Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State on Sunday celebrated his narrow escape at the Kogi State governorship Election Petitions Tribunal that sat in Abuja where two of the three judges upheld his election for a second tenure while one judge nullified his election and ordered INEC to conduct fresh governorship election in Kogi State within 90 days. A shift of one more judge to the side of the dissenting judgement would have seen Governor Bello out of office on Saturday.
Governor Bello after observance of the Eid prayer at the Lokoja Township Stadium to mark the Eid-El-Fitr in Lokoja, Kogi State on Sunday declared that his victory at the Tribunal was an act of God and a testament to the popular votes of the people for him.
Governor Bello stated that the voters re-elected him during the November 2019 governorship election so that he will consolidate on the achievements recorded in his first tenure.
The governor insisted that his victory which was affirmed on Saturday by the judges of the Tribunal did not come to him as a surprise, as the electorate came out in large numbers to vote for him and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Bello noted that the victory has posed a challenge to him, assuring that he would continue to do his best to ensure that they get good governance in the state.
The Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Saturday dismissed the petition filed by Musa Wada, PDP candidate and the PDP.
In a judgment, Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Kashim Kaigama, held that the petitioners failed to prove the allegations of over-voting, massive thumbprinting, and voter intimidation, among other electoral malpractices against the governor.
He also awarded a cost of N1 million to be paid by the petitioners to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Bello, and the APC who were the respondents.
Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele in a dissenting judgment, nullified the election of Governor Bello. Justice Ovbiagele also ordered 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.