Supreme Court Sacks Benue Assembly Member


BEVERLY HILLS, CA, January 31, (THEWILL) -  A member of the Benue State House of Assembly has finally lost his seat after failing in the final battle to retain the seat at the Supreme Court.

The lawmaker,Orhena Adugu Gbilive, an All Progressives Congress (APC) member, who represents Buruku constituency, was sacked by the Supreme Court on Friday.

The supreme court which dismissed the appeal brought by the sacked lawmaker as un-meritorious also awarded a cost of N100, 000.

00 against him.
The apex court which subsequently ordered the Assembly Speaker to swear-in another APC member, Mrs.

Ngunan Addigi, as replacement for being the nominated and elected candidate of the party, asked that the cost against Gbilive be paid to her.

In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Kumai Bayang Aka'ahs, the court also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue her with a certificate of return as the duly elected member of the Benue State House of Assembly representing  Buruku Constituency on APC platform.

By the ruling on Friday, the apex court affirmed an earlier judgment of the Makurdi division of the Court of Appeal delivered on March 16, 2012 that Addigi was the duly elected candidate of the ACN now All Progressive Congress (APC) to contest the election.

The court held that Addigi was winner of the primaries conducted by the National Working Committee of the party to contest the election for the Buruku constituency of the State House of Assembly but the Chairman of the party in Benue State omitted her name from the list of the candidates of the party forwarded to the INEC in flagrant violation of the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.

The ruling of the High Court was affirmed by the Court of Appeal following which the appellant approached the Supreme Court to set aside the judgment.

But on Friday, the Supreme Court in its judgment held that the evidence on record also showewed that Addigi was one of the aspirants who took part in the primary election for the Buruku Constituency and emerged the winner but her name was not forwarded to the INEC as the candidate to contest the April 2011, House of Assembly election in Benue State.

The apex court declared that Addigi as one of the aspirants in the primary election, had acquired the right to approach the Federal high Court, Makurdi as she did in her originating summons to seek redress in that court which was vested with jurisdiction by virtue of section 87 (9) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.

On the issue of jurisdiction, the supreme court held that from the nature of the dispute in the case, the parties involved in the dispute and the applicable law to the dispute, it was in complete agreement with the lower courts that by virtue of the provisions of section 87 (4)(c) (i) (ii) and (9) of the Electoral Act 2010, the federal high court, Makurdi had the jurisdiction to hear and determine the case as it was determined by it in favour of Addigi.