Tribunal fixes June 9, 10, for hearing in Suswam, Udende case

The National/State Houses of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting in  Makurdi, the Benue state capital, Wednesday adjourned to 9th and 10th June, 2023, for hearing in the petition brought by Senator Gabriel Suswam of the  People’s Democratic Party (PDP), challenging the return of Hon. Emmanuel Memga Udende of the AllProgressives Congress (APC), as winner of the March 2023 Benue North- east Senatorial District election.

Joined in the petition are APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as first and second respondents.

Chairman of the three-member panel, Honourable Justice Ory Zik-Ikeorha, fixed the dates at the conclusion of pre-hearing conference on Wednesday, 24th May, 2023.

Sanator Suswam, a former governor of Benue state wants the Hon. Tribunal to void the return of Udende on the ground that Udende did not score majority of the lawful votes cast at the election.

Terkura Pepe, SAN, who conducted proceedings on behalf of his brother silk, Paul Harris Ogbole, for the petitioners, told journalists after the conference that the call for the nullification of the result is based on the observable irregularities in the result sheets.

Pepe, SAN, said there were mutilation, alteration and cancellation of figures to suit the purpose of the respondents. The petitioners are also moving the court to hold that the candidate that was returned winner of the election is non-existent.

He added that Udende Memga Emmanuel, whose name appear nowhere in the register of voters in Benue North -east was returned winner and the only close name to that, in their findings is Udende Memsa Emmanuel. He said all the votes ascribed to him should be voided.

Earlier, while addressing the court on his two applications, counsel to Udende, Eyitayo Fatigun, SAN, who appeared with Wilson Iorshe, Esq, Edward Ikyoive, Esq, Tavershima Pusa, Esq, wants the tribunal to dismiss the petition for want of merit.

To Matthew Burka, SAN, Suswam’s petition does not disclose cause of action and should be dismissed. He further asked the court to hold that the petition was abandoned and therefore dismiss same.

UNI Agric Markurdi
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