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Court Reserves Judgment on Kogi Governorship Election

 Olushola Bello

Any moment from now, the people of Kogi State will know the outcome of the decision of the  Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Abuja.

The panel on Monday, reserved judgment in the petition filed by the Social Democratic Party and its governorship candidate, Murtala Ajaka, against the election victory of Usman Ododo.

At Monday’s proceedings, Ajaka’s lawyer, Pius Akubo, urged the tribunal to set aside the respondents’ submissions and uphold theirs.

Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission, through its lawyer, Kanu Agabi, told the court that their final written address was dated and filed on May 2 as he prayed the tribunal sitting to dismiss Ajaka’s petition.

Likewise, the All Progressives Congress and Ododo asked the tribunal to dismiss Ajaka’s petition for being incompetent and lacking in merit.

According to a report by The  Punch Newspaper, Counsel to the respondents, Agabi, Joseph Daudu, and Emmanuel Ukala, while adopting their final written addresses and presenting their arguments against the petitioners, prayed the three-member panel of Justices, led by Justice Ado Birnin-Kudu to dismiss the petition.

Agabi contended that the 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.

He also argued that the evidence of the petitioners were grossly insufficient, citing a Supreme Court decision in a case by Tonye Cole against INEC.

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

“It is to the effect that once the evidence called is grossly insufficient, there is no evidence. In that case, the petitioner filed 305 witness depositions but only adopted 40.

“The petitioner, according to the decision, only adopted about 13.1 percent of the witness depositions. In this case, the depositions adopted represent just about 3.6 percent of their witness depositions,” he said.

He said the petitioners only called 25 witnesses out of the scores listed.

Agabi, said in the mathematical calculation of evidence, 3.6 percent of Ajaka’s witness deposition adopted in the petition amounted to a failure and therefore, ought to be dismissed.

He said the petitioners equally failed to file the witness deposition beforehand in contravention of the Supreme Court’s decision in Obungado’s case.

He argued that the petitioners’ witness who testified about the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machines, clearly stated that he could not guarantee whether those were the BVAS used.

Agabi further argued that the BVAS machine was tendered against Section 84 of the Evidence Act, as there was no certificate of trustworthiness attached alongside it as required by the law.

“Also, the evidence contained in the BVAS machines fell short of what is required of the law,” he added.

He described the case as frivolous as he argued that out of 25, not a single election observer was called.

“Besides, the star witness could not distinguish between what he heard and what he saw when questions were asked”.

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