Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, Benue State capital has dismissed the petition filed by former senator representing Benue North-West George Akume of the All Progressives Congress (APC) against incumbent Senator Emmanuel Yisa Orker Jev of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Delivering his judgement, Chairman of the tribunal, Justice R. O. Odugu, held that the petitioners failed woefully to prove in ground two of their petition that the election was marred by corrupt practices and non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
Justice Odugu posited that the law is clear that where there are allegations against persons not joined, this would be a breach of their fundamental human right, adding that it was unnecessary to join such persons once a political party had already been joined.
On ground one of the petition which hinged on whether Senator Jev was duly elected by lawful votes cast during the election, the tribunal chairman accused Akume of failure to lead evidence polling unit by polling unit, ward by ward to show that non-compliance affected the result of the election.
The tribunal also faulted the use of smart card reader saying it is not acceptable in law. According to the tribunal, the manual voter register will continue to play a vital role in determining election processes.
“Petitioners have a burden to prove non-compliance by tendering registers in proper forms, show figure of over voting as well as show that the alleged figure of over voting if removed would have favoured the petitioners.
“They also failed to call polling unit agents to prove lack of proper accreditation and over-voting. Instead of calling polling unit agents, they decided to dump documents on the tribunal.
“Most of the statement of the witnesses were based on hearsay which is inadmissible in law. The petition is hereby, dismissed and the petitioners will pay a cost of N100,000 each to the three respondents,” Justice Odugu stated.