It would appear that there is no respite yet for Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State after the Kogi State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal siting in Abuja, on Saturday, upheld the election of Bello in its judgement. It was a narrow escape for Governor Bello as his election was upheld by two of the three judges of the tribunal; while a dissenting judgment annulled Bello’s election.
Governor Bello, however, may be facing more troubles as Musa Wada, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the November 16, 2019, governorship election in Kogi State, vowed to appeal the judgment of the election tribunal on Saturday. The rejection of the tribunal’s judgment by Musa Wada created fresh uncertainty over the victory of Governor Bello in the controversial election in which the PDP Women Leader was murdered in cold blood on the election day in Kogi.
Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Kashim Kaigama, reading the judgment upheld by two judges with one dissenting judgment, said the tribunal held that the petitioner had failed to prove the allegations of over-voting, massive thumb printing, voter intimidation, and other electoral malpractices.
The tribunal also awarded a cost of N1 million against the petitioners, PDP and Musa Wada, to be paid to the INEC, Yahaya Bello and APC, the respondents.
However, in a dissenting judgment, Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele annulled the election of Governor Yahaya Bello and 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.
The dissenting judgment was upheld by many stakeholders in Kogi State as clear representation of the fraud and flaws of the November 16, 2019, governorship election, including the senatorial election in Kogi State. The two judgement will be tested at the Court of Appeal. Governor Bello may be facing the second phase of uncertainty when the case proceeds to the Court of Appeal.