An Appeal Court in Makurdi on Thursday held that the indictment of the former Secretary to the Government of the state (SSG), Aliyu Tijani, for alleged N248.5million fraud, is illegal, null and of no effect.

The Court of Appeal has upturned the judgement of the High court that quashed the victory of the All Progressives Congress, APC, candidate for Ibaji state constituency re-run election in Kogi State.

The lower court in its judgement also urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to issue the PDP candidate, Joseph Enemola, certificate of return and for the House to swear-him in immediately.

The Federal High Court in a judgement delivered in January in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/1 173/2020; Joseph Enemona & Anor V. All Progressives Congress and four others invalidated the primary election conducted by the APC for the nomination of its candidate for the Ibaji State Constituency of Kogi State by-election.

The high court ordered that the candidate with the second-highest number of votes (PDP Joseph Elemona) in the October 31, 2020 by-election be declared winner of the election.

The electoral commission immediately complied and issued the Certificate of Return to the PDP candidate in the election, despite the pendency of the appeals lodged by APC candidate challenging the judgement of the Federal High Court.

However, the Court of Appeal in a considered judgement delivered yesterday in Appeals No: CA/A/C V/ 1 28/2021 and CV/A/CV/1 29/2021 set aside the judgement of the lower court upon which the Certificate of Return issued to the PDP Candidate in the by-election was predicated.

The appellant court also ordered INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return erroneously issued to the PDP Candidate and re-issue the APC candidate a new Certificate of Return.

The Appeal court opined that the lower court erred in his judgment and it cannot stand.

Had the appeal court followed the path of the lower court, the PDP candidate would have been the only opposition in the 25 House Members occupied by the APC.

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