PDP loses bid to unseat Akpatason
THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State has lost a suit filed to unseat the All Progressives Congress (APC) member representing Akoko-Edo Federal Constituency, Peter Akpatason as the election petition tribunal hearing the matter threw out the PDP petition on the ground that it was not filed in accordance with the Electoral Act.
Akpatason through his counsel, Ken Mozia has challenged the petition of the PDP and its candidate, Oladele Bankole-Balogun on the ground that the petition was signed but the person did not indicate his or her name as stipulated in the law.
He also challenged the petition where he asked that certain paragraphs that made the document clumsy be also struck out.
Although Bankole-Balogun has said he is considering appealing the ruling in court, the tribunal led by Justice A. R. Ozoemena, took time to analyze the arguments adduced by counsels to both parties and faulted the joint petition filed by the PDP and Bankole-Balogun, asserting that the failure by the party to sign the petition was a clear negation of the Electoral Act.
He declared that “as it seems there is no petition before the tribunal since there was no attempt by the PDP or its agents to sign on behalf of the party. The petition lacks merit and therefore struck out in its entirety”.
The panel had earlier dealt with the allegation against some persons in the petition that Bankole-Balogun alleged were involved in manipulation of results and violence.
While striking those paragraphs from the petition, the tribunal pointed that “the offences leveled against these persons are criminal in nature and in such a situation the affected persons are supposed to be joined in the petition because the law says such persons should be joined as necessary parties.
“In this case they were not joined in this petition and it will be wrong to give judgment when the persons are not given the opportunity to defend themselves, the paragraphs are therefore struck out”.
On the issue of signature, the tribunal ruled that it will not accept signature by proxy as stated explicitly in the Electoral Act therefore, “the petition was inappropriately filed and is rendered invalid”
Counsel to Akpatason and the APC, Ken Mozia (SAN), described the ruling as victory for democracy, noting that “the panel was meticulous in its judgment and you can see that.”