From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The Edo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal late Monday evening affirmed the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki in the September 19, 2020, governorship election in the state, dismissing all petitions filed against him and his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Five political parties had filed petitions against the declaration of Godwin Obaseki as winner of the election.
But a three-man tribunal, led by Justice Yunusa Musa, delivering judgment on the petitions in Benin, unanimously dismissed all the petitions filed by the aggrieved parties for lack of merit.
The tribunal held that the petitioners could not substantiate their respective claims, awarding the sum of N200,000 each to INEC, Godwin Obaseki and Philip Shaibu against one of the petitioners, Allied Peoples Movement (APM).
‘The petitioners have a duty to prove their allegations beyond reasonable doubts. There is no evidence of testimony that established the certificate is forged. The witnesses called never visited the school to confirm the genuineness of the certificate,’ the tribunal stated.
The petitioners included Action Democratic Party (ADP), Action Peoples Party (APP), Action Alliance (AA) and Allied Peoples Movement (APM). The candidate of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Agol Tracy, failed to join her party in her petition.
They predicated their cases on the basis of controversial degree result submitted alongside nomination and expression of interest forms to INEC by the governor for the purpose of the election, and claims of unlawful exclusion from the poll.
The respondents in the various petitions are governor Godwin Obaseki, his deputy, Philip Shaibu, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the All Progressives Congress (APC), and Osagie Ize-iyamu, APC governorship candidate.
Reacting shortly after the judgment, Edo Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu said the judgment reaffirmed the will of the people who willingly gave the governor their votes.
He added that the people of the state should expect more development projects now that the case is over.