Plans by some aggrieved aspirants of the All Progressives Congress, APC to stop Dr Samuel Ortom from going into the April 11th governorship elections as the candidate of the party in Benue state has failed.
To this end, an Abuja Federal High Court will on April 15 give ruling on the application seeking to stay proceedings in the suit challenging the nomination of former Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Dr. Samuel Ortom as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress [APC] in Benue State.
This came even as the court struck out the name of one of the plaintiffs in the suit, Hon. Mike Iordye who told the court that his signature was forged by some of the plaintiffs.
The motion for stay of proceedings at the trial court was moved by counsel to Dr Ortom, Mr. Sabastine Hon [SAN] who filed an information affidavit, informing the court about a pending appeal before the court of appeal.
In moving his application, Hon who relied on relevant legal authorities told Justice Evoh Chukwu that once a court becomes aware that an appeal is before the court of appeal, the court has no other duty than to stay proceedings on the subject matter or adjourned sine dine to await the outcome of the appeal.
Responding to the motion for stay, counsel to the plaintiffs, Sunday Ameh [SAN] said although he received service of the process, he needed time to respond on the legal authorities cited by counsel to the applicant.
It was at this juncture that Justice Chukwu adjourned the matter to April 15, 2015 at the instance of counsel to the plaintiff.
Meanwhile, in his supporting affidavit to the motion on notice, Hon. Iordye who was listed as the 3rd plaintiff in the originating summons averred that the depositions contained in the affidavit in support of the amended originating summons especially paragraphs 11, 12 and 13 were false as he neither consented and adopted the 1st plaintiff, Hon Emmanuel Jime nor signed the exhibit ‘H’ purportedly made and attached to the said document.
According to Iordye who was a former Head of Service in the Benue state service, “The signature appearing on the exhibit ‘H’ and purporting to be mine was scanned from another document and superimposed on the exhibit ‘H’. The said exhibit H was first brought to my attention by Prof. Steve Torkumah Ugbah who came with it to my house at Block C 27, Flat 158, Central Bank of Nigeria quarters, opposite AP Plaza, Wuese 11, Abuja.”
“That knowing that I did not sign the exhibit ‘H’, I was shocked to my marrows to notice upon a careful perusal that a signature purporting to be mine also appeared on it. That a further perusal of the exhibit ‘H’ revealed that my purported signature on it and that of one Chief Akange Audu also appearing thereon were not signed in ink but were scanned and super imposed unto the document unlike that of the other signatories.”
The court presided by Justice Evoh Chukwu also joined Akange Audu, who also alleged that his signature was forged by the plaintiffs, as a defendant in the suit.
Counsel to Audu, Oscar Aorabee who moved the application for joinder told the court that his client attended the meeting of the party where Dr. Ortom was adopted as the consensus candidate of the party on December 11, 2014 and could not have signed the purported endorsement of Jime as the candidate of the party.
While also alleging that his signature was forged, Audu further explained that his purported signature in exhibit ‘H’ attached to the suit was blurred meaning that it was scanned from another document.
In the suit, the plaintiffs, otherwise known as the G4 comprising Senator Joseph Waku, Prof. Steve Ugbah, Hon. Emmanuel Jime and Chief Mike Iordye specifically joined Comrade Abba Yaro, Dr. George Akume [Senate Minority Leader/State Party Leader], the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as defendants in the suit.