APC, INEC, Ododo ask tribunal to dismiss SDP's petition as court reserves judgment

Governor Usman Ododo and the All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday, prayed the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja to dismiss a petition filed by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its candidate, Murtala Ajaka, against Ododo’s victory in the election.

Also, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) told the three-man panel led by Justice Ado Birnin-Kudu to dismiss the petition in its entirety for incompetence and lack of merit.

Ododo, APC and INEC, through their senior advocate counsel, Kanu Agabi, Joseph Daudu and Emmanuel Ukala, respectively, made the cases for dismissal of the suit while adopting their final written addresses and presenting their arguments against SDP and Ajaka’s petition.

However, Ajaka’s counsel, Pius Akubo, also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), urged the tribunal to disregard the respondents’ submissions and uphold the petition.

The tribunal, after listening to the parties in the petition, reserved the matter for judgment. Ajaka had challenged Ododo’s victory in the November 11, 2023 Kogi governorship poll, listing INEC, Ododo and APC are listed as first, second and third respondents respectively.

The tribunal had, on April 25, fixed May 13 for the adoption of final written addresses after the parties had closed their case in the matter. At the resumed hearing, yesterday, INEC’s counsel, Agabi, told the court that their final written address was dated and filed on May 2. He said the commission’s reply on point of law was dated May 8 and filed on May 9.

While adopting the processes, the senior lawyer submitted that the petition was incompetent and lacked merit, urging the court to strike it out. Agabi argued that the Court of Appeal had decided that if the grounds of a petition were inconsistent with another and the reliefs, it should be struck out.

He also argued that the evidence of the petitioners was grossly insufficient, citing a Supreme Court decision in Tonye Cole vs INEC. After taking the arguments, Justice Birnin-Kudu reserved judgment in the petition, which he said would be communicated to the parties.

Back to top button