The State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi on Friday nullified the election of member representing Makurdi-North State Constituency, Mr Martins Aza. Aza of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was dragged before the tribunal by Mr Avine Agbom of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the 2015 governorship/assembly elections.
Agbom challenged the election on the grounds of electoral malpractices and non compliance with the electoral laws in the conduct of the election in two council wards. The wards where irregularities were alleged were Agan and Mbalan. Agbom, in his petition, prayed the tribunal to invalidate the results of the two wards and order for fresh election.
Delivering judgment, the tribunal Chairman, Justice Mosumola Dipeolu, noted that the onus of proof lies with the petitioner, which he did with submissions of relevant evidence. The Chairman, however, stated that the first respondent failed to efficiently counter the allegations in his response.
The Chairman explained that testimonies of witnesses presented by the respondents’ counsel were contradictory and unreliable. The tribunal, therefore, ordered INEC to conduct fresh elections in 20 polling units in Agan and 14 polling units in Mbalan council wards of the constituency within 60 days from today.
NAN reports that the tribunal also in a separate judgment, dismissed the petition of the PDP candidate, Mrs Elizabeth Shuluwa, for lack of merit. The tribunal, therefore, upheld the election of member representing Kastina-Ala West State Constituency, Mr Tor Aye of the Labour party.