Gov Yahaya Bello Wins Again, Appeal Court Affirms He Won Election
-Dismisses PDP’s Petition
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has just delivered Judgment in the appeal of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the judgment of the Tribunal which earlier dismissed their election petition.
The Court dismissed the petition of the PDP and affirmed Governor Yahaya Bello as duly elected.
The PDP’s main claim is that the 2nd and 3rd Respondents did not win the Kogi State Election by a majority of the lawful votes cast.
Declaration of elections by INEC are presumed correct unless proven otherwise. PDP which only pursued that one ground on Appeal has the burden to rebut the presumption arising from INEC’s declaration that Yahaya Bello and the APC won the last Kogi State Gubernatorial Elections.
The appellants also needed to prove that the declared winners did not score the majority of the lawful votes cast.
The results of any polling unit where over voting is alleged and proven will be cancelled but new elections can only be ordered if it is further proved that the results of that polling unit, if removed from the overall results, will change the outcome of the election.
The appellants did not link their documents to their claims. They merely dumped it on the Tribunal. The Tribunal was right to treat them as having no evidentiary value.
They could not prove acts of alterations or how the alleged alterations affected the overall results of the election.
Multiple thumbs printing was pleaded under corrupt practices. That allegation was subsequently abandoned to all intents and purposes. Evidence in that regard goes to no issue, including that of PW19 – the expert witness.
Expert evidence is only required where the expert can furnish the court with scientific and other technical evidence which must be outside the knowledge of the judge. It is apparent that expert evidence may be admissible but not indispensable.
PW19 claimed to be acting on the order of the court but under cross-examination it became clear that he had been acting with the appellant long before the order of the Tribunal for him to get involved. PW19 exceeded his mandate to determine fingerprints when he went over and beyond to engage in counting of ballots. He also admitted that he is not a fingerprint expert. Also none of the other so-called experts who allegedly examined the documents with him signed the report and no reason was given for this. The trial Tribunal was right in rejecting his report.
The Court of Appeal therefore dismissed PDP’s petition with costs of N100,000.