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Court of Appeal Sacks Former Benue Governor Gabriel Suswam from Senate

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ABUJA, Nigeria – In a pivotal ruling that has shifted the political landscape of Benue State, the Court of Appeal in Abuja has ousted Gabriel Suswam from the Senate, affirming Emmanuel Udende of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as the legitimate winner of the Benue North East senatorial seat.

The verdict delivered on Wednesday, November 1, 2023, by Justice Abimbola Osarugue Obaseki Adejumo, leading a panel, put to rest the contention that has swirled around the February 25 senatorial election results.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) initially declared Udende as the winner, a decision met with resistance from Suswam, the former Governor of Benue State.

Challenging Udende’s triumph, Suswam approached the Benue State National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, citing widespread irregularities and falsification of results.

The initial tribunal ruling seemed to favour Suswam, which led to an appeal by Udende and the APC.

In a unanimous decision, the appellate court’s three-member panel of Justices concurred that the evidence presented did not support Suswam’s victory in the senatorial election.

Furthermore, the panel found substantial fault in the tribunal’s judgment which had nullified Udende’s win.

By setting aside the judgment of the lower tribunal, the Court of Appeal has reinstated Emmanuel Udende as the duly elected representative for the Benue North East senatorial district, thereby removing Suswam from the seat he briefly occupied.

This development marks a significant turn in the political tides of Benue State, potentially setting a precedent for the resolution of electoral disputes in Nigeria’s democratic process.

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