Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, Makurdi, Benue State, has reserved judgment in the petition instituted by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Emmanuel Jime against Samuel Ortom of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP).
Jime is challenging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for returning Ortom as winner of the 2019 Benue Governorship election.
When the petition came up for adoption of final written address, lead counsel to Ortom, Sabastine Hon and counsel for INEC, Offiong Offiong (SAN) urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition with substantial cost, saying it ought not to have been filed in the first place.
After hearing the counsel for the parties, Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Henry Olusiyi reserved judgement to a date that he said would be communicated to concerned parties.
Defending why INEC did not call any witness, Offiong said INEC is not obliged to call any witness, adding that it is until the petitioners prove their case that the respondent will call witnesses.
According to the INEC counsel, even if the votes in the 31 polling units, to which the petitioners called polling unit agents as witnesses were cancelled it will not cancel the over 80, 000 margin of lead with which INEC declared Ortom as winner of the poll.
PDP lawyer, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition, said it was founded upon misconception of well established principles of electoral jurisprudence.