Appeal court affirms Bello’s election as Kogi governor

The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Saturday affirmed the election of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, after dismissing four appeals challenging his victory at the November 16, 2019 poll.
In separate judgments all of which were unanimous, the five-man panel of the court led by Justice Adamu Jauro dismissed the four appeals for lacking in merit.
The appeals dismissed were filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, the Actions People’s Party, the Social Democratic Party and the Democratic People’s Party.
Among the four appeals, the one filed by the  PDP along with its governorship candidate, Musa Wada, was the most keenly fought.
The three-man of the Kogi State Governorship Election Tribunal which sat in Abuja was unable to reach a unanimous decision in the case, as a result of which it delivered a split judgment of two-to-one to affirm Bello’s election.
The 22 grounds of appeal filed by the PDP was against the majority judgment of the tribunal which affirmed the victory of Bello and his party, the All Progressives Congress.
Delivering judgment in the appeal, the Court of Appeal held that the allegations of overcoming, multiple thumbprinting and results falsification were not proved by the appellants.
Justice Haruna Tsamani who delivered the lead judgment held that the appellants merely dumped their documents on the tribunal without calling relevant witnesses to link the documents to the allegation of overvoting.
He noted that a party alleging overvoting must tender the voter registers for the affected polling units and the results of the polling units, show how, without overvoting, the results would be in his or her favour.
He added that such petitioner must demonstrate his or her case by cogent evidence in open court.
Justice Tsamani added that the evidence acceptable by the court “must be that of persons present at the polling unit”.
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