Kogi state governorship candidate of Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the last Kogi State gubernatorial election, Barr. Natasha Hadiza Akpoti and her party have totally rejected the Appeal Court verdict on the poll.
The Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal had likewise dismissed her petition delivered on May 18. Akpoti, however, have insisted that both the Tribunal and the Appeal Court deviated from the position of the electoral act and technically ignored evidences and facts in their respective verdicts.
Speaking during an interview granted Channels Television on Tuesday, AKpoti described the verdict by Appeal Court Panel as “faulty, unfair and funny in the eyes of law and stipulated guidelines for the conduct of elections in Nigeria.” She maintained that the SDP’s petition relied on section 138 subsection 1 of the Electoral Act 2010 which stipulates six grounds upon which a petition can be presented. “The grounds include; (a) that a person whose election is questioned was, at the time of the election, not qualified to contest the election; (b) that the election was invalid by reason of corrupt practices or non-compliance with the provisions of the Act; (c) that the respondent was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes cast at the election, or (d) that the petitioner or its candidate was validly nominated but was unlawfully excluded from the election,” she said. She stated further that her petition was presented on the grounds of omission of SDP from result sheets and alteration of election results; violence; over voting; and falsification of birth certificate and biodata by the APC deputy governorship candidate, Edward Onoja, all of which are issues raised by the provisions of section 138 subsection 1 and subsection 2 which explicitly mentioned the act of omission as a ground for questioning an election.
Akpoti noted that out of 2,458 polling units in Kogi State, in 989 polling units, no score was recorded for SDP.
“In other polling units SDP’s name and results were haphazardly recorded with charcoal, crayon, pencils in a manner that does not reflect what my party had scored,” Akpoti added. These among other issues formed the grounds upon which she prayed that the election be declared marred with gross malpractices, violence and irregularities and hence be nullified while a fresh election is conducted. She also prayed for an order directing Governor Yahaya Bello and his deputy to vacate the seat immediately. Going forward, Akpoti expressed confidence in getting justice at the Supreme Court as she maintained there was a foul play in the Tribunal and Appeal Court rulings that they technically ignored her clear evidences and the many other facts contained in her petition.