The Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday, fixed February 10 to commence pre-hearing session on the petition the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Musa Wada, filed against governor Yahaya Bello’s re-election.
A three-man panel of justices headed by Justice Kashim G. Kaigama, ordered service of pre-hearing notice on all the parties.
PDP and its candidate had in their joint petition marked EPT/KG/GOV/06/2019, are praying the tribunal to declare that governor Bello of the All Progressive Congress, APC, was not the valid winner of the gubernatorial contest.
Cited as respondents in the petition are the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, governor Bello and the APC.
It will be recalled that INEC had on November 18, declared Yahaya Bello of the APC as the winner of the governorship election.
The Returning Officer, Ibrahim Garba, who is the Vice-Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, declared that Bello polled the highest number of votes in the election with 406,222 to defeat Wada of the PDP who scored 189,704 in the election.
As collated by INEC, Bello defeated Wada with a total of 216,518, while Natasha Akpoti of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) came a distant third in the election with 9482 votes.
However, Wada of the PDP, insisted that the election was rigged in favour of the APC and its candidate.
Aside from contending that he won the election, Wada, alleged that the exercise was marred by widespread electoral malpractices and violence, adding that there was substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
The petitioners are among other things, seeking a declaration that the 2nd Respondent, governor Bello, did not secure majority of lawful votes cast at the election.
They are praying the tribunal to issue an order nullifying the Certificate of Return the INEC issued to governor Bello and declare that Wada scored the majority of votes cast at the election and fulfilled that having fulfilled requirements of section 179(2)(a) and (b) of the Constitution.
Alternatively, the Petitioners are praying for an order directing INEC to conduct a supplementary election in polling units where elections were cancelled, noting that the margin of lead between the 2nd Respondent and the 1st Petitioner, being Iess than the registered voters in the cancelled polling units.
They further sought for a declaration that the Kogi governorship election that held on November 16, 2019, and the subsequent declaration and return of the 2nd Respondent, are voided by corrupt practices in breach of the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (As amended), which substantially affected the results of the election.