THE National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, on Thursday dismissed the petition brought before it by the Senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Daniel Onjeh.
Onjeh had, on March 13, 2016, filed a petition against the former Senate President, Senator David Mark, challenging the victory of the former senate president.
The presiding Judge, Justice Gloria Anulude, in her ruling, said that the petition was filed in one day out of no time.
She disclosed that all other motions and applications filed on March 13 were, ‘thereby, struck out.
Justice Anulude further ruled that the petitioner while filing his petition, substantially refused to state the day of declaration of result.
“This tribunal is bound by the decision of the Supreme Court being the highest court of the land.
“By Arithmetical calculation, the day of declaration is inclusive in computing the mandatory 21 days of filing an election case. Therefore, the tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain the petition, and as such, the petition is hereby struck out,” she stated.
Onjeh had filed the petition challenging the victory of Mark, who he said, was wrongly declared as the winner of the election in the February21, 2016 Benue South senatorial rerun election.
Counsel for the petitioner, Mr. Adetunji Oso, did not agree with the ruling, adding that there was an opportunity at the higher court. He said emphatically that his client would surely appeal the ruling.
The media aide to the former Senate President, Chief Adakole Elijah, said that the position taken by the tribunal was sound and noble because it was a validation of free mandate given to the senator.
He recalled that people of Benue South senatorial district unanimously voted Mark in, which the appeal court overruled, thus prompting the rerun. He said the people of the senatorial district also re-validated their support for Senator Mark, which he said the tribunal had judiciously ruled on, saying that, ‘The court is the last hope of the common people.’
In a teleconference from Abuja, the defeated APC candidate, Daniel Onjeh said he totally dissatisfied with the ruling of the tribunal and had already instructed his team of lawyers to immediately commence the process of filing appeal at the appeal court.