Supreme Court has upheld the election of Yahaya Bello as Governor of Kogi State by dismissing the appeal of the Peoples Democratic Party and its governorship candidate, Musa Wada, challenging the victory the Governor in the November 16, 2019 election.
PDP and its governorship candidate, Musa Wada, had filed a petition insisting that governor Bello was not validly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the election.
They alleged that the election was invalid by reason of widespread electoral malpractices, violence and substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
A seven-man panel headed by Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko, in a unanimous decision has now affirmed the election of Bello of the All Progressives Congress as the duly elected governor after resolving all issues raised in the appeal against the appellants.
It upheld the earlier judgement of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, which had on July 4, dismissed the case of the PDP and its candidate, and validated the majority decision of the Kogi State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal that affirmed Bello’s election victory.
Though Justice Tanko led the panel, the lead judgement was however prepared by Justice Inyang Okoro and read by Justice Uwani Abba-Aji.
Aside from the CJN, Justices Okoro and Abba-Aji, other members of the panel who also agreed with the lead judgments were, Justices Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, Sylvester Ngwuta, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun and Amina Augie.
The apex court said it was satisfied that the Court of Appeal neither denied the Appellants fair hearing, nor wrongly evaluated their case against the outcome of the Kogi State governorship poll.
Justice Okoro stated;
The appellants failed to prove before this court why it should disturb the concurrent findings of the two courts below.
The apex court stressed that the appellants failed to substantiate their case, noting that they adduced evidence with respect to only 24 out of the 729 polling units in the state.
The court held;
Having resolved all the five issues against the appellants, it is abundantly clear that the appeal is devoid of any scintilla of merit and it is accordingly dismissed.
PDP and its candidate had insisted that governor Bello was not validly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the election.
However, in its judgement, the Supreme Court, held that allegations of corruption the appellants raised against the election were criminal in nature, and therefore ought to have been proved beyond reasonable doubt.