By PETER DURU, Makurdi
The Court of Appeal sitting in Makurdi, yesteraday dismissed the petition filed against the election of the Senate President, Senator David Mark by the defeated Action Congress of Nigeria ACN candidate at the last general elections, Gen. Lawrence Onoja.
Gen. Onoja had challenged the election of the Senate President for the Benue South Senatorial District,on the grounds that the poll was marred by irregularities.
The lower tribunal had earlier, dismissed the petition for lack of merit, saying it was filed in total negation of the provisions of paragraphs 18 and 47 of the First Schedule of the Electoral Act 2010, as amended.
Not satisfied with the verdict, Gen. Onoja appealed against the decision at the appellate court.
Delivering judgement on the matter, Justice Ahmed Tsamiya dismissed the appeal on the grounds that it was time barred.
Justice Tsamiya anchored his decision on the provisions of Section 285(7) of the 1999 Constitution which according to him allows an appellant 60 days within which an appeal should be heard and disposed of.
He held that in view of the provisions of the Constitution, the appeal was defunct and extinct in all ramifications and consequently dismissed it.
In his reaction, Counsel to Senator David Mark, Ken Ikonne lauded the tribunal’s decision, adding that the verdict was anticipated in view of the fact that the appellant failed to meet laid down rules governing the process.
”You cannot put up a structure on nothing and expect it to stand; that is the classical explanation of the decision of the learned Justices on this matter and of course, it is victory for our democracy,” Ikonne said.