From Msurshima Andrew Makurdi
The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal in Makurdi, Benue State, on Saturday, upheld the election of Chief Philip Agbese of the All Progressives Congress, (APC), as member representing the Ado/Ogbadibo/Okpokwu Federal Constituency of Benue State.
Aida Nath of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), filed the petition challenging the declaration of Agbese on the grounds of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.
She alleged that she was unlawfully excluded from the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which failed to comply with the judgement of the Supreme Court that confirmed her as the PDP candidate and not Francis Otta Agbo.
In a unanimous judgment, Justice Emeka Ezedi dismissed the petition for being grossly incompetent.
He held that unlawful exclusion is not a ground for questioning the outcome of an election under the extant Electoral Act.
Justice Emeka stated that the case of the petitioners is purely a pre-election matter which the tribunal powers to investigate matters that occurred before the conduct of an election.
The tribunal ruled that to complain of non-compliance and also complain of unlawful exclusion is tantamount to approbating and repprobating.
The tribunal further held that candidate who didn’t participate in an election cannot complain of non-compliance in the election.
It awarded cost of N400,000 against Aida, to be paid to each of the respondents.