Benue: Tribunal Sacks Deputy Speaker Adaji
The National/State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, Benue State has nullified the election of Chris Adaji of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the 2019 Ohimini State Constituency election.
Adaji is the incumbent Deputy Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly.
Chairman of the Tribunal 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.
The tribunal held that INEC ought not to have made final declaration without ordering for a rerun in the affected polling units other than declaring an inconclusive poll.
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).
The court consequently issued an order for the withdrawal of the 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.