Tuesday, September 8, 2015 11:44 pm
The National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi on Tuesday upheld INEC’s return of Mr Samson Okwu as House of Representatives member-elect.
Okwu contested the election for Oju/Obi Federal Constituency of Benue on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
However, Mr Etukwu Onah of All Progressives Congress (APC) had dragged Okwu and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the tribunal on allegation of irregularities at the March 28 National Assembly election for the constituency.
The petitioner also alleged that INEC was wrong to have returned Okwu as the lawful winner of the said poll.
In her judgement, Justice Mosumola Dipeolu-led tribunal held that the petitioner failed to prove his case beyond all reasonable doubt.
According to the Judge, the petitioner made allegations and the onus of proof rested on him but he failed to lead evidence to prove his case.
She also held that the testimonies of most of the petitioner’s witnesses were contradictory, adding that they were based on mere hearsay, which could not be relied upon in law.
Dipeolu, therefore, dismissed the petition for lacking in merit.
Counsel to Okwu, Mr Samson Udaga, had earlier questioned the basis of the petition.
Udaga cited Sections 47 and 53 of the first schedule to the Electoral Act 2010 in his defense.
According to Okwu the petitioner made criminal allegations on individuals, who are not parties in the matter.
He also urged the tribunal to strike out the petition.
Counsel to Etukwu, Mr Eje Ochuokpa, had objected to the preliminary objection citing Section 137(3) of the Electoral Act, 2010.
He told the tribunal that the entire body of the petition did not contain any name other than INEC officials, saying that it was unnecessary to join them individually.