Edo Tribunal Stuns Oshiomhole and Ihonvbere Wins Upheld Election Landscape Trembles

Edo Tribunal Stuns Oshiomhole and Ihonvbere Wins Upheld Election Landscape Trembles

Edo Election Tribunal Validates Oshiomhole and Ihonvbere’s Victories

Benin City, Edo State – The National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal convened in Benin on Monday to deliver its verdict on the contested Edo North Senatorial District election held on February 25, 2023. The tribunal upheld the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) declaration of Senator Adams Oshiomhole from the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the rightful winner. Additionally, the tribunal validated the election of APC’s House leader, Julius Ihonvbere, as the representative for Owan Federal Constituency.

Presided over by Justice O.A. Chuioke, the three-member tribunal dismissed a petition filed by former Senator Francis Alimikhena of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), citing a lack of merit. The petition had challenged Oshiomhole’s victory, alleging non-compliance with the Electoral Act and failure to transmit results via the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System.

Represented by Rasak Isenalume, Alimikhena argued for either his own victory declaration or a rerun, citing perceived non-compliance with the law. The respondents’ legal teams countered by asserting the petition’s lack of evidence and relevance. Justice Alero Akeredolu, speaking on behalf of the tribunal chairman, emphasized the petitioners’ failure to produce substantial evidence of non-compliance, leading to the tribunal’s complete dismissal of the case against Oshiomhole.

Similarly, the tribunal also rejected a petition from Jimoh Ijiegbai and the PDP challenging Julius Ihonvbere’s victory for Owan Federal Constituency. Lead counsel Ehiogie West-Idahosa (SAN) presented strong arguments against the petition’s validity, further cementing the tribunal’s decision.

Meanwhile, the Ogun State Governorship Election Tribunal, seated in Abeokuta, postponed its judgment on petitions challenging Governor Dapo Abiodun and the APC’s election victories. Justice Hamidu Kunaza announced that the judgment date would follow the adoption of final written addresses by the parties’ counsels.

In attendance were Chris Uche (SAN) and Ladipupo Adebutu, representing the petitioners, INEC, Governor Abiodun, and the APC. The petitioners contested Abiodun’s election return by INEC after the March 18, 2023, gubernatorial elections.

During the address adoption, respondents collectively urged the tribunal to dismiss the petitions. Remi Olatubora, INEC’s counsel, argued against the admissibility of the petitioners’ documents. Olanipekun, representing Governor Abiodun, highlighted the absence of signatures on certified documents submitted by the petitioners. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), APC’s counsel, emphasized the petitioners’ failure to specify polling units with alleged over-voting or non-compliance.

However, Uche, representing the petitioners, urged the tribunal to consider their unchallenged evidence and grant their requested reliefs. Uche criticized INEC’s efforts to discredit its own issued and certified documents and pointed out the absence of counter-evidence.

In conclusion, the tribunal decisions upheld Oshiomhole and Ihonvbere’s election victories, emphasizing the importance of evidence-backed claims in election disputes. These rulings underscore the significance of due process and integrity in democratic processes, ensuring the transparency of election outcomes.

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