Court Sacks David Mark, orders rerun in 90 days

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The election of  the immediate past Senate president, David Mark, has been nullified by a Court Of Appeal sitting in Makurdi, the Benue state capital.

The court has also ordered for a re-run of the election within 90 Days.

Mark’s victory at the Benue south senatorial district election has been mired in controversy and has since been challenged by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate at the election, Daniel Onjeh on the grounds that the poll was marred by irregularities.

In setting aside the election of the former Senate president, Justice Ige ruled that the election of David Mark was fraught with so many irregularities that it failed all tests of “freeness and fairness”.

The election petitions tribunal sitting in Makurdi however in October upheld the election of the former Senate president.

Justice Dipeolu then relying on sections 124 and 135 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, held that “the petitioner contested the results of election conducted in 700 out of 1,015 pulling units but failed to adduce both oral and documentary evidence to prove his case.”

She said: “Most of the testimonies given by the petitioner’s witnesses were contradictory, hearsay and circumstantial evidence which is not admissible in law as provided by Section 126 of the Evidence Act.”

The APC candidate undeterred by the ruling challenged the decision of the tribunal, before the Appeal Court.

Onjeh’s lawyer, Adetunji Oso, argued that the tribunal erred when it held that the papers tendered by his client were mere documentary hearsay.

He urged the Appellate Court to allow his appeal and set aside the decision of the Tribunal.

Citing documents tendered, he said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), declared Senator Mark winner of the poll while the collation of results for the Benue south senatorial district’s election on March 28 was still ongoing in seven of the nine local government areas of the state.

The nullification of David Mark’s election comes three weeks after the Taraba State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal voided the declaration of Darius Ishaku of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the poll on the ground that Alhassan, popularly referred to as Mama Taraba, was the bonafide winner of the election.

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