Benue: Ortom upbeat at tribunal


Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state is optimistic of victory at the tribunal in the suit instituted against his election by All Progressives Congress Emmanuel Jime.

The APC and its candidate are challenging his re-election before the Benue Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.

Speaking to journalists after the sitting, Governor Ortom who was at the tribunal in person, expressed confidence in the court to uphold justice as the 2019 governorship election in Benue state was free, fair and credible.

He said there was no reason to entertain any fear about the likely outcome of the tribunal verdict stressing that the election was free, fair and credible despite claims by the opposition to the contrary.

Closing the case on Saturday, counsel to the governor told the tribunal that he has presented enough evidence for the members of the tribunal to consider and affirm INEC’s declaration of Ortom as the duly elected governor in the March 9 governorship election.

“After taking a critical look at the evidence provided by the petitioners, we have come to the inevitable conclusion that we will not be calling any further witnesses.”

Counsel to the PDP Oba Maduabuchi, who was next in line to open his case, asked the court to grant him today (Monday) to open his defense, adding that he will call only five witnesses.

There was no objection from any counsels to the parties in the suit. The tribunal chairman, Justice Henry Olusiyi, thereafter adjourned the matter to today.

Earlier Sebastine Hon, the governor’s counsel said he decided to call only one witness because the statement on oath of the petitioner himself and his star witness for the whole state, Joe Abaagu were not signed, and substantial justice was done during cross examination of the petitioners’ witnesses.

He added that under Nigerian laws, the burden of proof rests on the petitioners.

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