Tribunal to deliver judgment in Ajaka, Ododo governorship election dispute on Monday

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The Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has fixed May 27 to deliver judgment in the petition filed by Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its governorship candidate, Murtala Ajaka, against the election victory of Gov. Usman Ododo.

The three-member panel of justices, headed by Justice Ado Birnin-Kudu, announced the date on Thursday in Abuja in a message communicated to counsel to the parties through its secretary, David Mike, and made available to newsmen.

Kogi had, on Nov. 11, 2023 held its off-cycle election in which Ododo of the All Progressive Congress (APC) emerged winner beating his closest rival, Ajaka of the SDP with a wide margin.

Ajaka, dissatisfied with the outcome of the election, had filed a petition before the tribunal, challenging Ododo’s victory.

The case, which commenced in December 2023, came to its highest point on May 13 when SDP, Ajaka, APC, Ododo and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) adopted their final written addresses, after which the tribunal reserved judgement in the petition.

NAN reports that  INEC, Ododo and his party, APC, had prayed the tribunal to dismiss Ajaka and SDP’s petition in its entirety for being incompetent and lacking in merit.

INEC, Ododo and the APC had, through their lawyers; Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN; Joseph Daudu, SAN and Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, respectively, had told the tribunal so while adopting their final written addresses and presenting their arguments against the petition.

However, Ajaka’s lawyer, Pius Akubo, SAN, had urged the tribunal to discountenance the respondents’ submissions and uphold their petition.

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In his argument, INEC’s lawyer, Chief Agabi, had told the panel that the petition lacked merit and incompetent, urging the court to strike it out or dismiss it.

“It is our humble submission that your work in the determination of this petition is simplified in recent judgments by Court of Appeal and Supreme Court,” he said.

He argued that Appeal Court had decided that if the grounds of a petition are inconsistent with one another and are not consistent with the reliefs, it should be struck out.

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