The National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal in Kogi on Wednesday reserved judgment in a petition filed by Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against Abubakar Sadiku-Ohere of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Akpoti-Uduaghan, who lost the Kogi Central Senatorial seat to Sadiku-Ohere in the February 25 polls by 369 votes, had urged the tribunal to declare her election winner case came up for adoption of written addresses before the tribunal led by Justice K.A. Ojiako, Counsel to Sadiku-Ohere, APC and INEC, Messers M.Y. Abdullahi (SAN), S.A. Abbas and Dayo Akinlaja (SAN), as 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents, prayed to the tribunal to dismiss her petition for lacking merit.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Akinlaja argued in his final written address that the petitioners, in paragraphs 31 – 44 of their petition, could not give concrete evidence of their claims and, therefore, had only embarked on mere academic exercise.
“In those paragraphs 31 – 44 and even paragraph 47, there is is no evidence supporting their claims in the petition, which shows that it is but a sheer academic exercise.
“My Lord, in the absence of evidence in these crucial paragraphs, there’s no way this petition can stand. So l urge your lordship to dismiss the petition for lack of merit,” he argued.
Also, in his written address, Abdullahi alleged that no witness gave evidence to the petitioners’ claims, which means that they (petitioners) only dumped documents on the tribunal without activating them.
“We pray that those paragraphs in which the petitioners couldn’t activate should be expunged and the petition be dismissed for want of evidence,” the counsel pleaded.
Tribunal Reserves Ruling In Kogi PDP Senatorial Candidate.
But the counsel to Akpoti-Uduaghan, Umeh Kalu (SAN) and Johnson Usman (SAN), in adopting their written address, debunked the claims of INEC and Sadiku-Ohere and prayed the Court to disregard their submissions and prayers and allow the petition.
Usman, who spoke, said their address was explicit about their disagreement with the issues raised by the INEC and sadiku-Ohere in their written addresses.
“My Lord, the replies of the 1st and 3rd respondents are frivolous and of no effect and should be disregarded. We urge your Lordship to grant all our prayers in the petition.
“INEC is the conductor of the election and didn’t deny all the wrongs on the day of the election even as we cited authorities to prove that.
“Again, 1st and 3rd respondents alleged we failed to activate our statements. What about Prosecution witnesses (PWs) from the 2nd to 18th, who were eyewitnesses of all that happened at the polling units that came here and testified?
“Therefore, no other evidence overshadowed those of PW2 – PW18. Even more concrete is that PW20 is an INEC official that gave evidence in this case.
“We have brought before this tribunal facts and figures, which your lordship only need to calculate and come out with the actual results of that election for the Kogi Central Senatorial seat.
“What’s more? We tendered three results on different occasions; all are from the exact origin and contents and are clear as to our client’s victory, meaning that this petition stands unchallenged.
“If we just go by the results tendered and pick only one that reads 751 votes that were suppressed, Akpoti-Uduaghan is a clear winner of that election.
“This is because they claimed Sadiku-Ohere won with only 369 votes. Therefore, if the 751 votes are added to Akpoti-Uduaghan’s, that one alone settles the matter to declare her as the winner of that election,” Usman argued.
The lead judge, Justice Ojiako, after hearing from all the counsels as they adopt their written addresses with adumbration, declared that the judgement has been reserved to a date to be communicated to all the parties involved.
NAN reports that INEC had declared Abubakar Sadiku-Ohere of the APC as the February 25 election winner for Kogi Central Senatorial District.
The INEC Returning Officer for Kogi Central Senatorial District, Prof. Rotimi Ajayi, announced the result in Okene, said Sadiku-Ohere garnered 52,132 votes against Akpoti-Uduaghan’s 51,763 votes to clinch the seat, a difference of 369 votes between them.
But Akpoti-Uduaghan and her party, PDP, filed a petition challenging that result and sadiku-Ohere’s victory at the election tribunal.
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