Again, tribunal strikes out petition against David Mark
The re-run Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, Benue State capital, yesterday struck out the petition filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Daniel Onjeh, against former Senate President, David Mark.
In her ruling on the application brought before the tribunal by the first, second and third respondents, Justice Chinyere Gloria Anulube held that the petition was filed outside the stipulated 21 days as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Justice Anulube described the petition as ‘defective and incurably bad’, maintaining that the tribunal lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
She held that provision of the interpretation Act, the Electoral Act and Practice Direction, as well as the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, state that the time for filing an election petition should include the day of declaration of result of the election and not the second day.
While relying on the Supreme Court decision in Okechukwu vs. INEC, the tribunal also held that since the re-run itself was predicated upon the order of the Appeal Court, ‘this tribunal cannot shy away from a superior court pronouncement.’
“We hold that all pending applications before the court having been overtaken by event is thereby struck out”, she stated.
Reacting to the ruling, counsel to Senator Mark, Kenneth Ikonne, said justice was well served, stating too that the petition is just a waste of time as it is incompetent.
Also speaking on the ruling, Special Assistant to David Mark on Media/Benue Liaison, Dr. Adakole Elijah, hailed the decision of the tribunal, saying that the ruling was a classical manifestation of the revalidation of the mandate given to the former Senate President.
According to Elijah: “We defeated APC in March 2015, the APC and its candidate went to court and got the victory nullified and a re-run was ordered, we went back to the polls and came back victorious and that victory has today been re-affirmed by the tribunal.”
In his reaction, the Benue State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman, John Ngbede, said the court ruling was a re-affirmation of the election of Mark by Benue South District, adding: “It shows that future of PDP in the state is bright.
“It shows that God is with Mark, the people of Benue South, PDP and it is a total vindication of our earlier position”, Ngbede added.