The Court of Appeal sitting in Makurdi, Benue state has upheld the Benue South Senatorial re-run election won by the immediate past President of the Senate, David Mark.
Reacting to the ruling, Mark said he has forgiven his opponent Daniel Onjeh and all those who conspired against him during the February 20, 2016 rerun election for Benue South Senatorial district of the state.
He described the legal journey as tortuous but was glad that all avenues were exhausted to affirm his victory.
Justice Obande Ogbuinya of Appeal Court in the judgement on Friday upheld the decision of the lower Tribunal that the petition of Onjeh lacked merit was incompetent and status barred and therefore dismissed.
The three Justices including Justices Oyebisi Omoleye and Ifeoma Jombo were unanimous in their decision.
Both Senator Mark’s counsel Ken Ikonne and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) lawyer Johnson Usman as well as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) counsel Chris Alechenu had told the Court that section 285 (5) of the 1999 constitution was clear on the fact the day of declaration of an election result should be included in the days allowed for the filing of a petition before a court and urged the appellate court to dismiss the appeal and award cost against the Appellate .
Daniel Onjeh of All Progressive Congress (APC) had dragged Senator Mark of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to Appeal Court after the Tribunal struck out the petition for lack of merit and filing behind the stipulated time.. Onjeh had approached the Tribunal alleging irregularities in the election after Mark’s convincing victory at the rerun election.
According to Mark, “I’m glad that the final Verdict of the Appeal court vindicates me and truly reaffirmed my victory freely given to me by the people of Benue South Senatorial zone. I’m happy that the Judiciary stood on the side of justice and respected the wishes of Benue South people.
“For me , I have forgiven all those especially some of my close friends who conspired against me. For to err is human, to forgive is Divine. I will continue to serve my people honestly and diligently. Whatever makes for the good of my people will always be my guide.
“I whole heartedly appreciate the support and solidarity of Idoma nation towards me. In spite of the unwarranted provocation and intimidation especially during the rerun election, you came out in large numbers to vote for me . I’m truly grateful “.
He therefore called on all sons and daughters of Benue South to come on board and join hands with him in the task of developing and empowering the people.