A former Governor of Benue State and senator, Gabriel Suswam of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been returned as the senator-elect for Benue North-East.
The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sent Senator Emmanuel Udende of the All Progressives Congress (APC) packing, as the Chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Ory Zik-Ikeorha and another member, ruled in the favour of Suswam and PDP.
In comments indicative of the plan of the APC candidate to appeal, his counsel, Innocent Daagba, expressed dissatisfaction with the judgment, and said he would advice his client to appeal.
The two members of the tribunal averred that Suswam and PDP fulfilled the requirement of the law in proving their case of irregularities such as mutilation, non-signing of documents, non-inclusion of lawful votes, among others.
But the third judge on the tribunal thought otherwise. In a minority judgement, Justice Umar Mohammed, opposed the decision of the two other members of the panel, saying that the petitioner failed to proved his case.
Mohammed held that Suswam who called 19 witnesses most of who were irrelevant as the irregularities complained about were at the polling units and instead he called ward agents instead of polling unit agents.
Justice Mohammed held that the evidence by Suswam was grossly insufficient to sustain his petition.
He, therefore, dismissed the petition and awarded the cost of N100,000 in favour of each of the respondents against the petitioner.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Udende as the winner of the Benue North-East senatorial election held on February 25.
Suswam proceeded to the court, arguing that Udende did not score majority of the lawful votes cast in the 25th February, 2023 for the Benue North East Senatorial District election.