Barristers & Solicitors
Tribunal Nullifies Ohere’s Victory, Declares Akpoti-Uduaghan Winner of Kogi Central Senatorial Poll
Tribunal Nullifies Ohere’s Victory, Declares Akpoti-Uduaghan Winner of Kogi Central Senatorial Poll 

The Kogi State National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Lokoja has declared the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senatorial candidate, Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, as the winner of the Kogi cental senatorial seat in the February 25, 2003 National Assembly elections.

The tribunal Wednesday nullified the victory of Senator Abubakar Ohere of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Kogi central senatorial election.

The tribunal Chairman, Justice K. A. Orjiako, who read the unanimous judgment of the three-man panel, said polling results were inflated in nine polling units of Ajaokuta Local Government Area in favour of Ohere, while the polling results for Akpoti-Uduaghan was intentionally reduced in the same nine polling units by the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) ward collation officers.

Orjiako also explained that three other polling unit results were deliberately not recorded for Akpoti-Uduaghan in the same LGA.

The tribunal said that Akpoti-Uduaghan polled 1,073 votes in the nine polling units of Ajaokuta LGA against the 77 that was recorded by the ward collation officers, while the figure of the APC candidate, Ohere, was inflated to 1,553 against the actual figure of 1,031.

“The tribunal is also convinced that the petitioner’s 996 votes in polling units 009, 046 and O49 polling units of Ganaja village of Ajaokuta LGA was deliberately not recorded at the ward collation centre,” it said.

The tribunal said it is not the duty of collation officers to reject results submitted by the presiding officers from polling units in an election that followed the electoral guidelines substantially.

“The issues raised by the petitioner is hereby resolved in favour of the petitioners and after making the proper correction, Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan (PDP) having polled 54,074 against Abubakar Ohere (APC), who polled 51,291, is hereby declared the authentic winner,” Orjiako said.

The tribunal subsequently ordered the third respondent (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of returns issued to Ohere and issue same to Akpoti-Uduaghan.

The tribunal also condemned INEC for deliberately going out of its mandate of conducting a free and fair election to conniving with political parties to subvert the will of the people.

Justice Orjiako also ordered INEC to pay N500,000 to Akpoti-Uduaghan for ‘subverting justice’ in the senatorial election.

Responding to the judgment, Akpoti-Uduagan’s counsel, Johnson Usman (SAN), said the judgment has now validated the true winner of the Kogi central senatorial election.

“This is victory for people of Kogi central senatorial district; victory for Kogi State in general and victory for the election processes,” she said.