Enugu and Benue Tribunals Reshape Political Landscape
In a recent twist of political fate, two National Assembly Election Petition Tribunals have delivered game-changing verdicts in Enugu and Benue states, setting the stage for new political dynamics.
Enugu Tribunal: The Election Petition Tribunal in Enugu nullified the victory of Prof Sunday Nnamchi, the Labour Party candidate, in the Enugu East/Isi-Uzo Federal Constituency’s House of Representatives election. This dramatic turn of events followed a petition lodged by Prince Cornelius Nnaji, a contender from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Nnaji had challenged Nnamchi’s legitimacy as a candidate, arguing that he wasn’t properly sponsored by the Labour Party. The tribunal, led by A. M. Abubakar, unanimously sided with Nnaji’s claim, proclaiming him the rightful winner of the February 25, 2023 election.
Benue Tribunal: Meanwhile, in Benue State, Senator Gabriel Suswam secured a significant victory in the 2023 election for the Benue North East Senatorial District. The tribunal, presided over by Justice Ory Zik-Ikeorha, nullified the election of Senator Emmanuel Udende from the All Progressive Congress (APC) and declared Suswam of the PDP as the rightful victor. The tribunal’s decision was grounded in a plethora of irregularities, including document mutilation, unsigned documents, and the inclusion of unlawful votes. In response, 51,895 votes for Udende and 21,229 votes for Suswam were invalidated. After these adjustments, Suswam emerged victorious with 90,590 votes, eclipsing Udende’s 82,699.
Former Benue State Governor Chief Samuel Ortom hailed the judiciary for its role in preserving justice and democracy. Ortom commended Senator Suswam for his commitment to pursuing legal channels to obtain justice and extended his felicitations to the PDP in Benue State.
The PDP leadership in Benue echoed similar sentiments, expressing satisfaction with the tribunal’s decision based on incontrovertible facts and evidence. This triumph further bolsters the PDP’s presence in the National Assembly’s upper chamber, with two of Benue State’s three senators now affiliated with the party. As the PDP anticipates the verdict of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, hopes run high for a repeat of their favorable outcome.
These tribunal rulings underscore the judiciary’s indispensable role in safeguarding electoral integrity and upholding democratic principles. In an environment where politicians eagerly await the resolution of additional election petitions, the legal process remains a cornerstone for addressing electoral disputes and ensuring the people’s democratic will prevails.