FRESH: Edo poll: Appeal court validates Godwin Obaseki’s election

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Godwin Obaseki and Osagie Ize-Iyamu
Alexander Okere, Benin
The Court of Appeal in Benin on Tuesday reserved judgment in an appeal filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the Edo State governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, challenging the ruling of the election petitions tribunal.
The five-man appeal panel led by Justice M. B.  Dongban-Mensem, also reserved judgment indefinitely on the cross-appeal filed by Godwin Obaseki of the All Progressives Congress.
It stated that a date for the judgment would be communicated to the parties in the case.
The tribunal had in its judgement delivered by Justice Ahmed Badamasi dismissed the petition of Ize-Iyamu and the PDP for lack of merit and upheld the September 28 governorship election of ‎Obaseki as Governor.
Not satisfied, the PDP candidate had filed a 41-ground appeal against the tribunal’s judgment while Obaseki filed a cross-appeal on four grounds.

Before hearing on the appeal and cross-appeal commenced, the appellate court struck out a motion filed by Ize-Iyamu, through his counsel, Yusuf Alli, SAN, seeking to correct records of the lower tribunal.

Alli had urged the court to rely on what the second tribunal judge recorded as the true reflection of the testimony of the PDP candidate who was the first prosecution witness, rather than that Badamasi.

The senior advocate, who noted that the tribunal judges had been served but did not respond to the application‎,  described the response to the motion from counsel to the APC, Obaseki and the Independent National Electoral Commission as a “busy body” response.

Alli said, “The chairman (Badamasi) recorded his own. The second member recorded his version. We are saying that what the second member recorded was what happened. We are talking about the simple recording of the proceedings.

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“The most current condition is for the application to be served on the body of judges. All the three judges who presided at the tribunal were served.

“But there was no counter affidavit from them challenging this application. Since they were served and did not respond, that is the end of the matter.”

But counsel for INEC, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, said that the appellants’ application lacked merit as it was based on documentary hearsay and, therefore, should be dismissed.


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