<<< By Terver Akase >>>
The Court of Appeal sitting in Makurdi, Thursday affirmed the election of Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom when it dismissed the appeal filed by the defeated Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the April 11 governorship election, Mr. Terhemen Tarzoor.
Delivering the unanimous judgement of the five-man panel of justices, Justice Mohammed Garba said Tarzoor’s appeal failed on all grounds, noting that the evidence adduced by the first respondent, Governor Ortom and the second respondent (APC) outweighed that of the petitioner.
Justice Garba therefore dismissed Tarzoor’s appeal and upheld the judgement of the election tribunal delivered on 21st September, 2015.
“The burden rests on the petitioner who approaches a court to prove his petition. On the evaluation and examination of evidence, the tribunal did the proper and right thing. The Appeal fails on all the grounds and is hereby dismissed. We uphold the judgement of the tribunal delivered on 21st September, 2015.”
The appellate court however upheld the decision of the tribunal against the motion by the APC bordering on the jurisdiction of the tribunal and the qualification of the PDP candidate to question the emergence of the candidate of another political party.
Commenting on the judgment, the Benue State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Barr. Michael Gusa, said the judgement was an affirmation of the overwhelming mandate given to Governor Ortom by the people, adding that it would enable the Governor to concentrate on the governance of the State without further distractions.
Also reacting to the judgment, counsel to Terhemen Tarzoor, Barrister Donald Kertyo hinted that his client may proceed to the Supreme Court.Addressing journalists after the judgement, Governor Samuel Ortom dedicated the verdict of the appellate court to God and the people of the state who overwhelmingly voted him.
He said the decision of the Appeal Court was a clear testimony that APC won the last election, calling on supporters of the PDP in the state to join him to develop the state.
Governor Ortom reiterated the commitment of his administration to its development agenda named ‘Our Collective Vision for a New Benue’ which he said was designed to give every Benue man and woman a chance to feel the impact of governance.