Youths and elders in Edo State took to the streets of Benin City on Friday to celebrate the ruling of the Edo State Election Petitions Tribunal which affirmed the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki in the September 28, 2016 governorship election in the state.
The youths, who joined the victory rally at various junction, sang solidarity songs to celebrate the tribunal’s ruling.
Governor Obaseki joined the victory walk and music was provided.
Delivering ruling in the petition filed by Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ahmed Badamasi, upheld the election of Governor Obaseki.
The petitioners had in the petition asked the tribunal to rule that Governor Obaseki was not duly elected by lawful votes cast and to declare Pastor Ize-Iyamu as winner of the election for scoring the highest number of lawful votes cast.
In the alternative, the petitioners sought an order that the governorship election be nullified and a fresh election ordered.
Pastor Ize-Iyamu, in the petition, challenged results in 2, 627 polling units in 16 out 18 local government areas in the state.
Issues outlined by the tribunal for determination were, “whether having regard to Section 31(1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended and paragraph 4 (1) of the First Schedule thereto, the person who purports to be the 1st petitioner along with the 2nd petitioner in the instant petition is different in law from the person sponsored as candidate of the 2nd petitioner at the Edo State governorship election held on 28, September 2016, thereby rendering the petition incompetent and liable to be dismissed/struck out as prayed in the 2nd respondent/applicant’s motion dated 29, November 2016.
“Whether paragraph 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29 and 30 of the petitioners’ reply to the 3rd respondent’s reply as well as the witness statements on oath attached thereto are not incompetent and liable to be struck out?
“Whether not having claimed any relief based on corrupt practices, the petitioners had not abandoned all allegations of corrupt practices made in the petition.
“Whether the election of the 2nd respondent was invalid by reason of corrupt practices in some units and wards being challenged in the petition where the issue (s) of corrupt practices made in the petition was/were specifically pleaded in the petition and if so, whether the votes credited to the 2nd respondent in such units and wards are not liable to be invalidated and discounted?
“Whether on the state of the pleadings and evidence led, the petitioners have established that there was substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act which has substantially affected the Edo State Governorship Election held on 28, September 2016 to warrant an order nullifying the election and for a fresh election to be considered?”
However, before considering ruling on each of the issues for determination, Justice Ahmed dismissed all the motions filed by both the petitioners and the respondents which sought to strike out certain paragraphs in the petition and various replies.
On the motion filed by the third respondents on the deletion of some paragraphs in the petition, the panel said it was premature to consider removing the paragraphs based on technicalities.