From Tony Osauzo, Benin
The Court of Appeal, sitting in Benin, yesterday, upheld the ruling of the Edo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal against the Action Democratic Party (ADP), and reaffirmed the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki at the 2020 governorship election.
Delivering the judgement in the case marked CA/B/EPT/GOV/01 & 1A/2021 Action Democratic Party & Anor v. INEC & 2Ors, the court held that Obaseki did not forge his certificates with which he contested the 2020 governorship election and dismissed the appeal filed by the ADP and its candidate.
In another case marked /B/EPT/GOV/02/2021 Action Peoples Party (APP) Vs Godwin N. Obaseki & 2Ors., the Court unanimously upheld the Judgment of the Tribunal and dismissed the Appeal with costs assessed at N600,000 each, on two different counts, as the governor won all eight issues for determination in the appeal.
Delivering the judgement in favour of the governor, the Presiding Justice, Hon. Justice M.A. Owoade, dismissed the main appeal, the preliminary objection and the cross appeal.
The Judge noted that the inclusion of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as respondents in the petition, was a ploy by Ize-Iyamu to fight his case through another petitioner, describing it as a case of ‘squeezing the rock for water’.
Meanwhile, Edo State Deputy Governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu has hailed the Appeal Court ruling which reaffirmed the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki at the polls.
The Deputy Governor who thanked God for the judgement said that the court has delivered justice.
“The court is the last hope of the common man, and that has been established today (Wednesday). From the tribunal to the court of Appeal, it is the same judgment. You cannot build something on nothing. The courts have been consistent in their judgement.
“My joy is that the judges displayed courage and also thank our legal teams and Edo people for their prayers. The judges have showed that the judiciary is not just independent but we have courageous judges that will deliver justice just as they have done today.
In his comment, Counsel to the Governor, Ken Mozia (SAN) said: “There were five appeals filed against decision of the election petition tribunal and the court today (Wednesday), in a virtual sitting, dismissed all five appeals. In order words, it affirms the decision of the tribunal.
“The issues essentially raised are the same. The various courts have repeatedly affirmed that the certificates are not forged; he didn’t provide false information and won the election.
“We won in the federal high court, court of appeal, Abuja, tribunal and now the court of appeal has now reaffirmed it by dismissing all five appeals.”