Supreme Court affirms the election of Gov. Bello of Kogi State - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Monday, August 31, 2020

Supreme Court affirms the election of Gov. Bello of Kogi State

 Nigeria’s Supreme Court has affirmed the election of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.

In a ruling on Monday, the apex court dismissed an appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Musa Wada, challenging the outcome of the November 16, 2019 gubernatorial election in the state..

In the lead judgment prepared by Justice Inyang Okoro and read by Justice Uwani Abba-Aji, the Court upheld the earlier judgment of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, which had on July 4, dismissed the case of the PDP and its candidate, and validated the majority decision of the Kogi State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal that affirmed governor Bello’s election victory.

The Supreme court held that 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 noting that the appellants adduced evidence with respect to only 24 out of the 729 polling units in the state.

“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 in their petition at the tribunal, insisted that governor Bello was not validly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the election and sought the sought the annulment of the election.

The appellants alleged that the election was invalid by reason of widespread electoral malpractices, violence and substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act and asked 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.

Alternatively, the Petitioners prayed for an order directing INEC to conduct supplementary election in polling units where elections were cancelled, noting that the margin of lead between the 2nd Respondent and the 1st Petitioner, was Iess than the registered voters in the cancelled polling units.

They also sought a declaration that the Kogi governorship election that held on November 16, 2019, and the subsequent declaration and return of the 2nd Respondent (Bello), were voided by corrupt practices in breach of the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (As amended), which substantially affected the results of the election.

However, in its judgment, the Supreme Court, held that allegations of corruption the Appellants raised against the election were criminal in nature, and therefore ought to have been proved beyond reasonable doubt.

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