Governor Samuel Ortom has filed his defence before the Governorship, National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi.
Ortom, through Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General Mr Michael Gusa, raised preliminary objections and asked the court to strike out APC’s petition.
“The petition should be dismissed because we are saying that it lacks merit and so it should be dismissed”, Gusa said.
“In fact in the first instance, we have seen a lot of infractions against the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, so we have raised preliminary objections that the case be dismissed and also gone ahead to attack the petition on the merit “.
The lead counsel, Mr Sabastine Hon SAN, said the governor filed his defence within time and has fulfilled his statutory duty of attaching all the document he would be relying on in the course of the case.
Hon who defended the governor at the tribunal over the 2015 election said that the two cases have some striking similarities, although the circumstances are slightly different.
It will be recalled that Emmanuel Jime of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had filed the petition challenging the re-election of Ortom. In the disputed election, Ortom of the PDP polled 434,473 votes to defeat Jime who scored 345,155 votes.
Jime’s counsel, Mr Sunday Ameh urged the tribunal to upturn Gov Ortom’s victory and declare Jime the winner of the 2019 governorship elections having scored the highest number of lawful votes.
Meanwhile, In another development, Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has asked the National Judicial Council (NJC) to review upward salaries of judges to enhance their performance.
Naija News understands that he made the appeal during the swearing-in of two High Court Judges yesterday at Government House, Makurdi.