The Supreme Court on Monday affirmed the election of Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello.
A seven-man panel of the court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria(CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, made this declaration in two separate judgements, dismissing the appeals filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Socialist Democratic Party (SDP).
The apex court affirmed the July 4, 2020 judgements of the Court of Appeal in Abuja and verdicts of the election petition tribunal, which had both upheld Bello’s victory at the election.
Both PDP and SDP, along with their governorship candidates in the election, Musa Wada and Natasha Akpoti respectively, had alleged that the election was marred by corrupt practices and non-compliance with the provision of the Nigerian Constitution, the Electoral Act and the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) electoral guidelines.
But the apex court dismissed the appeals on the grounds that the allegations, including the charges by SDP against Bello’s running mate and now Kogi State Deputy Governor, Edward Onoja, that he falsified documents, submitted false information to INEC and not qualified to contest the November 2019 election were not proved by the appellants.
The lead judgement on PDP’s appeal was prepared by Justice Inyang Okoro but read on his behalf by another member of the panel, Justice Uwani Abba-Aji.
Justice Abba-Aji who was the only member of the panel present in court on Monday read the lead judgement prepared by her.
The apex court resolved all the five issues raised for determination in the appeal against the PDP and its governorship candidate, Wada, who jointly filed the appeal.
Resolving all the five issues in favour of Bello, his party (APC) and the INEC, the apex court declared the appellants’ appeal as lacking in merit.
“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 court held.
Justice Abba-Aji said of the appeal filed by SDP and its candidate, Akpoti, that the concurrent judgements of both the Court of Appeal and and the election petition tribunal remained “unimpeachable.”
Aside from the CJN, Justices Okoro and Abba-Aji, other members of the panel who also agreed with the judgements are Justices Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, Sylvester Ngwuta, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, and Amina Augie.