Kogi Guber: SDP Vows to Challenge Tribunal Judgment

Murtala Ajaka, Usman Ododo

The National Chairman of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Shehu Gabam, has vowed to challenge the outcome of the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which affirmed the election of Ahmed Usman Ododo as the duly elected governor of Kogi State.

Addressing a news conference on Tuesday in Abuja, Gabam said the tribunal judgment which was already in the public domain at the time the judgment was being delivered, was a miscarriage of justice aimed at disenfranchising the people of Kogi State.

“One of the grounds the Tribunal predicated the dismissal of our petition is our alleged failure to demonstrate infractions which occurred on the BVAS machines which we had no access to,” he said.

“Thirty minutes into the delivery of the judgment, it was published by Sahara Reporters. How did they get the judgment?”

Gabam insisted that the party was prepared to go all the way to the Supreme Court, to reclaim its mandate from the All Progressives Congress-led administration of Governor Ododo.

On May 27, the tribunal which sat in Abuja, upheld Ododo’s November 11, 2023 electoral victory, saying the SDP’s petition was bereft of substance and accordingly dismissed it.

Ruling on the matter, the three-member panel of justices, headed by Justice Ado Birnin-Kudu, held that the petitioners – the SDP, and its candidate, Murtala Ajaka – failed to prove the allegations of over-voting and non-compliance-with the Electoral Act 2022 in the petition.

In a unanimous decision, the panel held that all the witness evidence filed before it, was incompetent and full of inconsistencies.

But the SDP candidate, said that it is not the end of the fight for him, declaring his readiness to take the fight to the very end.

Ajaka who issued a statement shortly after the tribunal verdict last Monday, said his opponent had only won the battle but won’t win the war.

“Despite the outcome at the tribunal, I am proud to say that we had a team of brilliant lawyers who did an outstanding job in proving the case of overvoting during the election. Their dedication, expertise, and unwavering commitment to upholding the principles of democracy have left an indelible mark on our case as we push further.

“Throughout the entire process, our lawyers exhibited the highest level of professionalism and tenacity. They meticulously gathered evidence, scrutinized data, and presented a compelling case to the tribunal, but the tribunal despite agreeing to over-voting struck our case out. These lawyers did not fail us. We are very optimistic that they will be vindicated by the end of the petition. I can assure you that this judgment will not stand the test of time,” his statement partly read.

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