By Titus Atondu, Makurdi
The Supreme Court of Nigeria has fixed Monday, January 13, 2020, to hear the appeal filed by Emmanuel Jime of the All Progressives Congress, (APC), challenging the unanimous judgement of the Court of Appeal which dismissed Jime’s appeal and affirmed the decision of the tribunal which upheld the election of Governor Ortom.
This is contained in a hearing notice sent to the parties in the matter by the Director of Litigation of the Apex Court.
The Supreme Court shall also on the same day hear the appeal filed by Governor Ortom.
A five-man panel of the Court of Appeal led by Justice A.O Belgore had on November 28,2019 dismissed Jime’s appeal for totally lacking in merit and awarded cost of 150,000 against the appellants to be paid to each of the respondents in the suit.
It also upheld all the rulings of the tribunal, which on October 7, 2019 dismissed Jime’s petition for failing to provide substantial evidences to prove his allegations of over voting, non-compliance with the provisions of Electoral Act, 2010, as amended, and that the second respondent, Governor Ortom did not score the majority of lawful votes .
It could be recalled that the Benue State governorship election tribunal held that the petitioners alleged non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act in 380 polling units but only called witnesses in 30 polling units, adding that it was impossible for 30 people to prove non-compliance in 380 polling units.
The tribunal stressed that the smart card reader is essentially for identification of the permanent voters card of a would-be voter, while the voters register is for accreditation of a would-be voter.
It maintained that until section 49 of the Electoral Act, 2010, is amended, the permanent voters registers remains the instrument for accreditation and the smart card reader machine cannot be the basis of challenging any election, as doing so will amount to forming clouds and winds without rain.
The tribunal described the testimony of the witnesses called by the petitioner as inadmissible hear say evidence, contradictory, inconsistent unreliable, untruthful without any value.