Tribunal quashes PDP’s petition, upholds Idahosa’s election
The Edo State Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Benin City yesterday threw out the petition filed by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Omosede Igbinedion, challenging the victory of All Progressives Congress (APC’s) Dennis Idahosa for lack of merit.
Chairman of the tribunal, Justice O. Ogundana, who dismissed Igbinedion’s petition, therefore, upheld Idahosa’s election, saying the petitioner failed to prove allegations of over voting, forgery and falsification of results.
Ogundana, who had earlier ruled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) filed its reply out of time, noted that allegations of electoral malpractices bothered on criminal offences that must be proven beyond reasonable doubt.
On the allegation that Idahosa was a Canadian citizen, the tribunal held that the petitioners failed to show any proof as the witness did not testify at the tribunal regarding the accusation.
It ruled that Idahosa proved that he was a Nigerian by birth as he presented his International Passport and proved that he resigned his appointment as board member of the National Agency for Great Green Wall (NAGW).
“The petitioners argument is untenable. They did not show relevant documents and pleaded facts are not before the tribunal.
“Besides pleading of the grounds, the petitioners did not place anything on their side. They did not made prima facie case. Averments in petition prove nothing without evidence. The onus of proof has not shifted to the defendants as the petitioners failed to prove non-qualification.
“All the allegations have not been proven. Even if ground three has not been struck out, it would not have survived,” the tribunal ruled.
Reacting to the judgment, Idahosa commended the judiciary for remaining the last hope of the common man.
Igbinedion was PDP’s candidate for Ovia Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives in the February 23, 2019 National Assembly Election.
She had approached the tribunal to declare her winner of the poll on the ground that Idahosa was not qualified to contest the election, arguing that he (Idahosa) did not resign from the Federal Ministry of Environment before the contest.