* Allegations unfounded– Adejoh, Director of Media , Muri/ Sam campaign Council.
A group of lawyers in kogi state , under the aegis of United Front For Democracy UFFD has warned some members of tribunal hearing kogi election petition to desist from their clandestine plan to assist Social Democratic Party and it’s candidate, Muritala Yakubu Ajaka to file the petition through the backdoor.
The group noted that the approved time to file the petition elapsed on the 3rd of December, 2023 and any attempt to railroad the petition amount to abuse of the constitution and electoral act.
The group vowed to challenge any act inimical to the furtherance of section 134 of the Electoral Act.
The Convener, United Front for Democracy, Barr. Yetunde Olubunmi Shaibu, in a press conference held on Monday in Lokoja said they have credible intelligence that the SDP candidate is yet to file his petition against the winner of the election, Usman Ododo of the All Progressives Congress, 22 days after the declaration of results.
Barr. Shuaibu disclosed that the 21 days window ended at the midnight of December 3, 2023, saying, “Section 134 of the Electoral Act is very clear as to when an electoral petition can be filed with all allegations and evidence relating to the petition front-loaded.
” By virtue of Section 134 of the Electoral Act, the SDP has failed to file their petition within the period allowed by Law and should therefore be made not to waste the time of the Honourable Panel.”
Barr. Shuaibu however, alleged that the SDP and its candidate, Muritala Ajaka were still preparing their petition with the intention of filing same within the week and having it backdated so as to make it look like it was filed within the legally stipulated duration.
“This must not be allowed to happen in the spirit of justice, equity and fairness,” the lawyers said.
They, therefore, called on the Election Petition Tribunal for the Kogi State Governorship Poll to “switch on its light to fish out some members of the tribunal to do the illicit transaction.
Barr. Shaibu stated, “As a Civil Society Organisation, the United Front for Democracy is non-partisan. Our commitment is to protect democratic values and ensure that our judiciary is not slaughtered on the slab of political desperation and corruption.
“Our organisation has credible intelligence that the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) is yet to file his petition against the winner of the election, Alh. Ahmed Usman Ododo , 22 days after the declaration of results. The results of the election were declared on Sunday, 12th November, 2023. The 21 days window elapsed at the midnight of December 3, 2023. Section 134 of the Electoral Act is very clear as to when an electoral petition can be filed with all allegations and evidence relating to the petition front-loaded. By virtue of Section 134 of the Electoral Act, the SDP has failed to file their petition within the period allowed by Law and should therefore be made not to waste the time of the Honourable Panel.
“The wisdom of the Electoral Act is that anyone with credible evidence should be able to put such forward within the legally stipulated period. We are however disappointed that the SDP is about to lose the opportunity to test the law with a competent petition. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the African Democratic Congress (ADC) opted to avoid the embarrassment of searching in futility for evidence by deciding not to challenge the election at the tribunal.
“Inasmuch as we would want to leave the determination of the validity of a petition filed out of time to the Honourable Panel to determine, we owe the populace a social and legal responsibility to expose a clandestine move
But in a swift reaction, the Spokesperson of the SDP, Faruk Adejoh, described the civil society as faceless, described the allegations of not filing as not true, stressing that the SDP met with the requirements.
The spokesman said it was as a result of the filing that the SDP was granted order to inspect the materials for the election.