Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole
The Supreme Court will on Friday, January 11, determine whether Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole has an explanation to make before the state’s Election Tribunal regarding his qualification for election as governor.
The governor through his team of lawyers led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), had argued that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Major General Charles Airhiavbere (rtd), did not specifically plead the issue of his qualification.
The Court of Appeal in Benin City however found otherwise and ordered the parties to return to a newly-constituted tribunal for the determination of whether Oshiomhole had the basic qualifications or not.
The governor was dissatisfied with the Appeal Court judgment and consequently appealed to the Supreme Court.
Arguing the appeal yesterday, Olanipekun said there was no basis for the judgment of the Court of Appeal.
According to him, the petitioner grounded his petition on corrupt practices and none compliance with the Electoral Act 2010, but not on Oshiomhole non-qualification.
He said the Court of Appeal made a case for the respondent which he did not make for himself.
The petition’s challen-
ging the results in five out of 18 local government areas. He said that PDP honourably withdrew from the petition because it was hopeless.
Responding, counsel to Airhiavbere, Chief Efe Akpofure (SAN), asked the court to dismiss the appeal and affirm the judgment of the lower court.
He said the tribunal did not say that there was no ground to sustain the allegation that Oshiomhole did not have the qualification to run for governor.
He said the fact that non qualification was not made a separate ground was not a basis to hold that there was no ground in the pleadings to sustain the allegation that Oshiomhole was not qualified.
Akpofure called on the Supreme Court to read the whole petition as a whole.
He also argued that the tribunal found that the allegation of Oshiomhole’s non qualification was raised in the pleading but held that it was a pre election matter.
In the appeal, Oshiomhole faulted the judgment of the Court of Appeal on six grounds.
His lawyer, Olanipekun, argued that the Court of Appeal erred in law when it held that the tribunal had jurisdiction to adjudicate on the alleged acts of non-qualification of the governor in the petitioner’s pleadings.
He said the judgment of the Court of Appeal was based on sentiments and not law.
He stated that there was no specific pleading in the petition challenging the governor’s non-qualification to contest the state governorship election.
The learned senior advocate said the issue raised by the petitioner regarding Oshiomhole’s qualification to contest the election was a pre-election matter upon which the tribunal had no jurisdiction to adjudicate.
Olanipekun said the Court of Appeal breached Oshiomhole’s right to fair hearing when it held that the tribunal should have determined the petition against him on its merit.
He said: “By the judgment of the lower court, Appellant (Oshiomhole) is being asked to go and defend allegations which have not been made against him.”
He consequently asked the Supreme Court to set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal and restore the judgment of the tribunal.