Natasha Akpoti

The Kogi State Election Tribunal has declared Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the rightful winner of the February 25 Senatorial election in Kogi Central.

The unanimous verdict by the three-judge panel came after nullifying the initial victory of All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Abubakar Sadiku-Ohere. The Tribunal ruled that Mrs. Akpoti-Uduaghan had secured 54,074 votes against Mr. Sadiku-Ohere’s 51,291 votes after correcting inflated and reduced figures.

Presided by Justice K.A. Orjiako, the Tribunal faulted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for deliberately failing to record accurate results during collation which negatively impacted the PDP candidate. The judgment stated that Mrs. Akpoti-Uduaghan’s votes were intentionally reduced in certain polling units.

After making the necessary corrections based on evidence presented before it, the Tribunal declared Mrs. Akpoti-Uduaghan as the authentic winner. The INEC has now been ordered to withdraw Mr. Sadiku-Ohere’s certificate of return and issue the same to the newly declared victor.

The Tribunal strongly reprimanded the electoral body for going beyond its mandate and colluding with parties to undermine the will of voters. The landmark judgment overturns the initial election result announced in February when INEC had declared Mr. Sadiku-Ohere as winner despite trailing the PDP candidate in lawful votes.