As the legal tussle to determine the authentic winner of November 16, 2019 Kogi governorship election enters the final stage at the Supreme Court, there is need to look at the possible outcome of the legal battle imvolving Governor Yahaya Bello of APC, Musa Wada of PDP, and Natasha Akpoti of SDP.
Governor Yahay Bello of APC was declared the winner of November 16, 2019 Kogi governorship election after he polled 406,222 votes to defeat Musa Wada of PDP who managed to poll 189,704.
While Yahaya Bello defeated the closest rival with 216,518 margin, the second runner up of the election, Natasha Akpoti of SDP managed to poll 9,482 votes on the election.
The Beginning Of The Legal Battle
Dissatisfied with the outcome of the election, the PDP candidate, Musa Wada, approached the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and prayed to be declared the winner of the election having scored the highest number of valid votes.
Relying on forensic analysis, Wada had argued that Yahaya Bello won the election with the aide of several irregularities bordering on multiple thumb-printing, manipulation of figures amongst others. He therefore sought for the relief of the court to be declared the winner of the election having scored the highest number of valid votes.Natasha Akpoti of SDP on the other hand also approached the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribubal praying the court to nullify the election of Yahaya Bello on the ground that INEC disobeyed the order of Abuja Federal High Court which ordered it to include her party on the governorship election. She also sought for the relief of the court to nullify Yahaya Bello's election on the ground that Yahaya Bello's Deputy, Edward Onoja allegedly falsified his certificate.
After Musa Wada of PDP and Natasha Akpoti of SDP failed to stop Yahaya Bello at the Tribunal and Appeal Court, they are now at the Supreme Court to seek for "justice".
The Case Before The Supreme Court To Decide
Musa Wada of PDP is still relying on the evidences he gathered from the forensic analysis and argued that he is the winner of the governorship election, praying for the apex court to declare him the winner of the November 16, 2019 Kogi governorship election.
Natasha Akpoti of SDP, is also at the Supreme Court praying that the election of Yayaha Bello should be nullified and order for fresh election on the ground that INEC failed to include her party on the ballot paper. Akpoti is also praying that the apex court should nullify the election of Bello on the basis of the alleged certificate falsification of Edward Onoja.
The Likely Outcome Of The Legal Tussle
On the case of Musa Wada against Yahaya Bello, there is every likelyhood that the Supreme Court may adopt the evidences of the forensic analysis which showed clear irregularities on the Kogi governorship election.
However, available indicators have shown that the apex court may not declare Musa Wada the winner of the election. It may likely nullify the November 16 governorship election in Kogi State and order for fresh election in the State.
Following the precedent of the minority judgement given by Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele at the Tribunal, Kogi may be heading for fresh election if the Supreme Court adopt the minority judgment.
Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele in her minority judgment at the Tribunal had held that Bello was not duly elected as Kogi State Governor by what she described as lawful majority votes, she nullified the election and ordered INEC to conduct fresh election in Kogi State.
There is every likelyhood for Supreme Court to adopt the minority judgment of Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele and order for fresh election in Kogi State.
Another factor that may also make Supreme Court to nullify the election and order for fresh election in Kogi State is the fact that if the apex court use the forensic analysis and answers the prayer of Musa Wada, 'canceled votes' will be more than the total votes scored by the PDP candidate on the election.
On the same vein, Natasha Akpoti has a good case and may also lead to nullifying of the election. It is clear that INEC does not have any reason to disobey Abuja Federal High Court Order which faulted the commission's initial disqualification of Natasha Akpoti and ordered it to include her party on the election.
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