Friday, 2 October 2015


Governorship candidate of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in the last elections, Prince Terhemen Tarzoor, has filed a notice of appeal against the judgement of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal for Benue State which dismissed his petition challenging the election of Samuel Ortom as Governor of the state.

The appeal which contains thirteen grounds is seeking the Court of Appeal, Makurdi Division to reverse the judgement of the tribunal dismissing Tarzoor's petition and to grant his petition as well as enter judgement in terms of the reliefs sought by him.

Prominent amongst the thirteen grounds of the appeal is the contention that "The learned Justices of the lower Tribunal erred in law when they placed heavy reliance on the provision of Section 140(2) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) to hold that even if the petition succeeds, the fact that the Petitioner has not sought as one of its reliefs the order for fresh elections would have foisted a fait accompli on the Tribunal since the Tribunal cannot grant a relief the Petitioner has not asked for."

The particulars of error of the provision as cited by the Petitioner are that the said Section 140(2) of the Electoral Act 2010 has been nullified by a court of competent jurisdiction, and is therefore, contrary and ultra vires to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and it was therefore, wrong for the tribunal to have placed so much reliance on it in arriving at its judgement, since it is a non-existent law.

Another ground of contention of the appeal is that the tribunal erroneously placed the burden of probing that the 2nd Respondent-All Progressives Congress (APC)- did not conduct any primary election to nominate the 1st Respondent- Samuel Ortom- as its candidate for the April 11th, 2015 Governorship election.

This contention is buttressed by a recent decision of the Supreme Court in ODOM v. PDP (2015) 6 NWLR (PT. 1456) P527 PARAS. C-H, which held that the burden of proving that a proper primary election was duly held by the 2nd Respondent to produce the 1st Respondent as a candidate for the election in issue lay squarely on the 1st and 2nd Respondents.

According to G.L. Usongo Esq. counsel to the appellant, the APC had admitted not conducting any primaries to nominate Ortom as its candidate for the April 11th, 2015 Governorship election, and this the learned counsel pointed out, is admitted to as contained on page 43 of the tribunal judgement, while he also drew attention to the issue of due notice not given by the APC, in accordance with the law, for the conduct of its governorship primaries.

The notice of appeal was filed today before the Registrar of the Tribunal for onward transmission to the Court of Appeal, Makurdi Division, for hearing and determination and anticipations are high amongst the people in the state as to the eventual outcome of the appeal.

By Bemgba Iortyom.

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