Samuel Ortom of Benue was on Monday, October 7, affirmed by the election petition tribunal as the clear winner of the recent governorship poll held in the state.
The tribunal knocked out the petition brought before it by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Emmanuel Jime, for lacking in merit.
Jime had challenged the return of Ortom, who contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), where he argued that the governor should not have been delcared winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) alleging substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the electoral act, 2010 as amended.
It was learnt that Jime joined the PDP and INEC in the petition in which he alleged that Ortom was not dully elected by the majority of lawful votes cast. Jime, in the petition, also challenged the results declared in Buruku, Gboko, Guma, Gwer East, Gwer West, Konshisha, Kwande, Logo, Ukum, Ushongo and Vandeikya as urged the tribunal to either declare him winner of the exercise or nullify Ortom’s victory and order the conduct of a fresh poll.
Jime also called 59 witnesses who testified during hearing that they witnessed irregularities, over voting and other electoral malpractices allegedly perpetrated by the PDP and INEC during the election.
In a judgement that lasted for nine hours, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Henry Olusiyi, faulted the testimonies of Jime’s witnesses saying none of them could substantiate their claims of over voting and other irregularities alleged.
The judge said that Jime failed to link the documents tendered in evidence to the petition. He also said that the petitioner dumped the documents on the tribunal.