The Court of Appeal in Abuja upheld the election victory of Natasha Akpoti-Uduagan, a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the Kogi Central Senatorial election held in February 2023.
The court’s three-member panel unanimously declared Akpoti-Uduagan as the duly elected candidate for the senatorial district.
This ruling comes after a series of legal battles and challenges since the initial declaration of Sen. Abubakar Ohere of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the election.
The state’s Election Petitions Tribunal, in September, had declared Akpoti-Uduagan the validly elected candidate for the poll, invalidating the victory of Sen. Ohere.
Justice K. A. Orjiako, Chairman of the Tribunal, delivered the unanimous judgment of the three-man panel, revealing that Ohere’s results were inflated in nine polling units in the Ajaokuta Local Government Area.
Furthermore, the Independent National Electoral Commission was found to have reduced Natasha’s results in those areas and omitted the results of three other polling units meant for her in the same LGA.
Following these necessary corrections, the court declared Natasha Akpoti-Uduagan as the winner of the election with 54,074 votes, surpassing Sen. Ohere, who garnered 51,291 votes.
Unsatisfied with this outcome, Sen. Ohere took his case to the Court of Appeal, seeking to overturn the election results.
However, the Court of Appeal upheld the judgment of the state’s Election Petitions Tribunal and dismissed Ohere’s appeal for lacking merit.
Before the Court of Appeal’s ruling, Akpoti-Uduagan had demanded a review of the election results from the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mahmood Yakubu.
In her letter dated March 1, 2023, she argued that the results were manipulated and adjusted in favor of the APC candidate in three polling units in Ganaja township Ward, Ajaokuta Local Government Area.
Reacting to the Appeal Court’s verdict, Akpoti-Uduagan expressed her gratitude on her official Facebook page, saying,
“We won the Appeal. Joy amidst tears. Thank you Kogi Central. This is us together 🙏🏽.”