By: Patrick Ochoga, Benin City
The Court of Appeal sitting in Benin City will on Friday June 9, 2017 give judgement on the Appeal filled by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the 2016 Edo state governorship polls, Pastor Osagie Andrew Ize-Iyamu against the decision of the Justice Ahmed Badamasi-led Edo State Election Petition Tribunal judgement which validated the election of Mr Godwin Obaseki of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The judgement of the Court, which informed counsels to all the parties of its decision Thursday, is expected to touch among other grounds of appeal, for an order setting aside the decision of the tribunal and another order nullifying the return of the second respondent, Obaseki, while declaring Ize-Iyamu as the winner, having scored the highest number of lawful votes cast in the September 28 2016 poll.
The PDP and Ize-Iyamu alleged that the tribunal judges erred and truncated their (appellants) right to fair hearing by the unequal treatment given to the cases of the parties, “by first finding fault, discrediting, disbelieving and dismissing their petition before considering at all and reviewing the testimonies of the witnesses of the respondents and, thus, occasioning a miscarriage of justice.”
They told the Court of Appeal that the tribunal also erred in law and truncated their right to fair hearing where, in consideration of their case, it failed “totally” to consider and make any pronouncement on the issue concerning, “whether the second respondent was duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast” in the election “and if not, whether the first petitioner (Ize-Iyamu) is not entitled to be returned as the Governor of Edo State.”
The APC, INEC and Mr Obaseki on their parts asked the court to disregard the appeal by the appellants, and also filed a cross appeal asking the court to invalidate the order by the tribunal for the inconclusive recount of ballot papers used during the election.
Legal experts are however agreed that whatever the decision of the Court of Appeal today, parties will have cause to appeal it’s ruling at the Supreme Court, which decision as the apex court of the Land is final.