The National/State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, the Benue State state has nullified the return of Chris Adaji of the People's DemocraticParty (PDP) as the winner of the 2019 Ohimini State Constituency election.

Chairman of the Tribunal Honourable
Justice R. O. Odudu, who delivered the lead judgment held that the
margin with which Adaji led Musa Alechenu Ohimini of All Progressives
Congress (APC) is less than the number of votes cancelled.

According to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
declaration, Adaji led with 397 votes and the Tribunal finds the margin
is less than the 1, 056 votes cancelled in the two polling units of
Igbanomaje and Odega.

According to the decision of the court,
INEC ought not to have made final declaration without ordering for a
rerun in the affected polling units other than declare an inconclusive

Justice Odudu held that the declaration and return of Adaji
without a rerun in Otega and Ogadagba ward is invalid by reason of non
substantial compliance with Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

court therefore, issued an order for withdrawer of certificate of return
issued to Adaji and an order directing INEC to conduct rerun election
in the two polling units where elections were cancelled within 90 days.

Vincent Tortsugh, who appeared for the petitioners described the
decision of the Tribunal as "reasonable," adding that "we didn't expect
anything other than this."

The APC candidate, Musa Ohimini Alechenu described the decision as a testimony of the wishes of the people.

He said by the decision, the judiciary has reaffirmed that it remains the hope of the people.

"I want to appreciate the Tribunal for the good job done. Let me
appreciate the people of Ohimini fpr standing behind me during the
period of the legal struggle," Alechenu said while insisting that he
will win the rerun ballot.

Adaji's counsel, Ken Ikonne said he will consult his client before taking any further decision.


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