Tribunal returns Bello as Kogi governor

Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

• Wada, Faleke to appeal judgement

The Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja yesterday upheld the election of the state governor, Yahaya Bello, as winner of the November 21 and December 5 gubernatorial polls in the state.

In dismissing yesterday a petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the elections, Idris Wada, the tribunal held that he lacked the locus standi to query the nomination of Bello as the All Progressives Congress (APC) standard-bearer.

The Justice Halima Mohammed-led three-man panel had also on Monday dismissed the petition filed by the running mate to the late Aububakar Audu, James Abiodun Faleke, challenging the legitimacy of the election that brought Bello into office.

Delivering its judgment, it had held also that Faleke lacked the locus standi to contest the emergence of the governor.

The tribunal, yesterday, also dismissed the joint petition filed by Wada, his running mate, Sunday Awoniyi and the PDP for lacking in merit.

The panel made the pronouncement while upholding the preliminary objection filed by Bello, the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) challenging Wada’s petition.

The tribunal also held that Bello was qualified to contest going by the provisions of the constitution and that Governor Bello, having participated in the primaries, was qualified to be nominated being the closest substitute that could have been produced by the APC.

While stating that it had carefully examined the petition filed by Wada paragraph by paragraph, the tribunal held that the 240, 867 votes scored by the late Audu Abubakar belonged to his party, APC.

It further held that none of the parties provided materials to prove corrupt practices during the election, adding that there was no merit in the entire petition supporting its grounds and the prayers sought.

“Having critically examined the conduct of the election, the petitioner has failed to prove his point. Bello is hereby declared winner,” the tribunal ruled.

Meanwhile, Wada has rejected the verdict just as Faleke did.

Consequently, the pair have told reporters that they would appeal the judgment.

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