Ortom closes defence as Pwajok wins ‘round one’ against Lalong



Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has entered and closed his defence at the Governorship Elections Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, the Benue state capital.

The Governor told the tribunal that he resigned his membership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and registered as a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, on December 9, 2014.

Meanwhile, the Plateau State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Jos has dismissed attempts by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to block the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from tendering vital documents to defend their case.

The petition is that of the PDP governorship candidate, Senator Gyang Pwajok, who is challenging the victory of Governor Simon Bako Lalong of the APC at the polls because he alleged foul plays in the election.

Governor Ortom’s lead counsel, Israel Olorundare, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, led former PDP Nzorov ward chairman, Felix Agbaka and current APC Nzorov ward chairman in Guma local government area to testify for Ortom at the tribunal.

Agbaka tendered the Governor’s resignation letter from the PDP, which he said he received on December 9, 2014.

Adikpe Ukuremo Ezekiel, APC Nzorov ward chairman stated that he registered Governor Ortom on the same date and issued him a membership card.

The ward chairman who identified both the card and register also stated that he wrote to the local government chairman of the party notifying him about what he described as the big catch and later took the party register to the state secretariat.
He also identified the letter he had written to the local government party chairman.

The letter, alongside all the other documents were admitted and marked accordingly.

The other respondents to the petition, the APC and Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, stated that they would enter their defence and call witnesses tomorrow.

Tribunal chairman, Elizabeth Karatu adjourned the sitting to the next day for both the second and third respondents to enter their witnesses.

In one of the Plateau tribunal’s sittings, counsel to the petitioner had pleaded to the tribunal to tender documents to be provided for inspection by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to buttress the case. But this was vehemently objected to by the respondent’s (APC) counsel who sensed that allowing the documents to be tendered would jeopardise their case.

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