Barely few days after the apex court had affirmed Governor Samuel Loraer Orthom of the PDP as the duly elected governor of Benue State in the March 9, 2019, general elections, Chief Emmanuel Jime, the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, in a statement he personally signed, said although the judgment did not go in his favour, he accepts the verdict in good faith.
Jime went further to state that, “When we decided to file a petition at the elections petition tribunal last year, it was not out of a need to pursue power or take advantage of the judicial process for the sake of it.
We took this route all the way to the Supreme Court as part of our commitment towards strengthening the integrity of our electoral process. It was and remains our firm belief that unless the sanctity of the ballot is guaranteed, self-serving politicians will continue to game the system to retain their clutch on power.
“Let me use this opportunity to thank our legal team. They put up a dogged fight and presented a good case with solid evidence. The outcome might not have gone our way but it shows we will never look the other way where we see cases of electoral malpractice. I remain eternally grateful for the efforts of our lawyers and witnesses.
“ I also extend my appreciation to the Justices of the Supreme Court, who in spite of a back-breaking workload, gave our petition the thorough attention it deserved. The outcome notwithstanding, we remain highly respectful of their verdict.
He, however, thanked his party’s leaders, Senator George Akume – Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, the Benue State APC exco, party leaders, members of the Jime/Ode Campaign Organisation for their support.
“ I say a big thank you. Do not despair over the news of today’s verdict. Taunts, jeers and intimidation will come but let us not buckle under them and see those as part of the sacrifice we need to make for a better tomorrow.
“Lastly, let me address the good people of Benue State. The verdict announced by the Supreme Court today signals an end to our inquest on the 2019 governorship elections in Benue. It does not mean we will take our eyes off governance issues as they affect people of Benue. So let this serve as a notice that whenever we notice our people are being shortchanged by those who hold the reins of power, we will speak up in defence of their rights and wellbeing. Simply put, we will not turn our backs on you”.
The 7-man panel of the apex court had said it agreed with the concurrent judgements of the two lower courts.
Delivering the judgement, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta had said: “I have agreed with the submissions of the respondents that the concurrent judgments of the Tribunal and Court of Appeal should not be disturbed.”
The judgment is indeed a plus to the judiciary.