Tuesday, May 30, 2017 11:31 pm
The Court of Appeal sitting in Benin has reserved judgment in the appeal and cross appeals filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the September 28, 2016 governorship election in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Governor Godwin Obaseki.
PDP and Pastor Ize-Iyamu had filed 41 grounds of appeal against the judgement of the state Electoral Petition Tribunal, which upheld the election of Mr. Godwin Obaseki of the APC as winner of the election.
On his part, Obaseki filed four grounds of cross appeal in the judgement.
The appellate court said the date for the judgment would be communicated to parties involved in the suit.
Before hearing the appeals and cross appeal, the court had earlier struck out a motion filed by Pastor Ize-Iyamu seeking to correct records of the lower tribunal.
Counsel to Pastor Ize-Iyamu and the PDP, Yusuf Alli (SAN), asked the court to rely on what the second Judge recorded as the true happenings of what Pastor Ize-Iyamu said at the tribunal and not what the Tribunal’s chairman recorded.
Alli said the tribunal judges were served but did not respond to the application.
He described the response to the motion from Counsels to the APC, Obaseki and INEC as ‘bush body’ response.
“The Chairman recorded his own. The second member recorded his version. We are saying that what the second member recorded was what happened. We are talking about simple recording of the proceeedings.
“The most current condition is for the application to be served on the body of judges. All the three judges who presided at the tribunal were served but there was no counter affidavit from them challenging this application.
“Since they were served and did not respond, that is the end of the matter,” Alli said.
Counsel to INEC, Onyechi Ikpeazu, who described the application as lacking in merit, said it was based on documentary hearsay.
He urged the appellate court to dismiss the application.
Counsel to Obaseki, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said Pastor Ize-Iyamu has not moved any application before the court and described it as a misconception.
His words, “How were the judges served? When and where were they served? There is nothing forbidding oral evidence. It is unfair for them to present this application when they know it is undoable.
“There is no ground of appeal challenging the record of court. Where will this application be located? What they want substituted is not comprehensible. An act of recording proceeding is a judicial act. For what purpose are correcting the court records.”
Lateef Fagbemi, lead Counsel for the APC, aligned himself with the submission of Olanipekun and Ikpeazu.
The appellate court presided over Her Lordship, Justice M.B. Dongban-Mensen, struck out the application for lack of merit.
Counsels in the suit however agreed to adopt their appeals to save and the court reserved a date for judgment in both the appeal and cross appeal.