The Social Democratic Party (SDP) has stated that relocating the Kogi Election Petition Tribunal to Abuja will enable them to reclaim the stolen mandate of their governorship candidate, Muritala Yakubu Ajaka.
Recall that a few weeks ago, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Usman Ododo, as the winner of the November 11 governorship election.
The SDP, however, has insisted that its mandate was stolen. Days after the election, there were reports of attacks by some hoodlums at the residence of a member of the tribunal in Kogi, and the electoral court was subsequently relocated to Abuja, Naija News reports.
In a statement released on Thursday, December 7, the National Secretary of the SDP, Dr Olu Agunloye, called for an investigation into the attacks that led to the tribunal’s relocation.
He explained that the tribunal will no longer sit in Lokoja due to the attack on the secretary of the state governorship election Tribunal, David Umar Mike, who was robbed of sensitive petition documents related to the recently concluded gubernatorial election.
According to Agunloye, the gunmen took away all the documents, including petitions filed by four parties – Action Alliance (AA), Action People’s Party (APP), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), and Social Democratic Party (SDP). These petitions were filed against the declaration of Alhaji Usman Ododo of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the Governor-Elect.
The SDP National Secretary maintained that the attack “Is purely a criminal activity which the law enforcement agents should tackle.
“That the locations of INEC and its officials in Kogi have been attacked by thugs and arsonists is another criminal act that should be investigated and tackled.
“Also, that videos of persons thumbprinting ballot papers in Kogi State days after the election are flying around is yet another criminal act staring at the face of law enforcement agencies.
“Although these criminal acts are not out of character or unexpected, they go a long way to support the strong views that the mandate of Alh Muritala Yakubu Ajaka, which was indeed stolen, is set to be retrieved and claimed by Muri and the good people of Kogi State.
“None of these criminal acts will stop the Tribunal which is now set to sit at the Federal Capital in Abuja.
“Even when the Tribunal had lost all its documents and Petitions to gunmen, who appeared sympathetic with declared Governor-elect Usman Ododo, the tribunal will still sit.
“All that will be required is that the respective parties would be called upon to deliver copies of their Petitions to the Tribunal along with the payment receipts.”
According to him, the SDP is ready with its copies of petitions and that since the Tribunal has been relocated to Abuja, hope is again restored that all will be well.
Agunloye added: “Nigerians expect that justice will be served without any or much criminal interference, and Alhaji Muritala Ajaka will claim his mandate back.
“The goodness of this is that for vast majority of Kogi people, mostly disenfranchised or deprived over the years, a new era of creating and spreading wealth instead of violence will soon commence under Alhaji Muritala Ajaka.”
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“Muri and the people of Kogi will then take over and start to chart new paths for the Kogi development agenda for youths’ employment and empowerment, women emancipation, and technological and industrial transformation with no time or space for witch-hunting, retaliations, or false flag operations. Indeed, a new era of development is beckoning in Kogi State,” the politician said.
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