Kogi Election Tribunal: INEC Submits Key Documents as SDP Challenges Ododo’s Victory

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has presented crucial electoral documents at the Kogi State Governorship Petition Tribunal in Abuja, as part of the ongoing legal challenge against the results of the November 11, 2023, governorship election that declared Usman Ododo, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, as the winner.

The documents were submitted in response to a petition filed by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its candidate, Murtala Ajaka, who are contesting the outcome announced by the electoral body.

During the tribunal session, presided over by Justice Ado Birnin-Kudu and his three-member panel, INEC’s lawyer, Uchenna Njoku, presented a variety of items as evidence, including the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of the Election, INEC Manuals for Electoral Officers, and several forms used during the election.

These forms include INEC Form EC8C, Form EC8B, and Form EC8E. Additionally, the List of Accredited Agents for SDP, the List of Accredited Ward Agents, and Receipts of Payment for Forms were also submitted as part of the evidence.

Justice Birnin-Kudu officially admitted these documents as exhibits, marking a significant step in the tribunal’s proceedings.

After presenting the documents, Njoku requested an adjournment to prepare for the introduction of INEC’s witnesses, aiming to further substantiate the commission’s defense against the allegations made by the SDP and Ajaka. The judge granted this request, scheduling the next hearing for April 16.

In an earlier session, Justice Birnin-Kudu acknowledged the approaching deadline of May 29 for the expiration of the SDP’s petition.

Consequently, he adjusted the tribunal’s schedule, reducing the number of days allotted for the respondents to present their cases and for filing final written addresses from ten to five days.

This legal battle reflects the importance of transparency and accountability in the electoral process, as well as the role of the judiciary in ensuring that the rights of citizens and political parties are upheld.

The outcome of this tribunal will have significant implications for the political landscape in Kogi State and could set a precedent for future electoral disputes in Nigeria.

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