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Appeal Court Declares Wada Governor Of Kogi

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SAN FRANCISCO, July 14, (THEWILL) - The suit filed by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and its governorship aspirant, Abubakar Audu, challenging the election of Captain Idris Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as governor of Kogi State has been dismissed by the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

Wada’s INEC-declared success at the poll had initially been upheld by the Kogi State Election Petition Tribunal, but ACN and Abubakar headed for higher authority to seek its overturn.

Delivering the lead judgement, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa held that Audu and his party did not prove allegations of Wada’s and PDP’s failure to score majority of lawful votes. In addition, she resolved in the favour of PDP, all seven issues Audu raised to request nullification of the tribunal’s earlier ruling.

The appellate court held that Audu simply dumped the documents with which he had hoped to upturn the election tribunal’s judgement without quite explaining their relevance.

“It is the duty of the petitioner to lead evidence in support of the documents he submitted to court. It is not for the judge to go and start searching for what they substantiate, in chambers,” Justice Bulkachuwa. “The tribunal was right to hold that the appellant merely dumped the documents on them.”

The court also held that Audu failed prove allegations that the election was corrupt and that it substantially affected the result of the election.

“The onus was on the Appellant to prove that the votes scored by Wada were unlawful but he failed to so do. Besides, the appellant ought to produce another set of results. Having failed to do that, it could not be heard to say that the results declared by INEC were unlawful.”

On other matters, Justice Bulkachuwa said, “The witness (called in by Audu) was not in Kogi on the day of the election. He did not carry out a geometric analysis of the ballot papers. His testimony is inchoate and amounts to hearsay. The integrity of the evidence is doubtful. His evidence is inadmissible.

“The tribunal did not need the evidence of a data researcher to determine who scored majority of the votes. The tribunal was right to have rejected the evidence of the appellant's witness.”

Similarly, the court ruled that the tribunal was right in its evaluation of the evidences at its disposal, and that the appellant failed to prove the allegations in his petition.