S’Court delivers verdict on Benue gov appeal today

by on January 21, 2020

The Supreme Court says it will on Tuesday deliver judgment on the dispute over the outcome of the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Benue State.

Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, who led a seven-man bench of the apex court, said this at the end of the hearing of the appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress and its governorship candidate, Emmanuel Jime, challenging Governor Samuel Ortom’s victory at the poll.

“The judgment will be delivered later today,” Justice Rhodes-Vivour said as panel rose and receded to chambers at the end of the Tuesday’s hearing.

Arguing his clients’ appeal on Tuesday, Yusuf Ali, SAN, urged the apex court to nullify Ortom’s election.

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Ali noted 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.

He added that dismissing his clients’ appeal would imply that funds spent on putting the card reader system in place were in vain.

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.

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He said, “When the allegation is that election results are either not properly accounted for or not properly collated, it is not required that witnesses would be called from each polling unit.”

Lawyers representing the respondents to the appeal; the Independent National Electoral Commission,  Ortom and his party and the Peoples Democratic Party, urged the court to dismiss the appeal which they said was bereft of any evidence.

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