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Tribunal affirms ex-FCT minister, Useni’s Senate victory

The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Jos on Monday dismissed cases challenging the elections of Senator Jeremiah Useni and a member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Solomon Maren.

Useni represents Plateau South while Maren represents Bokkos/Mangu Federal Constituency in Plateau State.

A former Senator, Brig.-Gen. John Shagaya, had prayed the tribunal to nullify Useni’s election, alleging irregularities, rigging and massive inflation of figures.

But the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice O. O. Akeredolu, who ruled on the matter, dismissed Shagaya’s application for lack of merit.

She ruled that there was “structural imbalance in the body of the case that deprived it of all properties that make a good case”.

Similarly, the tribunal in the case involving Maren, held that the statement of witnesses in the petition was not properly filed.

“The entire body of the petition was badly presented and was very watery. The petition and the prayers of the petitioner do not deserve to be heard.

“The tribunal is left with no option than to dismiss the petition for lack of merit,” she ruled.

Reacting to the ruling, counsel for Useni, Smart Iraboh, described the judgment as victory for justice.

“It was a good judgment and nobody, anywhere, has any cause to complain because the judgment was straight forward and indeed came up that way,” he said.

Counsel for Shagaya, Mr Bitrus Zilvel, on his part, said he would study the judgment before deciding on the next line of action.

Maren’s lawyer, Clement Lonongo, described the judgment as “lucid, water-tight and based on the principles of law”.

Lanongo added, “The judiciary in Nigeria can be trusted because this case was critically evaluated based on what was presented before the tribunal.

“Clearly, the tribunal came up with a judgment that will stand the test of time.”

In a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, Useni described his victory as “cheery” news.

“Of course, I am happy and I thank God,” he said.

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