BY GRACE ANYANWU, ABUJA – The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Saturday validated the election of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State of the All Progressives Congress.
This followed the dismissal of four grounds of appeals filed by the Governirship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Actions People’s Party (APP), the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) challenging the victory of Bello at the November 16, 2019 election.
In separate rulings, the five-man panel of the Court of Appeal led by Justice Adamu Jauro unanimously dismissed the four appeals saying they lack merit.
Of the four appeals, that of the PDP and its governorship candidate, Engr Musa Wada, was the most keenly fought.
In its ruling on Saturday, the Court of Appeal asserted that the allegations of over-voting, multiple thumb-printing, and results falsification were not proved by the appellants.
Justice Haruna Tsamani, who delivered the lead judgment said that the appellants merely dumped their documents on the Tribunal without calling relevant witnesses to link the documents to the allegation of over-voting.
Tsamani declared that a party alleging over-voting must tender the voter registers for the affected polling units and the results of the polling units and ought to show how, without over-voting, the results would be in his or her favour.
The lead Justice in the appeal by APP, Justice Mohammed Shiaibu, upheld that the May 22, 2020 verdict of the Tribunal which threw out the party’s case of unlawful exclusion from the election.
Similarly, Justice Oluwayemisi Williams-Daudu, who read the lead judgment on the DPP’s appeal, also affirmed the May 8, 2020 ruling of the Tribunal thereby dismissed the party’s case of unlawful exclusion from the November 16, 2020 poll.
In her own lead judgment on the appeal by the SDP and its governorship candidate, Natasha Akpoti, Justice Onyenkachi Otisi, also affirmed the May 18, 2020 verdict of the Tribunal.