Apex court affirms Hembe as Benue LP’s guber candidate
The Supreme Court, yesterday, in Abuja, affirmed one Herman Hembe, as the governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in Benue State for tomorrow’s governorship poll.
The apex court dismissed an appeal brought before it by Benjamin Lorlumum and one other, seeking disqualification of the respondent from the governorship race on various grounds.
Justice Heleen Ogunwumiju, in a unanimous judgment of the court, dismissed the disqualification request on the ground that it lacked merit and legal backing.
Another governorship aspirant of the party, Benjamin Iorlumum and one other person, had brought the appeal, marked SC/CV/344/2023, against Hembe, LP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The grouse of the two appellants was that the LP governorship candidate was still a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as at the time he contested and won the governorship primary of the party.
The appellants specifically accused Hembe of double participation in primary elections organised by APC and LP on the same date and 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.
Dissatisfied with decision of the two courts, Lorlumum moved 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 judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on February 10, 2023, and declare him the “sole candidate that participated in LP’s governorship primary election, held on June 9, 2022.
But the Supreme Court, in its final judgment, 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 lack of merit and upheld the nomination of Hembe as lawful for LP’s participation in tomorrow’s governorship election in Benue State.