From Scholastica Onyeka, Makurdi
The election of Senator Abba Moro,of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), representing Benue South Senatorial District, has been affirmed after a National/State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting at Makurdi dismissed the petition brought to it by Daniel Onjeh of the All Progressives Congress, (APC).
Chairman of the Tribunal, Honourable Justice Ory Zik-Ikeorha, who delivered the lead judgment says evidence adduced by the petitioners is weak, porous and lacking in substance hence can’t sustain the petition.
On 17th March, 2023, Onjeh filed the petition, which is predicated on three grounds that Sen. Moro was at the time of the election not qualified to contest, that Sen Moro was not elected by majority of the lawful votes cast as well as that the election of Sen Moro was invalid by reason of noncompliance with Electoral Act, guidelines and manual for the election.
Although Sen Moro raised objection as to the competence of the petition, the objection was dismissed and the petition heard on its merit.
According to the judgment, which was concurred by all members of the panel, the petitioners failed to call credible and reliable evidence to get judgment.
It was further held that the issue of non compliance, the petitioner must not only plead the relevant Act under which they are complaining, adduce sufficient and tender compelling evidence to prove that such non compliance took place and that such noncompliance affects the case of the petitioners but have failed to call credible and reliable witness.
Justice Ory Zik-Ikeorha, therefore, held that the evidence adduced by Onjeh and APC is weak, porous and lacking in substance and can’t sustain the petition saying “Reliefs sought are hereby refused. The petition stands dismissed in entirety.”
Sen Moro’s counsel, R. O. Adakole, Esq, said “the pronouncement by the Tribunal is victory for democracy explaining ” it’s victory for democracy because democracy is where the majority have a voice. Given the judgment, it’s clear, even to the blind that the people of Zone C (Benue South) voted for Sen Moro.”
But Onjeh and his counsel, Oso, Esq, rejected the decision of the court.
Onjeh, has for the past 12 years contested to represent Zone C in the senate, and the most he came close was in 2015, when the Court of Appeal, Makurdi, judicial division ordered fresh election, which temporary saw Mark out of the Senate since 1999.
He said he is optimistic that he will win at the Court of Appeal.
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