The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, Benue State has declared Senator Gabriel Suswam of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the February 25 election for Benue Northeast senatorial district.
Our correspondent reports that the tribunal judgement which held for over three hours sacked the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) Emmanuel Udende from the upper chambers of the National Assembly.
Suswam, a member of the 9th senate, had lost his bid to return to the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
But he had headed for the court, arguing that Udende did not score majority of the lawful votes cast in the 25th February, 2023, Benue North East Senatorial District election.
Chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Ory Zik-Ikeorha and another member, ruled in the favour of Suswam and PDP.
The duo, in their judgment, averred that Suswam and PDP fulfilled the requirement of the law in proving their case of irregularities such as mutilation, non-signing of documents, non-inclusion of lawful votes, among others.
But, in a minority judgement, Justice Umar Mohammed, opposed the decision of the two other members of the panel, saying that the petitioner failed to proved his case.
Mohammed held that Suswam who called 19 witnesses most of who were irrelevant as the irregularities complained of were at the polling units and instead called ward agents instead of polling unit agents.
Suswam and PDP’s petition was predicated on the ground that Udende did not score majority of the lawful votes cast during the election.
Justice Mohammed held that the evidence by Suswam was grossly insufficient to sustain his petition.
He therefore, dismissed the petition and awarded the cost of N100,000 in favour of each of the respondents against the petitioner.
Meanwhile, Innocent Daagba, on behalf of the APC, said, “we are not satisfied with the decision and will advice my client to appeal.”
The PDP, through Bemgba Iortyom, the State Publicity Secretary, hailed the judgment and congratulated Senator.
Also, the immediate past Governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom, has congratulated Senator Suswam over his victory at the tribunal.
Ortom said the victory of Senator Suswam has further proven the capacity of the judiciary to uphold justice and serve as the bastion of democracy.
The former governor through his media aide, Terver Akase, commended Suswam for following the legal process to get justice and congratulated the PDP family in Benue over the tribunal judgment.