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The Supreme Court has affirmed Hon. Herman Iorwase Hembe as the rightful governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in Benue State.
In a unanimous decision on Thursday, the apex court dismissed an appeal brought before it by Benjamin Lorlumum and one other, seeking the disqualification of the respondent from the governorship race on various grounds.
Justice Helen Ogunwumiju dismissed the disqualification request on the major grounds that it lacked merit and legal backing.
The grouse of the two appellants was that the Labour Party governorship candidate was still a member of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as of the time he contested and won the governorship primary election of the Labour Party.
The appellants specifically accused Hembe of double participation in primary elections organised by the APC and Labour Party on the same date and at the same time, and also for allegedly parading dual membership of both APC and LP.
They had asked 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.
Both the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal had dismissed the suit upon their findings of facts that the governorship candidate resigned from the APC before crossing over to LP and won the governorship primary election.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the two courts, Lorlumum went to the Supreme Court insisting that the two lower courts did not consider all the issues he raised against Hembe, especially with regard to membership of two political parties at the same time.
He had asked the apex court to set aside the judgement of the Court of Appeal delivered on February 10, 2023 and declare him the “sole candidate” that participated in the Labour Party’s governorship primary election held on June 9, 2022.
But the Supreme Court in its final judgement held that the respondent sufficiently proved that he resigned from the APC through affidavit evidence and letter of resignation.
Besides, Justice Ogunwumiju said that the law did not sanction participation in two primary elections once the participant was not in two political parties at the same time.
Justice Ogunwumiju, while upholding the concurrent findings of the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal, said there was no reason to upset the findings.
She subsequently dismissed the case of the appellant for lacking in merit and upheld the nomination of Hembe as lawful for Labour Party’s participation in the March 18 gubernatorial election in Benue State.
Hon. Hembe is a lawyer from Konshisha local government area of Benue State who serves as a member of the House of Representatives in 9th National Assembly.
He is representing the people of Vandeikya/Konshisha Federal Constituency of Benue State.