The Kogi State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Friday dismissed objections by counsels to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello and ordered the defendants to proceed with their defense after counsel to the complainant, Idris Wada tendered a report by forensic experts which established irregularities in the Kogi gubernatorial poll.
According to the report tendered by Idris Wada through his counsel, Chief Chris Uche SAN, four major areas of irregularities provide sufficient grounds to invalidate some of the results of the gubernatorial poll, which saw INEC declaring the APC candidate the winner of the election.
The issues, based on information exclusively obtained by SIGNAL, include ballots papers that were not stamped and dated but still counted for political parties, ballots papers supplied in excess of registered voters that were not returned but entered as valid results, cases of over-voting as well as number of registered voters less than total votes cast.
Based on investigations conducted by a team of electoral forensic experts, Wada submitted that a total of 172,426 votes were invalidated by the said irregularities. 119,062 of the invalidated votes were recorded in favour of APC while 53,364 of such votes were recorded in favour of the PDP.
The invalid 119,062 votes, when subtracted from the total figure of 247,752 polled by the APC in the gubernatorial elections leaves the APC with 128,690 votes. On its part, when the invalid 53,364 votes recorded for PDP is subtracted from its total figure of 204, 877, the PDP would be left with 151,513 votes making Wada the rightful winner.
It was based on the foregoing that Wada went before the tribunal to protest what he termed, “gross irregularities” during the polls.
Counsels to APC, INEC and Yahaya Bello objected to the submission of the forensic report but the Tribunal Judge Justice Halima Mohammed overruled and set aside the objections, ordering the defendants to prepare their defence as hearing commences proper at the Tribunal’s next sitting.