The National/State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, situated in Makurdi, has reaffirmed the election of Rep. Philip Agbese of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the representative for the Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency in Benue State.
The verdict, delivered on a Saturday in Makurdi by Justice Emeka Dada, was a unanimous decision in which the petitions filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP) candidates, challenging the election results, were dismissed.
Justice Dada cited several reasons for the dismissal. He pointed out that the PDP’s petition was flawed because the allegation of unlawful exclusion did not constitute sufficient grounds for an election petition; rather, it was a pre-election matter. Additionally, he stated that the petitioner failed to substantiate claims of noncompliance, leading to the dismissal of the petition.
Regarding the LP candidate, Ralph Ogbodo, Justice Dada noted that Ogbodo failed to meet the burden of proof concerning non-compliance and other irregularities as outlined in the electoral act.
Both the PDP and LP candidates had taken Rep. Philip Agbese to the tribunal, seeking various remedies, including the annulment of his election victory and the declaration of a new winner.
Following the tribunal’s decision, Adetunji Oso, the legal representative for Rep. Philip Agbese, expressed satisfaction, stating that “justice has been done.” He further emphasized that Agbese would continue to carry out his duties as the duly elected representative for the Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency.