By Peter Duru
MAKURDI—Benue State House of Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in Makurdi has upheld the election of Mr. Johnson Ahubi and Dr. Adoga Onah, two Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, lawmakers representing Otukpa/Akpa and Oju 1 constituencies respectively in the Assembly.
Ahubi’s victory was challenged by Mr. Baba Ode of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who alleged that the State Assembly election in the constituency was marred by voters’ disenfranchisement, ballot box snatching and over- voting in 12 council polling wards of the constituency, while Dr. Adoga Onah’s election was challenged by Sunday Adagba of the APC who had questioned the authenticity of the election results from over 20 polling units in his constituency.
In her judgement in the case between Baba Ode and Johnson Ahubi, Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu held that the petitioner failed to establish the issues raised in his petition but relied on hearsay evidences from his witnesses which by the provisions of section 126 of the Evidence Act, was inadmissible.
She further noted that the petitioner could not also prove beyond all reasonable doubts the criminal allegations of ballot box snatching, voter intimidation and harassment raised in the petition.
Justice Mosunmola held that: “the allegation of ballot box snatching is criminal in nature and those accused of committing the act were not called as witnesses for the purpose of fair hearing. The paragraphs in the petition alleging this should also have been expunged from the petitioner.
She held thus: “Our submission is that the petitioner failed woefully to prove allegation of substantial non compliance and as such, is not entitled to any relief sort.
The petition is hereby dismissed”, the tribunal held.
In the case between Adoga Onah and Sunday Adagba, the Tribunal held that the allegation of electoral malpractices could not be proved, adding that the contradiction in the testimonies of the petitioners’ witnesses dealt a fatal blow to the petition.