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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has wrapped up its defence in the petition brought by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its candidate, Murtala Ajaka, challenging the election victory of Governor Usman Ododo of Kogi State.

During Tuesday’s proceedings at the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja, INEC’s counsel, Uchenna Njoku, announced the closure of the commission’s case after submitting additional documents against the SDP’s petition.


Njoku informed the three-member panel of justices, led by Justice Ado Birnin-Kudo, that INEC did not plan to call any witnesses, having thoroughly reviewed the petitioners’ case, the evidence presented during cross-examination, and the documents already tendered.

“In light of the evidence and documents presented thus far, INEC finds it unnecessary to prolong the proceedings by calling witnesses. Therefore, INEC respectfully requests to close its case,” stated Njoku.

Justice Birnin-Kudo accepted the closure of INEC’s case and adjourned the tribunal until April 16 for Governor Ododo, the 2nd respondent, to begin his defence.

The SDP and its gubernatorial candidate are contesting the outcome of the Kogi governorship election held on November 11, 2023, challenging the victory of Governor Ododo from the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In earlier proceedings on Tuesday, Njoku informed the tribunal that INEC had complied with the court’s order by submitting the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) devices used during the election.

He tendered three sets of documents related to the BVAS, which were admitted as exhibits by the tribunal.

Although objections were raised by SDP and Ajaka’s lawyer, Pius Akubo, SAN, regarding the tendering of documents without the actual exhibits, the tribunal ruled in favor of admitting the documents as exhibits.

Meanwhile, Governor Ododo’s legal counsel, Ibrahim Sanni Mohammed, SAN, confirmed his client’s readiness to begin his defence on Wednesday, assuring the tribunal of their preparedness.

With INEC’s defence concluded, all eyes are now on Governor Ododo as he prepares to present his case before the tribunal in response to the SDP’s petition.

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