BY PETER DURU
MAKURDI—The Benue State Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, yesterday, nullified the election of the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr. Terhemen Tarzoor of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The Tribunal also directed the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to withdraw the Certificate of Return it issued the Speaker and hand same over to the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, State House of Assembly candidate for Makurdi North, Mr. Avine Agbom.
Agbom had petitioned the tribunal over alleged irregularities in five polling units of Benue North Constituency where he said that elections were not conducted in accordance with the 2010 Electoral Act.
Delivering his judgment, Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Anslem Nwigwe cancelled the result of Tse-Tsav polling unit where the ACN got only eight votes and the PDP 260.
Following the cancellation of the results at the polling unit, the total votes for PDP stood at 10,351 while that of the ACN stood at 10,467 thus bringing the vote differential in favour of the ACN to 106. .
The Tribunal described what happened at Tse-Tsav polling unit as a mockery of democracy since no elections took place in the ward yet political parties were allotted results.
In his reaction, Agbom thanked God for the victory and also appreciated the judiciary for being upright to the cause of the common man.
Speaker vows to appeal
However, the Speaker said he would challenge the verdict of the tribunal at a higher court to ‘’reclaim his mandate.’’
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Terna Umah, the Speaker reaffirmed his belief in the judiciary, advising his supporters to remain calm and await the outcome of his appeal.