The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal has postponed till further notice, it’s scheduled judgement on the appeal filed by Comrade Daniel Onjeh, the APC 2023 Senatorial Candidate for Benue South, challenging the declaration of Sen. Abba Moro of the PDP as the winner of the last senatorial election held in Benue South. The court had earlier fixed today, the 30th of October, for the delivery of the judgment.
The three-man panel of the Court of Appeal comprising Justices A. O. Otisi; O. Obaseki and A. M. Lamido, made this postponement known to the legal counsels of the parties involved in the case yesterday, via an official communication.
The Appeal Court had heard Onjeh’s appeal on Monday, 16th October, 2023, following which all the Briefs of Argument were adopted and the matter was reserved for judgment.
Comrade Onjeh is asking the Court of Appeal to declare him the true winner of the Benue South 2023 Senatorial Election on the ground that the first respondent, Sen. Moro, was not qualified to contest the election, having presented a forged birth certificate to INEC.
Onjeh is equally challenging the outcome of the election on the grounds of noncompliance with the Electoral Act 2022 (As Amended), amongst other irregularities; and therefore praying the court to declare all the votes allotted to Sen. Moro in the election wasted votes, and subsequently declare him – the first runner up – the true winner of the election.
Onjeh argues that if the court invalidates all the unlawful votes allotted to Sen. Moro at the election occasioned by noncompliance and irregularities; and re-tabulates the results, it will reveal that it was actually he, and not Sen. Moro, that polled the highest number of valid votes in the election.
Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal has until 9th November, 2023, to deliver judgement on the matter. This is going by the provisions of Section 285, Subsection (7) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which stipulates that:
” An appeal from a decision of the election tribunal or court shall be heard and disposed of within 60 days from the date of the delivery of the judgement.”_
Earlier, the 3-member panel of the Election Petition Tribunal holden in Makurdi led by Hon. Justice ORY Zik-Ikeoha, on 10th September, 2023, threw out Onjeh’s petition challenging the declaration of Sen. Moro as the winner of the last senatorial election held in Benue South.