Governor, Adams Oshiomhole
By Adibe Emenyonu
The Election Petition Tribunal in Benin City will Thursday rule on whether it has jurisdiction to adjudicate on the petition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the July 14 election in Edo State, Charles Airhiavbere.
Airhiavbere had asked the tribunal to nullify the re-election of the state governor, Adams Oshiomhole, on the ground of corrupt practices as well as non-possession of the relevant academic qualifications.
The Justice Suleimanl Ambrusa-led tribunal said the ruling would determine whether the court will go on with the case or not.
Earlier, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) who led other senior legal practitioners for the respondents said the court lacks the jurisdiction to adjudicate on the petition.
He further urged the court to dismiss or strike out the petition noting that the grounds and reliefs sought by the petitioner were at variance.
Olanipekun added that the petitioner had earlier alluded in his petition that the election was invalid as a result of corrupt practices but turned around to also ask that he should be returned as the winner of the election.
According to the counsel to the respondent, the petitioner ought to have approached a Federal High Court to address the issue of non-qualification of the winner of the election instead of the tribunal.
He further stated that the 2010 Electoral Act as amended, does not state any ground for qualification or non-qualification except.
He, however, opined that the punishment for non-qualification of a winner in an election is not nullification of the election but to disqualify the candidate, adding that “the constitution states that if a petitioner found that the certificate filed by respondent are false, the aggrieved party should file application at the Federal High Court.”
However, counsel to PDP candidate, Efe Akpofure (SAN), described the application for the dismissal of the petition by the respondents, ACN and Oshiomhole, as premature and urged the court to dismiss it for lack of merit.