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The Kogi election tribunal has postponed the adoption of final written addresses



On Thursday, the Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja adjourned the hearing of the petition brought by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its governorship candidate, Murtala Ajaka, until May 13 for the adoption of final written addresses.

Murtala Ajaka is contesting the election victory of Governor Usman Ododo of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The three-member panel of justices, led by Justice Ado Birnin-Kudu, set the date after the APC, as the 3rd respondent, concluded its case in support of Gov. Ododo’s win.

Recall that the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) and Ododo had earlier presented their defense in the petition jointly filed by SDP and Ajaka.

The petitioners are disputing Ododo’s triumph in the November 11, 2023, governorship election in Kogi.

In the petition, INEC, Ododo, and APC are identified as the 1st to 3rd respondents, respectively.

SDP and Ajaka, supported by their legal team led by Jibrin Okutepa, SAN, wrapped up their case on April 5 after calling 25 witnesses, despite initially planning to call 400 witnesses.

Additionally, on April 16, INEC closed its defense in support of Ododo’s victory at the polls.

Uchenna Njoku, representing the commission and acting on behalf of Kanu Agabi, SAN, stated that after submitting the electoral documents against SDP’s petition, they did not plan to bring any witnesses as they had assessed the petitioners’ case.

Earlier, the tribunal had adjourned the petitions filed by the Action Alliance (AA) and Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) against INEC’s declaration of Ododo as the duly elected governor of Kogi in the governorship poll for the adoption of final written addresses.

SDP, AA, PRP, and the Action Peoples Party (APP) lodged separate petitions against Ododo’s victory.

However, on February 20, the tribunal dismissed APP’s petition following its withdrawal by the party’s counsel, Daniel Edeachi.

The petition had been filed by APP on December 1, 2023, before the tribunal.

Nonetheless, in its motion on notice dated February 15, the party presented an eight-point argument for the withdrawal.

APP explained that even though they had filed the petition to contest Ododo’s win, they withdrew it based on the perceived lack of sustainability of the grounds of the petition and to prevent overwhelming the tribunal with numerous petitions.