From Chris Gaga, Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom, (2nd respondent) will on Friday, open defence in a petition filed by Barr. Emmanuel Jime and the All Progressives Congress(APC) challenging his reelection.
This is just as the Independent National Electional Commission (INEC),(1st respondent) on Thursday entered and closed its defence in same petition.
At the resumption of hearing, INEC said it was relying it’s defence on evidence extracted from the petitioners (Emmanuel Jime, APC) and the documents they (petitioners) tendered.
Last week, the commission applied for Thursday , August 15, 2019 to open and close its case.
Lead counsel to INEC, Offiong Offiong (SAN) told the Honourable Tribunal that, “having taken a calm review of all that the petitioners have done and what we have achieved in cross examination, we think that evidence extracted from the petitioners and the documents they tendered are sufficient and we do not intend to call witnesses.
“In the event that there is any witness that we can tender documents from we will do so. That is the case of the 1st Respondent pursuant to Para 46(5) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).”
Ortom’s legal representative, Edward Ashiekaa (SAN) said the second respondent will be calling witnesses.
“If this were a civil process we would have taken the foot steps of the 1st respondent. But because election matters are sui generis, we will call witnesses,” Ashiekaa told the Honourable Tribunal and applied for another date.
In his ruling, Chairman of the Tribunal Honourable Justice Henry Olusiyi adjourned until Friday, August 16, 2019 for the 2nd respondent to open its case.
“The 2nd Resondent by consent has five days to open and close its case and the days start running from tomorrow,” Justice Olusiyi held.