The Court of Appeal in Abuja has dismissed the case filed by the Independent National Electoral Commission challenging the inclusion of the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, Natasha Akpoti, in the November 16 election in Kogi State.
On November 7, 2019, a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered INEC to restore Akpoti as candidate of the SDP in the governorship election.
Following the directive, the electoral body appealed against the ruling on the ground that the lower court erred in law by a miscarriage of justice.
However, before the case with suit number CA/A/1123/2019 between INEC and Akpoti was dismissed, counsel to INEC, Alhassan Umar (SAN), pleaded that the case be withdrawn since the election had been concluded.
He said, “We respectfully apply that the appeal is withdrawn since the election which is the subject of the matter had been conducted.”
In his response, counsel to the respondent, Mr A.S Oguajamma, conceded to the request.
In the certified copy of the judgment made available on January 10, 2020, Justices Stephen Adah, Emmanuel Agim and Mohammed Idris dismissed the appeal after the appellant had withdrawn the matter.
They held, “The appeal, having been withdrawn by the appellant is hereby dismissed under Order 11, rule five of the rules of this court.”
In her reaction to the dismissal, Akpoti said her unjust disqualification by the electoral body on September 24, 2019, caused her great loss of followership and voters in the election.
She added that despite the order by the lower court on November 9, 2019, the name of her party, SDP, was hand-written on the result sheets in some areas while in other areas it was not reflected.
She said, “On November 7, 2019, which was nine days to the election and seven days to the close of campaigning, the Federal High Court granted me the judgment and I had a chance to campaign for only five days.
“The unjust disqualification of my party cost me a great loss of followers who assumed my party wasn’t going to be on the ballot. It also caused a lot of physical and emotional stress to my person.
“Some polling units recorded the SDP’s result with pencils, some pens, and crayons, while many failed to record scores for SDP as the INEC officers forgot in the heat of crisis thereby costing me a lot of votes.”
Akpoti has however, filed a petition at the Kogi Governorship Elections Tribunal to challenge the outcome of the November 16, 2019, election.