From Tony Osauzo, Benin
Today’s expected judgment of Abuja Federal High Court on alleged forgery and perjury case brought against Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State by the APC and a member of the party, William Edobor, has thrown the camps of the governor and his party, the PDP as well as the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate in the September 19, 2020 governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, into anxiety.
Recall that after legal arguments on the pre-election matter, the parties on Thursday adopted their written addresses and the presiding judge, Justice Ahmed Muhammed, fixed today for judgment.
Yesterday in Benin, a member of the PDP and an associate of Obaseki, said “everybody is waiting for today. Some of us are restless but we are confident because our legal team did a good job and from my view, they could not prove any case of forgery so we expect a favourable ruling”.
On the other hand, a supporter of the APC governorship candidate in the election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and member of the party, said “With what we have presented before the court, we are 99 per cent sure of victory”.
In a related development, Pastor Ize-Iyamu, has appealed against the judgment of the Edo State High Court nullifying his candidacy over alleged false information presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by his running mate, Hon. Gani Audu.
Justice Helen Courage-Ogbebor of Edo State High had in a judgment he delivered in Benin City last Wednesday in a suit filed by Sunday Kadiri from Ogbona ward, in Etsako Central Local Government Area of the state, voided the candidacy the APC governorship candidate and his running mate.
But in Ize-Iyamu in a 13-grounds notice of Appeal marked B/358/2020 through his counsel, prayed the Appeal Court to set aside the judgment of the Edo State High Court, pointing out
that the suit filed by Kadiri is statute-barred, academic, and of no utilitarian value to him. Citing relevant constitutional provisions, including precedents set by the Supreme Court in previous similar cases, he argued that “a pre-election suit becomes academic where the Defendants lost the election and fail to challenge the outcome thereof in an Election Tribunal”.
Besides, he contended even though the case was statute-barred, the claimant also failed to prove his case beyond doubt and should be dismissed.