By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, heard appeals challenging elections of Governors Samuel Ortom of Benue state and Ahmadu Fintri of Adamawa state.
A seven-man panel of justices of the apex court led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour had after all the parties adopted their briefs of argument, announced that judgements in appeals from both states will be delivered by 2pm.
In Benue state, the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Emmanuel Jime, in his appeal marked SC/5110/19, prayed the apex court to void governor Ortom’s re-election.
Jime, through his lawyer, Mr. Yusuf Ali, SAN, contended that Ortom was not validly elected in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act.
He alleged that the gubernatorial election that held in Benue state on March 9 was marred by irregularities and over-voting.
He urged the court to set-aside the concurrent judgements of both the tribunal and the Court of Appeal which upheld Ortom’s election.
However, Ortom, through his lawyer, Sebastian Hon, SAN, prayed the apex court to dismiss the appeal for want of merit.
He stressed that the appellant had in his bid to prove his allegation of over-voting, placed heavy reliance on a Card Report that was struck out by the tribunal.
Governor Ortom also filed a Cross-Appeal with Suit No. SC/1511/19, to challenge the legal competence of the appeal against his election victory.
In Adamawa, former governor of the state Muhammed Jibrilla, who was the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, prayed the court to nullify election of governor Fintri of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Counsel to the appellant, Goddy Uche, SAN, insisted that the case of his client was not properly evaluated by the two lower courts.
He told the apex court that his client is challenging election results in 385 polling units, and had since tendered the Form EC8As, Smart Card Reader report and Voters Register from the units to prove that the governor emerged through “illegal votes”.
Governor Fintri, however, urged the apex court to dismiss the appeal and uphold concurrent decisions of the two lower courts that returned him as duly elected.