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2023 Election

Supreme Court Affirms Hembe As Benue LP Governorship Candidate




Supreme Court Affirms Hembe As Benue LP Govship Candidate

Ahead of Saturday’s governorship election, the Supreme Court has affirmed Herman Hembe as the flagbearer of the Labour Party (LP) in Benue State.

In a unanimous ruling on Thursday, Justice Helen Ogunwumiju dismissed the disqualification request filed by an LP member, Benjamin Lorlumum, on the grounds that it lacked merit and legal backing.

Naija News reports that in 2022, Lorlumum, who contested against Hembe during the party’s governorship primaries, lost the ticket and filed a disqualification request.

Lorlumum, alongside another person, sought an appeal from the Appeal Court, marked SC/CV/344/2023, against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), LP, and Hembe.

Their plea was that Hembe was still a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the time he contested and won the gubernatorial primary election of the party.

The two appellants accused Hembe of “double participation in primary elections” organised by the APC and LP on the same date and time.

They alleged that Hembe had dual membership of both parties.

Lorlumum and his partner had earlier prayed to a Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal to “invoke relevant laws to nullify the emergence of Hembe as a governorship candidate on the strength of their allegations”.

But the two courts dismissed the suit based on findings that the candidate had resigned from APC before crossing over to LP and won the primary election there.

Dissatisfied with the decision of the courts, Lorlumum moved to the Supreme Court, claiming the federal high court and appeal court did not consider the issues raised against Hembe.

He prayed that the apex court should set aside the judgment of the court of appeal delivered on February 10, and declare him as the “sole candidate that participated in the LP’s gubernatorial primary election held on June 9, 2022″.

But in its final judgment, the apex court held that Hembe had sufficiently proved that he resigned from the APC through “affidavit evidence and letter of resignation”.

Ogunwumiju said the law did not sanction participation in two primary elections since the respondent did not participate in the two political parties at the same time.

While upholding the concurrent findings of the Federal High Court and the court of appeal, the judge ruled against the appeals seeking the disqualification of Hembe from the race.

She subsequently dismissed the case of the appellant for lacking in merit and upheld the nomination of Hembe as lawful for LP’s participation in the gubernatorial election in Benue.

Ige Olugbenga is a fine-grained journalist. He loves the smell of a good lead and has a penchant for finding out something nobody else knows.