Mark asks tribunal to dismiss APC’s petition



PARTIES to the election petition challenging the re- election of the former Senate President and Senator representing Benue South Senatorial District, David Mark yesterday adopted and closed their written addresses with counsel to Mark asking the tribunal to dismiss the petition.

Comrade Daniel Onjeh of the All Progressive Congress (APC) had petitioned against Senator Mark at the National Assembly Tribunal Sitting in Makurdi alleging massive irregularities and non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.

Onjeh’s counsel argued that in the instant petition, there is no evidence of holding or collation in 107 polling units spread across the senatorial district where Form EC8A (1) for the said polling units were produced.

APC and Onjeh’s counsel also submitted further that on the admission of the 1st and 2nd respondents that collation at all levels had ended as at 28th March, 2015, the same date the first respondent was declared winner, the results of seven other local government areas, which were proved to be collated on the 29th of March, 2015 cannot be of the votes upon which the first respondent was returned and urged the tribunal to expunge them and order for fresh election in the affected local councils.

But, arguing on why the petition should be dismissed, counsel to Mark, Mr. Ken Ikkone said the petitioner failed woefully to make out any case against the election of his client and has failed to show the tribunal that the election was not properly conducted.

Ikonne averred that the burden of proof squarely dwells on the petitioner’s failure of which has proved fatal to the petitioner, citing several authorities in support of his submission.

“It is trite in law that he who alleges must prove,” Ikonne stated.

Mark’s counsel further submitted that most of the allegations complained of in the petition are criminal in nature, but the petitioner failed to prove those allegations, stressing that those allegations cannot be severed from the petition as the petitioner was trying to do now, adding that it would amount “to an amendment of the petition, which the petitioner cannot do at this point,” citing the Electoral Act.

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