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Ortom vs Jime: Tribunal defers judgment

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The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi on Wednesday deferred judgment on the petition filed by Mr Emmanuel Jime of the All Progressives Congress (APC) against the re-election of Gov. Samuel Ortom of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to a date to be communicated to the parties.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that Jime had dragged Gov Samuel Ortom and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to the tribunal on the grounds that the elections were marred by substantial irregularities.
He had also argued that the polls were not conducted in compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
The tribunal Chairman, Justice Henry Olusiyi, stated this during the adoption of final written addresses by parties.
Lead counsel to Ortom, Sabastine Hon (SAN), in his address to the court, adopted all the processes and arguments contained in the written address as second respondent’s arguments.
Hon prayed the tribunal to dismiss the petition with substantial cost, ”if not punitive”, stressing that it is a petition which ought not to be filed.
“The petition has been so bedevilled and riddled with fundamental errors that no reasonable tribunal will grant any relief to it.
“It is self contradictory in many respects in terms of the figures and scores of the candidates; it is also contradictory to the evidence led.
“As a matter of fact in Para 5, (06) page 37 of their final written addresses, the petitioners admitted that there were errors in the petition and in reproducing Exhibit P2, there are over 50 errors.
“The errors are not corrected. The law is settled that a mistake that is not corrected is fatal.
“Far more fundamental is that, the figures pleaded are different from those in the petitioners table in their final written address on pages 15 – 20 of their address.
“All the entries are wrong and I invite the court to take a look at the following Local Government Areas (LGAs): Gboko, Guma and Buruku; that is Exhibit P33 to P44 Gboko and also P95 – P103 for Logo, and P53 – P58 Guma,” he said.
Counsel to the petitioner, Yusuf Ali (SAN), also adopted their addresses and prayed the tribunal to uphold the petition, nullify the election of Ortom and declare Jime as well as APC as the winners and be issued with the Certificate of Return.
He averred that: “The second respondent’s senior counsel misconstrued the tables and the figures in the final written address. He seems to have forgotten that the contention in the petition is the incorrect figures recorded by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in forms EC8A and the petitioners cannot rely on.
“They were unlawful votes and not credited to any of the parties, the tribunal has the powers under the law to nullify such votes.
“Exhibit P2 shows number of accredited voters and exhibit P1139 (card reader report) shows something different, which means that something is wrong,” he said.
DND/PD/MST
Edited by Philip Dzeremo/Muhammad Suleiman Tola

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