Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has extended a hand of fellowship to the governorship candidate and members of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state even as he stated that the verdict of the election tribunal was further confirmation of the mandate the people gave him.
He spoke today at the Benue Peoples House after the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in the State dismissed the petition filed by the PDP candidate, Prince Terhemen Tarzoor and upheld his election.
Governor Ortom said Prince Tarzoor had exercised his constitutional right but also needed to explore the option of teaming up with him to provide meaningful service to the people of the state.
He expressed appreciation to God and the people of the state for reposing confidence in him and assured that he would not fail them.
Delivering the judgment today in Makurdi, Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Elizabeth Karatu stated that the petitioner, Prince Tarzoor had failed to provide concrete evidence to prove that Governor Ortom was still a member of PDP at the time the All Progressives Congress, APC primary election of December 11 last year was being conducted.
Justice Karatu also ruled that the first witness of the petitioner, Cletus Ityokyaa, had relied on hearsay regarding the conduct of the APC primary election, describing the account by the witness as contradictory and unreliable.
The tribunal also held that the video evidence tendered to prove that APC did not conduct governorship primaries failed to prove the case, as those who featured in the video said to have been aired on television were not invited to testify before the tribunal.
It however earlier overruled the motion by the defence team challenging its jurisdiction over the case, and also upheld Prince Tarzoor’s locus standi to question the nomination of Governor Ortom as APC candidate.
On whether or not the dismissed case was similar to a suit previously filed by PDP challenging the emergence of Governor Ortom as candidate of the APC, the Tribunal said the two cases were different as the parties and grounds of the matters were not exactly the same, saying that the petition was not an abuse of court.
Counsel to Governor Samuel Ortom who led the defence team on the day of the judgment, Moses Atagher, described the verdict of the tribunal as thorough and credible.