George Okoh in Makurdi
The last has not been heard since the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal delivered its judgement in favour of Governor Samuel Ortom and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue State, as the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the petitioner at the tribunal. Barrister Emmanuel Jime, has been accused by the PDP of using the case against Ortom to manipulate his supporters and enrich himself.
PDP, in a statement by its Benue State Publicity Secretary, Mr. Bemgba Iyortyum, said it read with amusement the reaction credited to Jime regarding the recent verdict of the tribunal which validated the electoral victory of Ortom.
According to the PDP, Jime had claimed in his reaction that the tribunal in its judgement on his petition denied him justice and also failed to give justice to “the suffering Benue masses.
The PDP said it found such utterances laughable and a mockery of the judiciary which the APC gubernatorial candidate, as a lawyer, is a part of, even as the party wondered which Benue people he was referring to?
“Majority of Benue people re-elected Ortom to a second term of office on the platform of the PDP with 434,473 votes against Jime’s 345,155 votes representing a defeat margin of 89,318 votes on the first ballot.
“Despite such a huge defeat margin, the election was declared inconclusive by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) on March 9, 2019.
“This triggered widespread jubilation by APC in the state as they boasted raucously that they were going to enjoy the advantage of ‘federal might’ from Abuja with which to crush Ortom at the supplementary election ordered by INEC. But when the supplementary took place, the governor again won comprehensively extending the defeat margin over Jime close to 100,000 votes,” PDP said.
The party added that the tribunal’s judgement has furthered confirmed the popular electoral mandate which the Benue electorate overwhelmingly bestowed to Ortom during two rounds of elections, dismissing Jime’s allegations that the tribunal denied him and “suffering Benue people” justice.
“For emphasis, it is on record that when Jime and APC approached the Tribunal, they boasted that they would prove their claim that the 2019 governorship election in Benue State did not comply substantially with the electoral law,” PDP said.
All attempts by THISDAY to get the view of APC spokesman failed.