October 14, 2015

Benue tribunal upholds election of three House of Reps members

By Peter Duru

MAKURDI—The National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, has upheld the election of two All Progressives Congress, APC, and a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, House of Representatives members.

Among those who had their elections upheld were Mark Gbilah and Herman Hember both of the APC representing Gwer/Gwer West and Vandeikya/Konshisha federal constituencies respectively and Ezekiel Adaji of the PDP representing Otukpo/Ohimini federal constituency.

The victories of Gbilah, Hember and Adaji were challenged by John Tion of the PDP, Terhemen Hons of the PDP and Nelson Alapa of the APC for alleged electoral malpractices and non compliance with the provisions of the 2010 Electoral Act as amended.

Delivering judgement in the case between John Tion and Mark Gbilah, Justice David Wyom dismissed the petition on the ground that it was filed out of time and therefore incompetent.

Justice Wyom who anchored his judgement on the provisions of Section 285 of the Electoral Act, noted that “the result of the election was declared on  March 30th., 2015 while the petition was filed on  April 20th, 2015, it is the position of this tribunal that this was done outside the 21 days allowed by law, the petition is therefore dismissed.”

In the suit between Nelson Alapa and Ezekiel Adaji, Justice Nyom held that it was the duty of the petitioner to prove allegation of non compliance in an election adding that he must also show that the non compliance aversely affected the outcome of the election as stipulated Electoral Act.

He said the failure of the petitioner to prove his case nullified the petition, “the petitioner failed to prove non compliance. He failed to show that Adaji was not validly returned. The petition is hereby dismissed in its entirety and  I hold that the first respondent (Adaji) was duly elected.”

Ruling in the petition between Herman Hember and Terhemen Hons, Justice Nyom held that the evidences tendered before the panel were hearsay and inadmissible. He dismissed the petition for lack of merit.