The Court of Appeal on Friday upheld the election of a former Senate President, David Mark, as the senator representing Benue South Senatorial District.
Mr. Mark, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, defeated the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Daniel Onjeh, in the February 20 re-run.
He had won the March 28, 2015 senatorial election but was sacked by the court which ordered the re run. Mr. Onjeh also challenged the result of the re run.
In upholding Mr. Mark’s election on Friday, the three-member panel of judges led by Justice Obande Ogbuinya, said Mr. Onjeh’s petition lacked merit, was incompetent and status barred and therefore dismissed it.
The panel, which included Oyebisi Omoleye and Ifeoma Jombo, were unanimous in their decision.
Ken Ikonne, counsel to Mr. Mark, and the counsels representing the Independent National Electoral Commission and the PDP, Johnson Usman and Chris Alechenu, respectively, had told the court that section 285 (5) of the 1999 constitution was clear on the fact the day of declaration of an election result should be included in the days allowed for the filing of a petition before a court.
They asked the court to dismiss the appeal and award cost against Mr. Onjeh.
Mr. Onjeh had approached the court after the Benue State Election Tribunal struck out his petition for lack of merit and also for filing it behind the stipulated time.
In the petition, the APC candidate alleged irregularities in the election.
Reacting to his victory, Mr. Mark said the journey to victory was tortuous but that he was glad that all avenues were exhausted to affirm it.
“I’m glad that the final verdict of the appeal court vindicates me and truly reaffirmed my victory freely given to me by the people of Benue South Senatorial zone,” he said in a statement by his media aide, Paul Mumeh.
“I’m happy that the Judiciary stood on the side of justice and respected the wishes of Benue South people.”
Mr. Mark also said he had forgiven his opponent Mr. Onjeh and all those who conspired against him during the election.
He said, “For me, I have forgiven all those especially some of my close friends who conspired against me. For to err is human, to forgive is Divine. I will continue to serve my people honestly and diligently. Whatever makes for the good of my people will always be my guide.
“I whole heartedly appreciate the support and solidarity of Idoma nation towards me. In spite of the unwarranted provocation and intimidation especially during the rerun election, you came out in large numbers to vote for me. I’m truly grateful “.
Mr. Mark called on all sons and daughters of Benue South to come on board and join hands with him in the task of developing and empowering the people of the district.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...