The Court of Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division today reserved judgement in the appeal filed by defeated Benue State APC governorship candidate, Barr. Emmanuel Jime against the victory of Governor Samuel Ortom of the PDP.
After listening to arguements from Jime ‘s lead counsel, Yussuf Ali, SAN and responses from Sebastine T. Hon, SAN, counsel to Governor Ortom, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, counsel to PDP and Chief Offiong Offing, SAN, counsel to INEC, the 5 man panel presided over by Justice A.O Belgore reserved judgement to a date to be communicated to the parties.
Speaking for Barr. Jime, Yussuf Ali, SAN had urged the court to allow the appeal, arguing that there was substantial non compliance with the Electoral Act in addition to other violations of the law. He stated that the lower tribunal erred to have dismissed his petition.
Responding, counsels to the respondents, Sebastine Hon, SAN, Chris Uche, SAN and Offiong Offiong, SAN in separate addresses called for the dismissal of the appeal, arguing that the case lacks any merit.
Sebastine Hon, SAN stated that non of the 59 witnesses called by the petitioner/appellant was credible, citing the difference between the figures pleaded in the petition and the results tendered at the tribunal. He said the petition was dead ab initio and called for it’s dismissal with substantial cost.
Chris Uche, SAN in his address stated that the argument of over voting canvased by the petitioner/appellant was premised on wrong grounds and that non compliance must be with the provisions of the Electoral Act. To him, the evidence tendered at the tribunal was deficient in quality and quantity.
In his response, Offiong Offiong, SAN stated that contrary to the provisions of the law, the witnesses called by the petitioner/appellant were not eye witnesses to the malpractces complained off but rather people with “hear say evidence”. He explained that whereas the so called electoral practices were allegedly committed at the polling unit levels, those that testified for the petitioner /appellant were collation agents, who were not on ground when the offences were said to have been committed. He therefore called for the dismissal of the appeal.
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