The National and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 dismissed the petition filed by the PDP candidate for Ughelli North, South and Udu federal constituency, Chief Samuel Mariere against Rev. Francis Waive of the APC for lack of merit.
The Tribunal earlier stroke out the application by the petitioners to strike out their own witnesses, noting that it’s unmeritorious.
Stressing that, “to grant this application is akin to shifting the goal post in the middle of the game. The application is dismissed according.
The 3-man Tribunal in a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice A. M. Abubakar, Chairman of the Tribunal who delivered the lead judgment, it affirms Waive’s victory saying that he won the highest number of lawful votes cast.
The other two members of panel Hon Justice FO Ibiam – Member I and Hon Justice JM Ayua – Member II agreed with the lead judgment.
The court went on to uphold the three preliminary objections filed by the three Respondents and struck out the grounds of the petition for being defective and offensive of section to 138(1) of the Electoral Act, that the petitioners have no locus standi to query the sponsorship of the 1st Respondent by the 2nd Respondent as same is strictly a party affair.
They also dismissed the petitioners application for the disqualification of Rev Waive on the account of Justice Toyin Adegoke’s judgment stating that petitioners cannot rely on the Adegoke judgment as same has been upturned by the Court of Appeal Benin and whatever orders made therein are nullified.
The tribunal went on to strike out the petitioners amended reply to the respondents replies as same was a repetition of the amended petition and introduced new issues outside the 21 days period.
The tribunal went on to determine the matter on its merit and accorded no probative value to all the petitioners witnesses.
“The Tribunal held that the issue of non-compliance and non accreditation complained of in 34 polling units (20 polling units in Ughelli North, 10 polling units in Ughelli South and 4 polling units in Udu) was not proved.
“That the allegation of falsification of result was not proved and that the allegation that 320 votes allegedly meant for the petitioners was not recorded for them was not proved.
Consequently, “the Tribunal held that the 1st Respondent, Rev. Francis Ejiroghene Waive was duly elected scoring the majority of lawful votes cast at the election.
“The petition lacked merit and was accordingly dismissed.”
In his reaction, Hon. (Rev.) Francis Waive, the member representing Ughelli North, Ughelli South and Udu federal constituency dedicated his victory to God and his constituents.
He added that the victory at the Tribunal will spur him to work harder for his people and make a difference in his representation.
According to him, “I dedicate this victory to the Almighty God and the good people of Ughelli North, Ughelli South, Udu Federal constituency.
“I renew my commitment to work for our people and make the difference we’ve all yearned for.
“I call for the support of all and sundry to bring the dividends of democracy to our constituency,” he added.