The Sun News

Election tribunal upholds Obaseki’s election as Edo gov

From Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin

The Edo Election Petition Tribunal, on Friday upheld the election of Mr Godwin Obaseki of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as governor of  Edo State.

Delivering judgment, the Justice Ahmed Badamasi-led three member tribunal, dismissed the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as lacking in merit.

Badamasi held that the petitioners failed on all fronts to prove the allegations as pleaded in their petitions. “The petitioners have failed to prove their case with credible evidence and is therefore, dismissed,’’ he said. The tribunal held that while the petitioners abandoned some of their pleadings, “witnesses evidences were controverted under cross examination’’.

“The much talked about ticking and over-voting by the petitioners have not been specifically proved beyond reasonable doubts. And not calling witnesses to prove their allegations of corrupt practices and over-voting was fatal to their case and is deemed to have abandoned their pleadings,’’ he held.

Badamasi therefore, held that “the petitioners have failed to prove their case with credible evidence to show that they are entitled to their pleadings’’.

“Accordingly, the petition has failed and is hereby dismissed,’’ he said.

The petitioners had listed INEC, Obaseki and the APC as first, second and third respondents. Ize-Iyamu had asked the tribunal to nullify the election of Obaseki and declare him winner, having scored majority of the lawful votes cast among other reliefs.

He averred that INEC was wrong to have declared Obaseki winner of the September 28 governorship election. Ize-Iyamu also alleged that the election was fraught with corrupt practices and over-voting.

He added that INEC did not comply with the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) in the conduct of the said election.

Meanwhile, Obaseki’s predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole yesterday stormed the tribunal in a show of solidarity with his successor, ahead of the tribunal judgment.

Oshiomhole who arrived the court premises at 9:50am quietly stepped into the tribunal to observe proceedings.

Governor Obaseki had earlier entered the court premises at 9:36am.

Reacting to the judgment, the petitioners’ Counsel, Kehinde Eleja, (SAN), commended the tribunal and urged that copies of the judgment be made available soonest, just as INEC Counsel, Doris Owolabi (Mrs) appeciated the tribunal.

Similarly, Counsel to Obaseki, Olatunji Oyeyipo, SAN, commended the court for avoiding technicalities and dealing with the merit of the case, while Counsel to APC, Victor Oyosumor, alligned himself  but added that the judgment has confirmed the wishes of Edo people that the election was fair.

In his reaction, a visibly elated Governor Godwin Obaseki who listened to the judgment, said his victory at the tribunal was for Edo people, adding that as father of all, it would spur him to work harder for the people of the state.

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