The Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Wednesday dismissed the application by the Kogi State Governor-elect, Ahmed Ododo, seeking to set aside the order of inspection and forensic examination of electoral documents/materials by Yakubu Murtala Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Ajaka and his political party on November 25, 2023, applied to the tribunal seeking an order to carry out a forensic examination on the documents and materials the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) used in the November 11, 2023 governorship election in the State.
However, Ododo, a candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who was declared winner of the election by INEC amid controversies and allegations of electoral irregularities and violence, filed a counter-application seeking the nullification of Ajaka and SDP’s application.
But while ruling on Ododo’s application which was argued on January 13, the Tribunal held that the application is hollow, empty and devoid of merit.
The Tribunal queried Ododo’s motive for filing the application and questioned why he was afraid of the order of instruction and forensic examination, stressing that Ododo’s application was a total waste of time.
Reacting to the tribunal’s ruling, counsel for Ajaka and SDP, Shaibu Enejo Aruwa (SAN) said, “This is the best explanation of what happened in court today.
“Yahaya Bello/Ododo camp applied saying that tribunal should not allow SDP/Muri lawyers to inspect election material that INEC Nigeria used to do fraudulence in Kogi because the result of some places like Okene, Adavi, Ajaokuta, Okehi and some parts of Lokoja and other places were merely written on results sheets, because ballot papers were not even available to use and do cover up and even BVAS do not have the records.
“So, now the court has said that ‘the application is hollow, unwarranted and devoid of merit’, saying that they have thrown it out today.
“If you are a thief and you run up and down to talk about a matter that does not concern you to cover up, this is the case, if not, what concern APC with what SDP asked the court to order INEC to allow them to inspect?
First time, they tried to kill INEC officials in Lokoja but they were not able to, they tried to burn evidence in INEC office but they were not able. They carried some of those thugs who attacked Echocho to INEC to burn INEC but they were not able.
“They later said that SDP did not file the case on time but today their lawyers were in court to defend what they said that SDP did file case on time.”