Orders rerun in disputed polling units
Peter Duru – Makurdi
The National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, Benue State, Monday nullified the election of the Benue State Deputy Speaker Mr Chris Adaji of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Adaji is representing Ohimini State constituency in the Assembly.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the election, Mr Musa Alechenu had approached the tribunal to nullify the election for alleged malpractices.
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Delivering the judgement, the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Richard Odudu, nullified the victory of the PDP candidate, noting that he led with 397 votes while the votes cancelled in the two polling units under contention – Igbanomaje and Otega – were 1,056 votes.
“Since the margin of lead between the two candidates is less than the cancelled votes, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), ought not to have made final declaration without ordering for a rerun in the affected polling units.
“Therefore, the return of the PDP candidate without a rerun in the effected policing units is invalid because it failed the test of substantial compliance to Electoral Act 2010 (as amended),’ he said.
The tribunal ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Adaji and conduct a rerun election in the two polling units where elections were cancelled within 90 days.
Reacting, counsel to the petitioner, Mr Vincent Tortsugh, described the ruling as “reasonable,” adding that “we didn’t expect anything other than this.”
On his part, Adaji’s counsel, Mr Ken Ikonne, said he would consult with his client before taking any further decision.
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