The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has insisted that it will appeal the judgement of Kogi State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal which dismissed the petition of its candidate at the November 2019 Kogi State governorship election, Engr. Musa Wada. The party insisted that its candidate won the election, adding that it would not relent until it reclaimed the mandate at the Appeal Court.
The PDP described the judgment of the tribunal as an alarming miscarriage of justice; “particularly as the PDP and its candidate, Engr. Musa Wada, laid incontrovertible proofs of electoral manipulations by Governor Yahaya Bello and the All Progressives Congress (APC), as affirmed by Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele in his landmark dissenting judgment.”
The party, in a statement on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said it was confident that the Appeal Court would address the substance of the case, which the tribunal allegedly overlooked. “The PDP expressed shock that despite the overwhelming evidence before the tribunal, proving that Governor Yahaya Bello did not win the election, justice was thwarted to the disappointment of the people of Kogi State and generality of Nigerians.
“In fact, the lull and despondency that have enveloped Kogi State since the tribunal’s flawed verdict is an indication that the judgment failed to uphold justice in the genuine aspiration of the people of Kogi State in the election. “The fact remains that the evidences are clear that our candidate is the genuine choice of the people and our party is confident that the Court of Appeal will uphold justice in this matter. “The people of Kogi State now look up to the Appeal Court to reverse this injustice endorsed by the tribunal, given the evidence laid, as affirmed by the courageous verdict of Justice Ohimai.
“The PDP commends Justice Ohimai for his fearlessness in upholding the truth and showing that there is hope in the institution of the judiciary, which our party is confident, will be further established by the Appeal Court in this matter,” the PDP said. A three-member panel of judges, led by Justice Kashim Kaigama, had held that Wada and the PDP failed to prove allegations of over-voting and violence in the November 16, 2019 governorship election. Justice Kaigama awarded the cost of N500,000 each against Wada and PDP to be paid to the respondents.
However, in a dissenting judgment, Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele, nullified the election and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Governor Bello. He ordered INEC to conduct fresh elections within 90 days in seven local governments areas for being “deeply flawed.” Meanwhile, Bello, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Onogwu Muhammed, said by the verdict, the rule of law had once again came to the defense of democracy.