The Supreme Court is set to deliver judgment on the dispute over the outcome of the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Benue and Adamawa States.
Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, who led a seven-member panel of Justices of the apex court, said this at the end of the hearing of the appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, in Benue State, Emmanuel Jime, challenging Governor Samuel Ortom’s victory at the poll.
Counsel to Jime, Yusuf Ali (SAN), urged the apex court to nullify Ortom’s election, saying that the disparity between the number of accredited voters recorded by the smart card reader machines used for the conduct of the election and the number of votes recorded had rendered the election invalid.
“There must be an agreement between the number of accredited voters and the total votes,” he said.
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He also argued that contrary to the belief of the respondents to the appeal, his clients were not required to call witnesses from each of the disputed polling units because their case was not built on allegations of violence which would require eyewitnesses to testify about.
Counsel to respondents in the appeal, INEC, Ortom and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), urged the court to dismiss the appeal which they said was bereft of any evidence.
Ortom’s counsel, Sebastine Hon (SAN), also argued that the appellants’ case was lacking in evidence, as the card reader report which they relied on was struck out by the tribunal.
Also, PDP’s lawyer, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, also urged the apex court to dismiss the appeal “and uphold the concurrent decisions of the Court of Appeal and the tribunal in holding that the second respondent, Samuel Orton was duly elected and validly returned as the winner of the governorship election”.
The Court also slated 2 pm to decide the appeal challenging the election of Ahmadu Fintiri as governor of Adamawa state.
The court fixed the time after parties in the appeal adopted their briefs of argument in the appeal.
Former governor of the state, Muhammed Jibrilla had, in his appeal, asked the apex court to set aside the decision of the state election petition tribunal and the Court of Appeal and annul the election of Jibrilla.
He alleged over voting in the election, adding that the total number of votes recorded exceeded the number of voters accredited.