Tribunal dismisses ex-Speaker, Bayelsa House of Assembly’s petition

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The Bayelsa Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Abuja, on Friday dismissed the petition filed by former Speaker, Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Friday Konbowei Benson , challenging the election of Mr Preye Oseke , representing Southern Ijaw Federal Constituency.

Benson and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP,) instituted the petition on grounds that: Oseke was not duly elected by a majority of the lawful votes cast at the Feb. 23 election.

The former Speaker also challenged Oseke as the winner of the said election, on allegation that the election and his return was invalid because of corrupt practices and non compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended)

Joined in the petition were Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as first respondent and the All Progressive Congress (APC), as second respondent.

Benson therefore sought the tribunal to declare that Oseke was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast.

He equally sought for an order setting aside the election that produced him Oseke as duly elected.

Benson further sought a declaration that he was the validly elected winner.

The petitioner further sought for an order of the tribunal directing INEC to issue him a Certificate of Return as the winner of the said election.

Delivering judgment by a member of the three man panel, Justice Haruna Offo, held that there were no concrete evidence to back the petitioners allegation of corrupt practices of irregularities in the election.

He also said the petitioners failed to prove by tendering evidence to back up their allegation that election did not take place in some polling units.

In addition, the judge said the petitioners failed to prove their case by the burden of proof placed on them.

He said the petition was therefore accordingly dismissed.

News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN), reports that Benson served in the Bayelsa House of Assembly for three consecutive terms before his attempt to represent his constituency at the federal level during the Feb. 23 election. (NAN)

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