Eric Ikhilae, Abuja
In a two-to-one split decision, the Kogi State Government Election Petition Court on Friday confirmed the election of Yahaya Bello as governor of Kogi State.
The court, led by Judge Kashima Kaigama, in his majority judgment, rejected the argument of the majority position of the panel members.
He noted that while “petitioners advocated overvoting, violence, violation of electoral law, kidnapping of voting units and electoral material by armed bandits in seven areas of the local government of Kogi State, they failed to support their allegations with sufficient evidence. .
The court financed the testimony of some witnesses, claiming it was evidence of rumors.
He maintained that "generally speaking, the petitioners have failed to prove the allegation of over-voting beyond any reasonable doubt."
Consequently, the court affirmed the election of Governor Bello and ordered each petitioner to pay the amount of N500,000 to the second and third respondents to the petition.
In a dissident decision, Judge Ohimai Ovbragele criticized the majority panel's judgment.
Judge Ovbragele held that Bello was not elected governor by legal majority.
The judge noted that the evidence was presented in the sense that the election that produced Bello was marked by violence and other bad electoral practices.
He said that his colleagues on the panel should give credit to Prof. Tanko Ishaya, a professional and specialist called by the petitioners, adding that Ishaya's testimony was not contradicted and was not contested by any of the interviewees' witnesses.
Judge Ovbragele added: "Through this, I make a request canceling the election of the second interviewee, and INEC must withdraw the return certificate that was given to him and hold a new election in the position of governor of the state".