Former Senate President David Mark, yesterday reaffirmed his faith in the judiciary and the rule of law.
Reacting to the National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal in Makurdi, Benue State, which upheld his March 28 election victory as a senator representing Benue South, Mark, in a statement by his media aide, Paul Mumeh, said “the judiciary remains the hope and defender of the rights of the oppressed”.
The statement said Mark thanked the judiciary for standing for truth and reaffirming the mandate given to him by the Benue South people.
It said the former Senate president promised to do everything constitutionally right to give his constituents the dividends of democracy.
It would be recalled that the Justice Mosumola Dipeolu-led tribunal in a unanimous judgment, which lasted two and a half hours, dismissed the petition by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Daniel Onjeh, challenging the election of Senator Mark of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The statement quoted Justice Dipeolu as saying that Onjeh “failed woefully to prove allegations of rigging, multiple thumb-printing, overstuffing of ballot boxes, allocation of votes, intimidation, harassment and inducement of voters, among others”.
It said: “The tribunal also held that the petitioner failed to substantiate any of his claims, which she noted was fatal to his case”.
The statement added: “The tribunal therefore discountenanced scanty evidence of PW 18 (Expert witness) called by Onjeh because the witness under cross-examination accepted that there was error in his data analysis”.
Mark, a former military governor of Niger State and Communications Minister in the 1980s, is the longest serving senator. He was elected in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015. He served as Senate president of the 6th and 7th National Assembly.
Meanwhile, Onjeh said he would appeal the judgment.
Addressing reporters, the APC candidate said he had instructed his lawyer to head for the Appeal Court.