The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting over the Benue South re-run election in Makurdi, Benue State on Thursday dismissed the petition by the All Progressives Congress (APC ) candidate Daniel Onjeh against the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) candidate Senator David Mark for lack of merit and filling out of time.
The tribunal held that the petition was filed out of the stipulated 21 days as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria .
In her ruling, Justice Chinyere Gloria Anulube described the petition as defective and incurably bad, maintaining that the tribunal lack the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
She held that the provision of the interpretation Act, the electoral Act , Practice Direction as well as the constitution of the Federal Republic, the time for filing an election petition should include the day of declaration of result of the election.
While relying on the Supreme Court decision in Okechukwu and INEC, the tribunal also, held that since the re-run itself was predicated upon the order of Appeal Court, “this tribunal cannot shy away from a superior court pronouncement.
“We hold that all pending applications before the court having been overtaken by event is hereby struck out,” she stated.
Responding to the ruling, counsel to Senator Mark, Ken Ikonne, said justice was well served, averring that the petition is just a waste of time as it is grossly incompetent.
Also speaking on the ruling, Special Assistant to Senator David Mark on Media/Benue Liaison, Dr. Adakole Elijah, hailed the decision of the tribunal, saying the ruling was a classical manifestation of the revalidation of the mandate given to the former Senate President.
Elijah said: ” In Benue South , we defeated APC in March 2015, the APC and its candidate went to Appeal Tribunal after our victory at the lower Tribunal and got the victory nullified. A re-run was ordered, we went back to the polls and came back victorious and that victory has today been re-affirmed by the tribunal once again”.
Benue State PDP Chairman John Ngbede said the court ruling ” is a re-affirmation of the election of Sen. Mark by Benue South zone . It shows that future of PDP in the state is bright. God is with Mark.”
Senator Mark was returned winner for the 6th time for his victory after the Appeal Tribunal ordered a rerun last February .