There is palpable tension and everyone has gone into spiritual calculation in Kogi State over the Supreme Court pronouncement to give judgment on August 31, 2020 in the appeal filed by the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Musa Wada.
The people have formed spiritual prayer cells at local government levels especially for the Governor.
Mr. Wada is challenging the election victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Yahaya Bello as the Governor of Kogi State insisting that its candidate won the November 16, 2019 governorship election while Mr. Wada claims that the election that brought in Mr. Bello as governor of the state was riddled with serious electoral fraud.
A seven-man panel of the Supreme Court presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, fixed the date to deliver judgments in two separate appeals challenging the victory of Mr. Bello shortly after hearing submissions of lawyers to parties in the separate suits.
The two appeals fixed for judgment are that of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate, Mr. Musa Wada and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its candidate, Natasha Akpoti.
Wada through his lawyer, Jibrin Okutepa pleaded with the Apex Court to allow his appeal.
However, lawyer to Governor Bello, Joseph Daudu, and that of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Dr. Alex Izinyon, urged the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.
Mr. Daudu specifically pleaded with the apex court to affirm the concurrent decisions of the Court of Appeal and the state governorship election petition tribunal which dismissed Wada’s petition.
In the second appeal filed by the SDP and its governorship candidate Natasha Akpoti, the apex court also announced its decision to give a final verdict on the same day with that of the PDP.
While arguing their brief, the two appellants had pleaded with the panel of the apex court to set aside the findings of the Court of Appeal and the Tribunal and allow their appeal to succeed.
Counsel to INEC, Dr. Alex Izinyon and Paul Daudu in their separate arguments prayed for an outright dismissal of the appeal.
A third appeal filed by the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) and its governorship candidate, Usman Mohammed was, however, dismissed after it was withdrawn by the appellants.
The appeal was a sequel to the Court’s prompting on the eligibility of its candidate who was said to be 31 years instead of the mandatory 35 years.
In May, Mr. Wada lost his petition at the election tribunal which sat in Abuja
In the judgment of two to one, delivered by the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Kashim Kaigama, the tribunal held that the petitioner had failed to prove the allegations of over-voting, massive thumb printing, voter intimidation, and other electoral malpractices.
The tribunal also awarded a cost of one million Naira to be paid by the petitioners, PDP and Musa Wada to INEC, Yahaya Bello, and APC who are the respondents.
Thereafter, Mr. Wada lost his appeal before the Court of Appeal, being dissatisfied with the judgment, he approached the Apex Court.