Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Edo Tribunal Updates PDP Ize-Iyamu and APC Godwin Obaseki

Tension In Benin As PDP and  Ize-Iyamu challenge adjournment after Tribunal Reserves Ruling

The Edo elections tribunal today adjourned ruling in the petition brought before it by the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, and its governorship candidate in the 2016 governorship elections, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

The PDP and Ize-Iyamu are challenging the declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC of Mr Godwin Obaseki of the All Progressives Congress, APC winner of the election.

The adjournment came after Counsel to the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP and its governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Yusuf Ali, SAN, asked the tribunal to rule that Ize-Iyamu is entitled to be declared winner of the 2016 governorship elections in the state.
Ali’s arguments were based among others on several motions and counter affidavits which he presented before the court as well as the written addresses which he adopted even as he called on the tribunal to strike out all the applications by the respondents.

Ali had impressed it on the tribunal that all the allegations raised by the petitioners in their petition before the tribunal were in actual fact against the INEC and as such only the INEC can answer them.

He said that whereas INEC did not call a single witness to defend the allegation against them, none of the respondents pleaded that the INEC manual labelled as an exhibit was for the training of only Its officials. 

He also argued that the fact that the second respondent Mr Godwin Obaseki expressed dissatisfaction with the results of the election in many polling units as contained in his written address showed that the petitioners were not alone in their submissions on the issue.

On the identity of the petitioner’s candidate which was raised by the second respondent the legal luminary argued that even the respondent’s witnesses had identified Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as the petitioner in the open court.
He said, ‘the identity of the petitioner is not in doubt’, as he was the candidate identified by even the INEC as the one the PDP presented for the 2016 governorship elections in Edo state.

On the use of the INEC manual he said that, “if ticking is useless the Manual will not say it is relevant”, adding, “ticking is to identify the voters and whether or not he has voted in an election”.
He also cited a 2016  Supreme Court case between INEC and APC representative, Faleke where the court heard that INEC Manual for election officials and guidelines becomes a subsidiary law when released by INEC before election and as such it must be invoked, enforced and applied.

Counsels to INEC, Obaseki and APC as first, second and third respondents were however united in their submissions in asking the three member tribunal chaired by Justice Ahmed Badamasi to dismiss the said petition.
Chairman of the three member tribunal Justice Ahmed Badamasi announced the adjournment at the end of the adoption by all parties of their final written addresses at today’s sitting.
He said, “the parties after having adopted their written addresses the court will now adjourn to deliver judgement on a date to be communicated to all parties.
We now await the date of the Judgement to be communicated to all the parties.