An Atmosphere of uneasiness currently envelops Kogi State as parties to the dispute over the last governorship election in the state anxiously await the verdict of the Supreme Court scheduled to be handed down on Monday.
The nation’s apex court is expected to deliver two judgments on the two surviving appeals on the dispute over whether or not the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello, was lawfully returned by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the winner of the November 16, 2019 election.
The first appeal, marked: SC/CV/388/2020, was filed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Engr. Musa Wada, while the second one was filed the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its candidate, Natasha Akpoti.
The PDP and Wada had, shortly after INEC announced the result of the election, filed a petition on December 7, 2019 before the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which sat in Abuja.
On May 23, 2020, the tribunal, in a split decision of two-to-one, dismissed the petition and upheld INEC’s return of Bello as the winner of the election.
The tribunal’s Chairman, Justice Kashim Kaigama, and a member, Justice Baraka Wali, gave the majority decision, while another member, Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele, gave the minority dissenting judgment, upholding the petition and voiding Bello’s election.
The PDP and Wada appealed the majority decision of the tribunal at the Court of Appeal in Abuja. But in a judgment on July 4, 2020 the appellate court’s five-man panel was unanimous in dismissing the appeal and proceeded to uphold the majority decision of the tribunal.
On the Court of Appeal’s panel were Justices Adamu Jauro, Haruna Simon Tsammani, Onyekachi Aja Otisi, Elfreda O. Williams-Daudu and Mohammed Lawal Shuaibu.
The PDP and Wada again appealed to the Supreme Court, which was heard on August 25 and the judgment scheduled for August 31, 2020.