…reserves judgment in Mimi vs Suswam
By Titus Atondu, Makurdi
The National and State Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in Makurdi has dismissed the petition filed by Nick Wende and the All Progressives Congress, (APC), challenging the election of Hon. Sugh Abanyi of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) as member representing Kwande West State constituency.
The petition was dismissed on Wednesday when a member of the panel, Justice M. A Oyetenu read the ruling of the tribunal on the application filed by Hon. Sugh, the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), urging the tribunal to dismiss the petition as the petitioners have abandoned the petition.
The tribunal agreed with the submissions of the counsel to Hon. Sugh Abanyi, Douglas Pepe and Bemva Akortsaha, that of the PDP, John Ioryina and that of INEC Martins Shaager, that the petitioners ought to have applied for the pre-hearing report seven days from the day pre-hearing ended, which was May 24, 2019, but failed to do so.
She added that the petitioners failed to comply with paragraph 18(1) and paragraph 49 of the first schedule of the Electoral Act 2010 (As amended) and only applied for pre-hearing report after the petitioners had filed a motion urging the tribunal to dismiss the suit.
The tribunal ordered Hon Wende to pay the sum of N50, 000 each to Hon Sugh, the PDP and INEC, and accordingly dismissed the petition.
Also in the same court, the tribunal has reserved judgment after the adoption of final addresses in the suit filed by Adzape-Orubibi Mimi challenging the election of Senator Gabriel Suswam in the Benue North East Senatorial District.
Counsel to Gabriel Suswam, Barr Andrew Wombo urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition with heavy cost as the petitioners have failed to prove their case, polling unit by polling unit, ward by ward, the lawful votes and unlawful votes.
He added that, the petitioners only called 49 witnesses, and even if the tribunal takes away the polling units wherein witnesses were called, the petitioners have not been able to prove that they will be declared winner.
Counsel to INEC, Thomas Saachia and that of the PDP, Felix Anongo all aligned themselves with the submission of Barr. Wombo.
Counsel to Mimi Orubibi, Dikko Ishaka, SAN, urged the court to either declare the petitioners as winner or order for fresh election.
The tribunal thereafter adjourned the matter for judgment on a date to be communicated to the parties.