By Festus Ahon
National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba, has dismissed the petition filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Ughelli North/ Ughelli South and Udu federal constituency, Mr Samuel Mariere against Revd. Francis Waive of the All Progressives Congress, APC for lack of merit.
Delivery judgment, Chairman of 3-man panel, Justice A. M. Abubakar said Revd Francis Waive scored the highest number of lawful votes cast and therefore upheld his victory in the February 23rd National Assembly election.
Abubakar upheld 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.
While also dismissing the petitioner’s application for the disqualification of Rev Waive on the account of Justice Tosan Adegoke’s judgment, the Tribunal held that the petitioners cannot rely on the Adegoke judgment.
According to Tribunal, the Court of Appeal Benin upturned the judgment and whatever orders made therein were nullified.
The tribunal went on to strike out the petitioners amended reply to the respondent’s replies, holding that it was a repetition of the amended petition and introduced new issues outside the 21 days period.
He said: “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 the 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 is accordingly dismissed.”
In his reaction, Revd Francis Waive, dedicated his victory to God and his constituents, adding that his victory at the Tribunal would spur him to work harder for his people.
Waive said: “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”.