The combatants in the crisis that trailed the gubernatorial primaries of the Benue State chapter of the All Progressives Congress [APC] have decided to embrace peace and work together.
This is following an application for an out of court settlement in the suit challenging the emergence of the former Minister of State for Trade and Investment Dr. Samuel Ortom, [now the governor elect for Benue State] as the candidate of the party.
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.
In the course of the proceedings, one of the plaintiffs, Chief Mike Iordye opted out of the suit.
He had alleged that his signature was forged and his name was subsequently struck out by the court.
When the case case came up yesterday, counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr. Sunday Ameh [SAN] informed the court that his clients are pursuing an out of court settlement of the dispute and needed time to concrertize the peaceful process.
At the last adjourned date, counsel to Ortom, Mr. Sabastine Hon [SAN] prayed the court to stay proceedings in the matter due to a pending appeal at 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.
Justice Chukwu thereafter 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 the politician, “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 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 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.
The case was then adjourned to April 31st for report of settlement.