David Mark: Counsels Close Case, Benue Tribunal Set To Announce Date Of Judgment

The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 28 senatorial election for Benue South, Mr Daniel Onjeh, has asked the Justice Mosumola Dipeolu-led National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi to nullify the election and order a fresh election.

Onjeh said this on Thursday during the adoption of the final addresses of all the parties in his petition challenging the election of Sen. David Mark of the PDP in the election.

He said that the result forms produced by INEC did not reflect the actual votes cast during the senatorial election in the zone.

The petitioner tendered several relevant documents, including his written statement, on oath and certified true copies of result sheets from the nine LGAs to prove his case.

In his submission, counsel to Onjeh, Mr Tunji Oso, alleged that Mark was prophetically declared the winner by INEC while collation of results were still ongoing in seven local government areas of the zone on March 29.

Oso further alleged that there was no evidence of holding of election or collation in 107 polling units across the senatorial zone as form EC8A (1) for the said polling units were not produced by INEC.

He submitted that the results of seven local government areas, Agatu, Obi, Okpokwu, APA, Ado, Ogbadibo and Oju which were proved to be collated on March 29 could not be part of the votes upon which Mark was returned since he was declared winner on March 28.

He urged the tribunal to expunge the votes of the identified local government areas from the total votes of parties where Mark supposedly polled 99,538 votes while Onjeh polled 50,115.

Oso pointed out that votes were only validly collated in Ohimini and Otukpo local government areas where Onjeh polled a total number of 16,033 votes while Mark polled a total of 27,137 votes.

The Petitioner’s counsel insisted that more than half of the votes cast and more than half of the polling units where elections were supposed to have been held were vitiated and invalidated.

He, therefore, urged the tribunal to nullify the election and order for fresh poll.

Oso noted that it was a settled law that where more than half of total votes cast or half of total polling units is vitiated, the tribunal ought to nullify the entire election.

However, counsel for Mark, Mr Kenneth Ikonne, urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition, arguing that all the allegations in the petition were criminal in nature and the onus rested on the petitioner to prove it.

Ikonne said the petitioner alleged irregularities, malpractices, allocation of votes, multiplication of figures, over-voting, over accreditation, concoction of results but failed to prove his case.

Counsel for PDP, Mr Chris Alechenu, aligned himself with the submissions of Ikonne and also urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition.

The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Mosumola Dipeolu, commended the parties in the matter and informed them that judgment date would be communicated to them through the tribunal Secretariat.(NAN)

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