Tribunal Confirms Oshiomhole, Ihonvbere, Winners in Edo North Elections - The Top Society

Tribunal Confirms Oshiomhole, Ihonvbere, Winners in Edo North Elections


The National/State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Benin has upheld the victory of Senator Adams Oshiomhole in the February 25 Edo North Senatorial District election, as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The tribunal, led by Justice O.A. Chuioke, also affirmed the election of Rep Ihonvbere Julius of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who represents Owan Federal Constituency.

In a decisive verdict, the three-man tribunal dismissed the petition brought forward by former Senator Francis Alimikhena of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), citing a lack of merit. This ruling solidifies the legitimacy of the election results and the victory of Senator Oshiomhole and Rep Julius in their respective constituencies.

Alimikhena, represented by his legal counsel, Mr. Rasak Isenalume, filed a petition (suit NO: EPT/ED/SEN/02/2023) against the former governor of the state, Senator Oshiomhole, as well as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In his petition, Alimikhena, the first petitioner, called upon the tribunal to invalidate Senator Oshiomhole’s election due to alleged noncompliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, as mandated by the law. He sought to be declared the rightful winner of the election.

Additionally, he urged the tribunal to nullify Oshiomhole’s election on the grounds of purported failure to transmit election results through the use of a BIVAS machine to the IREV Portal. Alternatively, Alimikhena requested the tribunal to order a rerun of the election due to what he termed as non-substantial compliance with the law.

However, the legal representatives of the respondents countered these claims, urging the tribunal to dismiss the petition on the basis of its lack of merit.

In a unanimous verdict delivered on behalf of the tribunal, its chairperson, Justice Alero Akeredolu, emphasized that the petitioners failed to provide substantial evidence to support their case. She noted that the strength or weakness of the respondents’ arguments couldn’t be relied upon to prove their allegations against Senator Oshiomhole.

Justice Akeredolu further emphasized that the petitioners failed to present any pertinent documents to substantiate their claims of non-compliance, as outlined in their petitions.

As a result, the Tribunal unanimously dismissed the petition against Senator Oshiomhole in its entirety.

In response to the judgment, Rasak Isenalume, the counsel representing the petitioners, expressed gratitude for the fair proceedings and revealed that the tribunal had concluded that the petition lacked merit, leading to its dismissal, with detailed reasons provided.

Similarly, counsel to Senator Oshiomhole, represented by Famous Osawaru, asserted that the petitioners were unable to establish non-compliance, and the judges thoroughly examined all aspects of the case.

Earlier in the proceedings, the tribunal also rejected the petition lodged by Jimoh Iruokhaime Ijiegbai Ojeiu and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) against the declaration of Ihonvbere as the winner of the Owan Federal Constituency by INEC.

The tribunal concurred with the argument put forth by Mr. Ehiogie West-Idahosa (SAN), the lead counsel for Ihonvbere, asserting that Ojeiu’s petition lacked merit entirely.

Ojeiu and the PDP served as the first and second petitioners in the case identified as EPT/ED/HR/03/2023.

In response to the two-hour judgment, Rasak Isenalume, Esq., the counsel for the first petitioners, conveyed the following statement to NAN:  “As lawyers, our duty is to present the case as it is and back it up with relevant laws. 

“So, it is for the tribunal to decide; you know we cannot change the law. All sides must have their positions and we canvassed ours eloquently. But the tribunal has come with its decision. 

“Well, like I told the tribunal, we will await further instructions from our clients as there is a further step to go. 

“Most of these cases we are citing today, they were cases done at the tribunal and reversed at the Court of Appeal and affirmed by the Supreme Court.” 

However, the legal representative for Prof. Ihonvbere, the second respondent, Famous Osawaru, who stood in for West-Idahosa, SAN, characterized the judgment as an exemplary display of legal expertise. He praised it as a meticulously composed and eloquently presented decision, hailing it as a triumph for the residents of Owan Federal Constituency.

He reiterated that the tribunal’s decision to dismiss the petition was a result of the petitioners’ inability to substantiate their claims of overvoting, as had been alleged in their petition.

He stated, “They were unable to provide the necessary evidence to establish the occurrence of overvotes in the election.” 

In response, Mr. Victor Asumwan, the counsel representing the respondent, the APC, remarked: “We are glad with the judgement and it is a reaffirmation of the decision of the electorate in Owan East and West Constituency when they voted massively for APC. 

“The tribunal has affirmed the position of the law that for one to prove overvoting, there are certain requirements of the law you must meet. 

“The petitioners obviously woefully failed to meet those provisions.”

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