Appeal court upholds election of Benue Governor, Samuel Ortom

The Court of Appeal sitting in Makurdi, on Wednesday upheld the judgement of the Election Petition Tribunal, which affirmed the election of Samuel Ortom as the duly elected governor of Benue State.

The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Terhemen Tarzoor, had asked the court to reverse the tribunal’s judgement and declare him winner of the April governorship election in the state.

He said that the tribunal alleged that Ortom was not qualified to contest in the election, adding that he was not validly nominated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to stand for the election.

Tarzoor had also asked the court to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare him (Tarzoor) winner of the April governorship poll.

In its argument, the APC had insisted that its candidate was validly nominated in conformity with the requirements of the Electoral Act, 2010.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that all parties in the case – APC, PDP, INEC- had filed cross appeals and cross appellant appeals challenging certain aspects of the tribunal’s judgment.

However, in judgement, the Justice Mohammed Garba led panel dismissed the appeal in its entirety for lack of merit.

According to Justice Garba, the appellants failed to discharge the burden of proof which rested on them, in line with the legal dictum that “he who alleges must prove”.

He also added that the lower court was right in dismissing the petition.

Reacting to the judgment, counsel to the PDP, Donald Kertyo, said his team would test the ruling at the Supreme Court.

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