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Benue Election Tribunal: Ortom May Loss To Tarzoor, As INEC Testifies Against APC

Benue Election Tribunal: Ortom May Loss To Tarzoor, As INEC Testifies Against APC ‎

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‎The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)Tuesday told the governorship election tribunal sitting in Makurdi that the All Progressive Congress (APC) did not hold any primaries before selecting its governorship candidate.
The APC could not prove otherwise.

At the‎ resumption of hearing  today, the Tribunal chairman, Justice Elizabeth Karatu decided to take INEC’s testimony.
INEC’s testimony has indicated that Governor Ortom was not validly nominated for the Aprill 11 elections indicating that the APC never had any candidate for the election.‎

Governor of Benue State Samuel Ortom won the April 11governorship election on the platform of the APC after losing the primary election of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to Terhemen Tarzoor. He was then offered the APC’s ticket to run.
Tarzoor took Ortom to the tribunal on the grounds that he did not meet the criteria for nomination as the candidate of the APC in the election.
Counsel to Governor Ortom, Adeniyi Akintola (SAN) had on June 29 raised and objection questioning the tribunal’s jurisdiction to hear the suit.

He said it would amount to the abuse of court processes if the tribunal went ahead to hear the substantive suit without hearing the motion.
Akintola further argued that the grounds and reliefs of the petition were the same as those dismissed by the Federal High Court, Makurdi, adding that it was already status barred.

“The APC has the power to nominate anybody to be its flag bearer and it is not the business of anybody to question it,” he insisted.
However, counsel to Tarzoor, Joy Adesina, observed that the motion raised by Ortom’s counsel was intended to prolong the suit and by so doing frustrate the process.

While she argued that all motions raised should be heard alongside the substantive suit, she cited Paragraph 12(5) of the First Schedule of the 2014 Electoral Act, as amended.
She said that the provisions of the relevant sections were intended to check what she described as “acts of mischief” in the adjudication of tribunal cases.

Justice Elizabeth Karatu promised that the tribunal would be fair to all parties, warning that the panel would not entertain delay tactics from the litigants.
Other members of the panel include Justice Catherine Ogunsanya and Justice Hadiza Ali.

However, the tribunal has adjourned till August 3 for judgement.‎

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