From: Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
The National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, yesterday dismissed the petition of former Deputy Governor of the State, Chief Steven Lawani, against the election of Senator Abba Moro.
Lawani, being dissatisfied with the conduct of the conduct of the Senatorial Election for Benue South Senatorial District held on 23 February, 2019 had approached the tribunal, alleging irregularities.
He called 13 witnesses to testify that the election was not conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act, while Moro did not call any witness.
Delivering judgement on the matter, the tribunal chairman, Justice A. A. Adeleye faulted the petition for been filed outside the pre-trial session, noting that the petitioners failed to proof that the election was not conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act.
He particularly, frowned at the testimonies of the petitioner’s witnesses describing them as ‘Unreliable, contradictory, incoherent and mere hearsay which is inadmissible in law.
“The petitioners failed to unbundle documents brought by them and to expect the tribunal to do their job would be unfair. They listed documents without particularization Since they could not proof their case, they should not have shifted the burden to the respondents.
“They could not establish Electoral malpractice. Thus, the petition is dismissed for failure on the part of the petitioners to proof non compliance with the Electoral Act”, Justice Adeleye held.
Responding to the judgment, counsel to Sen. Moro, Ken Ikonne, said the dismissal of the petition was inevitable, adding that the margin of win was irreversible.
While Sen. Moro said the judgement is a vindication of the legality of his election, positing that it is validation of the mandate given by people of Benue South Senatorial District.