By Odimegwu Onwumere
There is a saying that when you want to be the best, you have to be better than the second person. The former is the new crown given to the ebullient Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State at the Supreme Court on January 15 2016, by seven justices.
The court said that he is the best, without any skirmishes in the political squabble he had with the Benue State gubernatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Terhemen Tarzoor in the April 11 2015, general elections.
Prince Tarzoor had approached the Supreme Court on November 26 2015 through a Senior learned counsel J.O Adesina SAN, to
appeal the decision of the Court of Appeal that was in favour of Governor Samuel Ortom’s mandate.
Tarzoor filed 9 grounds notice of appeal. But on January 15 2016, his aim to thwart and depose the government of Ortom was dwarfed by the Supreme Court and the election of Ortom was upheld to continue.
This is what Mr. Justice John Inyang Okoro told Tarzoor at the apex court while delivering the lead judgment: “It is crystal clear that this appeal is devoid of any scintilla of merit and is accordingly dismissed. Evidence on record shows that the Appellants were not aspirants who participated at the primary election of the APC (2nd Respondent) held on 4th December, 2014.
“Their complaint before this court is a challenge to the selection or nomination of the 1st Respondent herein by his pa
rty. The truth is that apart from the fact that the Appellants were not among the persons permitted by Section 87 (9) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) to challenge the nomination or selection of a candidate for election, they failed to approach the appropriate court which has jurisdiction to hear the matter. Section 89 (9) of the Electoral Act (as amended) provides that such an aggrieved aspirant “may apply to the Federal High Court or the High Court of a State or Federal Capital Territory for redress.”
Who misled Tarzoor going by the above statement? It is very sad that while the entire population of Benue State supported Ortom, Tarzoor was dissatisfied till he bit the dust at the apex court to the merry of Ortom.
Tarzoor did not read the handwriting on the wall properly before approaching the apex court having lost at both the tribunal and the court of Appeal in Makurdi, where verdicts were in favour of the respondents: Ortom, the All Progressives Congress and Independent National Electoral Commission.
Tarzoor, without doubt, is a lonely person today, in the next week and the next month and the next year and in the next four years or so, unless he embraces the government of Ortom for the common good of Benue State, which is greater than any individual’s aspiration.
Tarzoor could probably had expended much to friends and well-wishers after the Supreme Court on Monday 11 January 2016 reserved January 15 for the judgment of his appeal challenging the election of Governor Samuel Ortom. Tarzoor could probably had rolled out drums on waters thinking that his mindset would be upheld, but he later went home biting his fingers.
Perceivably, Justice Walter Onnoghen-led six justices had pity on Tarzoor not to faint and doused the tension and reserved the judgment after counsel to parties adopted their written addresses on that Monday January 11 2016.
They said on that day, “We have gradually come to the last stage of the procedure at the bar, leaving us at the bench to give our judgment. In view of that, January 15 has been agreed by all of us here to be the date to deliver the judgment. Therefore, the judgment is reserved to that date.’’
Here is where Benue people are today! Tarzoor had thought from his body language that the appellate court in Makurdi, which upheld the verdict of the Election Petition Tribunal on November 18, 2015, which affirmed the qualification and election of Ortom as governor of the state, was running mad. He later got what he ignorantly set out to achieve – Disgrace.
It was laughable when Tarzoor went to court not actually to challenge the election that brought Ortom, but the latter’s validity as the nominated by the All Progressives Congress to stand for the election as provided by the Electoral Act. Tarzoor who’s in the PDP asked the appellate court to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission to issue him with the certificate of return. Did he want the APC’s certificate?
It is obvious that Tarzoor would ever believe in the APC that insisted that Ortom was validly nominated in conventionality with the requirements of the Electoral Act, 2010. Even, Ortom had told the world that the modus operandi for his nomination as the candidate of the APC remained the restricted right of the APC apparatus.
However, let Governor Samuel Ortom understand what one Vince Lombardi Jr. once said, “The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory. That’s the essence of it.” Winston S. Churchill would say, “This is not the end, this is not even the beginning of the end, this is just perhaps the end of the beginning.”
Let Ortom who has started giving Benue people good governance not relent to be truly the best at last when critics would review his tenure.
Odimegwu Onwumere is a Media Consultant; he writes from Rivers State. (email@example.com). Tel: +2348057778358.
Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet/Author, Founder of Poet Against Child Abuse (PACA), Rivers State. Mobile: +2348032552855. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org