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2011 Election Petition: Suswam replies ACN

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Gabriel Suswam
Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam yesterday filed his response to the petition filed by the Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN) governorship candidate, Prof. Steve Ugbah, challenging his election as the winner of the 2011 governorship polls in the state.

Speaking to Daily Sun at the premises of the tribunal, former Attorney-General of the state, Mr Chive Kaave, who is also the legal counsel to the governor, charged the Benue people to allow the legal process go on and the final verdict announced.

He maintained that when elections were held and people were dissatisfied, the right thing to do was to file their petitions at the Elections Petitions Tribunal rather than taking to the streets to protest violently.

“Here, we thank God that people, who were dissatisfied with the ACN as a party have filed their petition and the governor, who won the election had filed his defense in response to what they filed. Now is the time to wait for the legal process to go on and then a final verdict to be announced.”

The former commissioner of justice, however, called on the people to prepare their minds to respect the verdict when it was announced, just like they had respected the verdict of the mandate at the polls so that democracy could be strengthened, insisting that this was the way to strengthen the structures of democracy.

He assured that the judiciary as an independent arm of government would do its job independently, freely and at the end of the day, pass a verdict which should be respected by all concerned.

“Actually, this is a classical example of what you can call the due process, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. You know that when elections have been conducted and the winners have emerged and they have been sworn in like the governor has, anyone who feels dissatisfied, the correct thing to do is to file his processes at the Elections Petitions Tribunal that has been established.”

Reacting to allegation that the governor and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did not file their response within the stipulated time, Kaave advised the ACN to go and argue that in court, stressing that elections petitions should not be argued on the pages of the newspapers, on radio or television but in court.

“All of these are legal issues and all legal issues have to be addressed at the tribunal and the tribunal in its correct time will pass a verdict which should be respected by all. You don't file a petition and then go to the radio house to begin to argue the case. No arguments are allowed in the press.”