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Kogi State: Appeal Court Reserves Judgment in Ajaka’s Suit Against Ododo

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Kogi State: Appeal Court Reserves Judgment in Ajaka’s Suit Against Ododo

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Kogi State: Appeal Court Reserves Judgment in Ajaka’s Suit Against Ododo

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has reserved judgment in the appeal filed by Murtala Ajaka, the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the November 11, 2023 Kogi State governorship election. Ajaka is challenging the decision of the State Election Petition Tribunal, which upheld the election of Ahmed Ododo from the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the governor of Kogi State.

A three-member panel of justices reserved judgment on Thursday, stating that a date for the decision would be communicated to the parties after the adoption of all briefs filed in the matter.

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Pius Akubo, SAN, representing Ajaka, urged the court to overturn the Tribunal’s judgment, claiming it was a miscarriage of justice. He argued that the Tribunal’s exclusion of evidence from the first petitioner’s witness (PW1) was unjust and that the election in three local government areas was marred by over-voting. Akubo also contended that Ododo was not qualified to contest due to allegedly submitting forged documents to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

On the other hand, Kanu Agabi, SAN, representing INEC, requested the court to dismiss the appeal, citing inconsistencies in the appellants’ case and insufficient evidence. Joseph Daudu, SAN, representing Ododo, argued that the Tribunal was correct in excluding PW1’s evidence and refuted the allegations of over-voting and forgery.

The appellants are asking the court to declare Ajaka the winner of the election, restore the testimony and documents expunged by the Tribunal, and declare that Ododo was not qualified to contest. The Tribunal had previously dismissed the petition on May 27, upholding Ododo’s election, stating that the allegations of over-voting and non-compliance with the Electoral Act were unproven and that the forgery claims should have been addressed in a pre-election context.

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