Godwin Tsa Abuja and Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Supreme Court verdicts affirming the election of Samuel Ortom and Ahmadu Fintiri have sparked jubilation in Benue and Adamawa states.
The apex court dismissed the appeals of Emmanuel Jime and Jibrilla Bindow, candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue and Adamawa, respectively, for lacking in merit.
Jime had challenged Ortom’s reelection on the grounds of substantial noncompliance with the provisions of Electoral Act, 2010 as amended.
Jime and the APC relied heavily on the smart card readers used in the conduct of the election which they said proved over voting.
Reading the Judgment, Sylvester Nwuta, a judge, said: “I have considered all the issues in this appeal and I agree with learned counsel for the respondents that the cocurrent judgment of the tribunal and the court of appeal should not be disturbed.”
The court also struck out the appeal Bindow, APC candidate in the Adamawa gubernatorial election, filed against the victory of Fintiri.
•Mark, PDP scribe, Agada hail verdict
Former president of the Senate, David Mark, in a statement signed by his Media aide, Paul Mumeh, noted that the affirmation of Ortom’s victory was a validation of the mandate given to him by the people of Benue.
“The validation of your mandate by the Supreme Court is an affirmation of the trust reposed in you by the people of Benue State to serve them for their development, welfare and security,” he stated.
The former senate president, however, said the trust must not be taken for granted.
The former senator also reminded Jime that the battle for the plum position of governor of the state had been fought and won, and implored him to join hands with Ortom to develop the state.
“I have always maintained that everybody cannot be governor at the same time because there is only one seat.
“But whichever side of the coin one finds himself, he must remember that the interest, welfare and security of Benue and Nigerian people must be paramount,” Mark said.
Also, Chairman of the PDP in Benue, Mr. John Ngbede, said the victory has affirmed that the judiciary is still intact and untainted.
He appealed to Jime, and his party to join hands with the governor in moving the state forward, saying the victory was not only for the PDP, but for the whole state.
Also reacting, former minister of State, Education and Chairman Benue State Civil Service Commission, Professor Jerry Agada said the victory was a true reflection of Benue electorate’s decision at the last general elections.
He called on all in the state to support Governor Ortom’s administration to deliver the dividends of democracy to her citizenry.
On his part, former Senate president, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, described the affirmation of Governor Ortom was not surprising because he won overwhelmingly in the first election and in the rerun.
Also speaking, Senator representing Benue South Senatorial District, Abba Moro, in a statement signed by his media aide, Ameh Comrade Godwin, said the court verdict has laid to rest the unnecessary dust stirred by the opposition over the mandate reposed in Governor Ortom by the people of Benue State during the last governorship election.
Similarly, former Lagos Police Commissioner, Abubakar Tsav, hailed Jime and his team for giving Ortom a good fight in his quest to reclaim his snatched mandate.
Meanwhile, Jime has said as sad as the Supreme Court judgment is to him, his party, and teeming supporters, he has accepted the verdict in good faith.
Meanwhile, there was wild jubilation in Makurdi, the state capital as supporters of Governor Ortom and PDP faithful took to the streets to celebrate his victory.
Party faithful besieged the Government House singing and dancing to victory songs in celebration of Ortom’s victory.
At the time of filing this report, Governor Ortom who left for Peace House Ministry in Gboko for prayer was said to be on his way to Makurdi.