Benue Election Tribunal Delivers Judgement On 28 Petitions – Secretary

The Governorship, National and State Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal in Benue state said that it had delivered judgment on 28 out of the 32 petitions before it.

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Concise News reports that its Secretary, Mrs Deborah Musa, told NAN on Tuesday in Makurdi that out of the 28 judgments, the court upheld 25 elections results, nullified two, and upturned one.

Musa, however, said that judgment was yet to be delivered on three assembly petitions, as well as the only governorship petition in the state.

She said among the concluded cases was that of Oju/Obi Federal Constituency which  was upturned in favour of the petitioners, Samson Okuw and the PDP, against the respondents, David Ogewu and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

The secretary said the tribunal had nullified the election of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for Gboko West State Constituency, Terna Achii, and ordered fresh elections in five polling units within 90 days.

She added that the tribunal also nullified the election of the PDP candidate for Ohimini State Constituency, Chris Adaji, and ordered fresh elections in two polling units within 90 days.

Adaji was the Deputy Speaker of the Benue House of Assembly before his sack by the tribunal.

This online news medium reported yesterday that the election of PDP’s Adaji as the winner of the 2019 Ohimini State Constituency election was nullified by the National/State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, Benue State.

Chairman of the Tribunal Justice R. O. Odudu, who delivered the lead judgment, held that the margin with which Adaji led Musa Alechenu Ohimini of All Progressives Congress (APC) is less than the number of votes cancelled.

According to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declaration, Adaji led with 397 votes and the Tribunal finds the margin is less than the 1, 056 votes cancelled in the two polling units of Igbanomaje and Odega.

The tribunal held that INEC ought not to have made final declaration without ordering for a rerun in the affected polling units other than declare an inconclusive poll.

Justice Odudu held that the declaration and return of Adaji without a rerun in Otega and Ogadagba ward is invalid by reason of non-substantial compliance with Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

The court consequently issued an order for withdrawal of certificate of return issued to Adaji and an order directing INEC to conduct rerun election in the two polling units where elections were cancelled within 90 days.

Vincent Tortsugh, who appeared for the petitioners, described the decision of the Tribunal as “reasonable,” adding that “we didn’t expect anything other than this.”