Governor Adams Oshiomhole
By Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Edo State Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Benin-City has fixed judgment in the governorship election tussle between Governor Adams Oshiomhole of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Major-Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (rtd) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for January 23.
The petition with registration number (EPT/ED/G/01/2012), which was filed by Airhiavbere against Oshiomhole, is challenging the latter over alleged lack of requisite academic qualification to contest the exalted seat of governor.
Airhiavbere also alleged in the petition that the July 14, 2012, governorship election was marred by electoral malpractices.
The PDP candidate in his petition joined ACN, INEC, REC and INEC returning officer as corespondent defendants.
On January 10, both the petitioner and respondents adopted their written addresses before the tribunal adjourned sine die.
The respondents, while adopting their written addresses urged the tribunal to dismiss the petitioner’s case for lack of merit.
Oshiomhole’s counsel, Mr. Adeniyi Akinola (SAN), argued that since the petitioner in his address abandoned his pleadings on the alleged corruption and non compliance with the electoral Act, the tribunal should dismiss his petition outright.
However, Airhiavbere’s counsel, Mr. Efe Akpofure (SAN), while adopting his written address, argued that it was not true that the petitioner abandoned his pleadings as was canvassed by Oshiomhole’s counsel.
Akpofure urged the tribunal to uphold the petitioner’s relieves and declare him winner since Oshiomhole was unable to contradict the allegation of non qualification as alleged in the petition.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court had on January 11, upturned the decision of a court of appeal, Benin division, which ordered that a petition challenging the educational qualifications of the governor should be heard by the election tribunal.