TARZOOR VS ORTOM: SUPREME COURT SET TO DELIVER JUDGEMENT

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By James Ibechi

The Supreme Court, this morning, will deliver its judgement on an appeal challenging the election of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State by Terhemen Tarzoor.

imageOn Monday, the Justice Walter Onnoghen-led six justices reserved the judgment after counsel to the parties adopted their written addresses.

“We have gradually come to the last stage of the procedure at the bar, leaving us at the bench to give our judgment.

“In view of that, Jan. 15 has been agreed by all of us here to be the date to deliver the judgment. Therefore, the judgment is reserved to that date,” he said.

Mr Terhemen Tarzoor of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had sought a declaration of the apex court to set aside the Court of Appeal judgment which had dismissed his petition for lack of merit.

The appellate court in Makurdi on Nov. 18, 2015 upheld the verdict of the Election Petition Tribunal which affirmed the qualification and election of Ortom as governor of the state.

Tarzoor had asked the court to reverse the tribunal’s judgment and declare him winner of the April polls.

He said the tribunal erred in its judgment as Ortom was not qualified to contest in the election.

According to him, Ortom is not validly nominated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to stand for the election as provided by the Electoral Act.

Tarzoor had also asked the appellate court to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission to issue him with the certificate of return.

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

APC further said that the burden of proof rested on the shoulders of the appellants.

On his part, Ortom had argued that the procedure for his nomination as the candidate of the party remained the exclusive right of the APC machinery.

The governor, therefore, urged the appellate court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.

All parties in the case had filed cross appeals and cross appellant appeals challenging certain aspects of the tribunal’s judgment.

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