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Two months after the conduct of the governorship election in Kogi State, war of wards has continued between the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Social Democratic Party, SDP.
The development is building further political tension in the State, with fear that the planned inspection of election materials by the SDP might be visited with violence.
To avert a possible mayhem, the process has been moved to the national headquarters of the INEC in Abuja.
Naija247News recalls that the keenly contested election was won by Alhaji Ahmed Usman Ododo, who will later this month be sworn in as the fifth civilian governor of the State.
Ododo of the APC was declared elected by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, having defeated his closest rival, Murtala Yakubu Ajaka of the SDP during the November 11, 2023, polls.
However, even with Ododo set to be sworn in on January 27, the SDP says the battle is not yet over.
Some political parties such as the People Democratic Party, PDP, Action Democratic Congress, ADC, are not contesting the outcome of the election in court.
But the SDP candidate, Alhaji Muritala Yakubu Ajaka argued that the results from the Central Senatorial District, where the APC candidate hails from, was highly manipulated.
Ajaka is in court, hoping to upturn the outcome of the polls.
It could be recalled that the National Chairman of the SDP, Alhaji Shehu Gabam, while addressing journalists in November, 2023, said, “We in SDP disagree, we are sad, we are disappointed, at this level of civilisation, this level of developing our democracy, that such level of brazen disregard for the rule of law is still accepted. We will not leave it, we will challenge it, and we are putting all our facts together.
“We have told the President this will be the first test run for his integrity, I don’t know if we are moving into a one-state system, we are following some of the development, we are following some of the judicial pronouncements.
In this same country that we fought for democracy, in 1999 some of the best politicians were arrested and sent to prison for the restoration of democracy. From 1999 to date our democracy has produced more than grandchildren, so, we are not learning.”
He bemoaned the fact that the electoral umpire had indicted its officials for compromising, but that no action had been taken despite his assertion that impunity was the norm.
APC fires another shot
Just a few days ago, the APC alleged that the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in the State, Mr Gabriel Hale Longpet, has been compromised by the SDP.
They accused the REC of conniving with the SDP and its candidate to destroy the electoral materials used in the concluded election.
This was contained in a statement issued on Wednesday, which was signed by Kingsley Femi Fanwo, Spokesperson/Director of Media and Publicity to the APC.
The Kogi APC recalled that the Social Democratic Party and its candidate obtained an ex-parte order of the Tribunal on the 25th day of November 2023, directing INEC to, among other things, allow an inspection of electoral materials used for the Governorship Election.
The party said, “the INEC was given only 48 hours to comply with the said order, which includes all forms, registers, result sheets, ballot papers and BVAS machines.
Upon being served with the Order on the 27th day of November 2023, INEC filed a motion before the Tribunal on the 29th day of November 2023 praying the Court to set aside the said order contending that the Tribunal lacked the jurisdiction to make the said order and for other reasons such as apparent contradictions in the said ex-parte order.
“That motion to set aside dated and filed on 29/11/2023 is to our knowledge still before the Tribunal as it has not been heard. It must also be noted that till date, the said Order for inspection granted on 25/11/2023 has not been served on the winner of that election, Alhaji Usman Ododo and the APC who are listed as parties in the said Order of Court.
Most importantly is the fact that the Petition in respect of which the order of inspection was initially sought and granted was filed on the 2nd of December 2023 with the SDP and its candidate admitting at paragraph 92 of the contentious Petition that INEC had given them documents contained in the Order which included Voters Register, BVAS Accreditation Reports and Result Sheets.(www.naija247news.com)