Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Counsel to Governor Ortom tells Tribunal to dismiss Tarzoor’s suit

The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday raised a preliminary objection to the jurisdiction of the State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal to entertain the suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the April’s govership election, Terhemen Tarzoor.

Tarzoor took the state governor to the tribunal on the grounds that he did not meet the criteria for nomination as the candidate of the APC in the election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Ortom as winner of the governorship election.

Counsel to Governor Ortom, Adeniyi Akintola (SAN) who raised the objection told the tribunal that it lacked the jurisdiction to hear the suit.

He said it would amount to the abuse of court processes if the tribunal went ahead to hear the substantive suit without hearing the motion.

Akintola further argued that the grounds and reliefs of the petition were the same as those dismissed by the Federal High Court, Makurdi, adding that it was already status barred.

“The APC has the power to nominate anybody to be its flag bearer and it is not the business of anybody to question it,” he insisted.

But in her submission, Counsel to Tarzoor, Joy Adesina, observed that the motion raised by Ortom’s counsel was intended to prolong the suit and by so doing frustrate the process.

While she argued that all motions raised should be heard alongside the substantive suit, she cited Paragraph 12(5) of the First Schedule of the 2014 Electoral Act, as amended.

She said that the provisions of the relevant sections were intended to check what she described as “acts of mischief” in the adjudication of tribunal cases.

Earlier, the tribunal chairman, Justice Elizabeth Karatu (Kebbi State) promised that the tribunal would be fair to all parties, warning that the panel would not entertain delay tactics from the litigants.

Other members of the panel include Justice Catherine Ogunsanya (Ogun State) and Justice Hadiza Ali (Borno State).

Justice Karatu, therefore, adjourned the case to Tuesday, June 30, 2015 for further hearing.

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