Updated: Twofold Victory For PDP As S’Court Retains Govs Ortom, Fintiri

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the elections of Samuel Ortom of Benue State and his counterpart in Adamawa State, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri.

Both governors, who are members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had their return as winners of the last governorship elections in their states challenged up to the Supreme Court by the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the states.

In two separate judgments on Tuesday, a seven-man panel, led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, dismissed the two appeals filed by Emmanuel Jime. (APC candidate in Benue) and his counterpart in Adamawa State.

Members of the panel were unanimous that the appellants failed to provide cogent reasons to warrant them to tamper with the concurrent findings of the two lower courts (the election tribunal and Court of Appeal).

While summarising his decision, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, who read the lead judgment in the Benue appeal, said a thorough analysis of the evidence presented by the appellants showed they failed to discharge the burden of proof place on them by the law.

Justice Ngwuta said: “In conclusion, I find that the concurrent judgment of the two lower courts are not to be tampered with. The appeal is hereby dismissed.

Justice Dattijo Mohammed gave similar decision in the lead judgement he read in the Adamawa appeal.

Justice Mohammed was of the view that the appellants failed to establish their claim of over-voting as required by law.

He held that the two courts below were not wrong in disagreeing with the appellants, that they could rely on card reader reports and not call poling unit agents as witnesses in proving over-voting.

Justice Mohammed said it is the law that card reader reports cannot supplant voters’ register in proving over-voting.

“Resultantly, the two courts below are right to hold that the appellants failed to prove their case. This appeal is hereby dismissed.

“The second respondent’s return and declaration as the winner of the governorship election held in Adamawa State is further affirmed,” the judge said.

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