The Kogi State National Assembly Election Tribunal has declared Natasha Akpoti of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the Kogi Central Senatorial Election, and sacked Abubakar Ohere of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The tribunal, in its ruling on Wednesday, September 6, 2023, said that Ohere’s results were inflated in nine polling units of Ajaokuta Local Government Area (LGA) while Akpoti’s results were intentionally reduced in the same area by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The tribunal also said that three other polling units’ results were deliberately not entered for Akpoti in the same LGA.
The tribunal, after making the proper correction, declared Akpoti as the winner of the poll, having polled 54,074 votes against Ohere’s 51,291 votes. The tribunal also ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Ohere and issue a fresh one to Akpoti. The tribunal also awarded costs of N500,000 each to Akpoti, PDP, and INEC, against Ohere and APC.
Akpoti, who is a lawyer and an activist, had challenged the outcome of the election, which was held on February 18, 2023, alleging that it was marred by irregularities and malpractices. She had accused Ohere and the APC of colluding with INEC officials to manipulate the results in their favour. She had also alleged that she was harassed and intimidated by thugs loyal to Ohere and the APC during the election.
Akpoti has expressed satisfaction with the judgment, and thanked her supporters for their prayers and solidarity. She said that she would dedicate her victory to the people of Kogi Central, and work for their welfare and development. She also called on Ohere and the APC to accept the verdict in good faith, and join hands with her to move the senatorial district forward.
Ohere and the APC have not yet reacted to the judgment, but they have 21 days to appeal to the Court of Appeal if they are dissatisfied with the verdict.