By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
The Supreme Court, yesterday, dismissed two separate appeals challenging the re-election of the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello.
The Peoples Democratic Party(PDP)and its candidate, Musa Wada and the Social Democratic Party(SDP) and its candidate, Natasha Akpoti, were before the Apex court challenging the November 16, 2019 gubernatorial election in the state.
In unanimous judgements, a seven-man panel of Justices of the Supreme court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Ibrahim Tanko, held that both appeals lacked merit.
The panel said it was satisfied that the Court of Appeal neither denied the Appellants fair hearing, nor wrongly evaluated their case against the outcome of the Kogi State governorship poll.
It said that is no evidence of rigging or they connived among themselves to rigged the election.
“The appellants failed to prove before this court why it should disturb the concurrent findings of the two courts below”, Justice Okoro held in the lead verdict.
“It is abundantly clear that this appeal is devoid of any scintilla of merit and it is accordingly dismissed”, the court held.
PDP and its candidate had insisted that governor Bello was not validly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the election and sought the annulment of his re-election.
The appellate who alleged that the governor rigged himself back to office, maintained the existence of electoral malpractices, violence and substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
They prayed the court to nullify the Certificate of Return that was issued to governor Bello by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and declare that Wada scored majority of votes cast at the election and fulfilled requirements of section 179(2)(a) and (b) of the Constitution.
It will be recalled that the tribunal had in a two-to-one split decision on May 23, affirmed governor Bello’s election after it also dismissed all the petitions.
While two Justices of the three-member panel tribunal, dismissed the petition by Wada and the PDP for want of merit, a third member of the panel, gave a dissenting judgement that upheld the petition and ordered fresh election in Kogi State.