Kogi election: Tribunal adjourns for adoption of final written addresses

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The Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has adjourned the hearing of the petition filed by the Social Democratic Party, SDP, and its governorship candidate, Murtala Ajaka, until May 13 for the adoption of final written addresses.

Ajaka is challenging the election victory of Governor Usman Ododo of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

The three-member panel of justices, headed by Justice Ado Birnin-Kudu, fixed the date after APC, the 3rd respondent, closed its case on Thursday in defence of Gov. Ododo’s victory.

It would be recalled that the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) and Ododo had earlier closed their defence in the petition jointly filed by SDP and Ajaka as the petitioners.

The petitioners are challenging Ododo’s victory in the November 11, 2023, governorship election in Kogi.

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

SDP and Ajaka, through their lawyers, led by Jibrin Okutepa, SAN, closed their case on April 5 after calling 25 witnesses, against their initial plan of calling 400 witnesses.

Also, INEC, on April 16, closed its case in defence of Ododo’s victory at the polls.

The commission’s counsel, Uchenna Njoku, who held the brief of Kanu Agabi, SAN, said, after tendering the electoral documents against the SDP’s petition, they did not intend to call any witness having assessed the case of the petitioners.

The tribunal had earlier adjourned the petitions of Action Alliance, AA, and Peoples Redemption Party, PRP, against INEC’s declaration of Ododo as a validly elected governor of Kogi in the governorship poll for the adoption of final written addresses.

SDP, AA, PRP and Action Peoples Party, APP, filed separate petitions against Ododo’s victory.

However, the tribunal, on February 20, struck out APP’s petition following its withdrawal by counsel for the party, Daniel Edeachi.

APP had filed the petition on December 1, 2023, before the tribunal.

However, in its motion on notice, dated and filed on February 15, the party gave an eight-ground argument for the withdrawal.

APP said though it filed the petition to challenge Ododo’s victory, the withdrawal of the petition is based on the perceived unsustainability of the grounds of the petition and to avoid overburdening the tribunal with numerous petitions.

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