Tribunal upholds Ortom’s election as Benue governor



THE Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, yesterday upheld the election of Samuel Ortom as the state governor.

Delivering judgement in favour of Ortom, chairman of the tribunal, Justice Elizabeth Karatu, resolved two of the three grounds of the petition against the petitioner, Prince Terhemen Tarzoor of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the grounds of lack of cogent facts to back the petition.

Taroor’s petition was predicated on three grounds, insisting that Ortom was at the time of the election not qualified/disqualified to contest the election; that the declaration and return of Ortom as winner of the April 11, 2015 poll was invalid by reason of non-compliance with the mandatory provisions of the Electoral Act (S. 87) 2010 (as amended) as well as the 1999 Constitution (S. 177) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended); and thirdly that Ortom was not elected by majority of lawful and valid votes cast at the Benue State governorship election held on 11th April, 2015 as announced by INEC in April, 2015.

Although, 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents in the petition, including Samuel Ortom, All Progressives Congress (APC), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) respectively questioned the jurisdiction of the tribunal to entertain the issue of qualification and or disqualification of Ortom to contest the April 11 poll, the tribunal held that in view of the fact that Tarzoor (PDP) was a candidate at the election, he has the locus standi to question the qualification of a candidate at the poll after the declaration of result of the said election.

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