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APC may lose Benue governorship seat to PDP, party’s legal adviser cries out

Written By Idoma Television on Saturday, June 27, 2015 | 11:58:00 PM

The National Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Dr. Muiz Banire has revealed the imminent judicial loss of Benue governorship seat to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the controversy trailing the issue of lawful governorship candidate of the ruling party in the state, if necessary intervention is not timely effected.
The election of Governor Samuel Ortom is being challenged by both his PDP opponent, Hon. Terhemen Tarzoor at the Benue State Election Petition Tribunal and APC aspirants who are before a Federal High Court in Abuja, seeking to void his nomination as the party’s candidate.

Banire had in a letter to the National Working Committee of the party, dated June 17, 2015 told the party in clear terms that unless the issue of lawful candidate of the party was quickly resolved before the election tribunal would rule on the PDP’s petition, the ruling party might gift the opposition the governorship seat.

A copy of the said letter entitled “Re: Legal tussle over the governorship seat of Benue state: a call for urgent action” was sighted in the office of the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Oyegun at the party secretariat in Abuja.
The Edo State Election Petition Tribunal last Friday declared PDP’s candidate Sylvanus Eriagha winner of Etsako West II Constituency in Edo State, sacking the original winner APC’s Yakubu Gowon for not being validly nominated.

Gowon originally won the state assembly seat as lawmaker representing Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s constituency.
Hon. Emmanuel Jime and other aspirants had gone to court, claiming it was Jime that was adopted by all other APC aspirants in January, adding that Ortom didn’t participate in any APC primary election to emerge its candidate.

PDP and its governorship candidate, Hon. Terhemen Tarzoor in petition number EPT/BEN/GOV/01/26 are asking that the party and its candidate be declared winner of the governorship poll with a total of 313,878 votes.
Their request is based on their claim that APC, though scored the highest 422,932 votes, did not have an authentic and lawful candidate for the election.

With the high potential of losing the governorship seat, coupled with the Edo scenario serving as the danger signal, the NWC has reportedly held two emergency meetings within four days in a desperate bid to find solutions to the legal conundrum threatening to gift its victory to PDP.
Hon Emmanuel Jime who was in January adopted as the party’s consensus candidate, Senator JKN Waku, and other aspirants had, in suit number FHC/ABJ/ CS/1057/14, prayed the court to hold that Ortom was not the lawful candidate of the ruling party.

Cashing-in on this, PDP which tabled Jime’s suit at the tribunal as evidence that Ortom was not the lawful winner of the governorship election, prayed the tribunal to hold that APC had no candidate at the time of the election and as such, its candidate Terhemen Tarzoor be declared winner of the poll.
Banire’s letter, addressed to Oyegun, reads in part “Please recall that after the emergence of Dr. Ortom Samuel Ioraer as the Governorship candidate of our party for the April 11, 2015, Governorship election in Benue State, other Governorship candidates who felt aggrieved by his emergence, protested against the alleged non-compliance with the provisions of our party’s constitution and guidelines for the conduct of primaries. Eventually, four of the Governorship candidates jointly commenced an action in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/1057/2014 by which they challenged the process of the emergence of Dr. Ortom Samuel Ioraer as the party’s Governorship candidate. This suit is still pending in court.

“It is equally imperative to draw your attention to the fact that, upon the conclusion of the election, the PDP candidate filed a petition challenging the election of Dr. Ortom Samuel Ioraer. Part of the grounds of the Petition for challenging the election is that the process, which produced Dr. Ortom Samuel Ioraer as our party’s candidate, breached the provisions of the Electoral Act. To substantiate his petition, the petitioner is also relying on several documents which the Plaintiffs in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/1057/2014 pleaded in support of their case.

“Mr. Chairman, there are grave issues which are at the root of this impasse which I have constrained myself from revealing through this medium but which I shall share when the leaders of the party are gathered. Suffice however to say that with the present happenings in the various courts, we may be endangering that seat in favour of the opposition People’s Democratic Party.

Source: Tribune
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