Supreme Court affirms Hembe as Benue Labour Party’s governorship candidate

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nomination of Herman Hembe as the governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in Benue State.

The governorship and state House of Assembly elections hold this Saturday, 18 March across Nigeria.

Delivering its judgement on Thursday, the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal filed by Benjamin Iorlumum, to challenge the nomination of Mr Hembe as the Labour Party’s governorship candidate in Benue State.

Mr Hembe is a former member of the Houses of Representatives.

Mr Iorlumum had urged the court to disqualify him from the Benue State governorship race on the grounds that he participated in the primary election of another party – the All Progressives Congress (APC).

But a five-member panel of the Supreme Court in a unanimous verdict delivered by Helen Ogunwumiju dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit.

Ms Ogunwumiju said the law did not prohibit participation in two primary elections once the participant was not in two political parties at the same time.

Subsequently, the judge dismissed Mr Iorlumum’s suit for being unmeritorious.

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She affirmed Mr Hembe’s nomination as the duly chosen candidate of the Labour Party for Saturday’s election


The appellant had alleged that Mr Hembe was a member of the APC at the time he vied and won the Labour Party’s governorship ticket in Benue.

Mr Iorlumum had asked a Federal High Court in Makurdi, the Benue State capital and the Court of Appeal to set aside Mr Hembe’s candidacy over his dual membership of the APC and Labour Party.

But the two courts dismissed the suit. The courts found that Mr Hembe resigned from the APC before defecting to Labour Party where he clinched its governorship ticket last year.

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Dissatisfied with judgements of the two courts, Mr Iorlumum approached the Supreme Court.

The appellant argued before the Supreme Court that the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal failed to consider all the issues he brought before concerning Mr Hembe’s dual membership of the political parties.

Mr Iorlumum had asked the Supreme Court to void the judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on February 10, 2023 and declare him the “sole candidate that participated in the Labour Party’s gubernatorial primary election held on 9 June, 2022.”

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With the Supreme Court’s decision, Mr Hembe squares up against two other major contenders in the contest – APC’s Hyacinth Alia and PDP’s Titus Uba.

Labour Party’s presidential candidate Peter Obi came third in the presidential election which held on 25 February.

PDP’s Atiku Abubakar came second while APC’s Bola Tinubu and president-elect won the poll in Benue.

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