One of the senators who was given a red card by the electorate during the 2019 general elections, George Akume, has claimed he won the senatorial election for Benue North-West and should be declared winner.
The Senator and his All Progressives Congress (APC) made the claim in their 336-paged petition before the Governorship, National and State Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal in Makurdi, Benue State.
In the petition obtained on Thursday from the tribunal’s secretariat in Makurdi, the APC senator said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) erred to have returned his major opponent, Emmanuel Orker-Jev of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the election.
On the other hand, Akume and APC said if the tribunal would not declare him winner, it should order fresh polls where elections did not hold or were marred by violence or irregularities.
He cited polling units within Buruku, Guma, Gboko, Gwer West and Gwer East registration areas/wards as examples of such places.
Majority of Benue West senatorial district had on February 23 National Assembly election rejected Akume as their representatives at the Senate as they gave Orker-Jev of the PDP 157,726 votes, which higher than 115,422 votes Akume got.
But Akume and his party, who are now challenging the result vowed in their petition that they will rely on 118 witnesses to prosecute their case.
The case is premised on two grounds; first, that the first respondent (Orker Jev) was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes; secondly, that the election was invalid by alleged corruption and non compliance with Electoral Act 2010.
The also told the tribunal that different letters of complaints they wrote to the INEC or its agents while the elections were ongoing were neglected.
Part of their claims read, “The total number of accredited voters as recorded in Forms EC8C(1), EC8D(1) and EC8(1) by INEC agents manually are higher than the accredited voters recorded in the Card Reader Accreditation Sheet for the Presidential and National Assembly Elections, held on 23rd day of February, 2019.
“The number of votes cast in the local government areas of Buruku, Gboko, Guma, Gwer East, Gwer West, Makurdi and Tarka are higher than the number of accredited voters in each of the local government area above mentioned.
“Some polling units in Buruku, Gboko, Guma, Gwer East, Gwer West, the total number of votes cast at the election far exceeded the total number of the PVCs collected by voters in those polling units and registration areas.”