By Emmanuel Antswen/Makurdi
Mr Emmanuel Jime, the defeated Benue governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and his party have filed a joint petition challenging the victory of Gov Samuel Ortom at the general elections held between February and March in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governorship poll in the state was declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and re-conducted in March where Ortom was declared winner.
Ortom polled a total of 434,473 to floor his closest rival, Jime of the APC, with 345,155 votes.
The petition was filed on Friday at about 10:15pm by Mr Sunday Ameh, (SAN).
Ameh told reporters that the petitioners (Jime and APC) were challenging the return of Gov Ortom by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“Our prayers are that Ortom did not win the elections by majority of lawful votes cast at that election, rather it is the prayer of Jime that the tribunal declare him as winner of that election, having been the candidate that scored majority of lawful votes cast”.
The petitioners also contend that Ortom’s election was invalid by reason of non- compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
The petitioners alternative reliefs were that; the elections be nullified for substantial non- compliance with the electoral act across the polling units where electoral infringements took place.
They are further asking the court to order fresh elections if the results of the affected polling units identified in the petition affect the entire result.
Also speaking to newsmen at the tribunal, Dr Sam Ode, APC deputy governorship candidate said they had raised genuine issues that would give them justice at the end of the day.
Ode further said that they did not have any personal issues against Gov Ortom and commended the Benue people for their peaceful conduct during the polls.
“We are acting within the law and until the declaration of Ortom is upturned, we will cooperate with him and Benue citizens, what we need in Benue is development, peace and the welfare of our citizens is paramount.
“So we don’t have anything personal against Ortom, the issues we have are purely political and purely issues that border on the welfare and future of Benue people. We are all partners in progress”.