Senatorial tussle: Jev defeats Akume again

Senator George Akume
Senator George Akume

The National/State Assemblies Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi yesterday dismissed the petition brought before it against the senator representing Benue North West Senatorial District, Barrister Emmanuel Orker Jev by Senator George Akume.

Akume, now minister of Special Duties, had dragged Jev to the tribunal, seeking to reclaim his seat at the upper chambers of the National Assembly following his defeat at the recently concluded 2019 polls.

But in his ruling, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice R. O. Odugu, averred that the petitioners failed woefully to prove on ground two of their petition that the election was marred by corrupt practices and non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.

Odugu held that the law was clear that where there are allegations against persons not joined, this would be a breach of their fundamental human right and that it was unnecessary to join such persons once a political party had already been joined.

The tribunal chairman accused Akume of failure to lead evidence, polling unit by polling unit, ward by ward, to show that non-compliant affected the result of the election.

He added that manual voter register will continue to play a vital role in determining election processes because the use of smart card reader was not acceptable in law.

Odugu held that 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 favoured 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 statements of the witnesses are based on hearsay which is inadmissible in law. The petition is hereby, dismissed and the petitioners will pay a cost of N100,000 each to the three respondents.”

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