By Denen Achussah
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will, tomorrow, Thursday, August 8, 2019, open its defence in a petition filed by Emmanuel Jime of All Progressives Congress (APC) challenging the return of Governor Samuel Ortom of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the 2019 Benue gubernatorial vote.
The INEC, Ortom, PDP are 1st, 2nd, 3rd respondents respectively in the petition.
The commission had apply for five days, beginning from August 8, to defend the issues raised by the petitioners.
The petitioners have closed their case after calling 59 witnesses. They also tendered over 1000 electoral documents, which have been admitted in evidence.
Jime, who testified as PW17 told the tribunal to declare him winner of the election on the ground that he scored 2224 votes more than Samuel Ortom.
He said he was part of the team that analysed reports from agents at polling units, certified true copy of the declaration of election result forms (EC8A, EC8B, EC8C, EC8D and EC8E), voters register, card reader report and INEC’s Manual/Guidelines for Election Officials 2019.
All these, he further stated, formed the basis for his petition and prayer that the tribunal declare him winner of the election.
“I put together a team and as a lawyer myself, I sat with the team to analyse the documents,” Jime told the tribunal.
He also told the tribunal, under cross-examination by INEC’s counsel, Uyi Igunma Esq, that he “tendered the documents that are relevant to establish” to his case.
Under-cross examination by Governor Ortom’s lead counsel, Sabastine Hon, SAN, Jime said he was challenging the result of the election because entries on the result forms were not correct.
The petitioner, who said he had agents in all the 3, 687 polling units in the state, insisted, when shown Exhibit EC8E (Declaration of result form) that if he believed he lost the election he would not have approached the tribunal.
His counsel, Adebayo Adelodun, SAN, told reporters after court that the petitioners have “done so much,” to get judgment in their favour adding that “it is about quality and not quantity.”