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Kogi: Tribunal declines to stop Bello’s swearing-in

The Kogi State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal headed by Justice Halima Mohammed in Lokoja, the state capital on Thursday declined to stop the January 27 swearing-in of Alhaji Yahaya Bello as the governor of the state.

The Labour Party had filed a motion exparte seeking to prevent Bello, who was declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission as the winner of the Kogi State governorship election from being sworn in.

Counsel to the petitioner/applicant, Mr. Reuben Egwuaba, had through the exparte motion sought the leave of the court to hear the motion on notice restraining Bello from presenting himself before the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Nasiru Ajanah, for the purpose of the swearing-in.

He claimed that Bello did not have a valid deputy governorship candidate/running mate during the supplementary election following his nomination as replacement for the state’s governorship candidate of the All progressives Congress, Abubakar Audu, who died on November 22.

He stated that Audu’s running mate, Mr. James Faleke withdrew and dissociated himself from participating in the supplementary election as Bello’s running mate after Bello’ nomination as Audu’s replacement.

He said, “Bello was declared governor-elect after the supplementary election. Now, the Labour Party that participated in all the stages of the elections on November 21 and December 5, submit that Bello was not qualified to participate in that election.”

“Time is of the essence, more so that the swearing-in has been scheduled for January 27. The motion exparte is for leave of the tribunal to hear the motion on notice outside pre-hearing session and stop the inauguration as we proceed to hear the substantive case.”

But Mohammed in her ruling dismissed the LP’s motion exparte and said the application was incompetent.

She stated that the application to hear the matter outside the pre-hearing session ought to have come by way of motion on notice since an earlier motion exparte for substituted service of the petition on Bello as first respondent in the petition was granted.

She consequently threw out the motion exparte.

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