Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Sunday, charged the judiciary to deepen the democratic process in the country by ensuring that election petitions before them are transparently handled.
Governor Ortom made the appeal in Abuja while speaking at a dinner organized by Mr Terna Hembah to celebrate the governor’s 62nd birthday anniversary.
Ortom said although the electoral process had been completed and winners declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the process was marred by irregularities.
He said it was due to the alleged widespread malpractices that took place during the elections that many candidates filed petitions at various tribunals, stressing that to stabilize the system, judges must be fair to all.
According to Governor Ortom, “Without peace, we cannot make progress in our country. I want to encourage our people, especially those who have lost the elections to allow the democratic institutions to take their course and ensure that we see it to the end.
“The electoral process has been completed and now we are in the judicial process, and so let us follow them and ensure that the outcome, which we hope will be justified by all those who were aggrieved.
“And I want to encourage the judiciary, they are the last hope in the democratic process. Whatever they say will come to stand. I want to say that they took an oath of office before God Almighty, they should ensure that what they are doing is truthful.”
Governor Ortom expressed gratitude to God and the people of Benue for the support they have given him over the years, saying “from what I have heard from the people, I did not lose any election but rather equity, fairness and justice as well as patriotism lost.”
The governor thanked Mr Hembah for organizing the dinner to celebrate his new age, stressing that he was a dependable, reliable and true friend and prayed God to bless him.
Hembah had earlier said Governor Ortom deserves to be celebrated because he was a blessing, not only to Benue State but Nigeria as a whole, adding that “my friendship with the governor transcends the office he holds.”