After three years of legal battle over a legislative seat in the Benue House of Assembly, the Appeal Court in Makurdi on Friday gave judgment in favour of Joseph Boko and ordered the immediate sack of Benjamin Nungwa, the occupant of the seat.
Both Boko and Nungwa contested the APC primary of Kwande West legislative seat in the State House of Assembly in April 2015, which was won by Boko.
Dissatisfied with the conduct of the primary, Nungwa, sent a petition concerning the outcome of the primary to the APC National Secretariat for arbitration.
NAN reports that an Arbitration Panel was set up by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to resolve the disputed primary election.
The appellant, who dragged Nungwa, the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) and joined the APC in the matter, had averred that the said panel, which claimed to have held sittings in Makurdi, never invited him but took decisions from its purported sittings that had adverse effects on him.
He, therefore, prayed the court to declare that the panel was not competent to sit since it was not in the first instance, properly constituted.
Bello averred that the panel had no chairman and secretary and therefore, did not form a quorum to take decisions.
He also argued that by excluding him from its proceedings, his right of fair hearing was infringed upon.
The appellant also averred that he was properly nominated as the party’s candidate for the election and prayed the court to order Nungwa to relinquish the seat he was occupying to him.
Boko had also argued that many weeks after the deadline for substitution of candidates at INEC had already closed, his name was illegally substituted with that of Nungwa.
The appellant averred that it was his name that was sent to INEC and wondered who authorised the substitution.
He argued that “After submitting names to the INEC, it is only the candidate himself that can withdraw or it could be withdrawn if he dies; I did not withdraw my name and I am not dead.’’
However, in her judgment, Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court Makurdi, affirmed Nungwa as the APC’s candidate and cited the decision of the National Working Committee of the party as the basis.