarly, the prople of the East Senatorial district are anxiously waiting for what a political analyst says ‘an affirmation of Victor Adoji as the winner of the election following the sacking of Senator Jibrin Isah, and ordered a rerun in 94 polling units where there were irregularities in the last general election on September 6, 2023.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Isah, aka Echocho (Kogi All Progressive Congress) winner and he subsequently became the Senate Committee Chairman on Customs Excise and Tariffs
The Tribunal Chairman, Justice K.A. Orjiako, who delivered the judgment on the petition brought before it by Adoji, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, agreed with the prayers of Adoji.
Adoji had through his counsel, Johnson Usman (SAN), challenged the return of Isah on the ground that elections were cancelled in some polling units where the PVCs collected were more than the margin of Isah’s win.
MetroBusinessNews (MBN) interactions with voters in the Senatorial district over the weekend showed that they were anxiously waiting for affirmation of the tribunal’s judgement.
“We are confident that the judiciary would live up to the expectations of the majority of people, in spite of all odds and intimidation, to declare our popular candidate, in the person of, Victor Adoji, as the rightful winner for the seat,” says one of the voters resident in Idah, the traditional headquarters of the Igala kingdom.
According to Lagos based political analyst, “which ever way it turns out, Victor is sure to be the rightful candidate as going back to the 94 units for a rerun, will only confirm the overwhelming support for Adoji.”
However, on Tuesday, a three-man panel of the appellate court dismissed Sadiku-Ohere’s appeal for lacking in merit, thereby paving way for Mrs Akpoti-Uduaghan to finally emerge as the Senator representing the Central district.
According to the court, the appellant failed to provide convincing evidence why the declaration of Akpoti-Uduaghan as winner of the poll should be set aside.
Akpoti-Uduaghan had contested the initial declaration of Sadiku-Ohere as winner of the election by INEC on the grounds that the electoral commission failed to input election results from Ajaokuta, Adavi and Okehi local government areas of the senatorial district, whose votes gave her the winning margin above Sadiku-Ohere.
The rejected and excluded results were then added to the overall results by the tribunal, which then revealed that the PDP candidate won the majority of lawful votes cast at the poll.
In the same vein, the petitioner had pleaded with the tribunal to annul the election of Isah and ordered a supplementary election in the affected 94 polling units in the senatorial district.
Delivering a unanimous judgment of the tribunal, Justice Orjiako agreed with the submission of Adoji’s counsel and annulled Isah’s victory. The tribunal also ordered the withdrawal of his certificate of return.
“Since the PVCs collected in the 94 polling units is 59,730, while the margin of win is 26,922 votes, the Returning Officer ought to have declared the election inconclusive without making a return.
“Consequently, this honourable tribunal hereby granted the reliefs sought by the petitioners. We also set aside the Certificate of Return issued to Jibrin Isah.
“The tribunal hereby also orders INEC to conduct a supplementary election in the affected polling units where the election did not hold or was cancelled to determine the winner, ” Justice Orjiako declared.
Judgement is being expected to be delivered by the appellate court before the week ends.
Meanwhile, Sen. Dino Melaye, PDP candidate for the Kogi governorship election, says his party will replicate the victory of Akpoti-Uduagan in the Nov. 11 election.
Melaye made the remark at the Appeal Court, Abuja, in an interview with newsmen shortly after the court affirmed the election victory of Akpoti-Uduagan of PDP as the winner of the Kogi Central Senatorial election held in Feb. 25.
The three-member panel, in a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Hamma Barka, upheld the judgment of the state’s election tribunal and dismissed the appeal filed by Sen. Ohere of APC.
The court agreed with the submission of counsel for Akpoti-Uduagan, Usman, SAN, for being meritorious.
Reacting to the judgment, Melaye said the PDP would also win the forthcoming election in Kogi.
“What Nigerians should expect from the Kogi State election on the 11th of November is what the Court of Appeal has just done.
“It has shown that PDP is the dominant party in Kogi State and by the grace of God, the PDP will win that election.
“We will protect our election, we will protect our electorate and we call on Kogites not to be afraid because at the end of the day, every lie has an expiry date, just like the lies of APC in Kogi have expired today,” he said.