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Appeal court upholds Edo Governorship victory; Obaseki, Oshiomhole applaud Appeal Court’s Verdict

The Court of Appeal sitting in Benin City over Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and People’s Democratic Party (PDP’s) appeal against the Election Petition Tribunal Judgment on the September 26 election passed judgment on Friday, upholding the declaration of Governor Godwin Obaseki of All Progressives Congress (APC) as Governor of Edo. 
Counsels to both parties had argued their briefs on May 30 this year, where in Obaseki’s counsel, led by Wole Olanipekun, SAN, urged the court to dismiss the Appeal, saying that the grounds of the appeal were watery.
 Striking out the appeal, the court, led by Hon. Justice Dongban-Mensen, ruled that the Justice Ahmed Badamasi-led Tribunal did a pain-staking job in its judgment, and so deserved commendation, adding that the Tribunal should be commended for properly evaluating all the witnesses’ evidence and ascribing “probative value” to it.
 It would be recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the All Progressives Congress candidate, Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki as the winner of the September 28, 2016 governorship election and the appellants had alleged that the Tribunal judges erred and truncated their right to a fair hearing by giving unequal treatment to the parties involved.
 The Appeal Court, meanwhile, also 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.
In his reaction, Governor Godwin Obaseki praised the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which upheld his victory at the September 28, 2016 Governorship Election.
He was supported by former governor Adams Oshiomhole, who branded the petition and the appeal against its dismissal as a futile attempt to smuggle through the judiciary.
 While dismissing the election petition filed by both the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the Court of Appeal said that the Tribunal did a painstaking job and should be commended for its judgment.
 Commending the appellate court’s verdict, the governor said that the truth would always prevail and he was prepared to appear at the Supreme Court over the case because he won the election and both God and his ancestors had reaffirmed that he won so they (PDP and Ize-Iyamu) could not change the truth.
 In addition, the governor appreciated the support of Edo citizens, assuring them that his administration was not distracted by the lingering election petition cases, that he would rededicate himself to good governance, and that he would continue the appointments of political appointees.
On his part, Oshiomhole declared that the people of Edo State never voted for PDP and that the Court of Appeal had reaffirmed the fact that they were clear on the sustenance of Governor Obaseki’s policies, who, he observed, had not been distracted from the business of good governance.

He said: “At a time when most states cannot pay salaries, in Edo, he is paying a minimum wage even higher than what the federal government stipulated. What more can we say? Well, naturally we are excited. I am sure they also did very careful and detailed evaluation of the petitioners’ case and the response of our party as respondents.”
Continuing he said this was why he concluded that the petition was of the busybody category and that the truth was clear for everyone, who followed and did detailed evaluations, to see.
“Edo people never voted PDP,” he explained, continuing, “They have not forgotten in a hurry the misrule of PDP for thirteen years in this state and sixteen years at the federal level. They could not have voted PDP, so it was clear that they lost it at the ballot box.” 
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