By Tobi Soniyi
The Supreme Court will today begin hearing in an appeal filed by Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, challenging the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Benin which ordered a retrial of the petition filed against him by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Major General Charles Airhiavbere (rtd).
In a notice of appeal filed by his counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Oshiomhole faulted the judgment of the Court of Appeal on six grounds.
He said 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.
The governor stated that there was no specific pleading in the petition challenging the governor’s non-qualification to contest the Edo State Governorship Election.
He said the issue raised by the petitioner regarding his qualification to contest the election was a pre-election matter upon which the tribunal had no jurisdiction to adjudicate.
Oshiomhole contended that the Court of Appeal breached his 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.
In his petition, the PDP candidate had alleged that Oshiomhole was not eligible to contest the election as a result of his academic qualification, as provided for in the Electoral Act and the 1999 Constitution.
The PDP candidate claimed that Oshiomhole only tendered a Modern School Leaving Certificate without a primary school certificate, which by the constitution did not qualify him to contest the election.