JUDICIARY

2023 Kogi Governorship: SDP candidate Ajaka goes to Court of Appeal

Kogi State Social Democratic Party, SDP candidate in the November 11, 2023 election, Muritala Yakubu Ajaka, has gone to the Federal Appeal Court, Abuja challenging the State Election Petition Tribunal judgement which affirmed Ahmed Usman Ododo of APC as elected governor of the state.

In the record compiled and transmitted on his behalf by lawyer, J.S Okutepa (SAN), to the Federal High Court in Abuja on 14/6/2024, the appellant stated emphatically that the judgement of the State Election Petition Tribunal, which affirmed the governorship election of Ododo of the APC, was a serious miscarriage of justice.

He strongly insists that he and his party won the November 11, 2023 election and should therefore be declared the rightful winner.

He submitted thirty one grounds of Appeal comprising five (5) grounds over the Tribunal ruling itself, (10) ten grounds on competence of their witnesses, (10) grounds in respect of over voting, five (5) grounds on non-qualification of Ododo and one (1) ground for prayers with consequential orders.

The appellants, who are dissatisfied with the decision of the Kogi State Election Petition Tribunal headed by Hon. Justice Ado Yusuf Birnin Kudu, Submitted the petition vide No EPT /KG/GOV/ 03/2023 of 14/6/2024.

The summary of the appeals are:

a. An order allowing the appeal

b. An order setting aside the judgement of E.P Tribunal.

c. An order restoring the testimony of P.W 1 as well as all documents tendered by the Appellants but expunged from the records.

d. An order that the 2nd respondent was not even qualified to have contested the election into the office of Governor of Kogi State held on 11/11/2023 and that all votes ascribed and or allocated to the 2nd and 3rd Respondents are wasted votes.

e. An order granting the reliefs sought by the appellants in the petition and thereupon declaring him (the 1st Appellant) as the duly elected governor of Kogi State.

f. Such further orders as this Honourable Court may be inclined to make by virtue of it’s power under section 15 of the Court of Appeal Act.

It will be recalled that shortly after the controversial judgement of 27/5/2024, Ajaka said that the long walk to freedom in Kogi State has just began.

He said, “Despite the outcome of the Tribunal, I am proud to say that we have a team of brilliant lawyers who did an outstanding job in proving the case of over-voting during the November 11, 2023 election”.

Ajaka maintained that throughout the entire process, the lawyers exhibited the highest level of professionalism and tenacity, adding that they meticulously gathered evidence, scrutinized data and presented a compelling case to the tribunal.

He said, “Unfortunately, the tribunal despite agreeing to the embarrassing over voting and rigging exercise struck our case out.

“These lawyers did not fail us. We are very optimistic that they will be vindicated by the end of the petition. I can assure you that this judgement will not stand the test of time. Yes we may have lost the battle at the Tribunal, but the war is far from over. Our stolen mandate and our voice will not be silenced. We will rise from the ashes of this defeat, stronger and more determined than ever before. We must be encouraged to pursue justice and keep our faith unwavery.”

Peterideal

A journalist by profession and I have been in active practice for so many years. A graduate of Political Science from University of Abuja. Maried with four children.

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