CLOCK TICKS FOR ORTOM AS INEC TESTIFIES AT TRIBUNAL

Benue APC Didn’t Hold Guber Primaries – INEC

Ortom
Ortom

In what seemed like the ticking of the clock for Governor Samuel Ortom who is just two months into his four-year term, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Monday, told the Benue State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, that the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state did not conduct governorship primaries as required by law.

The revelation was made by INEC after Joy Adeshina (SAN), counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the April elections, Terhemen Tarzoor, tendered documents, insisting that Governor Samuel Ortom did not meet the criteria to contest on the APC platform.

During the marathon session held by the tribunal that lasted till 5pm on Monday, the tribunal had subpoenaed the INEC Establishment Officer, Andyar Terkaa, who read the report.

Terkaa explained that at the time of compiling the report on December 5, 2014, the APC had not conducted its governorship primaries in the state.

Under cross-examination, the INEC official added: “I was not aware of the conduct of the APC primaries on the said date in Benue state.”

Prior to the presentation of the report, counsel to Ortom, Olaniyi Akintola (SAN), had objected to the tendering of the APC as well as PDP governorship primary reports before the court.

In her submission, counsel to Tarzoor, Adesina who cited relevant authorities, argued that the admissibility of a document lies in its relevance to a matter.

She noted that it would amount to miscarriage of justice if the documents were rejected, warning that the reliance on technicalities in the determination of any issue would negate the principles of substantive justice for all.

In a ruling, Justice Katharine Ogunsanya held that the weight and relevance of a document determines its admissibility, hence “the two documents have passed the litmus test, the plea is upheld and the documents are admitted in evidence.”

The tribunal also admitted in evidence the timetable and schedule of the 2015 general elections.

Meanwhile, in Jos, the Plateau State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal adjourned its sitting to Wednesday, August 5, 2015 for ruling on the motion by the PDP gubernatorial candidate, Senator Gyang Pwajok, to admit INEC’s inspected and analysed materials used for the April 11, 2015 Governorship election and also for continuation of hearing.

Presiding Judge, Justice Johnson Candide, after hearing the counsels to Governor Lalong, the APC and INEC, urged them to provide reference materials quoted on the matter for faster ruling. The tribunal resumes for ruling and continuation of hearing on the matter tomorrow.

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