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SDP Candidate Loses Case Against Governor Ododo In Kogi Tribunal



SDP Candidate Loses Case Against Governor Ododo In Kogi Tribunal

The hopes of Murtala Ajaka, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) governorship candidate in Kogi State, were dashed as the state Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja ruled against him on Monday.

News About Nigeria reported that Ajaka had filed a petition challenging the election victory of Governor Usman Ododo in the Kogi off-cycle election held on November 11, 2023.

Allegations of rigging and vote-buying marred the electoral process.

Despite Ajaka’s efforts, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Ododo of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the election.

However, the Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which had earlier fixed May 27 for judgement, delivered its verdict on Monday, ruling against Ajaka and the SDP.

Throughout the proceedings, both parties presented their final written addresses. 

In the petition, INEC, Ododo, and the APC were listed as the 1st to 3rd respondents, respectively.

During the trial, Jibrin Okutepa (SAN) sought to lead the witness, Edidiong Udoh, a digital forensic expert, in evidence.

However, lawyers representing INEC, Ododo, and the APC opposed this move.

Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), Alex Iziyon (SAN), and Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), representing INEC, Ododo, and APC, respectively, argued that the witness was not listed in the petition’s proof of evidence.

They also contended that the witness statement on oath was not submitted alongside the petition.

Furthermore, they pointed out that the petitioners served the reports of the witness’ analysis on them only 20 minutes before the proceedings commenced.

Despite the objections, Okutepa maintained that the forensic expert was listed in the petition and that his statement was properly front-loaded.

In the end, the tribunal ruled against Ajaka.