The National/State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi at the weekend reserved judgement in the petition challenging the return of Abba Moro as Senator representing Benue South district.
Daily Trust reports that the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s senatorial candidate, Steven Lawani, had earlier dragged Moro of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) to the tribunal seeking nullification of the latter’s election and his (Lawani) return as winner of the February 23, 2019 Benue south senatorial district poll.
After adopting final written address during the sitting of the tribunal headed by Justice A. A. Adeleye, the Counsel to the PDP, C. T. Mue, in the case between former deputy governor, Lawani and Senator Moro of the PDP urged the tribunal to handle the issue of documents allegedly dumped on it by the petitioner (Lawani), the way it handled the dumping of documents on the judgement delivered on the case of Ademu Entonu versus Godday Samuel.
Mue averred that Entonu and other witnesses did not link their statements with the documents tendered in evidence, adding that the former House of Representatives member, Entonu did not call any polling agent to testify on allegations of malpractices even as some of the allegations like alteration and cancellation of figures, over voting and so on needed to be proved beyond reasonable doubts because of its criminal nature.
Also, Counsel to INEC, M. Y. Sale (SAN), submitted that the onus of proof on the allegations of malpractice rests on the petitioner and noted that the petitioner who complained of alleged doctoring of results did not provide alternative result apart from the one provided by INEC.
Sale, therefore, urged the tribunal to rely on the results provided by INEC in line with the law to dismiss the Lawani’s petition in its entirety.
But, Counsel to petitioner, Sunday O. Okpale, argued that Sale did not sign the reply to the petition and asked the court to discountenance the reply.
Reacting to the claim, Sale, said his name was highlighted in the reply and that his seal which was issued by the Supreme Court in 2011 was used in the said reply, urging the court further to disregard Okpale’s claim which he said was lacking in merit.
Meanwhile, the tribunal has reserved judgement on the case, stressing that the date would be communicated to the parties concerned.