Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state on Monday floored his opponent of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Barrister Emmanuel Jime at the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Makurdi.
The tribunal led by Justice Olusiyi Henry at exactly 7:07pm upheld the election of Ortom as the duly elected governor of the state.
Jime, had earlier dragged Ortom of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) to the tribunal seeking nullification of the latter’s election and his (Jime) return as winner of the polls.
But, Justice Henry in his over nine hours ruling, dismissed the petition on grounds that the petitioners failed completely to prove that Ortom did not win the election by the majority of lawful votes cast.
The judge also held that the petitioner failed to prove that the 2019 governorship election which produced the PDP candidate did not comply with the guidelines of the 2010 Electoral Act as amended.
He disclosed that even if deductions are made as pleaded by the petitioners, the margin of lead was high and as such, the petition should be struck out in its entirety.
The tribunal therefore upheld the election of Ortom, stressing that the petition brought before it by Jime and the APC lacked merit.
Earlier, the tribunal ruled five issues out of seven in favour of the APC and its candidate, Jime shield the remaining two were in favour of Ortom and the PDP.
Jime had called 59 witnesses during the tribunal sitting while Ortom called only one witness, just as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not call any witness.
Justice Olusiyi however held that the statements of the petitioners’ witnesses were incompetent even as their inability to identify documents and link them to the case amounted to dumping the materials on the tribunal.
“We are satisfied that the result sheet presented to us by INEC is a true representation of votes cast in the election. We find no merit whatsoever in petition. We hold that the election of Governor Samuel Ortom by INEC is affirmed,” the tribunal held.