The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue State, along with their candidate in the 2023 governorship election, Titus Uba, have lodged an appeal against the ruling of the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal.
Chairman of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, Justice Ibrahim Karaye, held that the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to entertain pre-election issues raised by the petitioners, Titus Uba and the PDP.
Karaye who read the unanimous judgement, stated that only the Federal High Court has the exclusive jurisdiction to entertain issues bordering on pre-election matters.
In a statement issued by the party’s state publicity secretary, Bemgba Iortyom, it noted that the PDP through its team of lawyers had proceeded to the Court of Appeal to challenge the judgment on 16 grounds notable amongst which are the tribunal’s error in law on the issue of its jurisdiction to entertain both petitions.
Iortyom said, “Our great party and her candidate fault the decision of the tribunal which held, to the effect, that the ground of the petition was that of pre-election, despite clear and unambiguous statutory provisions and pronouncements of higher courts of record on the matter to the contrary.
“The party is confident that the petition was established before the tribunal as the documentary depositions made by Governor Alia’s running mate, Samuel Ode, were forged and that he was not a candidate to the election on the account that his name was not submitted to INEC alongside that of Alia for the election as expressly required by law.
“The PDP and Engr Uba reiterate faith in the Judiciary and remain optimistic that the appellate court will set aside the judgment of the tribunal and deliver substantive justice to their petition, in line with the hopes of the people that the judiciary will always be their last hope.
Iortyom said that the party’s decision to sustain the legal opinion was that it believed it was deepening the culture of democracy and sanitising the process of leadership recruitment.
He added, “We insist that a government’s sole claim to legitimacy lies in its emergence through the due process prescribed and regulated by the rule of law, outside of which, no one, no matter his assumptions of populism and self-righteousness, may lay his hands on the sacred mandate of the people.