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SDP Candidate Ajaka Appeals Tribunal Judgment, Insist on Stolen Mandate in Kogi State

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SDP Candidate Ajaka Appeals Tribunal Judgment, Insist on Stolen Mandate in Kogi State

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SDP Candidate Ajaka Appeals Tribunal Judgment, Insist on Stolen Mandate in Kogi State

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate for the November 11, 2023, Kogi State governorship election, Murtala Ajaka, has appealed the State Election Petition Tribunal’s decision affirming Ahmed Usman Ododo of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the elected governor. Ajaka, represented by his lawyer, Pius Akubo (SAN), filed the appeal with the Court of Appeal in Abuja on June 14, challenging the Tribunal’s judgment as a “serious miscarriage of justice.”

The appeal, based on 31 grounds, asserts that Ajaka and his party were the rightful winners of the election and should be declared as such. The appellants are seeking the Court of Appeal to overturn the Tribunal’s ruling, reinstate the testimony of their first witness (PW1), and accept all previously excluded documents.

Ajaka and his party also argue that Ododo was not qualified to contest the election, rendering all votes for him and the APC invalid. They are requesting the court to declare Ajaka the duly elected governor of Kogi State.

Following the Tribunal’s judgment on May 27, Ajaka emphasized that their legal team had presented a strong case, highlighting evidence of over-voting and rigging. Despite this, the Tribunal dismissed their case. Ajaka vowed to continue the legal battle to reclaim what he described as a stolen mandate.

Akubo, the appellants’ counsel, pointed out that the Tribunal acknowledged the timely filing of the case and the evidence of over-voting. However, the Tribunal’s decision was contradictory, as they dismissed the testimony of PW1, who presented documents proving over-voting, despite acknowledging his role as an Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) representative.

Akubo criticized the Tribunal for its inconsistency, noting that it had previously ordered INEC to produce the BVAS and a representative to testify, only to later reject the testimony of the INEC staff. He reiterated that the election was marred by significant violations of the Electoral Act, 2022, and election guidelines, and that the appellants had demonstrated that they received the majority of lawful votes.

The appellants have called on the Court of Appeal to correct the perceived injustice and declare Ajaka as the rightful governor-elect of Kogi State.

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