Yahaya Bello has been affirmed as the duly elected governor of Kogi State by the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
However, it was a narrow victory for the governor as a member of the three-man Tribunal nullified his election. Nevertheless, the tribunal sitting in Abuja ratified the victory of the incumbent by two to one.
The Kogi governor had contested the election on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
However, his initial victory at the poll had been challenged.
Specifically, the petition against Yahaya Bello and his emergence as governor had been filed by Musa Wada; the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election.
Nevertheless, Yahaya Bello has scaled the hurdle at the tribunal.
In a judgment of two to one delivered by Justice Kashim Kaigama, the Chairman of the Tribunal on Saturday; the tribunal stated that the petitioner, Musa Wada and the PDP had failed to prove the allegations of over-voting; as well as massive thumb printing, voter intimidation, and other electoral malpractices.
Consequently, the tribunal affirmed Bello’s victory on the grounds of insufficient proof of the allegations of the petitioners.
Furthermore, the tribunal awarded a cost of N1m (One Million Naira) to be paid by the petitioners; PDP and Musa Wada to the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); as well as to Yahaya Bello and the APC who are the respondents.
1st News can report that the ruling was not without a bit of drama as one of the member of the Tribunal dissented.
In his dissenting judgment, Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele nullified the election of Governor Yahaya Bello. Thereafter, he ordered the INEC to conduct fresh elections in seven local government areas; where the petitioners proved their allegations of over-voting, thuggery, voter intimidation, massive thumb printing, and other electoral malpractices.