The Supreme Court on Tuesday fixed August 31, 2020, to decide the fate of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and other contestants to the Kogi State seat of power in the November 16, 2019 governorship election held in the state.
A seven-man panel of Justices of the apex court presided by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad fixed the said date to deliver judgments in two separate appeals challenging the victory of Yahaya Bello shortly after parties in the appeals adopted their written submission.
The two appeals fixed for judgments are that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate, Engr. Musa Wada and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its candidate, Natasha Akpoti.
When the matter was called for hearing, counsel to the PDP and its governorship candidate in the said election, Mr Jibrin Okutepa (SAN) pleaded with the apex court to allow the appeal and grant the reliefs sought by his clients.
However, Governor Bello’s counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN) and that of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Dr Alex Izinyon (SAN), on his part, urged the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.
Daudu specifically urged the apex court to affirm the concurrent decisions of the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal which affirmed the election of Yahaya Bello.
The court, after taking arguments of parties announced that the court will deliver judgment in the matter on Monday, August 31.
In the second appeal filed by the SDP and its governorship candidate, Natasha Akpoti, the apex court also announced its decision to deliver its judgment on the same day with that of the PDP.
While arguing their briefs, the two appellants had pleaded with the apex court to set aside the findings of the Tribunal and the Court of Appeal and allow their appeals.
Izinyon, representing INEC and Paul Daudu in their separate arguments pleaded for outright dismissal of the appeal for lacking in merit.
Meanwhile, the appeal filed by the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) and its governorship candidate, Usman Mohammed was dismissed after it was withdrawn by the appellant.
The withdrawal of the appeal followed the court’s comment on the eligibility of the DPP’s candidate who was said to be 31 years instead of the mandatory 35 years allowed by the constitution for anybody contesting the position of a governor.
“I have looked at my appeal and I am convinced that it is a worthless appeal and I, accordingly apply for its withdrawal”, counsel to DPP and its governorship candidate, M. S Ibrahim told the court.
The apex court, in dismissing the appeal awarded a cost of N200, 000 against DPP. (Tribune)