Panel One of the National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Makurdi, has successfully concluded its duties by delivering judgments on the final five election petitions within its purview.
Presided over by Justice Ory Zik-Ikeorha, the panel, which included Justice Usman Mohammed as Member 1 and Honourable Justice Saliu Zubayr as Member 2, meticulously rendered their judgments for each of the respective petitions.
A major decision was pronounced on Thursday, concerning the declaration of Hon. Danladi Lamin, the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate and Deputy Speaker of the Benue State Assembly, as the rightful winner. The petitioners, Hon. Agnes Uloko and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), challenged Lamin’s qualification to stand for election and raised allegations of irregularities during the electoral process. However, the tribunal ruled in favor of Lamin, asserting that the petitioners failed to substantiate their claims.
Furthermore, the tribunal upheld the victory of APC candidate Hon. Agada Awuchi in this year’s Ogbadibo State Constituency election. Justice Usman Mohammed, delivering the lead judgment, emphasized that the petitioners, Hon. Patrick Enemari and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), did not provide sufficient evidence of election malpractices. Consequently, the petitioners were instructed to pay a cost of N150,000 to the respondents, which included Awuchi, APC, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Barrister C. N. Patrick, representing Awuchi, expressed contentment with the tribunal’s decision, underscoring that the petitioners failed to convincingly present their case, relying solely on documents without calling any witnesses for validation.
In addition, the tribunal dismissed the petition filed by Arch Eric Adokwu and the APC against Hon. Ochekliye Isaac of the PDP for Ohimini State Constituency, citing a lack of merit. Similarly, Hon. Terkimbi Adeiyongu of the PDP lost his petition against Hon. Emmanuel Shimawua of the APC and INEC for Kyan State Constituency. Additionally, Arch Elijah Anayagher of the PDP lost his petition against Simon Gabo, APC, and INEC for Mata State Constituency.
Except for the petition related to Mata State Constituency, all other petitioners were directed to pay a sum of N150,000 to the respondents as costs, marking a significant milestone in the conclusion of this phase of electoral dispute resolutions.