The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, Benue state capital, has dismissed the petition filed by former senator representing Benue North West, George Akume, against incumbent Senator Emmanuel Yisa Orker Jev.
Senator Akume, the leader of APC in Benue, who is now Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, had petitioned Senator Jev of the PDP before the tribunal alleging irregularities in the election that gave victory to Jev.
But delivering judgement, the tribunal chairman, Justice R. O. Odugu, held that the petitioners failed to prove in their petition that the election was marred by corrupt practices and non compliance with the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
On ground one of the petition, which hinged on whether Senator Jev was duly elected by lawful votes cast during the election, the tribunal said Akume failed to lead evidence polling unit by polling unit, ward by ward, to show that non compliance affected result of the election.
Also, he faulted the use of smart card reader which according to him is not acceptable in law, positing that manual voter register will continue to play a vital role in determining election processes.
“The petitioners have a burden to prove non compliance by tendering registers in proper forms, show figure of over voting as well as show that the alleged figure of over voting if removed would have favored the petitioners.
“They also failed to call polling unit agents to prove lack of proper accreditation and over voting.
“Instead of calling polling unit agents, they decided to dump documents on the tribunal. Most of the statement of the witnesses is based on hearsay, which is inadmissible in law,” he said.
On the ground two of the petition, the tribunal also noted that the law was clear that where there are allegations against persons not joined, it would be a breach of their fundamental human right.
He added that it was unnecessary to join such persons once a political party had already been joined.
“The petition is hereby dismissed and the petitioners will pay a cost of N100, 000 each to the three (3) respondents”, Justice Odugu said.