Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom on Saturday reiterated his confidence in the Judiciary as the last hope of the common man.
The Governor stated this while closing his case in the suit instituted by Emmanuel Jime, a 2019 governorship candidate, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenging his re-election at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Makurdi, the state capital.
When the case was mentioned, counsel to the Governor, Sebastine Hon, SAN, told the court that Governor Ortom had decided to close his case after looking critically at the evidence of the petitioners.
“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,” Hon said.
On his part, counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party,(PDP) Oba Maduabuchi, SAN, whose turn it was to open his case, prayed the court to grant him Monday, August 19, to open his defense, adding that he will call only five witnesses.
Other counsel to the parties in the suit did not object to Maduabuchi’s prayer and the Tribunal Chairman, Justice Henry Olusiyi, thereafter adjourned the matter to Monday, August 19.
Speaking to journalists after the sitting, Governor Ortom who, personally attended Saturday’s proceedings at the Tribunal, expressed confidence in the court to uphold justice as, according to him, the 2019 governorship election in Benue State was free, fair and credible.
Also speaking to newsmen on why he decided to call only one witness, counsel to Governor Ortom, Sebastine Hon, said 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.