Saturday, 16 January 2016

Supreme Court Affirms Ortom’s Election

The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the election of Samuel Ortom of the All Progressives Congress as Governor of Benue State.

In a unanimous judgement delivered by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, the apex court dismissed the appeal against Ortom’s election filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its governorship candidate in the April 11, 2015 poll, Mr. Terhemen Tarzoor.

Tarzoor and the PDP had appealed against the concurrent judgements of the Court of Appeal and the Benue State Governorship Election Petition, which had both dismissed their cases.

The PDP and its candidate had challenged the emergence of Ortom as the candidate of the APC in the last governorship poll.

The Supreme Court ruled that since the appellants were not members of the APC, they lacked the locus standi to challenge the nomination and sponsorship of Ortom as the APC governorship candidate in the election.

It ruled that only those who contested with Ortom for the APC’s ticket had the locus standi to challenge the outcome of the primary.

The apex court, while dismissing the suit, awarded the sum of N150, 000 as cost in favour of Ortom and the APC.

Justice Ngwuta ruled, “We have come to the conclusion that the appellants have no locus to challenge the internal workings of another party.

“The case has no merit and is hereby dismissed. Appellants (are) to pay cost in the sum of N150, 000 to each of the first and second respondents (APC and Ortom respectively).”

The Makurdi Division of the Court of Appeal had in a unanimous decision read by Justice Mohammed Garba, dismissed the appellants’ appeal in its entirety for lack of merit.

Justice Garba had held that the appellants failed to discharge the burden of proof which rested on them, in line with the legal dictum that “he who alleges must prove.”

Meanwhile, Ortom has extended a hand of fellowship to Tarzoor following the decision of the apex court.

Reacting to the judgement at the Governor’s Lodge in Abuja, Ortom commended Tarzoor for opting for the legal process rather than violence in the pursuit of his political convictions.

He stated that now that the apex court had settled the political dispute, he had extended a hand of fellowship to Tarzoor by inviting him to contribute his ideas and those of his supporters towards the development of the state.

“What Benue needs at this time is for all its sons and daughters to collectively tackle the challenges of ignorance and disease afflicting the state,” he said.

He pledged his commitment to offering the people of Benue dedicated service that would eradicate the challenges of the state.

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