The Court of Appeal in Abuja has sacked the former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, from the Senate.
In a unanimous decision by a three-member panel led by Justice Abimbola Adejumo, the court said it was satisfied that Suswam was not the valid winner of the senatorial election that was held in Benue North-East on February 25, 2023, reports Channels TV.
It faulted the judgement of the Benue State National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal which returned Suswam to the Senate after it nullified the election victory of Emmanuel Udende.
According to the appellate court, the tribunal wrongly evaluated the evidence that was presented before it by the parties in the matter and thereby arrived at a conclusion that upheld the petition Suswam filed to challenge Udende’s election victory.
Consequently, the court voided the judgement of the tribunal, saying it found merit in the appeal that was lodged before it by the mister Udende
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Udende as the winner of the senatorial election after he polled a total of 135,573 votes to defeat Senator Suswam who garnered 112,231 votes.
Not satisfied with the outcome of the election, Suswam approached the tribunal on the ground that it was marred by over-voting, irregularities, alterations and falsification of results.
In its judgement, the tribunal held that Suswam successfully established his case that irregularities took place in five out of seven local governments in the Senatorial District.
The tribunal cancelled 51,895 votes entered for Senator Udende and also cancelled 21,229 votes entered for Senator Suswam.
After subtracting the padded votes, Senator Suswam was left with 90,590 while Senator Udende scored 82,699 votes.
Upholding the petition, Justice Ori Zik-Ikeoha led panel that entered judgment in Suswam’s favour, a decision that was vacated by the appellate court today.