The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the election of Godwin Obaseki as Governor of Edo State.
The apex court upheld the election in a judgment delivered Monday in an appeal brought by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu challenging the decision of the Appeal Court which had earlier upheld the election of Obaseki.
The panel of seven justices led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen in dismissing the suit for lacking in merit, however reserved July 21 to give it’s reasons for dismissing the appeal.
This as Pastor Ize-Iyamu has congratulated Obaseki, over his victory at the Supreme Court.
Ize Iyamu had approached the Supreme Court to upturn the decision of the Appeal Court in Benin, Edo State that upheld the decision of the Edo State Election Petition Tribunal which had earlier affirmed the election of Obaseki.
When the matter came up Monday, Yussuf Alli SAN, counsel to the appellant after adopting his brief urged the court to allow the appeal and grant the prayers of his client. But counsel to the respondents after adopting their respective briefs urged the court to dismiss the suit.
Following the adoption of briefs by counsel, the panel then stood down the case for an hour to enable the court take a decision on the matter. When the court reconvened, the CJN then directed a member of the panel Justice John okoro to deliver the judgment.
Delivering judgement, Justice Okoro held that the appeal lacks merit and as a result is hereby dismissed with no cost attached. He also fixed 24 of July to give reasons for the judgement.
The Court of Appeal in Benin City, Edo State, had dismissed Iyamu’s appeal for lacking in merit, and upheld the decision of the Election Petition Tribunal which in its judgment of April 14, 2017, declared Godwin Obaseki as winner of the September 28, 2016 governorship election.
The court, led by Hon. Justice Dongban-Mensen, ruled that the Justice Ahmed Badamasi-led Tribunal did a pain-staking job in its judgement, and so deserved commendation, adding that the tribunal should be commended for properly evaluating all the witnesses’ evidence and ascribing “probative value” to it.
In the judgment read by Justice M.O. Bolaji Yusuf, the Appeal Court held that the PDP, from the evidence-led, did not prove their case to warrant the nullification of the election or a declaration of Pastor Ize-Iyamu as the winner.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Obaseki of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as winner of governorship election haven pulled majority of the votes cast.
Not satisfied with INEC’s declaration, the PDP candidate approached the Election Petition Tribunal, demanding that he be declared the winner instead of the APC candidate who was pronounced by INEC.
In the judgment, the tribunal affirmed the pronouncement of Obaseki winner of the governorship election.
Still not satisfied, Ize-Iyamu filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal with 41 grounds of appeal which was reduced to nine issues for determination.
Meanwhile, Ize-Iyamu has congratulated Obaseki over his victory at the Supreme Court.
Ize-Iyamu’s congratulation message read:
“Today, the Supreme Court has by its judgment brought to an end our struggle for the office of the governor of Edo State which began on 28 September, 2016.
“I accept in good faith this decision of the highest court of our country, which affirms Mr Godwin Obaseki as the Governor of Edo State. I therefore congratulate Mr Godwin Obaseki and assure him of my goodwill.
“I also want to use this opportunity to thank all our supporters and party men and women for their immense support for our struggle right from the time of the election to this day that it ended at the Supreme Court. Let me assure them of my acknowledgement of their various sacrifices and promise that I will always be there for them.
“I thank all Edo people who have been part of our struggle all the way. In our various ways we should keep the fire burning in the quest for an Edo State of our dreams.
“Finally, I thank God for His grace that gave me the opportunity to seek the office. To Him be all honour and Glory.
“God bless Edo State,” Ize-Iyamu said.