By PETER DURU

MAKURDI – The Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, weekend, upheld the election of Mr. Samson Okwu of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, representing Oju/Obi Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.

Okwu’s victory had been challenged by the defeated Action Congress Nigeria, ACN, candidate Mr. Jacob Ajene, on the premise that the election in the constituency was marred by malpractices.

However, in his ruling , the Tribunal Chairman, Justice Anselem Nwigwe said the petitioner failed to apply for a pre-hearing conference within the stipulated seven days as allowed under Paragraph 18(1) of the Electoral Act, adding that the Tribunal exercised its powers under Paragraphs 18(3) and (4) of the First Schedule of the Electoral Act by dismissing the petition.

Nwigwe consequently ordered the petitioner, Mr. Jacob Ajene to pay N50,000 each to Mr. Okwu and the PDP as costs.

Reacting to the judgment, Counsel to the first respondent, Paul Omengala described the judgement as a victory for democracy.

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