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JUST IN: Yahaya Bello defeats Wada at Kogi governorship election tribunal

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The Kogi state governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja, on Saturday, affirmed the victory of Governor Yahaya Bello in the 2019 governorship election.

According to the results from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Bello garnered 406,222 votes to defeat Musa Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who polled 189,704 votes in November 2019.

POLITICS NIGERIA as well as independent observers reported how the election was marred by irregularities.

However, Mr Wada, approached the tribunal to challenge the victory of Bello and the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the poll.

The counsel to the petitioners, Jibril Okutepa, had urged the tribunal to uphold the petition and declare Wada as the duly elected governor of Kogi state.

Okutekpa submitted that his clients won the majority of lawful votes cast in the election.

They called a total of 32 witnesses to prove their claim that the election was marred by irregularities, violence, ballot snatching and non-compliance with the electoral act and the constitution.

Joseph Daudu, who represented Bello and the APC, said the petitioners were unable to prove their claims and urged the court to dismiss the petition. Only one witness was called.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was represented by Alex Izinyon and no witness was called.

Delivering the judgement on Saturday, two out of three judges on the panel upheld Bello’s election as governor.

Justice Kashim Kaigama, who headed the three-man bench, and another member, Justice Baraka Wali, held that the petitioners failed to prove any of the grounds of their petition.

Nevertheless, Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele in his minority judgment upheld the petitioners’ case by nullifying the results in seven out of the 21 local government areas in the state, sacked Bello as the winner of the disputed election and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct a fresh election in seven local governments within three months.

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