From: Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
An Appeal Court sitting in Makurdi, Benue State capital yesterday, upheld the election of Comrade Abba Moro as the substantive candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Benue South Senatorial seat during the party primary election that was held in October, 2018.
The Appeal Court consequently dismissed the appeal that was brought before it by Joseph Ojobo, a member of the State House of Assembly representing Ogbadibo State Constituency, challenging the October 7, 2018 primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the Benue South Senatorial Seat, which was won by Moro.
Ojobo contested the party’s primary election with Coomrade Moro, who had gone ahead to emerge as senator- elect for the Benue South Senatorial Seat in the recently concluded National Assembly elections in the state.
Dissatisfied with the conduct of the primary, Ojobo had approached the Federal High Court in Makurdi division to challenge the primary election that produced his opponent, Comrade Abba Moro, as the senatorial flag bearer of the party on the ground of irregularities, but the case was struck out.
Ojobo had asked the court to declare him winner, having scored the highest votes in the primary election that was conducted and later declared inconclusive on the ground of insecurity.
Delivery judgement on the matter, Justice Onyekachi Ajah, ruled that the lower court did not erred in throwing out the appellant suit, stressing that it was a right thing to be done having gone through all the arguments of the various parties.
She noted that there were overwhelming evidence before her to prove that the election of October 4 was inconclusive and the plaintiff (Joseph Ojobo) consented to it and also participated fully in the supplementary primary election where the first respondent (Moro) scored the highest number of votes and was declared winner in line with section 87 of the 2010 Electoral Act as amended.
Justice Ajah went further to State that the appellant failed to prove that there was no accreditation before the primary, which he fully participated in.
She noted that there was no denial of fair hearing at the lower court between the appellant, 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents, which the lower court substantially based their judgement on merit and also upheld by the Appeal Court.
“Having gone through the various arguments put before me and having read the decision of the lower court, coupled with the fact that the appellant failed to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt, I hereby dismiss the appeal and upheld the decision of the lower court in favour of the 1st Respondent, Comrade Moro, 2nd respondent, PDP and 3rd respondent, INEC”, she said.
Speaking shortly after the judgement, lead counsel to the appellant (Ojobo), Agbo Madaki, said that he was not satisfied with the judgement, saying that most of his motions and objections raised during hearing were not mentioned in the judgement.
He said he will get certified true copy of the judgement, study it and possibly advise his client to approach the Supreme Court for overall decision on the matter.
“We have heard the judgement and I have registered my dissatisfaction and because this court has given its own side of the case, I will obtain the CTC, then I can be in better position to advise my client to proceed to the Supreme Court. However, the onus lies on him to either accept my advice or not”, he said.
Reacting to the judgement, counsel to the senator elect, Abba Moro, Barrister Ken Ikoni, described the judgment as the affirmation of the collective mandate given to his client by all.
“I am very grateful for the profound judgement given in favor of my client, and I can assure you that even if my opponent go to the Supreme Court, his case will still be thrown out because there is no basis for them to go further. All the issues in contention raised by the appellant has been dealt with”, Ikoni said.