By Peter Duru
There is a surge of anxiety across Benue state ahead of tomorrow’s (Monday) final judgement by the Benue State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in the petition by the All Progressives Congress, APC, gubernatorial candidate in the last election, Mr. Emmanuel Jime challenging the victory of Governor Samuel Ortom.
Counsel to the parties had over three weeks ago adopted their respective written addresses before the tribunal presided over by Justice Adebola Olusiyi ahead of the judgement.
While adopting his written address, counsel to Governor Ortom, Mr. Sebastian Hon urged the court to dismiss the suit “because it is riddled with fundamental errors and it is self-contradictory in many respect in terms of the figures and scores of the candidates and evidence presented by the petitioner’s witnesses.”
On his part, counsel to the PDP, Chief Chris Uche argued that the petitioner failed to prove his case since the onus of proof lied with him adding that “the petition is lacking in content, quality and quantity.”
Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mr. Offiong Offiong, in his submission said, “the law is abundantly clear that the onus of proof lies on the petitioner to prove polling unit by polling unit and ward by ward that the election did not comply with the electoral act but he failed woefully to do so.”
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However, counsel to the petitioner, Yusuf Ali on his part said he had adduced evidence to show that the election was marred by irregularities and prayed the Tribunal to uphold the petition and declare Mr. Jime winner of the poll.
On the expectation of the APC, the party’s Publicity Secretary, Mr. James Ornguga said, “We expect that we will win the case because we have proved our case beyond all reasonable doubts and we expect that judgement will be served.
His PDP counterpart, Mr. Bemgba Iortyom on his part said his party was expecting nothing less than victory adding “we won our election because Benue is a PDP state, apart from governorship we also won three senatorial seats, six House of Representatives and 23 House of Assembly seats no doubt the election was won and lost fair and square.”