The Supreme Court has fixed Friday, January 15, for judgment on the case of the April 11 Benue State governorship election between incumbent Governor Samuel Ortom of the All Progressives Party, APC, and Tarhemen Tarzoor, the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party.
Justice Walter Onnoghen fixed the date on Monday after hearing the arguments of the counsel for the parties in the appeal filed by the PDP, who adopted their final written addresses on Monday.
At Monday’s proceedings, the appellants’ lead counsel, Adebayo Adenikpekun (SAN), while adopting his address, argued that Ortom was not validly nominated by the APC to run for the office of governor of Benue State.
“Section 177 (1) (c) when married together with the provision of section 87 of the Electoral Act, gave the appellants the right to challenge the outcome of the election,”he submitted.
The Street Journal recalls that Tarzoo and PDP had approached the apex court to challenge the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Makurdi Division.
The Appeal Court had upheld the decision of the Benue State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal election, which had earlier affirmed Ortom’s victory at the poll, and dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit.
According to the appellate court, Tarzoor and PDP failed to discharge the burden of proof of election malpractice alleged by them against the respondents.
The appellants, upon their dissatisfaction with the decision of the Court of Appeal had, therefore, approached the Supreme Court, seeking to set aside the court below’s judgment and declare Tarzoor, a former Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, winner of the said election.